Newsletter January 2017

Dear all,

Welcome back to all our existing children and families, and a big welcome to all our new children and their families.  Slightly late but we hope you had a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.  We have welcomed several new children and their families to the pre-school this term, and also a new member of staff.  Karen De Monte has joined the staff team on a full-time basis.  She comes with a wealth of experience with this age group, having worked in a number of roles within early years.  We are sure that you will all make her very welcome.

So here goes for this term’s information…

Contact details: Please ensure your child’s contact details are up to date, including telephone numbers, addresses, food allergies and medical information.  This is essential in order for us to provide your child with the best care we possibly can, and also for us to get in contact with you in case of emergency.

Naming things: Please name everything, from lunchboxes to drinks bottles, and bags to shoes.  We have over 70 children in at different points during the week, and lots of them are still unsure about what they have brought in with them and so are we.  Please name things so that we can reunite them with the right person.  We have a label machine so can name plastic items such as drinks bottles, please just ask.

Lunches: Please note that we are a nut-free pre-school.  In case of allergies please do not send your child with items such as peanut butter sandwiches, Nutella, cereal bars with nuts and any other nut based products.  To avoid the risk of choking, please ensure that grapes are cut in half length ways.  Please try and make lunch boxes as healthy as possible with no fizzy drinks or sweets.

Sickness bugs: If your child has sickness or diahorrea, please ensure they don’t return to Pre-school until 48 hours after their last bout of sickness/diahorrea.  It is essential that everyone adheres to this to stop these bugs from spreading.  We currently have a nasty bug going around which we would like to see the back of!!  Thank you for your support with this. 

Change of clothes: Please send your child with a full change of clothes including underwear and socks, even if they’ve gone past the point of toileting accidents as they may still get wet or messy. If they are toilet training, please send in loads of changes of clothes, there’s no such thing as too many!! We have some spare clothes but not enough for all the children. If you have a spare pair of shoes you can pop in too, that would be really helpful too. Thank you.

Spare socks/pants: If anyone has any spare socks, pants, leggings or trackies (age 3 plus) they no longer need, we would really appreciate them as we currently have very few spares.  Please return any borrowed socks and pants too. 

Coats/wellies/hats/gloves: Please delete as appropriate and send in items as necessary.  We go outside every day if possible, and in order for the children to be able to enjoy this time, they need to be dressed appropriately.  Alfred Wainwright MBE (Famous walker and writer) said ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.’ and we would fully agree with that quote!

Facebook group: Have you joined our Facebook group yet?  Find us at Playmates Pre-school on there for updates on what’s going on and requests for help and equipment.  This is a closed group and you will have to ask to join, one of the admins will then approve you.  If you have a random Facebook name or profile picture then please let Liz know as she will not approve anyone whose identity she is unsure of.  Sometimes we feature photos on the page but only pictures of children whose parents have given signed permission for Facebook will appear on it.

Enrolments: If you have a younger child or friends looking for a pre-school place then please make sure you register them with us to start at pre-school.  It’s never too soon to do this!! 

Extra sessions: If your child is turning three between January 2017 and March 2017, and you are hoping to access their full 15 hour entitlement, then please discuss this with Liz.  Spaces are very limited and we may not be able to accommodate all of your session requirements, but we will try our best.  If your child will be staying on in September then after Easter you will be given a form to request the sessions you would like from September.

Tapestry: Tapestry is up and running and most parents have accessed it. If you haven’t, then you are missing out on seeing what your child is enjoying at pre-school.  Please speak to Liz if you need support in setting up your account.  Thank you to all the parents who have shared pictures and comments on their child’s Tapestry account.  We love to see what they are doing outside of pre-school, and it gives us a really good opportunity to talk to them about what they’ve been doing.

Coat pegs/bag storage: We realise that the cloakroom is not ideal at the moment and that storage is limited.  We are looking at how we can remedy this, so that each child has a peg with their name/picture on it, and hope that we will be able to afford to do this soon.  In the meantime, we ask that you please bear with us, and in order to maximise the limited space, please place your child’s coat on a peg and their bag on the windowsill or floor by their peg.  There is also a blue wheeled coat rack within the room that can be used for coats and bags, so please feel free to use this.  Although we are currently unable to name the coat pegs, please be reassured that the children all have the opportunity to learn to recognise their name when accessing snack time, or the drawing table, both of which have name cards available (including photos of the children for the younger ones).

30 hour funding: You may be aware that from September 2017, the new 30 hour childcare entitlement for working families is due to be released.  Although we have not had confirmation of this from the local authority, we are looking to find out who feels that they will be entitled to this and who would like to access some or all of this entitlement.  This will give us an idea of how we can prepare for September, and ensure that we are ready for the increased entitlement.  Please see the attached questionnaire if your child is not going to school in September.  We would appreciate it if you could complete and return it to us, and as we know more about the funding we will let you know.

Fundraising: The pre-school photos taken by Bex from Bexboater Photography earned the pre-school £100 in commission.  Thank you to all parents/carers who purchased photographs.  The money raised has been put towards a new wooden play kitchen for the small room, which the children have been enjoying playing with.  Bex will return in the Summer term, so watch this space.  The pre-school Christmas raffle and sale of Christmas play tickets raised enough money to buy all the children a Christmas present and contributed towards the party, so thank you to all of you who were a part of this. If anyone has any fantastic fundraising ideas, please share them with us!  All money we raise goes back into the pre-school to provide the children with equipment and experiences to help them develop.


Last day of term – Friday 10th February (3pm finish)

Return to pre-school – Tuesday 21st February (9am start)

Last day of term – Friday 31st March (3pm finish)

Return to pre-school – Tuesday 25th April (9am start)

Last day of term – Friday 26th May (3pm finish)

Return to pre-school – Monday 5th June (9am start)

Last day of term – Friday 21st July (12pm finish)

*These term dates are slightly different to West Berkshire term dates, due to a difference in the number of school weeks (39) and the number of weeks that West Berkshire will fund us for (38), added to the fact that the academic year runs from September to September, and their funding year is April 1st to March 31st, and they will not fund past this date in the Spring term!  Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but unfortunately it is out of our control.



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