You are welcome to book a viewing with us before registering your child, visits are for a full morning with your child preferably on the day you are considering starting (lots of children make friends on their 1st visit).
On your visit there will be lots of time to ask questions, meet the staff and children and see the designated Preschool area, the scout hut if its Grappenhall or the bell tent area if its Adlington.
You will see how we move from one area to another ensuring we have everyone, set up activities for the day and how the radios are used to keep in contact as we follow the children’s interests.
You will be able to join in with activities, story and snack time.
There are guidelines we send out prior to your visit about safeguarding measures on visits.
On your visit we will discuss with you your child’s development, their interests, any other settings they attend, any concerns, fears or worries you may have over your child starting with us and settling in procedures, this information assists us to roughly baseline your child.
If you wish to take a place with us after your viewing contact us, we will then send you information on registering, ordering kit, start date and free entitlement funding.
We can arrange a second viewing if its needed.
A child can start straight away after the viewing.
If you are moving from another childcare setting its not always possible to move the free entitlement funding mid term.
We don’t reserve places, we can hold a place for a couple of weeks but as we only take a small number of children on a high staff ratio we need all our places paid to cover costs.
We will share information with you about your child’s learning journey through a online learning journal, this will show you photographs, videos and observations of your child throughout the day they spend with us and is uploaded on the day, you are able to talk to your child about their day as you look at the pictures together. This information will be secure and personal to you as parents. You are welcome to comment on the observations.
We will also communicate via text messages, phone calls, emails, newsletters and on our Facebook page. (No identifiable images of children will be displayed on our Facebook page in line with our safeguarding policy.)
We are not strict on dropping off times in the mornings (at Grappenhall we leave the scout hut around 9.30am each day, At Adlington we move from our collection area into our woods around 9.30am each day) if you are later than that you may need to ring the designated Preschool phone and meet us in the woods. If you would like to collect early this is also fine, please arrange this at drop off or ring the Preschool phone and meet us in the woods. (The daily rate will still apply.)
We bring handwashing facilities with us to the woods each day.
Warm water is kept in a flask, we may use cold water if we run out of the warm water or warm water up on the fire.
The children are encouraged to wash their hands after toileting and before eating.
We use a handwashing song which is built into the routine of our day.
Some children may choose to wash their hands throughout the day, the facilities are available to do this.
Parents provide pack lunches and a water bottle which the children carry in their back packs.
We provide a morning snack and an afternoon snack.
Children are able to access their water bottles from the pocket on the outside of their bags when ever they choose.
Children are not judged over what is in their pack lunches, please pack a lunch your child will eat.
Food times can change depending upon the children’s needs that day.
We can cater for dietary needs or you are welcome to provide a different snack for your child.
During cooler months we request that you send you child with hot food in a small flask to ensure they have something warm in their tummies.
We will also provide hot snacks and drinks through the cooler months.
Please talk to us about food flask ideas, we have had very inventive parents over the years with great ideas.
We do not share our lunches due to food allergies.
Children are encouraged throughout the day to use the toilet.
We set up a toilet area daily, this has a sit down toilet, toilet roll and hand washing facilities.
We are happy to accept children in nappies (disposable or washable) or potty training.
Please provide spare clothes/spare waterproofs, nappies and wipes in their rucksacks.
An additional change bag can be brought.
If using pullups please provide ones that open at the sides which makes it a lot easier and quicker to change (particularly during winter months.)
A child’s nappy or pull up will be changed as needed for comfort for the child.
You can bring your child’s potty to ease transition.
If your child has additional needs we will try our best to accommodate them, please contact us directly to discuss how we can best meet your child’s and family’s needs.
We have tents and hammocks for quiet areas.
As a general rule a child is ready for a full day with us when they start to miss out the afternoon nap or can nap later in the day without it affecting their bedtime routine.
We will be walking at the children’s pace and will allow plenty of time to explore the surroundings and for slower walkers.
