Author Archives: mrsjanecampbell

A message from Becca: get to know our staff at our May Day celebrations!

Have you seen Becca’s most recent weekly update? It’s a great overview of our staff team and the way each of them contributes to your child’s preschool experience. What’s more, it shows how lucky we are to have Becca at the helm of our little band. As one parent replied to her,

“I appreciate all the emails you send and thought it about time I let you know. It’s so lovely to hear what the children are getting up to and seeing this through photos too. You and your team have an incredible gift, and I’m so lucky that my son is able to join you guys and benefit from all you have to offer.”

17 Sept 2014 (3)

So here’s Becca’s round-up of our staff team again, in case you missed it! Please join me in thanking Becca and the team from the bottom of our hearts for their commitment to our children, which is truly unique.

“At playgroup we have the pleasure of getting to know your children by spending time with them. Getting to know their likes, dislikes, things that make them happy and occasionally sad. It is the exceptional staff team that we have though that makes all the good things we have to offer possible.

Pauline is one of the two Deputy Supervisors. Her ability to think around problems and find solutions is exceptional. Julia is the other Deputy and her strengths includes her ability to impart knowledge to children in a way they can understand. Sophie is truly exceptional with the younger children. Sarah’s creative flair has enriched the playgroup environment beyond compare. Donna has settled perfectly into our setting and her calm consistency brings much stability. Rachel (Wednesday Forest School leader) offers gentle assurance to the children. Hattie (Woodland Adventure leader and Friday Forest School leader) is comfortable to allow the children to play and explore their own abilities. And Liz – her commitment to playgroup for over 20 years is simply astounding. There is so much more to say about each of them, but I would invite you to discover for yourselves.

One way of doing this is to contact them in the capacity of your child’s key worker directly, speak to them in a morning or seek them out at the end of the day. Another way is to join us on Friday May 1st 12 noon for our May Day celebrations. Bring a picnic and join us for a chance to talk to each other in an unhurried way.

And by the way one of my strengths….? Positivity.

What’s yours? Come and tell us next Friday!!
With love, Becca X”


A quick update on pick ups

On another note we’d like to mention how much better we think pick up is now functioning! It is practically much easier (with waterproofs etc), especially if you have a smaller child to bring, and it is also so much calmer. So we hope you also feel that it enduces a calm and enjoyable pick up rather than a stressful pick up: but please keep sharing your views!

A new face at Forest School …

… or maybe not so new! You might already have caught up with the news that preschool parent,  writer and blogger Caroline has joined our team of Forest School & Woodland Adventure volunteers. Welcome Caroline! We are supporting Caroline with her Forest School practitioner training, and she has sent the following request to parents. Caroline is currently blogging about her two children’s preschool experience (see our Facebook group for more details).

And while we’re on the subject of Forest School, here’s a huge vote of thanks to ALL of our Forest School and Woodland Adventure volunteers, for all your hard work and enthusiasm. Wednesdays would not be the same without you! Thank you.

Dear All,
I am Tessa and Ewan’s mum. I am starting training as a Forest School practitioner in May, which is why I have just started volunteering on Wednesday mornings with the Woodland Adventurers.
I am writing a blog about the experience of Woodland Adventurers and my training, which you may have already seen. As part of this, I would like to post photos of your children in the woodland environment on my blog.
Can you therefore let me know if you would be happy for your child to appear on photos on my blog or not? I am not using any child’s name (apart from my own children) on the blog. I shall post a link to current posts on the Grindleford and Eyam Playgroup Facebook page, to keep you updated.
Thank you for your support. It is a delight to both work with your children and with the playgroup in such a beautiful location.
With many thanks, Caroline
Caroline Cole

Your child’s next steps, learning at pre-school and collection time

As part of our continuing work to link your child’s home and playgroup lives, many of you whose children attend more than Forest School will already have had your child’s ‘next steps’. If not, they are on their way!

What are next steps?

