November 2022 Newsletter
We have had lots of discovery learning this half term looking at the changes happening in autumn, exploring pumpkins and preparing different types of food for snack, looking at the changes that happen when we mix, combine and cook ingredients (and tasting them of course!)
We have been doing lots of fun cabin activities over the last few weeks. Some of our sessions are focusing on attention and listening. Some of the children have been playing listening and sound games, including listening lotto and singing activities. We also have a selection of books for the children to choose, which encourage speaking, comprehension and can be help extend a child’s vocabulary.
BBC children in need – This week we are dressing up to raise some money for Pudsey Bear and taking part in activities designed to learn about disability and different needs.
Independence Week: Children will be making a chart to celebrate what they can do. This is to highlight what they can already do and focus on what they are learning to do. The idea is to ensure children see themselves as capable and competent learners – rather than say “I can’t do it”, to say “I am learning how to do it” or “I can do it if you help me”. Children can be supported to learn new skills by breaking down physical tasks into smaller steps with adult support and encouragement.
Maths – another look at sequencing numbers and matching quantity with numeral. As part of this will be making an Advent Tree.
Christmas activities (see below)
Throughout this half term, there has been lots of imaginative play coming from the children’s ideas. Some common themes have been: building different structures; playing on the bikes and trikes, with imaginative role play, often involving police and fire fighters; Gruffalos and bear hunts; cooking cakes and soups in the mud kitchen; still lots of child initiated hide and seek.
Let us know if there is something your child is currently interested in (you can put a parent observation on Famly) as we always love to support and extend their ideas. Lots of our best learning comes from spontaneous play from the children’s ideas and experiences.
Parent Stay and Play
Would you like to come and see what your child gets up to at Playgroup? Our Open Mornings and Afternoons have been popular so far. Parents and Carers can come and join us for an hour to play, observe and chat with staff and other parents. We thought this would be a lovely way to meet other parents, and also give more opportunities to see what your children are doing. We have set up some dates for this as follows:
Wednesday 14th December 1.45 to 2.45
Friday 9th December10.15 to 11.15
More dates will be available in January, details will be published before the end of term
Sessions will need to be booked in advance via email or Famly message. Session places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
Feedback to parents
Lots of children have now had an assessment carried out by their keyworker this term. The details are on Famly. If your child hasn’t had theirs yet, it will be coming up over the next few weeks. Your keyworker will offer a parent meeting to discuss this. We very much encourage parents to have a meeting, it can be short and informal if that’s what you prefer. This is a good opportunity to share an insight into your child’s learning and development at home so your keyworker gets a better understanding and all round knowledge of your child and how to support them. Simply message your keyworker on Famly to book.
Children’s Christmas Party
We are holding a party on Friday 16th December for all playgroup children. The party will be from 10.45am to 12.45pm. All children are invited, there will be a small charge for food and for children who don’t normally attend on a Friday. This is to cover the cost of extra staffing and party food (supplied by us). No lunch boxes will be required on this day. Children who usually attend on a Friday will come in at their normal time. Details to follow.
We will be taking part in Christmas activities for the last few weeks of term. The children will learn about the birth of Jesus, via stories, songs and dressing up. We will be offering opportunities to make Christmas decorations and cards. We have two Open Sessions for parents to visit in December (see dates above) if you would like to come along and see what we are doing.
If your family does not celebrate Christmas, or you would like to discuss any of the planned Christmas activities, please drop us an email or have a chat with a member of staff.
Similarly, if your family celebrates any other festivals across the year, please let us know, and we can discuss how we can incorporate this into our curriculum to share with the other children.
Feedback from Committee Meeting
Our Committee Meeting took place on Thursday 3rd November at 7.00pm at Playgroup.
We are a registered charity and have a committee of trustees that support our work. They meet every term and help with strategic and financial decisions. They represent the voice of parents and families and are crucial to ensuring we provide the service that parents need.
Feedback meetings – committee members felt that feedback meetings with their child’s keyworker are really important, help build relationships with parents and give parents a really good insight into their child’s playgroup experience. They also love to come in and see what is happening while the meeting takes place. We are promoting these meetings and will very much encourage all parents to accept. They will be very informal and take place inside the setting, so you can see what your child is up to at playgroup!
Two Year Old Places – We have decided to offer a small number of two year old places (up until now children have started at 2.5yrs). This will help to boost our numbers for next year and enables parents receiving 2 year old funding to get the greatest benefit for their child out of their funding. These will be available mornings only, so if you have any friends that are looking for a short session for their child, please let them know. This will be from January.
Facebook – committee members love our posts on our Facebook page, but they felt they would be even better if we could show children’s faces in the photos. This would make compiling the posts much quicker for us too. Permission will be requested from each parent/carer first and we understand that some parents may not want to give this.
Parent Survey – committee members discussed the results of last term’s parent survey. We received 14 replies from 39 parents.
• All respondents stated that they would recommend Heather Playgroup to their friends.
• All respondents said that they found staff friendly, kind and approachable.
• Most respondents were happy with the level of feedback they received. One
respondent would like more feedback at pick up time, one respondent suggested we have parent evenings once a term so that each parent can speak to their keyworker. Whilst we appreciate that feedback is really important, we have to balance staff time taken away from children’s learning and interactions with adults. We feel that the feedback meetings mentioned above offset the need for parents’ evenings, which would have a big impact on staff time. We try to be as flexible as possible when setting up meetings with parents. We are also aiming to maintain our high level of informative feedback via Famly posts each week, so that parents have timely information which they can use to have an informed discussion with their child at the end of the day. Any parents who would like more feedback than this (for any reason, for example child taking time to settle in, special educational needs, medical need, family support) can have an individualised level of support and feedback.
With the increasingly wet and varied weather we are having, please remember to send a coat that is named and ideally waterproof or showerproof, but essential that it is suitable for outdoor physical activity. We have a good supply of waterproof trousers, which the children will be encouraged to wear when it is wet. We also supply aprons for the mud kitchen. If your child has grown out of their wellies, we have a small supply of spares of varying sizes, just let us know if you would like to try a pair.
We are low on girls’ pants and socks, if you have an older child that has grown out of them we would love to take any that are in reasonable condition.
We are holding a Christmas raffle on Wednesday 7th December. We already have some lovely prizes, including a Christmas food hamper, a Bill’s restaurant voucher and entry to Leonardslee Gardens. Raffle tickets will be available to buy from next week – your child will bring some home with full instructions on how to purchase them. We are still collecting raffle prizes if you have any new unused gifts at home that you do not need. All money raised will go towards extra resources for our cabin.
If there is anything you wish to discuss, drop us an email, have a chat at drop off or send us a message on Famly.
The Playgroup Team
Dates for your Diary
Christmas Raffle: Wednesday 7th December
Christmas Party: Friday 16th December 10.45-12.45
End of Autumn Term: Friday 16th December
Start of Spring Term: Tuesday 3rd January 2023
Half Term: Monday 13th February – Fri 17th February 2023 End of Term: Friday 31st March 2023