Newsletter September 2018

12th September 2018 

Dear Parents, 
A very warm welcome to all new parents and children and, to those of you returning from the summer holiday, we hope you have all had a lovely break. This term we will be concentrating on settling in the new children and the transition from small to large hall for the older children.

Key Workers
Each child has been allocated a key worker who is responsible for monitoring your child’s development and progress. You should, by now, be aware of who your child’s key worker is. Please feel free to approach them with any queries or concerns at any time. Each child has a learning journal which is completed by their key worker. Any contributions to this by parents/carers is welcomed and can be recorded on the ‘wow’ stickers (available in the foyer) and handed to any member of staff.
Toys from home
Can you please ensure children do not bring toys from home into playgroup as, unfortunately, these often get mislaid or broken. This is with the exception of ‘comfort’ toys for the new/younger children to help them settle during their first few weeks in the clubroom.
‘Getting to Know You’ Booklet - New Parents only
Could the parents of new children who have not yet returned their completed ‘getting to know you’ information booklet, please do so as soon as possible. Thank you.

Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival will take place on Tuesday 9th October 2018. Children should be collected from pre-school at 11.15am and taken to St Mary’s Church for the service at 11.30am. Donations of tinned food, pasta sauces, jars of jam/marmalade, cereal/porridge, biscuits/chocolate and toiletries (to be taken directly to the church on the day) will be gratefully received. A more detailed list of requested items will be on display on the parent noticeboard nearer the time. These will be distributed to the elderly and sick within the Hayes Parish. Thank you.
Diwali Talk
Once again, one of our ex-parents, Shivani, has kindly agreed to give the children a talk on the Diwali celebrations. This will take place on Tuesday 16th October.
Visit from the Dentist
We have arranged for the dentist to visit the children on Wednesday 3rd October for a fun and practical discussion on dental health.
Visit from Coolings
We have arranged for a gardening expert from Coolings to visit the children on Wednesday 17th October and provide a talk followed by a ‘spring bulb’ planting activity in the pre-school garden.
Visit from the police
We have arranged a visit from the local police for the children which will include finger printing, dressing up, colouring activities and a chat on 20th November. 
Christmas Party
The Christmas Party will take place on Thursday 20th December and will include an entertainer, party food and a visit to Santa’s Grotto, where each child will receive a small gift. if your child has any special dietary requirements, please let us know in advance, we will be requesting parent helpers nearer the time. 
Nativity Performance
We are pleased to announce that we are very lucky to be able to use St Mary’s Church for our performance this year on Tuesday 11th December at 10.30am. Please be aware that the children are very young and so expectations should not be too high!! Children who do not normally attend a Tuesday morning session are invited to participate. Full details to follow nearer the time. 
Christmas Jumper Day 
We will be holding our Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 14th December 2018 in aid of the Save the Children charity. A voluntary donation of £1 will be requested.
Fundraising Committee 
We are pleased to welcome new parents, Caroline Lewis and Rachael Silcock, to our fundraising team and we are grateful to Tamsin Austin for continuing to oversee the fundraising activities this year. Tamsin and the team would welcome any help at any of our events so, if you can spare the time, please let Tamsin know. 
We also welcome Susy Bramer who, along with Tamsin, are our new parent committee representatives. Her duties include putting forward ideas from parents to myself or other members of management on how to improve the pre-school. If you wish to pass on any ideas, please speak to Susy or one of the management team. Photos of all parent/fundraising reps will be on the board in the foyer shortly. Obviously, any concerns you may have should come to me or, in my absence, Mrs Goddard.

A note from Susy, our new Parent Rep:
Hello to everyone I hope you all enjoyed the summer! A big welcome to all the new mums who have joined us this month (including the new mums in the big hall!). We’d like to especially invite you all to our first coffee morning of the year on Tuesday 25th September at 9am at the preschool. This coffee morning will be a nice opportunity to meet each other and to enjoy some delicious cakes (we deserve it!) I will also be there to introduce myself in person. During the meeting, you’ll be able to meet Mrs White and Mrs Goddard ETC and we’ll give you details of how to keep in touch with the preschool via termly newsletters, our Facebook group, the notice board and the website. I look forward to catching up with you all then.