The next steps are taken from the Early Years Foundation Stage Document and help to guide our work in partnership with your child. We send them to you so that you are aware of your child’s specific focus areas, but also for you to tell us, ‘my child did this today’. Through your examples, we know that they are well on the way to moving to a new lot of next steps. They are not a prescriptive framework for learning, simply a prompt for us to be aware of. You may say that your child does everything mentioned in the next steps at home, and that’s great! If you are able to offer examples then we can say to your child, ‘Mummy/Daddy mentioned you do such and such at home so I wonder if you could show me?’ By joining forces together, it’s a solid foundation to support your child in their learning.

What do I have to do?

You do not need to ‘do’ anything with the next steps if you choose not to, and may even dismiss them. That’s entirely up to you, and fine too! We simply believe that the more information we share between each other the better it is for your child’s ongoing development.

What is a learning style?

Children learn in a variety of ways. We recently sent you some information about next steps and schemas (learning styles) by email (see ‘Schemas – how your child learns’). If you’re interested in learning more, do have a read. I wonder which ‘schema’ (learning style) you think your child is influenced by? This area is something the staff team is exploring further in order to find new ways of helping your child on their educational journey.

Facilitating happy learning at GEP

We’re always reviewing how we can help your children learn. The way children learn influences all aspects of playgroup life – from the moment they approach the door (flowers outside for example), through drop off (parents helping to hang belongings up) and time spent in the setting, to collection at the end of the day. Obviously, we cannot meet the needs of each child all the time, but rest assured we do try too and review what we offer on a daily basis.

Why have collection time arrangements changed?

Our thinking about schemas is one of the reasons we have been reviewing collection time arrangements: some children find unfamiliar faces coming into their pre-school room to be deeply disturbing because their schema is an enveloper or positioner. It’s how/where they are most comfortable. When they are less comfortable they can behave in ways that are perhaps unwelcome and chaos can ensue! This we were seeing repeatedly at collection time – and many parents reported how hard it was for them to get their child out of the door. Hence the need to review.

Your views please!

But what do you think of the new pick-up arrangements? You might like a return to the way collection used to take place. Whatever the adult consensus is, we are more than happy to go with it – so do say! We really do listen.

Is your child starting school in the next few years? Then this affects you.

Have you heard that the Government is planning to introduce baseline assessments for four year olds from September 2015, which have been widely criticised by the early years community?

Whether you have or not, the Pre-school Learning Alliance (PLA) is campaigning hard against this move, which it claims will be unreliable, disruptive and harmful to child well-being.

We’re backing this opposition, and recently asked you to sign a petition asking the Government to drop their plans. Thanks for all your support! 57% of responses to the Government’s consultation also objected to the idea, so many people out their share your view.

The latest news on the assessments can be read here whilst the PLA’s statement explaining the impact of these assessments can be read here.

Have you seen who’s in the latest Peak Advertiser?

Welcome back! Hope you all had a good half term. Can you guess what this little fellow is doing?


Answer: he’s sewing a Valentine’s day heart for his family – all by himself. This is just one of the fantastic crafts that the children have had a taste of recently at pre-school. We’ve also had wool-felted pebbles and walnut shell boats recently – but according to Becca, our Supervisor, it’s more about giving the children opportunities to try new things and build their confidence than about what they bring home. Still, it was fun watching my lot sail the walnut boat in a bubbly bath the other night!

As the Peak Advertiser article below mentions, the pre-school is now full for the rest of the academic year. If you’re thinking about September 2015, pop your name down on the list as soon as possible by contacting Becca on 07842 095402. We will be allocating places after Easter.

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And watch this space for a glimpse of our new prospectus, out soon.
Here comes the sun!

Need an easy rainy day idea for half term?

I just checked the weather forecast for the rest of half term and, I’m not going to lie to you, it’s looking a little soggy.

So, faced with this and a day of (thank you Mum) childcare tomorrow, I thought I’d draw activity inspiration from pre-school’s fabulous homemade playdough so loved by our little ones.

22 Sept 2014 (6)One brief Google search later, I gave this really quick, no-cook playdough recipe a go – and it’s turned out super silky and quite delish! It only took 10 minutes …

Happy modelling! See you after half term.