Parent Info

Introduction:

We work alongside parents ‘in partnership’ to provide the very best service for the children in our care. Our approach to engaging with parents starts here, and we strive to keep you in the loop with everything we do.

During the recent lockdown we sent weekly updates on what our next steps were, our parents loved us for it and they returned knowing we were doing everything we could to keep the children (and parents) safe.

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Quite simply, the best bunch of girls that care dearly about every child like they are their own. Heaps of activities, learning, and fun. 5 stars is no where near enough for Sunshine. Highly recommend to everyone.”

Here at Sunshine Pre-school curriculum is based upon the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS) which is defined by the Department for Education (DfE).

The Early Years Foundation Stage framework is reflected in our practice within an environment that ensures children experience a variety of rich play experiences which are carefully planned.

We encourage children to reach their full potential whilst allowing them to develop at their own pace. Each child’s development is closely monitored and encouraged.

Click here to read A Parents Guide to the EYFS >

Here at the Sunshine we use a variety of ways to communicate with parents to ensure they are fully engaged as partners, our preferred choice will always be face to face and to enable this we have a key person system in place.

Each child is allocated a ‘keyperson’ who is responsible for documenting their development through the different stages of the framework.  When a child starts at Sunshine we wait for them to chose their own ‘keyperson’ after all they will tend to gravitate towards one of us within the first few weeks so it only seems right that they select who they want to help them on their learning journey with us.

Your child’s key person will strive to ensure your child’s care needs are met, giving you the confidence to leave your child at the nursery. The key person will support your child to explore and play freely but feel safe within the environment. They will have activities and quality learning experiences planned for them based on their individual needs.

Being a smaller setting means that the children bond with the whole team and that the team also get to know each and every child in their care, not just their keygroup.

We also have an ‘All about me’ book and again the key person will add photos and observations to this book along with any other important information for you.

Our ‘All about me’ books are not only a record of achievements, but also a keepsake for parents and often a reason they have chosen us over another setting which may use an online journal.

They will come home for you to enjoy together on your child’s last day of the week. We encourage parents to also use this book not only for notes to your key person but also to add pictures and short notes about your child’s time away from nursery.  You can also email us pictures to add in for you.

At Sunshine we also use WhatsApp to inform and update parents with photos, videos of what their child gets up to during the day as well as important messages and also to reassure parents that their child is happy and settled at Sunshine.

We use several songs throughout the day for different transitions, such as tidying up and washing hands. We like to share them with parents as this often helps if you use them at home also.

To get children to stop:-  Everybody stop now, stop now, stop now

                                              Everybody stop now just like me.

 

At circle/group time:- Come and make a circle, come and make a circle

                                        Make it round, make it round

                                        Come on everybody, come on everybody

                                        Let’s sit down, let’s sit down.

 

Listen to a story:-        It’s time for a story, it’s time for a story

                                        Look at me, look at me

                                        Come and see the story, come and see the story

                                       What will it be? Let’s sit and see.

We go out daily to our neighbouring allotments whether it be to tend to our own garden or go for a walk to say hello to the other gardeners, visit the pond or check on the chickens.

We love to get out and about in the community, we enjoy going to the beach, park, library and soft play areas. When going out on a trip, if we are using a local play park we will always make sure the area is checked as we arrive to insure that it is safe.

When out all children wear a high visibility vest and walk in pairs to ensure children are kept safe and together.

The team always take with them a nursery phone, first aid kit and suitable drinks and snacks for the children.

Lunch is a great way to explore and develop children’s independence during a part of the day which is often overlooked, we use this time to encourage good table manners and promote independence.

This starts with the children washing their hands and waiting their turn to serve themselves from the lunch table, an adult is always around to help with serving if needed. The child then chooses where they would like to sit, an adult will join each table encouraging conversation and aiming to make it a social and enjoyable time and to promote good eating habits.  Once finished the children are encouraged to wipe their faces using wet wipes and mirror before going off to play whilst the team clear away.  Some children will always offer to help wipe tables, stack chairs and select table top activities to put out ready for the afternoon.