Outdoor Clothing 
As the cold weather approaches, please ensure children bring a warm coat, clearly labelled with their name. We will attempt to use the garden for outdoor play as much as we can, weather permitting. All scarves, hats, gloves and wellies must also be named to help us ensure they are put on (& go home with) the correct child! 
Child Protection
Accident Book - If any child sustains an injury at home or on their way to preschool, please inform a member of staff on arrival so that a record of the incident may be noted in the appropriate accident book. Parents will then be required to sign as acknowledgement of this. British Values - Please look on the parent noticeboard for details of our British Values Policy.
Mobile Phone, Photography & Internet Policy
As you are aware from the prospectus, the group holds a number of policies/procedures, copies of which can be requested from any member of staff. In addition to these, a new policy has been written to ensure the safeguarding of all children with regard to the use of mobile phones, photography and computer systems (including the internet). This clearly states that ANY PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON PRE-SCHOOL PREMISES (including those taken at the end of term performance) IS NOT PERMITTED TO BE PLACED ON FACEBOOK OR ANY OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE. No games consoles are permitted on the premises. The group’s computer is located in the office and is virus and password protected. Use of the computer is authorised to Mrs White, Mrs Goddard and Mrs Morton only, with secure access to the internet. Failure to comply with this will be taken very seriously.
Illness and Sickness/Diarrhoea 
Please notify us if your child is absent due to illness and please be aware children must not be brought into preschool if they are unwell. This is particularly important as we currently have two children at the group who are very susceptible to picking up viruses. Children must not return to the group for 48 hours after a bout of vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
At preschool we offer a selection of snacks on a daily basis. This consists of fruits/vegetables (these include carrot, cucumber, apple, banana, orange, raisins) and a snack of either breadstick/plain biscuit. Children are given a choice of milk or water to drink. If your child is allergic or intolerant to any of the above, please inform us immediately. Thank you. 
Water Bottles
May we politely remind you that drinking bottles brought in from home to allow children access to water during the pre-school session must contain water only, STRICTLY NO SQUASH or any form of flavoured drink, due to allergies/adverse effects. Please also ensure your child’s bottle is named. Thank you.
Lunch Club
The lunch club runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. There are a very limited number of places available should anyone wish to use this facility as a ‘one-off’. We require 48 hours notice and the cost is £6.50 (payable up front or on the day). Please ensure that you DO NOT include any products containing NUTS in your child’s packed lunch. Can we kindly ask that your child’s name is labelled on the outside of their lunch box not inside and, as lunch club is only 45 minutes long, a sandwich, piece of fruit, yoghurt and treat is all that is needed. Please can you cut up grapes to reduce the risk of choking. Thank you.
The Friends of St. Mary’s have set up a Facebook page for parents. In order to join this group, please search ‘friends of St Mary’s Pre-school’ and send a request to join.
Church School Hall’s Car Park
May we politely remind you yet again that the Old Church School Hall’s car park is strictly for the use of STAFF ONLY. However, the privilege of using the Rosary Church Car Park remains, thus enabling you to drop off and pick up your children safely
Guidance Notes
Important changes have been made with regard to funding if a child is absent from Pre-school for more than 3 weeks due to either holiday or ill-health. The new Guidance Notes can be viewed in the Foyer and a copy has also been placed in the Policies file.
Shoe Recycling
We will be continuing the shoe recycling scheme until further notice and would be grateful for donations of any old shoes (in pairs). Please hand these to a member of staff. The group receives a small donation each time the box is filled. Thank you.
Collection of Children/Going Home Book
Just a reminder that if a child is going home with someone other than his/her usual carer, the ‘going home’ book will need to be completed with full details. If, during the session, plans change and someone other than the usual person is collecting your child, please telephone the group on 020 8462 7663 or 07903 030991. We cannot release any child to anyone under the age of 16.
Contact Details
Please ensure that the group is informed of any new addresses/telephone numbers to enable us to contact the correct person in case of emergency.  If you have access to email, please provide us with an up-to-date email address. This allows us to contact you in the case of closure due to adverse weather etc. It is extremely important that our records are kept up-to-date.

Speech and Language ‘Drop in’ Clinic
Details of the Speech and Language ‘Drop-ins’ for children under the age of 5 are as follows:
Blenheim Children and Family Centre
Blenheim Road
Kent BR6 9BH
Tel: 01689 831193
on the first Friday of the month, between 9.30 and 11.30am.
Burnt Ash Children and Family Centre
Rangefield Road
Kent BR1 4QX
Tel: 020 8697 4503
on the third Thursday of the month, between 9.30 and 11.30 am.  
No appointment is necessary, as a maximum of 12 children will be seen on a ‘first come first served’ basis. This service is available to families who have not already been referred to speech and language therapy services. 

As you are aware from the prospectus, the Group holds a number of policies. Copies of these can be requested from any member of staff. 
Finally, should you have any concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Jo White
Group Leader