Autumn 2016 Newsletter – first half of term

Posted: 14th November 2016


First, apologies for the delay in issuing this newsletter but we were experiencing some technical difficulties! However, this has given us the opportunity to ensure all the important information we need to disseminate is included.

Very importantly we wish to welcome everyone to the new academic year after an enjoyable summer. The nursery is pleased to welcome many new families whose children have joined us over the past couple of weeks, namely Amelia, Beck, Eliza, Freya, Jack, Jasmine, Maryann, Pearl, Ralph, Rhys, Santiago, Ted and Toby. They are all settling in very well and are making new friends quickly.

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. The chocolates and biscuits have been going down a treat!

For those of you who are new, our current staff are Sue Bartrum (SENCO assistant), Lara Butler (Forest School and Early Years Practitioner), Kate Dean (nursery manager and Designated Safeguarding Lead – DSL), Richard Dean (Forest School leader), Natasha Hayes (deputy manager, SENCO and deputy DSL), Liz Juson (administrator and Early Years Practitioner), Anna Mitchell (Early Years Practitioner), Jane Tims (arts co-ordinator and Early Years Practitioner), Yvonka Wilkinson (Forest School Leader). We also have a very valuable volunteer, Beryl Brogden, who comes each Monday and has supported the nursery in this role for a number of years.

This is a very 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

Now that our first couple of weeks are under our belts and the children are feeling more comfortable with their, in some cases new, surroundings, we will invite the children to 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 before Registration, which starts at 9.10am. Whilst we understand that some children may find it a bit daunting to begin with, they soon settle into the routine and staff are always on hand to support any children who may find it difficult to separate from you to begin with. If a child finds it especially hard, Kate will discuss this with you confidentially. Whilst we understand there can always be unavoidable delays when travelling to nursery we do ask for children to be ready to begin the morning at 9.10 promptly. We gather together and spend a few minutes preparing for the activities to come. Missing this vital element of our day means children can be unsettled for the rest of the morning.

If you are going to be late, or your child is not going to be coming in on their allotted day, please telephone the nursery (01428 658931 or on the mobile 07789 987280) before 9.30am as we have a legal duty of care to know your child’s whereabouts on days when they are expected at nursery.


Our children look great in their uniform and we would ask that they all continue to arrive dressed in uniform every day. Not only does this ensure the children begin to feel a sense of identity but it is a way, along with being on time, of ensuring ‘school readiness’ which ultimately helps children settle at school as they will already be used to a uniform and routine.


If you would like to discuss something directly with your child’s keyworker or a member of staff, please let us know and then wait in reception. As soon as we have settled the children, we will come out to see you. Any meetings will then be able to take place in the hallway or 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. Alternatively, you can use the note pad in the staff section of the pigeonholes, which is checked during registration time, to let us know any information you would like to give us, such as a change to collection time, or a similar non-urgent matter. Please help us by writing it down rather than mentioning early pick ups etc to staff – in the busy-ness of the morning messages can be forgotten!

Forest School

Outings have begun in earnest now 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. They will be dressed in our red suits prior to leaving the hall.

Meeting in The Wheatsheaf pub – 29 September at 8.00pm

Further to the email, we’ll be holding a meeting in the Wheatsheaf in Grayswood to discuss the work which needs to be done to kick start our exciting project in our new woodland and the field. There is much to be done and we would love as much involvement from parents as possible. The works include clearing and tidying the hedge-line, clearing some fallen trees and brambles, digging out the stream etc. We hope to see as many willing volunteers as possible (we’ll be there between 7.45 and 9.00pm) to put together a rota and plan to get the ball rolling.

Nursery clothing

A little reminder that children need to have appropriate clothing at nursery to make everyone’s life as comfortable as possible. Everything that your child brings in must be named including their nursery polo-shirts and jumpers, leggings or jogging bottoms, coats, their full change of clothing, water bottles, soft indoor shoes, home shoes, wellies and bag (including lunch bag where applicable). Lots to name but it does save upset to children when things go missing, and time for staff and parents searching – so thank you in advance for your support.

Children should wear soft shoes indoors which are left at nursery in our blue nursery plimsoll bags – these are for nursery use only. 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 your child is still in nappies, or recently potty-trained, please do ensure you provide a supply nappies, wipes and nappy bags and spare pants, and socks (named!)! As the temperature reduces, or if rain is forecast later in the day, coats are essential. One of our regular sayings is “no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing”

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).


