Autumn Term Newsletter – First Half

Posted: 14th October 2015

Autumn Term Newsletter – First Half

Welcome to the new academic year.  We hope everyone had an enjoyable summer. The nursery is pleased to welcome many families whose children are joining this September, namely Albie, Amber, Arthur, Bella, Benjamin, Caius, Charlie, Ebony, Eliza, Ella, Eloise, Fenn, Frankie, Henry, Isla, Joel, Kit, Max, Millie, Milly, Oscar, Pippa and Samuel. We know you will make the children and their families very welcome.

To those families who were with us last term a big Thank You from all the staff for our lovely gifts and kind words – they are very much appreciated.

For those of you who are new, our current staff are Sue Bartrum (SENCO assistant), Lara Butler (nursery assistant), Kate Dean (nursery manager and Designated Safeguarding Lead – DSL), Richard Dean (forest school leader), Natasha Hayes (SENCO and deputy DSL), Liz Juson (administrator and nursery assistant), Jo McIntosh (Early Years teacher, maths and science co-ordinator), Anna Mitchell (nursery assistant), Jane Tims (arts co-ordinator), Yvonka Wilkinson (forest school assistant).  We also have a very valuable volunteer, Beryl Brogden, who comes each Monday and has supported the nursery in this role for three years. Congratulations go out to our staff who have recently passed their respective courses: Natasha – Level 3 in Childcare and Education, Jo – Early Years teacher and Yvonka – forest school Level 3,

This is a long newsletter but it is packed with useful information so we do appreciate you taking a few minutes to digest its contents!

Starting the Day

Children may enter the hall unaccompanied from 9.00am and staff will assist them with locating their pegs, shoe mats, changing into indoor shoes and finding their name for the registration board.  At 9.05am parents/carers may bring their children in and spend a few minutes helping them with the above before Registration, which starts at 9.10am, by which time any children who have not already found themselves a space on the mat will be called to the mat by the ringing of the bell.  This is also the cue for parents and carers to please leave the hall as staff need to settle the children quietly for registration to begin.  Staff are always on hand to support any child who may find it difficult to separate from you to begin with.  If a child finds it especially hard to separate, Kate will discuss this with you confidentially.

If you would like to discuss something directly with your child’s keyworker or with Kate, please may we ask that you wait outside the hall until after registration has been completed and the children are settled with their activities (by 9.30am latest).  Any meetings will then be able to take place in the kitchen, out of sight of the children.  It would be helpful if any requests are made in advance via email so that staffing can be arranged to cover if necessary.

If you need to notify us of a change to collection time, or a similar non-urgent matter, we have a Message Pocket and pen in a pigeonhole in the hallway, which will be checked by a staff member during registration time and the message passed on to all staff.  Please use this where possible and remember to return the book and pen into the pocket!!

Forest School

Outings will begin in earnest once all the new children have settled, initially to either re-acquaint the older children or introduce our new children to the environment and safety aspects of the sessions.  Please ensure that you send your children in with clothing appropriate for the day’s weather and with wellies if not already left on-site.

Nursery clothing

A little reminder that children need to have appropriate clothing at nursery to make everyone’s life as comfortable as possible.  Nursery polo-shirts and jumpers should be worn each day, together with leggings or jogging bottoms etc.  A change of (named) clothing (plus nappies, wipes and bags if appropriate) should be brought in daily in a named bag and left under the child’s peg.

Children should wear soft shoes indoors which are left at nursery in our blue nursery plimsoll bags – these are for nursery use only and are not to be taken home nor are they part of the nursery uniform.  Black slip-on pumps are best – Crocs, heavy trainers, buckled shoes, open-toed sandals or flip-flops are not appropriate.  We encourage children to be as self-sufficient as possible, and they swop from indoor to outdoor shoes frequently, so the easier the change the better.  Wellington boots need to be available at nursery each day and, where possible, it would be appreciated if you could leave a pair at nursery during the term.

If we have some warm autumn weather children will need their own sun hat and have sun-cream applied before coming to nursery – we do not apply sun-cream to ensure we do not put cream on a child who experiences a new allergic reaction.  As the temperature reduces, or if rain is forecast later in the day, coats are essential.

