Our Early Years
We offer tailored provision for 2-Year Olds, Pre-School, Nursery and Reception children, all under the umbrella of our vibrant Foundation Stage Unit.
All children in our Foundation Stage enjoy learning through play, with carefully designed and well-resourced learning spaces, including a wonderful outdoor area to discover and explore.
Our Early Years learning environment encourages children's development in every way. Children are fully supported by caring professionals who scaffold their development through adult-led play, in a language-rich and nurturing environment. At Our Lady & St Patrick's, we place the utmost importance on speech & language development in the Early Years, which underpins all we do.
Our Foundation Stage staff are well trained in supporting children through their earliest years in school. They form very strong bonds with the children, guiding them from their beginnings as 2-year olds until they leave Reception, aged 5. During this time, we get to know know our children and their families very well, and we work closely alongside parents and carers every step of the way in their child's learning journey.
More Information about our Early Years Unit
All children new to school have a home visit by key members of staff, where we get to meet you and your child in a familiar environment. During this meeting, we will discuss your child's needs, interests and difficulties as well as completing any paperwork and answering your questions.
When your child first starts with us, you are able to stay with them to ease their settling in to school. This period of time is very important and allows your child to get to know the new setting while being reassured by your presence. Our staff will work with you and together you will come up with a plan for withdrawing from your child when he or she is ready.
Children can start with us as young as 2 years old and are based in our specially designed building, called 'The Hive'. This is a space designed specifically for our youngest children, with changing facilities and spaces to sleep. The Hive has a very high ratio of staff to children, ensuring that we are able to fully meet the needs of our very youngest children.
Nursery & Pre-School:
As your child matures, they may become ready to move into 'the big room'. Although, because of 'free-flow', we find most children have already explored this area anyway, before formally moving across, so they are already very familiar with the learning environment and with the staff.
The 3 and 4 year olds are looked after in this room by our qualified and experienced staff, with sessions running every morning.
In addition, some children stay for longer than their 15 hours, either because their parents pay for 'wraparound' or because the family is entitled to the 30 hours funding.
When your child is in the year they turn 5, they will be in our Reception class. These children will have a balance of activities such as phonics, writing, reading and maths together with essential play-based activities, through 'discovery time' in the big room.
Our Early Years children have their own outdoor play and learning area, which is safe and secure. This is a lovely area, with lots of places to discover and enjoy, including a large sand-pit; mud-kitchen; chalk boards; water play area; car and bicycle track; tree-house and musical area.
The outdoor provision is accessed every day, all year round, by children in the Early Years, with waterproofs and wellies being available for inclement weather.
Parent & Toddler Group:
We run a weekly parent and toddler group, which is open to all and is suitable for children right from birth up to 4 years. The sessions run each Tuesday afternoon, in 'The Hive'.
Please note that our Parent & Toddler sessions are suspended at present due to Covid-19 National Restrictions.
Our 2-Year Olds:
Our two-year olds have their very own provision, in 'The Hive', which is specially designed and resourced to meet their needs. The Hive has its own changing facilities, as well as well-resourced areas for sand and water, building, small world play, role-play and painting. It also has a cosy reading area with a comfy sofa, so adults and chidlren can snuggle up and share a story. It also has a quiet sleeping area, in case our little ones get tired!
The adult to child staff rato is very high, so that all children are fully supported during their earliest years in school. Staff work very closely with parents and carers to make sure that children transition into the provision as smoothly as possible - and without too many tears. We take a really flexible approach, especially when our 2's are first joingin us, so that the children join at their own pace - and we are guided by parents and carers on this at all times.
Our youngest children also spend lots of time outside, exploring, playing and learning in our lovely garden. The outdoor are also has spaces for sand and water play, a track for cars and bikes, wooden seating and planting areas, a mud kitchen, play house and hide-out.
We currently offer morning sessions for our two-year olds but there is high demand for places, which are limited. If you are interested in applying for a place, please contact Miss Foster, our Early Years Leader, on (01900) 812582.