Early years prospectus 2023
St Andrews Playgroup’s Early Years Prospectus for Parents
Dartford DA1 1RF
Welcome to St Andrews Playgroup and thank you for registering your child with us.
We know how important your child is and aim to deliver the highest quality of care and education to help them to achieve their best.
This prospectus aims to provide you with an introduction to St Andrews playgroup, our routines, our approach to supporting your child’s learning and development and how we aim to work together with you to best meet your child’s individual needs. This should be read alongside our Childcare Terms and Conditions.
Our setting aims to:
§ provide high quality care and education for children below statutory school age;
§ work in partnership with parents to help children to learn and develop;
§ add to the life and well-being of the local community; and
§ offer children and their parents a service that promotes equality and values diversity.
You are regarded as members of our setting who have full participatory rights. These include a right to be:
§ valued and respected;
§ kept informed;
§ involved; and
§ included at all levels.
As a voluntary managed setting, Committee led, we depend on the good will of parents and their involvement to keep going. Membership of the setting carries expectations on you for your support and commitment. We are a charity and non profit making organisation.
Children's development and learning
We aim to ensure that each child:
§ is in a safe and stimulating environment;
§ is given generous care and attention, because of our ratio of qualified staff to children, as well as volunteer helpers;
§ has the chance to join in with other children and adults to live, play, work and learn together;
§ is helped to take forward her/his learning and development by being helped to build on what she/he already knows and can do;
§ has a personal key person who makes sure each child makes satisfying progress;
§ is in a setting that sees parents as partners in helping each child to learn and develop; and
§ is in a setting in which parents help to shape the service it offers.
The Early Years Foundation Stage
Provision for the development and learning of children from birth to 5 years is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our provision reflects the four overarching principles of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE 2021):
§ A Unique Child
Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
§ Enabling Environments
Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners, parents and/or carers.
§ Learning and Development
Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision including children with special educational needs and disabilities. (send)
How we provide for development and learning
Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education offered by our setting helps children to continue to do this by providing all of the children with interesting activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.
The Areas of Development and Learning comprise:
§ Prime Areas
- Personal, social and emotional development.
- Physical development.
- Communication and language.
§ Specific Areas
- Understanding the world.
- Expressive arts and design.
For each area, the level of progress that children are expected to have attained by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage is defined by the Early Learning Goals. These goals state what it is expected that children will know, and be able to do, by the end of the reception year of their education.
We refer to non-statutory guidance to support our professional judgement as we assess each child’s progress and level of development as they progress towards the Early Learning Goals. We have regard to these when we assess children and plan for their learning by creating a curriculum that is ambitious and meets every child’s needs. Our educational programme supports children to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need for:
Personal, social and emotional development
§ Managing self
§ Building relationships
§ Gross motor skills
§ Fine motor skills
Communication and language
§ Listening, attention and understanding
§ word reading
§ numerical patterns
Understanding the world
§ past and present
§ people, culture and communities
§ the natural world
Expressive arts and design
§ creating with materials
§ being imaginative and expressive
Our approach to learning and development and assessment
Learning through play
Being active and playing supports young children’s learning and development through doing and talking. This is how children learn to think about and understand the world around them. We use the EYFS statutory education programmes to plan and provide opportunities which will help children to make progress in all areas of learning. This programme is made up of a mixture of activities that children plan and organise for themselves and activities planned and led by practitioners.
Characteristics of effective learning
We understand that all children engage with other people and their environment through the characteristics of effective learning that are described in the Early Years Foundation Stage as:
§ playing and exploring - engagement;
§ active learning - motivation; and
§ creating and thinking critically - thinking.
We aim to provide for the characteristics of effective learning by observing how a child engages with learning and being clear about what we can do and provide to support each child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
We assess how young children are learning and developing by observing them. We use information that we gain from observations of the children, to understand their progress and where this may be leading them. We believe that parents know their children best and we will ask you to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what your child likes to do at home and how you, as parents, are supporting development.
