About Us

Stepping Stones Pre-School  is a Registered Charity (Registered Charity number 1083646) which was registered in 1994 at the Ascension Church hall in Oldfield Park. The aim of our Pre-School is to provide a happy caring environment in which the children feel safe, happy and have fun. Through meeting our children’s individual needs we aim for them to thrive, develop at their own pace and be ready to start school.

The Pre-School is open from 9.30 am – 12.30pm on Monday – Friday during term time, with a lunch club until 2.30pm on Mondays and until 1.30pm on Thursdays. Here is our full session timetable.

The maximum number of children we can take is 24 per session, with the adult:child ratio of 1:8. We have highly qualified and experienced staff comprising of 4 dedicated members. Staff are involved in regular training sessions to update their skills. There is always a trained first aider on site.

We will accept children at Stepping Stones from aged 2.  The Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership will fund all children from the beginning of the term after their 3rd birthday for the first 15 hours per week. Some families are entitled to 2 year funding which we are happy to accept. Find our more about Stepping Stones Pre-School fees.

We follow the Early Year Foundation Stage and are inspected regularly by OFSTED. Here is the latest Stepping Stones Pre-School OFSTED Report.

For further information and to arrange a visit to Stepping Stones, please contact us.

Term Dates

Dates for your diary

2017/2018 Term Dates
Term 1
Staff in-service day (pre-school closed) Monday 4th September 2017
Start: Tuesday 5th  September 2017
Finish: Friday 20th October 2017
Term 2
Staff in-service day ( pre-school closed) Monday 30th October 2017
Start: Tuesday 31st October 2017
Finish and Christmas party: Tuesday 12th December 2017
Term 3:
Staff in-service day (pre-school closed) Tuesday 2nd  January 2018
Start: Wednesday 3rd  January 2018
Finish Friday 9th February 2018
Term 4:
Staff in-service day ( pre-school closed): Monday 19th February 2018
Start: Tuesday 20th February 2018
Finish: Friday 23rd March 2018
Term 5
Start: Monday 9th April 2018
Finish: Friday 25th May 2018
Term 6
Start: Monday 4th June 2018
Staff in-service day (pre-school closed) tba
Finish and summer party Friday 17th July 2018
Public Holidays

25 December 2017 – Christmas Day

26 December 2017– Boxing Day

01 January 2018 – New Year’s Holiday

Friday 30 March – Good Friday

Monday 2nd April – Easter Monday

Monday 7th May – May Day Bank Holiday

Monday 28th May – Spring Bank Holiday

Fees

From September 2017 – Juky 2018, our fees for three year olds will be set at £4.00 per hour, for two year olds £5.43 per hour in line with the Government Early Years Funding. This means that the session prices will be as follows:

Monday 9.30 – 12.30 £12.00/£16.29
9.30 – 2.30 £20.00/£27.15
Tuesday 9.30 – 12.30 £12.00/£16.29
Wednesday 9.30 – 12.30 £12.00/£16.29
Thursday 9.30 – 12.30 £12.00/£16.29
9.30 – 1.30 £16.00/£21.72
Friday 9.30 – 12.30 £12.00/£16.29

Any additional hours are charged at a rate of £4.00/£5.43 per hour.

The Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership will fund the first 15 hours per week (term time only) for all children from the term after their 3rd birthday in line with the Early Years Entitlement

Please be aware that you will have to pay for any additional hours that you use above the first 15 hours per week.

Our Day at Stepping Stones

Our timetable is flexible and often depends on the weather and the group that we have.  For example on a hot day we may chose to go in the garden first thing or if rain is forecast we may pop in to the garden while it is dry.

9.30 Arrival – Outdoor Play (Indoor P.E.  in poor weather)
10.00 Free Play

Rolling snack and drink through the morning or group cooking and snack time

11.15 Tidy Up Time
11.20 Singing and Rhyme Time – as a whole group
11.35 Key Person Time – this is time to get to know our children better in small groups, practice key skills, follow our ‘Letter and Sounds’ early literacy practice taking turns to speak and listen with their friends
12.15 Story Time – as a whole group
12.30 Going Home

We regularly take short walks in the local area visiting Moorland Road Shops and local playgrounds .  This is a really popular activity with both children and parents and we incorporate it where we can within our daily structure.

On Mondays and Thursdays we offer a lunch club where children bring in a packed lunch.  This is a great way of  encouraging children to eat well.   On these days our timetable will vary with additional activities on offer after lunch.

Learning Through Play

At Stepping Stones, all the children are supported in developing their potential at their own pace.  Our Key Person system enables us to ensure a planned curriculum tailored to the needs of each child.  By planning appropriate play activities we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage this prepares the children to progress with confidence through to the end of reception year at school.

The Early Years Foundation Stage is organised into three fundamental Prime areas:

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

There are four specific areas which include essential skills and knowledge:

  • Understanding the Worls
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Expressive Arts and Design

At Stepping Stones our children learn and develop by engaging in meaningful and stimulating play activities that reflect their interests.  We firmly believe that young children learn best when learning through play; investigatibng, being creative, doing . . .

When children start at Stepping Stones they are assigned a Key Person. This person supports the child’s progress throughout the year by making observations and liaise with parents about the child and learning at home.  Children’s achievements and learning are recorded in a variety of ways; written notes, photographs and pieces of work which are all put into the child’s Learning Diary.

All our staff are available to talk to parents daily and informal consultations are held when parents can discuss their child’s progress with their Key Person.

Our Policies

The following is a brief introduction to the policies that we have adopted at Stepping Stones Pre-school.   Full copies are available to read all times at the pre-school, please ask a member of staff for more information.  For further details please do click on the appropriate link or contact us to request an email version of our full policies.