We constantly review the weather and the needs of the children in the group.
At Grappenhall we have the scout hut which will be used if we need it, at Adlington we have a number of under cover and tent areas on our site which we use as and when needed.
Base layers are essential along with adequate layers to add and take off, a fully waterproof layer on the outside including waterproof footwear and gloves.
If your child has a bobble on their hat their waterproof hood may not go over it.
We do still wear the dungarees during summer months, under the trees it is cool and it creates a barrier to stop insects biting and brambles. (We will take them off when out in the sunshine)
It is a requirement for your children to be dressed appropriately to ensure they are comfortable. We have spent a long time researching the right equipment.
We have managed to secure a discount one waterproofs and the correct size bag for your child to be wearing, plus a long sleeved top to minimise the risk of sunburn, insect bites and bramble scratches and still be identifiable when they have taken their jacket off.
Your child must arrive in this kit each day they attend.
The staff will be wearing the same uniform making us all highly visible and identifiable as a group which is a safeguarding requirement from our registration with Ofsted.
Every child is different, we want to ensure they are happy, confident and thriving in our environment.
During your visit we will discuss with you a settling in plan, this may include you coming with your child for a short period or a shorter day while we build a relationship with your child.
If your child attends another setting their key worker at that setting is welcome to come and visit us and your child’s key worker with us can go and visit them.
We also do school transition visits.
You can use your Free Early Education Entitlement of 15 or 30 hours with us for 2,3, or 4 year olds, we also accept childcare vouchers through work schemes.
There’s more information about funding for the different local authorities on our website.
Your funding can be split between 2 settings, each day with us will use 6 hours of your funding.
You are welcome to use funding for some hours and top up the rest of the hours with payment.
If you are entitled to early years pupil premium for 3 and 4 year old children we can talk to you about how we can use it to purchase additional kit your child may use like waterproof gloves.
If you wanted to defer your child’s entry to school until the term after they are 5 years old we can continue to offer the 4 year old free entitlement just like other settings can.
If you are considering home schooling we can continue the claim for the term they turn 5 years old in. We can then discuss the transition into our home education group.
If you wish to continue after your child has started school until they reach 5 years this is something we can accommodate, however you will need to speak to individual schools about their admission policy. As you will not be able to claim free hours with us and have your school place you would need to pay us the daily fee.
All our staff are highly skilled and have both qualifications in childcare and experience in delivering forest school.
Most staff are qualified teachers and have Forest School leader Level 3, we are all paediatric 1st aid qualified, and have completed safeguarding and food hygiene.
We are all on the DBS update service.
You can read more about our staff on the staff page of the website.
Our ratios are lower than requirements; we work on a 1:3 for under 3 years and a 1:6 for 3 year old and above.
On a typical day there will be 3 staff members and 15 children.
We use “Sticky Feet” as a method of counting the children and bringing them together if we are moving areas or to give an instruction.
We start our day with a daily register as the children arrive, we talk about the date and the weather and how we are feeling.
We decide on the day what our activities are and when.
Some children may have had a very early start and might need an early snack on arrival.
Some may need a slower start with a story before we set off for the woods.
Some may need lunch early, or may need to finish their chosen activity before lunch.
In an afternoon some children might need to rest with a story or in a hammock, some might need to run around. Some might need to continue with their morning activity.
Every child is different and every day is different!
There is always a planned daily story (normally read at snack time) and an activity which the children can take part in if they wish, this is planned with the children’s needs and interests in mind, however the outcome is never planned as the children take the activity in their own direction.
At Grappenhall once out and about on public land we have business cards that will be handed out to any curious general public – we don’t stop to chat. Children will be taught to stand still if there are dogs, we don’t stroke dogs even if the owner says they are friendly.
At the end of the day (normally afternoon snack) we talk about what we have enjoyed doing, what we would like to do next time, this reflection time helps us with our planning for our next adventures.