A Typical Day – Pre-Covid

This screening helps early identification and provides the support required, we are one of only a few settings that have been trained to complete the assessment. The concept behind the programme is to move away from the transition way of ‘watch and wait’ which is often seen within this age group.

With parental permission a ‘Let’s Talk More’ screening will be completed within a child’s day at nursery by Mel, Katherine and Kyah as they have been trained and can now carry out these screenings.

We are very happy that we can offer this service within our Dolphin family where the child is in a relaxing and comfortable environment with a team member they are at ease with.

The team can then work closely supporting the family and the child with appropriate support.

There are 2 screens used: one for children aged 2 years to 2 years and 5 months and the only from 2 years 6 months  to 2 years and 11 months. Children are then identified as either Red, Amber, and Green.

Green – No difficultly identified/ no intervention required

Amber- A mild/moderate difficultly identified and targeted intervention support required. This is provided to parents through discussion/demonstration of core strategies and specific strategies (linked to the child’s needs). The child will be re-screened after 12 weeks and we often find that with the support they are moved to green.

Red – A moderate/significant difficultly identified and requiring specialist support. Children are referred to speech and language therapy/audiology. On receiving a Red screening we would refer this immediately to our in house SEN coordinator who will start supporting both the child and parent with activities that can be used straight away, this would be similar to what we would offer an amber screening.

Let’s Talk more core strategies will be used within the setting and be given to use at home.

  • At Sunshine Pre-school we support and prepare our children in starting school by working in partnership with you and the local schools to make the transition as smooth as possible.
  • We support the children’s personal, social and emotional development by encouraging the children to make friends and support them to communicate their needs. We understand that these early experiences are important in building confidence and self- esteem which will help them when they start school.
  • The children also have fun planned activities which support school readiness.
  • The term before your child starts school we will send home a ‘School readiness’ information sheet. This provides you with information on what we have been working on with your child and the level of independence schools typically expect. This document also has a few common question and answers on the back to reduce some anxieties you may have. You can find this document here >
  • Our children hang their own coats on their pegs and self-register when they come into nursery.
  • In the term before the children start school, we liaise with the schools and invite the teachers into the nursery to visit the children. We also complete a transition report for your child, detailing all your child’s achievements.

Trust us… we understand that potty training isn’t easy but we are on hand to support you through this process. It vitally important to… Be consistent, keep calm, keep positive. There will always be accidents but we will all deal with them, all our toilets are small and easily accessible to enable the best possible chance of success.

When the time comes, we will work closely with you as the main carer and ensure there is consistency between home and nursery.

Our Team have had extensive training from Debbie Richard who is the Early Years Healthy Bladder and Bowel Educator for Northern Devon Healthcare Trust!

The ‘operation pants programme’ expanded our knowledge and understanding of how to transition children from nappies to pants, with new tips and ideas to achieve potty training.

At the heart of all potty/toilet training it is essential that enough fluids are consumed on a daily basis. Recommended intakes for children per day are:

1 – 3 yr olds:     900 mls
4 – 8 yr olds:     1200 mls

At Sunshine we use this as a guide for all children and offer 3 complete cups of drink at 3 intervals – Mid Morning, Lunch and then Mid Afternoon.  Any additional fluids over this are a bonus and certainly should not be discouraged.

If you are unsure if your child is ready, here are some signs of readiness for Potty Training

  • Has a good level of understanding and the ability to follow instruction and communicate
  • Has an ability to sit on the potty/toilet
  • Has no signs of constipation
  • Can indicate when needing a wee
  • Can pull up and down pants.
  • Shows interest in others toilet habits.
  • Desires independence.
  • Can communicate when wet or soiled.
  • Tries to remove own nappy when soiled.
  • Might be dry at night.

When you are ready, speak to one of the team if you would like any more help or what you are trying isn’t working.

We accept 2 year funding for eligible children, this in the form of 11 hours per week over the 51 years we are open.