PLEASE CLEARLY NAME EVERYTHING YOUR CHILD WEARS FOR NURSERY
with your own child’s name
(not as strange as it sounds if children are using a previous nursery child’s hand-ons).

Safeguarding

As part of our policies we are unable to allow the use of mobile phones by either staff, volunteers, visitors or parents when with the children.  If you are here and need to make or take a call, please do so away from the children either in the kitchen or outside the front of the building.  When we host special events such as the nativity or sports day, cameras will be allowed at certain times which we will notify you all about prior to the event.  If you are staying as a parent helper then you must leave your phone in the kitchen in the box provided by the hatch.  Please do support us in this and not put the staff in an awkward position of having to ask you to move or turn your phone off.  Thank you.

Collection of Children

Due to an increasing number of children being collected by adults other than their parents we introduced an additional level of security last year which means that any adult, other than parents or nominated carers, will need to provide us with a password before a child is able to leave.  An email will be circulated to all parents confirming the current password which they must then give to whoever is being sent to collect their child on any given day.  This password will be changed annually (or more often if necessary) and advised only via email.  If you have any concerns, please speak with Kate, but in the meantime your co-operation with this very important issue is appreciated.

The Going Home book must also be completed with the name and telephone contact number of the person who will be collecting your child, even if it is another nursery parent.

Parents Evening

This will be held on Tuesday 22nd September from 8.00 until 9.30pm in the main hall.  This will be an opportunity to meet the staff and learn more about the nursery, Tapestry, forest school, our new website and how we support your child’s learning.  A sign-up form will be available in reception so that we can get an idea of numbers, so do put your name down and make a note in your diary.

Pigeonholes

This is a new addition to the reception area.  Each child has their own pocket and this is where we will put notes, dry artwork etc so do please check on a daily basis.

Car Park

Please drive slowly into and out of the car park and take care when parking – keeping an eye out for little people!  Thanks.

Artwork

The children will have many opportunities to join in with art and craft activities, with lots of work being available to take home on a daily basis which you will find either laid out in the reception hall at collection time or in your child’s pigeonhole.  However, at certain times of the year we involve the children in special projects which will either be sent home at the end of the term or further developed into items such as tea-towels or, as is the case this term, Christmas cards!  Cauliflower Cards are in production as this newsletter is being circulated, and once all the children have created their artwork, these will be sent off to be turned into A6 sized Christmas cards for you to order ready for delivery after half term.  They come in packs of ten with envelopes and are a wonderful, personalised card or gift for family or friends, so we do hope that you will place your orders!

Themes

Our main topic this half term is Holidays, and the children will be helping to make a large beach picture for display in the hall with coloured sand, decorated boats and pebble painting.  During Circle Time the children will have the opportunity to share stories about their own summer holidays, including how they travelled to them.  Towards the end of the half term the focus will move onto autumn, looking at changes in the environment and even trying a spot of cooking by making apple pies – so if any of you have some apples to donate to the cause they would be much appreciated!

Library Books

We have already begun to issue books to take home and read with family or friends at leisure.  These will be in a named, nursery book bag and are to be returned once read to be replaced with a new one when your child is ready.  There is no rush but we can only issue replacements on the return of the last one issued.  The book bag is to be returned when your child leaves nursery, but is yours to keep and cherish whilst they remain with us.

Lunches

As a precaution against choking, please can you ensure that foods are cut into small pieces.  It may seem a fiddly job, but it is essential for the safety of the children.  So, items such as cocktail sausages, cherry tomatoes, grapes, olives etc must be cut in half lengthways (or smaller), to make it easier for your children to bite into.  Obviously, the children are monitored during all meal times, but your help with this will assist staff, and children alike. Thanks.

Project:  Wild Garden

Lara and Kate are in the process of developing a plan to create a wild garden for the children just outside the hall on the green.  If you would like to help us with some of the early ground work, offers of help will be gratefully received:  an hour one morning next week would be fabulous. The plan is clear the area (which is very small) of brambles and weeds to unveil a beautiful tree stump.  We also would like to create a woodpile, bug hotel, small water environment and lots of other interesting bits and pieces.  After 21 September we would be pleased if your child could bring in a log for the log pile and if you have any spare, some spring bulbs to plant, any bird feeders or bird food (but without nuts).  In the spring we will sow seeds so a small wild flower meadow can grow.