As part of our policies we are unable to allow the use of personal mobile phones by either staff, volunteers, visitors or parents when with the children. If you are in the nursery during session 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.

Child Collection Sheet

If someone other than parents is coming to collect your child, even if it is another nursery parent, please make a note in the folder in the reception area, and ensure that you put the name and telephone number of the person collecting. We are unable to release a child from our care without prior notification of a change to normal collection procedures.


Each child has their own pocket and this is where we will put Nursery notes, dry artwork etc so do please check on a frequent basis. This is also where you may leave notes and invitations of your own as we are unable to hand personal invitations out to children on your behalf.

Car Park

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


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! Many raised with the activity funds the children’s Christmas party.

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. As a rule of thumb, a weekly change-over is best to keep both your child, and you, interested in the book. We have a vast collection of books and these are rotated in line with our focus of interest and the seasons.


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.


Our main topics this half term are Favourite things and have, so far, included toys, the beach (we’ve seen some super body-boarding skills!), vehicles and food; during the first few weeks of October we will focus on autumn and harvest and we’ll be doing a spot of cooking, vegetable printing and mixing colours to use for autumn-related art and craft.

Parents Information Evening/AGM – 4th October from 7.30pm

We will be hosting an information evening for all parents beginning with welcome drinks from 7.30pm and a brief AGM from 7.45-8.00pm. This will be followed by a presentation on the main activities of the nursery, including the day-to-day activities, Forest School, parental involvement and Tapestry. There will be a signing up sheet in reception so that we can get an idea of numbers in advance. We hope you will come as it is a good opportunity to ask questions and meet other parents.

Parents Evenings – 7th and 8th November

These evenings are 1:1 sessions will be hosted by Kate and Natasha. The 10-15min slot will offer a brief overview of your child’s progress during the first part of the academic year. Again, signing up sheets will be available in reception so please add your name to the time slot which works best for you.

Nativity Play – Wednesday 14th December 11.00am

We know that this does seem a long way off, but it is a highlight of your child’s time with us and we believe you would like to put this into your diary now to avoid missing out! Family, friends and carers are all welcome to attend this lovely event in the church followed by a gathering back in the village hall. A full dress rehearsal is planned for the day before, so please note that costumes will need to be brought in on the 13th – but further details will be distributed nearer the time.

Supermarket vouchers

Thank you to everyone who collected vouchers for us last term. We have already received a new light box from Sainsburys with further items due in the next few weeks.

Policies and Procedures

These are important documents and should be read at your earliest opportunity. The 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.
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, but we must abide by rules which are put in place to protect us all.

Parent Partnership Boards

We regularly post updates on the big blue boards in reception and these hold some interesting information about how we support children. If you would like to discuss this further, please do arrange to speak with Kate or your child’s key worker by popping a note into the Staff pigeonhole.

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.

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. 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

Every Monday afternoon from 1.45pm-2.30pm 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, contact Nicola Martin, email: or mobile: 07957 640 034. (This activity is not a nursery activity and booking etc must be made direct with Madame Martin. If your child attends nursery on a Monday afternoon we are happy to deliver them upstairs for the session.)


Thursday 29th September: Meeting in the Wheatsheaf to discuss woodland clearing 8-9pm
Tuesday 4th October: Parents Info Evening/AGM – Village Hall 7.30 – 9.00pm
Mon 24th to Friday 28th October: Half Term
Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th November: Parents Evenings
Tuesday 13th December: 10.00am – Dress Rehearsal for Nativity Play (all children)
Wednesday 14th December: 11.00am – Nativity Play
Friday 16th December: Christmas Party for all children from 9.15am and last day of term
Tuesday 3rd January 2017: First day of Spring term
Monday 13th to Friday 17th Feb: Half Term
Tuesday 28th February: Pancake Party
Friday 31st March: Spring Hat Parade and last day of spring term


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: (not accessible to staff during nursery hours)

Nursery web-site:


There are currently nine 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 Tuesdays for Playball sessions.

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


Committee Members

This year’s committee members are currently:

Chair – Philippa Hawkins
Secretary – Irene Levine
Treasurer – Nicola Hunt
Events and Fundraising – Zoe Oliver-Wiegand
Committee Members – Heather Laybourne

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.

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 basket by the door, or preferably in their bags. 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!!

“Staff are passionate about their roles”

Ofsted Report2016