Parents can apply for this funding if they live in England and get one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2-year-olds can also get funded childcare if they:

Contact your childcare provider or local council to find out more.

Additional Service charge for 2 year funded children

Unfortunately, government funding for early years has failed to increase in line with inflation. Therefore, we are forced to charge a weekly service charge for all our funded children.

This is £5 per week for those using 11 hours.

This service charge still sees many parents paying much less than they otherwise would, it also allows us to pay our hard working team the necessary wage and they can continue to create amazing activities. The charge also covers such things, but not limited to, snacks, crafts, sun cream, outings and much more.

For further information or to check your eligibility and then apply please visit www.devon.gov.uk/twoyearoldfunding or call 0345 155 1013.

Universal funded

We currently offer all children 11 hours of funded childcare from the term after their 3rd birthday.  This is automatically deducted from your child’s invoice and we claim this direct from the government.

Extended Funded

There are certain situations in which parents can claim additional ‘extended’ funding which allows them to access 22 hours of funded childcare, however you will need to apply through the HM Revenue and Customs website, please see our useful links page.

If you’re eligible for 22 hours funded childcare, you’ll receive a 22 hours eligibility code.

We require you to complete and return a form which will contain your 11 digit eligibility code, your National Insurance number, your child’s date of birth and your signature which gives us permission to process your request to access the funding.

Please note that we require the code before the beginning of the term that you wish to claim for. (i.e. 31st March for April start, 31st August for September start, 30th December for January start.)

Every three months, you’ll need to reconfirm that you’re still eligible, you’ll be reminded to reconfirm 4 weeks before the deadline.

We wont need to see the code each time, our systems will recheck the same code.

If you fall out of eligibility the funding doesn’t stop straight away, there is a grace period of up to a term. This allows for you to either reduce your child’s hours or for your situation to change to fall back into eligibility.

Additional Service charge for 3/4 year funded children

Unfortunately, government funding for early years has failed to increase in line with inflation. Therefore, we are forced to charge a weekly service charge for all our funded children.

This is £5 per week for those using 11 hours and £10 per week for those accessing 22 hours per week.

This service charge still sees many parents paying much less than they otherwise would, it also allows us to pay our hard working team the necessary wage and they can continue to create amazing activities. The charge also covers such things, but not limited to, snacks, crafts, sun cream, outings and much more.

For further help and information you can call HM Revenue and Customs Helpline on 0300 123 4097 or click on the link here.

The funding known as Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is available to children aged three and four years whose parents or carers are in receipt of certain benefits or for children who have been in care or have left care through adoption or child arrangement orders.

How can the extra funds help my child?

This extra funding can be used in lots of ways to give them the best start in life and prepare them for full time school.

For example, the funding can be used to provide:-

  • Specialist training for staff e.g. speech and language development
  • Extra or individual support in a particular learning area
  • Extra equipment to support particular development
  • Additional staffing or staff hours to enable further support for your child

Do I qualify for EYPP?

If you receive one of the following benefits, you may be entitled to claim extra funding for your child:-

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seeker Allowance
  • Income related Employment and
  • Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (providing you are not also entitled to Working Tax
  • Credit and have an annual gross income of less than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Support under Part VI (six) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

Or if your child:

  • Has been looked after by the local authority in care for at least one day
  • Has been adopted from care
  • Has left care through special guardianship or subject child arrangements orders

What do I do next?

  • If you think you may qualify, it’s quick and easy; complete an application form from the nursery office.

Tax-Free Childcare is the governments scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare.

Parents of the youngest children will need to open an online account, which they can use to pay for childcare from a registered provider.

For every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can receive up to £2,000 per child, per year, towards their childcare costs, or £4,000 for disabled children.

For more information click here. >

ICan – Speech and Language Assistance

www.ican.org.uk

Early Years Foundation Stage – Parents guide to understanding stages of development

www.foundationyears.org.uk

Jolly Phonics – Learn about the Jolly Phonic method and resources

www.jollylearning.co.uk

​HM Revenue and Customs 30 Hour Funding

www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-and-education-for-2-to-4-year-olds