At St Paul’s, we firmly believe that if your child can have fun whilst learning, then the benefits will be that much greater. Children have a natural instinct to learn through natural development and, although we will never force a child to do anything, we are there to guide and direct them to an activity which will both stimulate and encourage them.
Our aim is to make a child’s first experiences of school stimulating and enjoyable. At St Paul’s, we never lose sight of the fact that every child is an individual and therefore unique. Children are encouraged to develop at their own pace in a safe and caring environment which we hope will help to lay the foundations for happy and confident children.
THE MONTESSORI CURRRICULUM
Children are vertically grouped in their classes. Within a nurturing environment, they are individually supported in developing confidence, autonomy and self-respect. They are encouraged to work and concentrate independently and also to take part in the life of the group, sharing and co-operating with other children and adults. Through activities, conversation and practical example, they learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and to have respect for the feelings of others. All children are given the opportunity, as appropriate, to take responsibility for themselves and also for the group, its members and its property.
The Montessori Curriculum is made up of the following areas:-
Practical Life – where materials and exercises provide the children with a link between home and school. They learn about social skills as well as practical skills such as polishing, washing, dressing, sewing, pouring and cutting. The emphasis is on the enhancement of the children’s co-ordination, fine-motor skills, concentration and independence.
Sensorial – specialist apparatus is used to enhance the children’s senses including the ability to grade and match and to recognise shapes, weight, smell, taste, sight, sound and colour.
Numeracy – children use hands-on apparatus to help them learn about concepts, from simple to complex in an enjoyable and fun way. Essential foundations for the future are laid through the development of abstract thought and basic mathematical concepts.
Communication, Language and Literacy – Montessori uses a phonics (sounds) based graded and systematic language scheme. Language is developed through a variety of activities including story time, songs, word games, discussion and rhymes, to name a few. Only when the child has a full understanding of letter sounds will they progress on to writing and reading.
Knowledge and understanding of the World – children are assisted in exploring and understanding their environment, both within the group and also in the wider community. Activities include the study of animals, countries, climates, different landforms and simple scientific experiments.
Creative Development – children are encouraged to use a wide range of resources in order to express their own ideas and feelings and to construct their individual response to experience in two and three dimensions. Art equipment, including paint, glue, crayons and pencils as well as natural and discarded resources, will provide for open-ended exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in painting, drawing and collage. The children have access to sand and water play on a daily basis.
Physical Development – a range of equipment and opportunities, both indoors and out of doors, allow the children to develop confidence and enjoyment in the use and development of their own bodily skills. A high level of adult supervision enables children safely to create and meet physical challenges, and to develop increasing skill and control in moving, climbing and balancing. At the same time, children are helped to develop the fine-motor skills they will need to use tools, including pens and pencils, and to handle small objects with increasing control and precision. They are also encouraged to develop awareness of their own bodies and of what keeps them healthy.
Our Approach to Learning and Development and Assessment
Learning Through Play
Play helps young children to learn and develop through doing and talking, which research, especially that carried out by Maria Montessori, has shown to be the means by which young children learn to think. As stated, St Paul’s uses the practice guidance of the EYFS to plan and provide a range of play activities that help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development. In some of these activities children decide how they will use the activity and, in others, an adult takes the lead in helping the children to take part in the activity.
We assess how young children are learning and developing by observing them frequently. We use information that we gain from observations to document their progress and where this may be leading them. We believe that parents know their children best and we ask them to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what their children like to do at home and how they as parents are supporting development.
We make periodic assessment summaries of children’s achievement based on our web-based ongoing development records. These form part of children’s records of achievement. We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals as well as when a child leaves us to go on to school.
Children’s Progress Records
The setting keeps a record of progress for each child. Staff and parents working together on their children's progress is one of the ways in which the key person and parents work in partnership. Your child's record of progress helps us to celebrate together her/his achievements and to work together to provide what your child needs for her/his well-being and to make progress.
