Autumn Term 2019 – Newsletter (first half of term)
Posted: 21st October 2019
First, welcome to the start of this academic year. We all hope you had a wonderful summer and
managed to take advantage of the fantastic weather – between the showers!
Secondly, all the staff would like to thank the children and their families who were with us last term
for our lovely gifts and messages of appreciation which we received before the holidays began – and for helping us gain another ‘Outstanding’ from the Ofsted inspection held on 5th July!! We couldn’t have done it without having such wonderful children at our nursery. The full report is available online: https://files.api.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50096043
The nursery is pleased to welcome many new families this term. Children who will be joining us over the coming weeks include: Alfred, Brigitta, Edward, Evelyn, Freddie, George, Hector, Isobella, Lucia, Madeleine, Miles, Nadia, Olivia, Wren and Zacky. We are confident our older children will introduce them to the delights of the nursery and forest school, and are sure our parents will welcome theirs too!
This newsletter, being the first of an academic year, is traditionally the longest as we have lots of
information to share with our new families, so apologies for the length but please do read through to the end as it may answer queries you might have.
For those of you who are new, our current staff are: Lara Butler (Forest School and nursery
practitioner ), 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 practitioner), Anna Mitchell (nursery practitioner), Yvonka Wilkinson (Forest School leader).
We also have Steph Peat who is our lunchtime supervisor. In addition, Miss Maureen visits on
Mondays for music and movement, and Bollie runs the Playball sessions on Tuesdays.
A slight change to the start of this academic year is planned as a way of assisting our new
starters to settle, but it applies to all children:
We settled into the new term at the hall this week and haven’t been to the woods. However, from
Monday 9th September, for the next two weeks, we will all be in the woods each day. Children will
travel to and from the woods as usual with drop off and collection from the hall at the appropriate
time. However, all new children should be delivered straight to the woodland by parents for their
first couple of sessions. They will then return to the hall in the nursery vehicles for collection
(unless they are doing a shorter session which would have been agreed with Kate in advance). ‘ Reds’ will be issued for each child if you do not already have your set at home. We think this will ensure all the children really settle back into nursery without the complication of two different locations to confuse them. After the two weeks we will issue the usual Forest School rota and revert to operating both at the hall and in the woodland.
Starting the Day
The side gate will open at 9.05am for all children – if the weather is particularly unpleasant we will
use the front door entrance and will indicate on the morning when applicable. Staff assist children
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. We therefore appreciate your
efforts to get your children here promptly as it helps them settle when they are all together. Whilst
we understand 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 child who may find it difficult to separate. If a
child finds it especially hard, Kate will discuss this with you.
If you are going to be late, or your child is not going to be coming in on their allotted day, please
either email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone the nursery (01428 658931 or on the mobile 07789 987280) before 9.30am as it is absolutely critical that we know your child’s
whereabouts. If we have not heard from you by 9.30am a member of staff will telephone you.
You should all have received your autumn term invoice at the end of last term. These are due for
payment this week. As noted on your invoice, a surcharge of 10% will be charged if invoices are
overdue by more than a week. If you have any queries, please speak to Kate in confidence.
We ask that all children arrive dressed in uniform each day if possible – this helps with a sense of
identity as well as preparing for the next stage of their schooling in the longer term. Children should
arrive dressed in their red suits and wellies when the forest school rota sessions begin later in the
We currently have a box of second-hand uniform donated by our recent leavers. Items are available
to purchase at £2.00 each on a first come, first served basis. So have a rummage and pop your
contribution into the envelope provided.
On various occasions during the year we hold special dress up days, and these are the times when
children are able to come in special outfits not usually worn at nursery, ie on World Book Day etc.
To further comply with GDPR, we are no longer able to discuss any issues or concerns regarding your child via email. If you have something that you wish to discuss, please email Kate –
email@example.com and request an appointment. Kate will confirm a date and time for a meeting as soon as possible.