We may make periodic assessment summaries of children’s achievement based on our on-going observations. These help us to build a picture of a child’s progress during their time with us and form part of children’s learning journeys We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals, as well as times of transition, such as when a child goes to school
The progress check at age two
The Early Years Foundation Stage requires that we supply parents and carers with a short written summary of their child’s development in the three prime areas of learning and development - personal, social and emotional development; physical development; and communication and language - when a child is aged between 24 - 36 months. Your child’s key person is responsible for completing the check using information from on-going observations carried out as part of our everyday practice, taking account of the views and contributions of parents and other professionals.
We keep a learning journey for each child. Your child's Learning Journey 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 in partnership 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. Together, we will then decide on how to further support your child’s learning and development.
Working together for your children
We maintain the ratio of adults to children in the setting that is set by the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements. We also have volunteer parent helpers, This helps us to:
§ give time and attention to each child;
§ talk with the children about their interests and activities;
§ help children to experience and benefit from the activities we provide; and
§ allow the children to explore and be adventurous in safety.
The staff who work at our setting are:
Name: Nicola Chambers
Job Title: Manager
Qualifications and Experience
Over 35 yrs. childcare experience.
Name: Sam Stevens
Job Title: Assistant
Qualifications and Experience
Over 20 yrs. childcare experience
Name: Theresa Attwood
Job Title: Depty
Qualifications and Experience
Health and safety officer
10 yrs childcare experience
EY educator 4 safeguarding
Name: Amy Gibson
Job Title: Assistant & Designated safeguarding Lead
Qualifications and Experience
7 yrs childcare experience
NVQ 2 Studying level 3
Name: Marie Willmott
Job Title: Assistant
Qualifications and Experience
4 yrs childcare experience
Studying diploma for the Early Years Practitioner level 3
Name: Jemma Simmonds
Job Title: Volunteer & Committee Officer
Qualifications and Experience
Studying level 3 childcare
Staff access training throughout the year and are qualified in areas such as English as an Additional Language, Speech and Language, Educating Boys, 2yr olds with complex needs, Behaviour Management, Social Emotional and Mental Health, Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Health and hygiene. Many more
PFA is Paediatric First Aid.
We are open 38 weeks a year. 5 days a week.
We are closed bank holidays and 5 inset days.
We are open 9-30- to 12-30
We provide care for children between the ages of 2 yrs 6 months and 5 yrs.
How parents take part in the setting
Our setting recognises parents as the first and most important educators of their children. All of our staff see themselves as partners with parents in providing care and education for their children. There are many ways in which parents take part in making our setting a welcoming and stimulating place for children and parents, such as:
§ exchanging knowledge about their children's needs, activities, interests and progress with our staff;
§ contributing to the progress check at age two;
§ helping at sessions of the setting;
§ sharing their own special interests with the children;
§ helping to provide and look after the equipment and materials used in the children's play activities;
§ being part of the management of the setting where appropriate;
§ taking part in events and informal discussions about the activities and curriculum provided by the setting;
§ joining in community activities, in which the setting takes part; and
§ building friendships with other parents in the setting.
Parents can offer to take part in a session by sharing their own interests and skills with the children. Parents can visit the setting, for example, to play an instrument for the children, talk about their job.
We welcome parents to drop into the setting to see it at work or to speak with the staff.
Key person and your child
Our setting uses a key person approach. This means that each member of staff has a group of children for whom she is particularly responsible. Your child's key person will be the person who works with you to make sure that the childcare that we provide is right for your child's particular needs and interests. When your child first starts at the setting, she will help your child to settle and throughout your child's time at the setting, she will help your child to benefit from our activities.
Learning opportunities for adults
As well as gaining childcare qualifications, our staff take part in further training to help them to keep up-to date with thinking about early years care and education. We also keep up-to-date with best practice, as a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, through Under 5 magazine and other publications produced by the Alliance. The current copy of Under 5 is available for you to read..
The setting's timetable and routines
Our setting believes that care and education are equally important in the experience which we offer children. The routines and activities that make up the day in our setting are provided in ways that:
§ help each child to feel that she/he is a valued member of the setting;
§ ensure the safety of each child;
§ help children to gain from the social experience of being part of a group; and
§ provide children with opportunities to learn and help them to value learning.
We organise our sessions so that the children can choose from, and work at, a range of activities and, in doing so, build up their ability to select and work through a task to its completion. The children are also helped and encouraged to take part in adult-led small and large group activities, which introduce them to new experiences and help them to gain new skills, as well as helping them to learn to work with others. Outdoor activities contribute to all areas of learning and development, including their health and their knowledge of the world around them. The children have the opportunity, and are encouraged, to take part in outdoor child-chosen and adult-led activities, as well as those provided in the indoor hall.