Your child's key person will work with you to keep this record. To do this you and she will collect information about your child's needs, activities, interests and achievements. This information will enable the key person to identify your child's stage of progress. You and the key person will then decide on how to help your child to move on to the next stage.
Working Together for Your Children
At St Paul’s, we maintain the ratio of adults to children in the setting that is set through the Welfare Requirements.
St Paul’s Pre-School accepts children who are aged two to five years for enrolment and younger children for the waiting list.
1. Parents and children are invited to come to the school for a meeting with the School’s Manager.
2. Children are accepted based on age and availability of spaces.
3. The child’s place will be confirmed upon receipt and acknowledgement of the Registration Form.
4. Fees are payable per term or per month and are due by the first day of term or month.
5. We respectfully ask that we are given a full term’s written notice if you wish to withdraw your child from the pre-school.
6. In order to gain the optimum benefits from the Montessori methods of teaching, we strongly recommend that children attend a minimum of three sessions per week.
7. Children will be welcomed throughout the year from the age of 2 years.
Every effort will be made to accommodate your child for the preferred sessions but this, unfortunately, cannot be guaranteed.
Our setting has a duty under the law to help safeguard children against suspected or actual ‘significant harm’. Our employment practices ensure children against the likelihood of abuse in our settings and we have a procedure for managing complaints or allegations against a member of staff. Our way of working with children and their parents ensures we are aware of any problems that may emerge and can offer support, including referral to appropriate agencies when necessary, to help families in difficulty.
St Paul’s, as a registered pre-school, has a duty to report to Children’s Services any serious concerns regarding children in its care.
A teacher is always on duty at the door at arrival and departure times. If your child arrives late, a teacher will meet the parents at the door where the child can be handed over and the door will then be secured.
At the end of the school session, children will be released only to known carers. Written permission will be required from parents if they are to go home with someone else. Photographic ID will be required if you have arranged for someone else to collect your child, please advise the person you have asked to collect to take this with them if they are collecting for the first time.
As part of the setting's policy to make sure that its provision meets the needs of each individual child, we take account of any special needs a child may have. The setting works to the requirements of The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2001).
In some cases, we may not have the facilities to meet the special educational needs of the child or we may already have children with special educational needs and in our small establishment we will, unfortunately, be unable to accommodate more.
Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is
Mrs Flavia L Webb
Following the Montessori method, St Paul’s uses a distraction based code of discipline with our aim being to foster self-discipline within the child. If the behaviour persists, we will discuss it with the child’s parents as it may be symptomatic of other problems.
If at any time you have any concerns about your child at St Paul’s, they can be discussed with the Manager who will be happy to resolve them with you. We aim to resolve any complaints in person, however if you are unhappy with the response from the Manager you can contact Ofsted at any time during this process, Ofsted can also be contacted if you feel we haven’t resolved any issues to your satisfaction.
Ofsted’s contact details are displayed in the lobby.
Payment of Fees
The payment of fees is due either before or on the first day of the Term, for those paying upfront to qualify for the discounted rate.. No deduction of fees will be made for absence due to illness or for holidays taken in term times.
On extremely rare occasions, and always due to circumstances beyond our control, the school may be asked by the church to make the hall available to them during school hours. If this should occur, parents will be refunded, in full, for that day’s schooling and will be given as much notice as possible of the closure.
St Paul’s abides by the equal opportunities commission in that we will not refuse rights of admission to any child no matter what creed, colour, religion, sex, origin or political beliefs. Also, St Paul’s does not discriminate against any person employed by us or any children in our care and we will treat and expect to be treated equally.
Health and Safety
Every precaution to ensure the children’s safety is taken at St Paul’s. Please do not admit any persons into the Pre-School on your departure from the building. There is a lock on the internal door to St Paul’s Hall which is in use at all times. The external gates to the pre-school garden will remain locked whilst we are in session, please do not try to gain access through the gardens but via the Main Door, there is a doorbell to alert us to your arrival. The identity of all visitors will be checked. When the children are taken outside into the garden, they are supervised at the ratio of no less than 1 adult to 4 children. All accidents will be recorded in an accident book and all staff are trained in First Aid. In the case of an emergency, the parents will be contacted immediately and we will take further action to seek medical attention for the child. Staff are not qualified to administer medicine to children unless they have been given prior training and the agreement to do so by the parents.