Supermarket vouchers

Thank you to everyone who collected vouchers for us last term.  Our order from Sainsbury’s order is due any day now.

Policies and Procedures

These are important documents and should be read at your earliest opportunity.  The red folder is available every day for you to review.  You will have received a small sample of some key policies with your parent handbook but there are many others which require your attention.

In the process of reviewing the policies it was decided that staff may not be ‘friends’ on social media with parents/carers of children registered at nursery.  Please don’t be offended if a member of staff has to ‘de-friend’ or decline an invitation, they are merely following the rules of the nursery. Also, a quick reminder that if you take photos of your child at nursery, eg at one of our events, these are for your personal use only.  If you post on your Facebook page please do not include images of other children.  We know all this seems formal and apologise, but we must abide by rules which are put in place to protect us all.

Pumpkin Party

The committee will be running a Pumpkin Party for the children on Friday 23rd October (date to be confirmed) – a separate message will be distributed to everyone regarding this event.

Northbrook Orders

A booklet and order form from Northbrook will have been placed in your child’s pigeonhole.  Northbrook provide high quality wrapping paper, and other items, and proceeds from your orders will come back to the nursery so don’t forget to hand your orders in by Friday 6th November at the latest.  Your orders should be available to collect from the nursery by the end of November.

Party Invitations and thanks

Please may we remind parents that staff may not distribute party invitations and thank you letters.  It is fraught with difficulty and discomfort.  Invitations may not be left in reception either – they need to be handed to the parents/carers of the children directly or may be left in pigeonholes.

Using the Loos

A polite request that if your child uses the toilet before registration, please can you ensure that the seat is wiped dry and the toilet is flushed as this is how we like to start the day – and keep it that way throughout the session! Many thanks.

Fabulous Me vouchers, special family events etc.

Fabulous Me vouchers are in reception – do fill one in for your child to celebrate something they have done at home, however big or small, and these will be included in their profiles.  Also, if you have a special, or family event, do bring in some photos for us to share at circle time.

Coffee Morning

Kate will be available for a coffee and chat session on Friday 25th September, from 9.15 – 10.15. This will be an opportunity to meet the committee and ask any questions.  Please add your name to the sheet in reception to give us an idea of numbers.  It would be lovely if as many of our existing parents could come along and introduce themselves to our new families in a social environment.

Sunday Walk

Do you fancy coming for a walk one Sunday afternoon? We introduced Sunday walks two years ago and they have proved to be very popular.  Our first one will be on Sunday 18th October, meeting in the village hall car park at 2pm.  Bring your dog and a flask and we will show you where forest school outings take place, our allotment and the Big Hill. No need to book.

School Open Mornings

You may have noticed adverts for local schools’ forthcoming open mornings.  If your child is due to start school next September, and you have yet to decide on a school, these are valuable opportunities so do make an appointment to view as many as you can – each school will have different dates and times but some may also offer private tours if you are unable to attend a public session.

Book/Gift People

You will have noticed that we have recently had a selection of gifts and books in the reception area.  These come on a half termly basis and the nursery receives a percentage from the orders to spend how we like.  If you would like to order anything, please complete the details on the order forms provided and place your cash or cheque in the envelope and your order will be available on the date stated on the form.  Unfortunately we are unable to fulfil orders if the money has not been left in the envelope, so do please ensure that you have put it before the deadline date.

French Club comes to Grayswood

Every Thursday afternoon from 1.15pm-2pm your child can have fun learning French in the familiar setting of the OJ room, above Grayswood Nursery.

‘LCF Le Club des Coccinelles’ offers fun, French classes for ALL nursery children with little or no language experience for just £5 per 45minute sessions plus membership fee.  This cost entitles the children to a French CD Song book, French pictionary and sticker handbook and access to over 400 activities online through the BABELZONE interactive website. 

For more information, please contact Nicola Martin on email: nicolamartin@mac.com or mobile: 07957 640 034.

