At Little Stars preschool, we recognize that three of the key qualities in our services requested by parents are: Quality care, quality development of their children, and a strong cooperative partnership with parents. We recognize parents as the primary educators of their children and our role is to support parents (in often their busy lives) to bring out the full potential of their child during their early years by encouraging, and giving them opportunities to explore, learn and build confidence in a safe and loving environment. We work with several associations including OFSTED, Harrow Early Years, and the Environmental Health & safety officer to ensure we implement the highest standards and have over x policies in place. The information below describes some of the quality aspects of the setting and how we partner with parents to bring out the best possible outcomes for children.
Little Stars operates on staff to children ratios that are aligned with Early Years standards based on the age of children. A child in each age group also has a minimum area of floor space to ensure that we do not “overcrowd our nursery and have a maximum occupancy at any one time to provide quality care and a safer & healthy environment for your child to develop within:
|Child Age||Staff : children ratio||Minimum floor space / child|
|3 months – 2 years||1:3||2.3 m2|
|2 years||1:6||2.5 m2|
|3-4 years||1:8||3.5 m2|
During their early years, children need to be physically active in order to support their health and development, as they learn to move, crawl, balance and walk. Our natural outdoor play area provides daily outdoor physical activity, exploration and exercise for all children including a dedicated area for babies to allow them to also experience the outdoors within a safe surrounding, while older children have free-play areas to mix and interact with different age groups. We have 2 outdoor play areas:
- Open space area where children can play freely with multiple resources that include a mud kitchen, a cycle/scooter track, slides, and free-play areas to play ball games.
- Large sand pit and planting area for children to explore their senses and understanding of the natural world.
The indoor class rooms provide opportunities for all areas of the child’s development through various visual, interactive, explorative and social methods that are scheduled weekly. However, the indoors also provide an ample free flow area to ensurer that children have the opportunity to mix with different age groups and devlolop social communication skills.
Risk assessments are continuously performed to ensure the safety and security of children, staff and parents at the premises, which includes a risk assessment each morning before opening. Our first responsibility is towards the safety of children and therefore the first floor entrance is kept locked at all times ensuring that all occupants and visitors in the setting our controlled. Parents and visitors must ring the buzzer to be allowed access by a member of staff at the door, and all visitors are signed in using a visitor’s book to ensure records are kept of everyone entering the setting.
Prior to outdoor play, a member of staff performs a safety check to ensure that all areas are safe and that there are no unauthorised individuals on the grounds and secures all gates to the play area/ grounds which remain locked during outdoor play and activities.
Little Stars Preschool perform regular fire drills, and has in place fire evacuation procedures, amongst other policies for hygiene, and health. All our staff are trained in first aid and safe guarding practices with regular training, and we work with Harrow Early Years, OFSTED and various institutions to ensure we continually evaluate and assess risks to provide best possible practices and environment for the safety of all individuals.
All staff undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, (previously called a Criminal Records Bureau or CRB check) before they are employed and work with children. Additionally, staff references are acquired from previous employers or colleges and undergo a selection process which includes interviews, and practical demonstrations.
Staff undergo regular training in several areas of importance and self-development that include: safe guarding of children, first aid, food hygiene…We encourage all our staff to seek higher qualifications and ensure they are qualified to a minimum level 3 when considering the above ratios. Second to parents, our staff are the most important individuals in a child’s development, and we have regular meetings to ensure that they are motivated and engaged to deliver continuous high quality services and be engaged with parents.
Additionally, Little Stars Preschool has several policies in place that set standards of conduct for staff to ensure a disciplined, safe and quality approach to childcare practice is followed.
Young children learn best through play-based approaches rather than through formal teaching. Play supports children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development, and helps them learn to co-operate, negotiate and overcome various challenges. Little Stars Preschool will have activities that incorporates the areas of development; play, rest and meals. The weekly newsletter will inform parents what their child has been learning that week, and also what they will be doing the following week, and also provide details of activities parents can follow-up with at home. As each family has individual requirements, we work with parents to incorporate their child’s routines and requirements into their daily routine in the setting (such as daily nap-times). The weekly schedules are also clearly visible for parents on our parents notice board, where parents can also find information about local community events and partnerships we have with the community.