We make snack time a social time at which children eat together. We provide milk and water ,and plan for snacks so that they provide the children with healthy and nutritious food. Please tell us about your child's dietary needs and allergies so we can plan accordingly.
Early drop off
We offer early start from 9am for £3. No need to book and you can pay on the day.
We offer lunch club from 12-30 to 1pm. This is a pay on the day option. Just let us know in the morning and bring your childs packed lunch and £3.
No jewellery please. Any stud earrings must be covered with micro pore tape.
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.
We do ask that your child wears soft shoes that are not lace ups and no boots. Outdoor boots(wellies) can be left as a change of footwear for the garden if conditions are wet.
Parents must notify the setting if a child is unable to attend due to illness. We ask you to keep your child at home if they have an infection and alert the playgroup to the type of infection so we can alert other parents and observe other children who seem unwell.
Please keep children at home for 48 hrs after the last attack of vomiting or diarrhoea.
If a child is on medication that needs to be administered by a member of staff, written information must be given by the parent and clear instructions about the dosage , administration of the medication and permission for staff to follow the instructions. All medication must be labelled and signed.
Collecting a child
If any child is to be collected at the end of session by a different person from the one who brought the child, the manager must be informed and written in the collection book, otherwise a child will not be released.
Parents are asked to collect their child promptly at the end of session. Parents arriving late will be given 2 verbal warnings and then a written warning. Repeated late arrival after this will incur a charges as set out in our fees.
It is vital that parents give us correct contact numbers and inform us immediately of any changes.
St Andrews has full comprehensive insurance cover arranged through the Pre School Learning Alliance.
St Andrews Playgroup believes that children and adults flourish best in an ordered environment in which everyone knows what is expected of them and children are free to develop their play and learning without fear of being hurt or hindered by anyone else. The staff aim to work towards a situation of mutual respect and encouragement. Rules governing the behaviour of children will be explained to all newcomers , both children and adults. The full behaviour policy and procedures are in the policies on the parent information table.
Our staff can explain our policies and procedures to you. Copies of which are available on the parent information table and the website
We have a no smoking or vapes policy anywhere on our premises this includes the car park.
We have a no mobile policy, this includes while you are entering to collect or drop off your child.
Our policies help us to make sure that the service provided by our setting is a high quality one and that being a member of the setting is an enjoyable and beneficial experience for each child and her/his parents.
Our staff and committee work together to adopt the policies and they all have the opportunity to take part in the annual review of the policies. This review helps us to make sure that the policies are enabling our setting to provide a quality service for its members and the local community.
Information we hold about you and your child
We have procedures in place for the recording and sharing of information [data] about you and your child that is compliant with the principles of the General Data Protection Regulations (2018) as follows:
The data is we collect is
1. Processed fairly, lawfully and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject [you and your family]
2. Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed for other purposes incompatible with those purposes.
3. Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which data is processed.
4. Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
5. Kept in a form that permits identification of data subjects [you and your family] for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data is processed.
6. Processed in a way that ensures appropriate security of the personal data including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.
When you register your child with us we will provide you with a privacy notice that gives you further details of how we fulfil our obligations with regard to your data.
Our safeguarding designated lead is Amy Gibson
Nicola Chambers is also a designated safeguarding person
Our setting has a duty under the law to help safeguard children against suspected or actual ‘significant harm’. Our employment practices ensure that people looking after children are suitable to fulfil the requirements of their role and help to protect children against the likelihood of abuse in our setting 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 that 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.
Special educational needs
To make sure that our provision meets the needs of each individual child, we take account of any special needs a child may have. We work to the requirements of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (2015).
Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is
The SEND Local Offer
Every local authority must publish a local offer. The SEND Local Offer tells you what support is available for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities and their families It should include information about education, health and care provision.
