The Willow Set preschool is in a rural environment that includes families from a wide range of backgrounds including farming and willow growing. The setting opened approximately 30 years ago. We are a committee run preschool and operate from Stoke St Gregory village school in Somerset. The premises consist of a main play room area which includes a wet play area, kitchen, toilet facilities and a free flow outside play area. We open from Monday to Friday during term time and offer sessions from 09:00 until 15:00.(we also offer a before and after school club called Sun up Sundown Club)
The children who attend enjoy a rich environment which is paramount in producing strategies to enable children to resolve problems, work collaboratively within their peer group and extend their own individual learning development and skills. These range from physical activities and exercise to help them develop their gross and fine motor skills, to small world and role play activities which aim to enhance their communication skills, knowledge of the world, personal and social skills, along with problem solving, numeracy and creative skills as emphasised within the Practice Guidance for the Early years Profile (Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF), 2008)
We achieve this by continually reflecting on our practice at staff and committee meetings then raising money to fund new equipment or materials both natural and manmade to meet the needs of the children. This, in our understanding of the EYFS and observations of the children in our care, highlights the fact that if a safe but exciting environment full of fun and exploratory avenues is facilitated, children will feel confident to explore, enabling them to develop and grow. When the child feels safe within the first stages of development, the child is therefore confident to take risks and thus be able to explore, learn and develop further their skills.
As practitioners our primary responsibilities are to ensure that the early childhood environment we provide is safe for children and that potential risks are anticipated and managed. The children’s physical safety is paramount and this includes protection from sharp objects, hot water, exposed electrical outlets and substances hazardous to health. Therefore as practitioners we take a more holistic approach to “play” and “risky play”. We now facilitate the children’s learning using an exciting exploratory environment within a safe environment inside and outside.
Your child’s day at preschool is full of ‘doing’ and ‘playing’; this includes making relationship with other children and practitioners, investigating and learning, and having a happy and healthy childhood.
It is important that we work together to give your child the best opportunities for success through life. We acknowledge that parents are a child’s first and most important educator and hope to work with you through your child’s early years and in their approach to school.