Children feel and develop best when a secure and stable relationship is built with their carers. At Little Stars Preschool, your child will have a “Key Worker” to ensure this relationship, and keep you informed of progress. The Key worker will ensure that your child feels safe and loved by appropriately comforting them and mitigating any risks (internal and external) to the child, respond to their individual needs, and deliver and track the development of your child.
Little Stars Preschool follows the EYFS curriculum which is structured around 4 themes:
These four themes are based on the principals that:
1. Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
2. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
3. Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
4. Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Staff teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities exist across the 7 prime and special areas of learning and development.
Continuous formative assessment is at the heart of effective early years practice and children are assessed: Children are first observed, then assessed and plans developed to support them to strengthen and deepen their current learning and development.
Effective Learning is described in 7 areas of development (above) and we have a range of creative and innovative activities that helps deliver these learnings and skills, examples of which are shown on our daily schedules and newsletters. We also have off-site visits to local attraction that include farms, parks, and regularly the local library to familiarize children with learning activities based on exploration, and encourage them to read.
The availability of both age-defined class rooms and a free-flow area allow children optimal support to work in age-defined groups when appropriate, but also the ability to mix with different age groups to build confidence and social communication skills. The large outdoor play area has a significant role in the physical development of all children, including the youngest 3-month old babies who have a dedicated area. We ensure significant outdoor activities take place all yearround giving children the opportunity to explore, use their sensors and enjoy the fresh air.
During meal-times we encourage children to be sociable, have fun and learn about the importance of healthy eating, drinking and hygiene. We therefore encourage balanced nutritional lunches catered for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian needs; and if opting for packed lunches, parents are also encouraged to send balanced and nutritious food. Are staff are well trained and follow processes to ensure specific dietary needs are met such as avoidance of ingredients causing food allergies, and that they know the requirements to manage the needs of transition from milk/formulation to solids.
Parents are the anchors in a child’s life, and how they feel and behave significantly influence how children feel about themselves and their surroundings. As a care provider, Little Stars Preschool has a key role in helping your child reach the maximum potential by providing an environment where your child’s opinion, autonomy and initiatives are valued and respected, and learning is actively promoted through fun, challenging experiences that foster their thinking skills. To achieve this, we must be sensitive and responsive to both yours’ and your child’s needs and ensure a cooperative relationship is built with you and your child as a foundation for your child’s development.
We create an environment built on mutual trust with parents by ensuring multiple opportunities exist to have continuous dialogues between parents and staff through multiple channels including the introduction of a parent’s association. This relationship is critical because:
- Our goals must reflect and align with the expectations of parents and staff to deliver consistency in your child’s early years
- Staff and parents must value each other’s needs to understand challenges and successes that surround a child’s life
- Parents need to know and understand what goes on within the setting to continue the child’s journey, and we need to understand and support parents in their needs.
- We must support parents and guide them through the EYFS curriculum and ensure that parents are aware of all the support available to them and their children.
- Most importantly, parents are the primary educators of their children.
INCLUSION & DIVERSITY
At Little Stars preschool, all children have access to all learning opportunities, activities, and experiences regardless of their abilities or challenges. All children are meaningfully included in daily routines and individual support provided based on their needs. To facilitate the infrastructure are in place, and to engage families and staff, both the owner and the manager are SENCO qualified.
The world is changing and diversity is important because children must learn to accept and get along with people of different cultures, races, and religions in order to become integrated with the diverse communities of modern society. At little Stars Preschool, we prepare children to accept and embrace diversity by ensuring we have resources that promote diversity and by openly talking and celebrating different cultures and practices. These include:
- Availability and reading of books featuring children of many different races, religions, or cultures.
- Display of pictures or artwork on the wall that feature a variety of multicultural children
- Discussion of differences and similarities in cultures with children openly in class lessons, but stressing also the similarities.
- Provision of resources that allow children to express multiculturalism (e.g. paint, paper, and crayons allowing choices of the color that they want to use).
- Celebration of multicultural events, and outings to places that have different significances to different people.