You can find the SEND Local Offer for Kent County Council (KCC) at;
The SEND Local Offer is for;
The SEND Local Offer should;
Make it easier to find out what you need to know
Give you information about what is available
Tell you where you can get further information
The SEND Local Offer should also make a service more responsive to local needs
More help can be found through Kent Children and Families Information Service (local.kent.gov.uk)
CFIS provides free, confidential ,impartial information and advice to parents, carers and members of the public, on issues such as childcare, early education, parenting, family life and issues that affect young people. For more information ask the manager for help.
The management of our setting
Our setting is a charity and as such is managed by a volunteer management committee - whose members are elected by the parents of the children who attend our setting. The elections take place at our Annual General Meeting. The committee make up the registered person with Ofsted and are responsible for:
§ managing our finances;
§ employing and managing our staff;
§ making sure that we have, and work to, policies that help us to provide a high quality service; and
§ making sure that we work in partnership with parents.
The Annual General Meeting is open to the parents of all of the children who attend our setting. It is our shared forum for looking back over the previous year's activities and shaping the coming year's plan.
Chairperson Jan Russell
Secretary Jemma Simmonds
Treasurer Leanne Leslie
Fees and Free Early Education (FEE)
At St Andrews Playgroup we believe in open communication with all parents/carers and staff and are therefore presenting this fee structure in order to ensure that everyone fully understands our charging. Our fee structure is fully inclusive of all drinks and snacks. Our fees do not include outings, celebrations or entertainment that is an addition to our usual session activities.
Fees are reviewed annually at our AGM. Any changes to the current rate will be advised in writing, at least one term in advance.
The fees are £16 a session payable in advance within the first 2 weeks from the invoice date. Fees must still be paid if children are absent for a short period of time, due to sickness or holiday. If your child has to be absent over a long period of time, talk to Nicola who is our manager.
Should the playgroup be unable to open due to bad weather or any other unforeseen circumstances, parents will be refunded for a chargeable session or have it discounted from their next invoice. Should closure need to take place half way through a session, a refund will not be given.
Children must be collected promptly at the end of session each day. A late collection fee of £5 will be charged for the first 15 minutes and a further £5 for every half hr after.
We ask for a £20 refundable deposit/registration fee upon acceptance of the place. This will be refunded once you child has been with us for one month. A deposit is not refunded if you child does not attend.
Invoices can be settled by cash, cheque, childcare vouchers or bank transfer.
For your child to keep her/his place at our setting, you must pay the fees. If without negotiation, fees are not settled, we are left with no alternative but to withdraw you child’s place and if necessary, take legal action to recover the amount owed. Children in receipt of free early education will be unable to access any additional fee-paying hrs until outstanding fees are settled. We are in receipt of nursery education funding for two-, three- and four-year-olds; where funding is not received, then fees apply.
All children become eligible for Free Early Education the term after they become 3. Some 2 yr. olds may be eligible for Free For 2 funding. Parents/carers can check with the manager to check this or access Childcare Choices.
A child is eligible for FEE at the start of the term after their 2nd (if eligible) or 3rd birthday in line with the Department of Education.
A child born on or between; Will become eligible for a free place from;
1st April and 31st August start of term 1, in September, following their 2nd/3rd birthday
1st September and 31st December start of term 3, in January, following their 2nd/3rd birthday
1st January and 31st March start of term 5, in April, following their 2nd/3rd birthday
FEE over 38 weeks
Each child will be funded to maximum of 15 hrs per week over a minimum of 2 day. No session is to be longer than 10 hrs per day for 38 weeks per yr. Currently in Kent these 38 weeks are in line with Kent County Council school term dates.
For all 2, 3, 4 yr. olds accessing their FEE hrs only, the following pattern is Monday to Friday 9-30 to 12-30.
Children attending non-funded sessions in addition to their FEE will be charged at our current rate. You will be invoiced in the usual way showing how many free hrs your child is receiving in that period and what the additional charges are.
Please note that FEE can be split between 2 providers up to maximum of 15 hrs.
Entitlement to a Free Early Education place does not offer a guarantee of a place at any one provider or a particular pattern of delivery.
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, our staff will work with you to decide on how to help your child to settle into the setting. Our policy on the Role of the Key Person and Settling-in is available from any member of staff or can be looked at on the parent information table.
We hope that you and your child enjoy being members of our setting and that you both find taking part in our activities interesting and stimulating. Our staff are always ready and willing to talk with you about your ideas, views or questions.