Also, we have a notebook for staff in which you may write a short note to pop into the box – this is
checked each morning during Registration time. If you have an urgent issue to discuss, we would
appreciate you waiting at the gate until all the children have passed through to avoid congestion at a very busy time of the day. Any meetings will take place out of sight of the children, either in the
hallway, the kitchen, or if free, the Oonagh Jeffrey room upstairs.
Going Home/Collection of Children
Due to an increasing number of children being collected by adults other than their parents we have an additional level of security which means 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.
Child Collection Sheet
If someone, other than yourself, is coming to collect your child, even if it is another nursery parent,
please make a note in the folder on the table by the gate, 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 written notification of a change to normal collection procedures. If you are unable to write into the book at drop off then please email the nursery on firstname.lastname@example.org or
telephone during the morning on 01428 658931.
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. If we find items unnamed we will use permanent marker pens to write names in as required.
Children should wear soft shoes indoors which are left at nursery in our blue nursery plimsoll bags – 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. Those heading to the woods should wear trousers or leggings – not skirts as they don’t wear well with the red trousers over the top! Wellington boots need to be available at nursery each. If your child is still in nappies, or recently potty-trained, please do ensure you provide a supply of nappies, wipes and nappy bags and spare pants, socks and trousers/leggings (named!). As the temperature reduces, or if rain is forecast later in the day, coats are essential, and hats/gloves during the colder months.
As well as achieving our Outstanding from Ofsted last term, we are proud to announce that the
nursery has also been awarded Millie’s Mark accreditation. This award demonstrates our commitment to going above and beyond the minimum requirements for keeping your children safe. It shows that all our staff not only hold a paediatric first aid certificate but that they are also competent in how to apply this in practice. Achieving Millie’s Mark shows we have the correct procedures and documentation in place to give our parents greater reassurance. Millies Mark is a significant achievement for a nursery such as ours and we will celebrate this later in the term.
Construction work continued on the shelter over the summer. Whilst it is still not quite finished, it
looks lovely, and it won’t be long before it is ready for us to start using – just in time for the chillier,
and damper, days ahead.
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. We ask for everyone to leave their phones in the kitchen
and take calls away from the children. Staff are also not allowed to be ‘friends’ with parents on social media. Please don’t be offended if we cannot accept your ‘friends request’!
Parents Information Evening at the Village Hall – Tuesday 8th October at 7.45pm
All parents and carers, both old and new, are invited to attend at 7.45pm, for a presentation on the
main activities of the nursery, Forest School, parental involvement and Tapestry. A signing up sheet
will be available in reception at collection time, so please add your names so that we can gain an idea of numbers. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible as there is plenty of information to impart, it will also be an opportunity for parents to meet.
As you may be aware, for the past two years we have taken a small group of the older children to
Moorlands Nursing Home on a Monday morning each fortnight. We travel by minibus to the home
arriving about 11.15am, stay and play with the residents for about half an hour, then return to
nursery in time for lunch. The benefits to the children and their ‘elderly friends’ are huge. We
usually take children from the Monday group whose parents have asked for them to join in. If you
would particularly like your child to participate in this project, or conversely if you prefer they do
not, please let Kate know. We will then put together of list of children to join us when we will start
our visits again later in the term.
Please drive slowly into and out of the car park and take care when parking – keeping an eye out for
little people! Please also note the yellow hatch markings and our neighbour’s driveway and ensure you keep both these areas clear at all times. Thanks.
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 laid out in the reception area.
However, at certain times of the year we involve the children in special projects which will be sent
home at the end of the term, so you may, therefore, hear that your child has done a piece of artwork but cannot bring it home straight away.
Over the coming weeks the children will be invited to look through our library to select a book 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’s no rush and we only issue replacements on the return of the last one taken. The book bag is to be returned when your child leaves nursery, but is yours to keep and cherish whilst they remain with us. Any lost books or bags will incur a fee which will be deducted from your deposit when you leave – so it’s worth keeping tabs on them!! As a rule of thumb, a weekly change-over is best to keep both your child, and you, interested in the book. Our vast collection of books are rotated in line with our focus of interest and the seasons.
