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St Matthew'sC of E School

Together we can Shine

Parent/Carer Information


The Pre-School is set in the Early Years Foundation Stage unit at the school and is run by a committee. The Pre-School aims to give children, from the age of two years, an Early Years Foundation Stage play-based education.


Pre-School places are funded for 15 hours from the term after a child’s third birthday, or 30 hours if parents/carers met the funding criteria.

Nursery places for 15 hours of free entitlement are available for children from the term after their second birthday when parents/carers meet the criteria to access a two year old funded place. Fees apply to lunches and unfunded 2, 3, 4 year old places as well as access to more than the 15 hours of entitlement.


Our Philosophy


We are a dedicated team who believe that children extend their interests and skills when they are free to play, explore and develop in a safe imaginative and stimulating environment. We encourage children to make their own choices and build upon experiences to develop resilience, self-regulation, self-confidence and self-esteem alongside motivation and critical thinking skills as active learners. Play is a combination of child-initiated and enhanced purposeful play within a supportive environment.


The Pre-School follows the learning framework from the Early Years Foundation Stage with three prime areas and four specific areas.

These are the three prime areas:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development


Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, and Expressive Arts and Design are the specific areas of learning including essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.


The Pre-School values play as children’s work, “We play on pleasure” as we respect children as unique individuals with their own interests through playing and exploring, active learning, creating and thinking critically as noted in the characteristics of effective learning which are the ways that children engage with others and the environment, being ready, willing and able to maintain their social interactions with others and continue to be effective, motivated learners. We also note repetitive play patterns (Schemas) during the daily session alongside involvement and wellbeing.


Your child’s development will be recorded in their own personal on-line Tapestry learning journey and reflected on at a parents'/carers' meetings with your child’s Key Workers as a permanent record of their achievements that parents/carers contribute to and download at the end of their child's Early Years nursery education. With parental permission, the on-line Learning Journey can be passed on to the Reception classes that use the same media.


The Pre-School operates for four days a week from 8.45 am until 3.15 pm during term time and half day on Friday’s until 1.00 pm. The sessions start at 8.45 am, 9.00 am or 12.00 pm as agreed by parents/carers and the setting; parents/carers can choose to send their child for the full day until 3.15 pm or half day sessions. A fruit snack is provided during the morning session. A nursery lunch can be added on to the session or children can bring a packed lunch. St. Matthew’s C of E School has its own catering establishment and provides nutritious lunches for the nursery as well as catering for children with food allergies.


Every child is assigned Key Workers who ensure your child’s needs are catered for with regard to settling into the setting and beyond, so parents/carers are encouraged to inform your child’s Key Workers about your child’s health and well-being at the beginning of the session or appointments can be made for the end of the day to update as needed with your Key Workers whose role is to support the child and family.


Upon arrival, children should hang coats and backpacks on their named peg in the cloakroom and leave their book bags on the shelf next to the parents/carers daily register in the conservatory where aprons are stored for your child’s use and can be returned there when washed.


Your child will have home to school Tapestry observations which you can comment upon, so we can exchange information about your child’s week at Pre-School. We would appreciate your comments and own observations from home or other settings which your child attends to enable the staff to plan appropriate activities. Pre-School books can be borrowed and returned in book bags. Parents/carers can also be apart of the Pre-School parents'/carers' online forum, connecting parents/carers who attend the setting.


Children need to be in good health to benefit from the Pre-Schools routine and programs of learning through play. A clear 48 hours should be given before bringing your child back following an incident of sickness/diarrhoea.


In case of emergency, when the designated adult is unable to collect a child, we operate a password system. The name of the adult collecting the child and the password should be given to the Pre-School staff by the parent/carer prior to the time of collection.


During the session, we have a nursery routine with adult-led activities and child-initiated activities that they choose as a part of the continuous provision of how we use space and equipment in the setting.


The setting uses Simon Nicholson’s loose part theory to enhance children’s cognitive learning. We focus on natural materials rather than plastic objects, such as wood, metal, shells and fir cones, where one object can stand for another in the child’s imagination. The use of this theory also impacts on children’s ability to negotiate and problem solve that heightens respect for others. We further expand thinking skills using a philosophy for children session with the Pre-Reception children. The setting has weekly visits to either the Tarn, Forest or Beach school, on Friday's. Children will need appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear, as well as, a packed lunch. Parents/carers bring and collect the children from the Tarn, Forest or Beach school and are welcome to join us at these weekly events.

Children are encouraged to have self-help skills such as putting on their own wellingtons and coats. We encourage them to pour their own drinks at snack and lunch time. Drinking water is available throughout the session.


Children are also encouraged to plan their activities and after perusing them, review them alongside their peers and Key Workers at Pre-School to nurture reflection and critical thinking skills.


We hope you and your child enjoy their early years in the delightful country setting at Westnewton.