It is the parent’s responsibility to inform the school when their child becomes ill. Children with a fever may not attend school until their temperature has been normal for at least 24 hours. If a child becomes ill at school, parents will be informed immediately and the child will be cared for in a quiet place until the parents arrive. It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure St Paul’s has the correct and up-to-date emergency contact telephone numbers.
It is the parent’s responsibility to bring their children to school on time and to pick them up after school on time. Should delay occur, parents are requested to telephone to advise the school that they will be delayed.
Parents are asked to dress their children in comfortable, washable and easy to manage clothing. A spare set of clothes should be kept at school in a bag on each child’s peg. We also ask that items of clothing, especially jumpers, cardigans, coats, hats and scarves, be labelled clearly.
As there is very little hard standing area for outside play, we ask parents to provide a pair of indoor slippers for the children to change into on arrival at pre-school in the morning and after outside play time.
Daily Snack and Packed Lunches
Every child will be given a snack consisting of a drink (milk or water) and, for example, fresh fruit, a biscuit or dried fruit mid-morning on a daily basis. As part of the children’s social development, we like to encourage everyone to bring a daily lunchbox – no fizzy drinks or chocolate, please – which the children and teachers can enjoy together before the end of the session. We work with the idea of “a healthy lunch”.
It is not possible to store the lunch boxes in a fridge during the morning. However, food requiring refrigeration, if in a LABELLED plastic bag, can be stored in the fridge. Please provide a Lunch Bag cool pack in your child’s lunch box to keep items chilled.
NOTE: Please do not include any nuts, nut products (peanut butter, chocolate spread, etc) or honey with your child’s lunch.
Birthdays are always treated as a special occasion at St Paul’s. Children celebrate with their friends and a treat from home is always very welcome! Parents are also invited to come and join in! It is necessary to check with us about numbers and the best day.
Starting at our setting
The first days
We want your child to feel happy and safe with us. To make sure that this is the case, the staff will work with you to decide on how to help your child to settle into the setting. The setting has a policy about helping children to settle into the setting: a copy is available in the Policy File held in the Entrance Lobby.
We provide protective clothing for the children when they play with messy activities. We encourage children to gain the skills that help them to be independent and look after themselves. These include taking themselves to the toilet and taking off, and putting on, outdoor clothes. Clothing that is easy for them to manage will help them to do this.
Clothes for every day: underwear, socks, t-shirts, trousers/leggings, pair of sleepers, pair of wellington boots, water proof suit or trousers, coat.
We ask you to follow these essential rules whilst at St Paul’s Pre-School.
Children will not be able to attend the Pre-School during the time they are unwell or have a contagious disease and not for a period of at least 48 hours after experiencing diarrhoea.
Smoking is strictly prohibited in all areas of St Paul’s Pre-school.
Code of Conduct for Parents/Carers attending St Paul’s
Abusive behaviour or serious misbehaviour, such as racial or other abuse, displayed by a parent or carer towards another parent, child, a member of staff, volunteer or student will not be tolerated.
If such behaviour persists, the Manager or Deputy Manager will exercise their right to contact the police requesting they come to the setting and remove the offending parent/carer (and their child) from the premises. In such cases, the offending parent/carer and their child will only be allowed back into the pre-school at the sole discretion of the Manager.
In addition, abusive comments displayed on any social media will not be tolerated. Further action, legal or otherwise, will be taken by the Manager against the perpetrator.
If you have any queries or wish to discuss the above further, please do not hesitate to contact the Manager directly at the Pre-School.
Pre-School Direct number 01590 612084 (during school hours)
We hope that you and your child enjoy being members of St Paul’s and that you both find taking part in our activities interesting and stimulating. The staff are always ready and willing to talk with you about your ideas, views or questions.