If your child is staying for afternoon sessions, please consider the type and quantity of food you
send them in with. A small sandwich, some fruit and possibly a yoghurt is sufficient (if sending a
yoghurt please provide a spoon). Also, most importantly, as a precaution against choking, please can you ensure foods are cut into small pieces. It may seem a fiddly job, but it is essential for the safety of the children. 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. Please also note we adhere to a strict no nut policy, so do not provide your child with anything containing nuts. The children are monitored during all meal times, but your help with this will assist staff, and children alike. Thanks.
Advance notice of Events
Saturday 28th September: Films in the forest
Sadly we have had to postpone this event but we will rebook again
Sunday 29th September: Pilates in the Woods
Join us for a pilates session in the woods at 2.30 on Sunday afternoon. Full information to follow
Sunday 3rd November: – Bonfire Party
More information to follow but do book this date for our annual afternoon of woodland activities and bonfire party
Tuesday 17th December 10.30am: Nativity Play (and last day of term)
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 Monday 16th for all children from 9.30am, but further details will be distributed nearer the time.
Policies and Procedures
These are important documents and should be read at your earliest opportunity. The folder is
generally available every day for you to review.
Please note: 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, or other social media sites, 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.
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 available on the table by the gate – 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 which are given to the children when they leave us. Also, if you have a special, or family event, please bring in some photos for us to share at circle time.
Many thanks to those of you who helped us out in the summer term. We anticipate issuing another
rota later in the year, once all the children have settled into the routine.
DATES FOR THE DIARY
Wednesday 4th September: First day of autumn term
Monday 9th to Friday 20th September: Nursery sessions will all be held at Autumn Woods
Sunday 29th September @ 2.30pm: Pilates at the woods (information to follow)
Monday 28th Oct – Friday 1st November: Half term
Sunday 3rd November @ 3.00pm: Bonfire Party (information to follow)
Monday 16th December: Nativity Dress Rehearsal at 9.30am
Tuesday 17th December: Nativity Play at 10.30am and End of Term
Monday 6th January 2020: First day of spring term
Monday 17th to Friday 21st February: Half term
Friday 3rd April: Spring Hat Parade and End of term
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
Village Hall telephone number: 01428 658931
Nursery mobile number: 07789 987280
Nursery e-mail: email@example.com
Nursery admin (Liz): firstname.lastname@example.org
Nursery website: www.grayswoodnurseryschool.co.uk
STAFF AT THE NURSERY
There are currently eight members of staff at the nursery. Miss Maureen visits on Mondays for
music and movement and Bollie visits on Tuesdays for Playball sessions, with Steph Peat as our
|Lara Butler (pm)||Kate Dean||Kate Dean||Lara Butler||Lara Butler|
|Kate Dean||Richard Dean||Richard Dean||Kate Dean||Kate Dean|
|Richard Dean||Natasha Hayes||Liz Juson||Richard Dean||Richard Dean|
|Natasha Hayes||Liz Juson||Yvonka Wilkinson||Natasha Hayes||Natasha Hayes|
|Steph Peat (pm)||Steph Peat (pm)||Anna Mitchell||Steph Peat|
|Yvonka Wilkinson||Yvonka Wilkinson|
This year’s committee members are currently:
Chair – Philippa Hawkins Secretary – currently vacant Treasurer – currently vacant
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:
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).
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.
As we said at the start of this newsletter, it was very long, but we do appreciate you having taken
the time to digest the contents. If you still have queries about any aspect of nursery life that we
haven’t covered, please drop us an email.
Thanks for reading!!
“It’s a Thursday so it is Verity’s favourite day at nursery as she gets to eat lunch there! Unprovoked, she suddenly starts a recital of her day ‘Mummy, today I weeded the allotment. ..and I watered the plants…it was really good and there’s lots to do.'”