Merci, I hope to hear from you very soon.

Madame Martin

(This activity is not a nursery activity and any child is able to attend.  If your child attends nursery on a Thursday afternoon we are happy to deliver them upstairs for the session.)

Dates for the diary

Tuesday 22nd September:               Parents Evening 8 – 9.30pm

Friday 25th September:                   Coffee morning 9.15 – 10.15am

Sunday 18th October:                      Sunday walk 2pm

Friday 23rd October (tbc):             Last day of this half term and
Pumpkin Party in the afternoon

Tuesday 3rd November:                   Second half of term starts

Friday 6th November:                      All Northbrook orders to be returned

Tuesday 15th December:                 10.00am – Dress Rehearsal for Nativity Play (all children)

Wednesday 16th December:            11.00am – Nativity Play

Thursday 17th December:               Christmas jumper day (all children may wear festive jumpers!)

Friday 18th December:                     Christmas Party for all children and last day of term

Monday 4th January 2016:              First day of Spring term

Friday 13th February:                      Last day of the half term

Tuesday 23rd February:                   Second half of term starts

General Information

Session Times

Monday 9.05am – 2.45pm (Pre-School children only)

(Autumn term option to finish at 1pm)

Tuesday – Friday 9.05am – 12.35pm

Tuesday and Thursday afternoons sessions end at 2.45pm

Contact Details

Village Hall telephone number: 01428 658931

Nursery mobile number: 07789 987280

Nursery e-mail address: grayswoodnursery@hotmail.co.uk

Nursery web-site: www.grayswoodnurseryschool.co.uk

NB The e-mail address is not accessible to staff whilst the nursery is in progress.

Staff at the Nursery

There are currently ten members of staff at the nursery plus Beryl Brogden who is continuing to volunteer on Mondays.  Miss Maureen visits on Mondays for music and movement and Bollie visits on Wednesdays for Playball sessions.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Kate Dean Sue Bartrum Sue Bartrum Sue Bartrum Lara Butler
Richard Dean Kate Dean Lara Butler Kate Dean Kate Dean
Natasha Hayes Richard Dean Kate Dean Richard Dean Richard Dean
Jo McIntosh Natasha Hayes Richard Dean Natasha Hayes Natasha Hayes
Jane Tims Liz Juson Liz Juson Liz Juson Jane Tims
Yvonka Wilkinson Jo McIntosh Jane Tims Jo McIntosh
Beryl Brogden Anna Mitchell Yvonka Wilkinson
Yvonka Wilkinson

Committee Members

This year’s committee members are:

Chair – Amanda Butter
Deputy Chair – Nicola Hunt
Secretary – Phillipa Hawkins
Treasurer – Sarah Canning
Events and Fundraising – Zoe Oliver-Wiegand
Committee Members – Heather Laybourne, Irene Levine

The committee work very hard to run events and fundraising activities on behalf of the nursery so please do help them out with this valuable task.

Finally, a few reminders:

The Nursery is not the place for poorly children. If your child has been sick or had an upset tummy they must remain away from nursery for a minimum of 48 hours and not return until they have had a normal (for them) stool. As a general rule, children taking antibiotics should not be at nursery.  Please ask us if you are unsure when your child should return to nursery after an illness.

Please keep us informed of your current contact details particularly mobile numbers.  It is essential that whilst your child is at nursery someone is available to collect them in the event of an emergency.  Please ensure if you are unavailable someone else is able to be contacted and collect your child.

Children are able to bring an item for the interest table. This should be placed in the box on the table by the entrance ready to be shown at Circle Time. The children are not able to play with their own toys at nursery.  Soothers/comforters ie soft toys and muslins may be kept in the box where the children can see them for reassurance.  Dummies are not allowed in nursery under any circumstances.

Please do not let your children wear jewellery to nursery or bring small toys etc. As a guide children should not bring to nursery items which could fit inside a traditional 35mm film container.

Thanks for reading!!

“I was really worried that I would not feel connected to my daughter’s life at nursery. But the nursery’s regular email contact, on-line updates, social events both in nursery time and outside have all helped to keep me fully involved in what Eloise does on a day-to-day basis. “

PennyMother of Eloise