Safeguarding

At Stepping Stones Pre-School our primary responsibility is the welfare and wellbeing of all the children at our school. All staff and volunteers are committed to creating a safe and secure environment for children which is free from abuse, and which recognises that children need safe adults to support them in their learning and development from birth throughout their early years and beyond. It is the collective responsibility of all staff, students, volunteers and committee members to be aware of this child protection policy, and to ensure that any concerns about children’s safety, welfare and wellbeing are responded to in line with this policy. This policy will be shared with parents/carers whose children use the pre-school.

The Designated Child Protection Officer is Nicky Sparkes and second officer is Sue Cullingford.

Recruitment

This Recruitment and Selection Policy has been produced in line with the B&NES guidance ‘Safeguarding Recruitment Toolkit’. This policy aims to ensure both safe and fair recruitment and selection is conducted at all times. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is central to this process.

Stepping Stones is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all and ensuring that all stages of recruitment and selection are fair. Recruitment and selection procedures will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that applicants are not discriminated against on the grounds of race, nationality, gender, religion, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation.

Equal Opportunities and Inclusion Policy

Stepping Stones is committed to providing equal opportunities for all children and families regardless of their race, culture, religion, gender, language or ability, and to take positive action to avoid/eliminate discrimination in all areas of our work.Our aim is to:

  • provide a secure and accessible environment in which all our children can flourish and in which all contributions are considered and valued;
  • include and value the contribution of all families to our understanding of equality and diversity;
  • provide positive non-stereotyping information about gender roles, diverse ethnic and cultural groups and disabled people;
  • improve our knowledge and understanding of issues of anti-discriminatory practice, promoting equality and valuing diversity; and make inclusion a thread that runs through all of the activities of the setting.

Admissions Policy

It is our intention to make our pre-school genuinely accessible to children and families from all sections of the local community. In order to accomplish this, we will ensure that the existence of the pre-school is widely known to our local community and make it clear that we welcome fathers and mothers, other relations and carers (including childminders) and people from all cultural, ethnic, religious and social groups, with and without disabilities.

We will also work with parents to ensure that their child is attending the number of days that are appropriate for that child at that age, give them the option to increase the number of days their child attends in a phased manner and where possible, be flexible about attendance patterns so as to accommodate the needs of individual children and families.

Health & Safety Policy

Stepping Stones believes that the health and safety of children is of paramount importance. We make our pre-school a safe and healthy place for children, parents, staff and volunteers. We aim to make children, parents and staff aware of health and safety issues and to minimize the hazards and risks to enable the children to thrive in a healthy and safe environment.  To do this we will take adequate steps to ensure the prevention of accidents and work related ill health by implementing  the appropriate policies and procedures.

Special Educational Needs Policy

All children are different. Some may require additional help and support to reach their full potential.  For some children this may come in the form of planning activities which will build on their knowledge of a subject or concept – counting, recognising colours etc.  For others a referral to an external agency or input from the local area SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) may be necessary, particularly in the case of a child with specific Special Educational Needs (SENs) such as speech and language.

By aiming to provide support and direction for children and their families from an early age, we hope that issues can be highlighted and on-going assistance and support provided while the child is in Early Years and afterwards if it proves necessary.

At Stepping Stones Pre School we aim to include every child, regardless of any special needs they may have.  By working with parents of children with existing documented Special Needs and by endeavouring to highlight and act upon any so far unidentified needs, we aim to provide all children with the help and support they may require to reach their full potential.

Please click here to read our full SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Offer.

Behaviour Management Policy

Stepping Stones Pre-School is committed to establishing an environment where adults consistently manage and encourage positive behaviour, promoting children’s welfare and development.  Our aim is to provide a happy and caring environment and to apply simple rules fairly and consistently.  Staff provide a consistent and positive approach that encourages good behaviour.  When there is unwanted behaviour, staff work together to deal with it by following agreed procedures.

Bullying is also covered in our Behaviour Management Policy.  Bullying is intentional aggressive behaviour and can take the form of physical or verbal harassment.  This is not acceptable behaviour at Stepping Stones for either adults or children and will be dealt with swiftly.

Active Play Policy

Early years is an essential time to establish good habits for being active.  Research has established that behaviours learnt at this age link to behaviours in childhood and beyond.

Stepping Stones pre-school is committed to supporting parents in encouraging their children to be active by providing opportunities for children to take part in a minimum of 45 minutes active play every day and discouraging long bouts of sedentary activity such as “screen time”.

Medicines  Policy

Our aim is to provide an inclusive service to all, and will work with all children and their families to meet their individual health requirements.  Where children have long term medical needs the pre-school will jointly form health care plans in consultation with parents and health care professionals.

While it is not our policy to care for sick children, we will agree to administer medication as part of maintaining their health and well-being or when they are recovering from an illness.  Our procedures are written in line with current guidance on ‘Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings’

Nappy Changing  Policy

All children are made welcome at Stepping Stones regardless of what stage they are at in their toilet training.

We will work with parents to ensure we are consistent with toilet training procedures and will look after the personal care of our children in an appropriately professional and caring manner.

Arrivals and Departures Policy

Staff at Stepping Stones follow a system for registering children, parents, staff and visitors attendance on a daily basis.  Our aim is to provide a warm welcome to all visitors to Stepping Stones whilst ensuring the safety of the children in our care.

Procedure for Uncollected Children

In the event that a child is not collected by an authorised adult at the end of a session, we will ensure that the child receives a high standard of care by an experienced and qualified practitioner who, where possible, is known to the child. We inform parents/carers of our procedures so that, if they are unavoidably delayed, they will be reassured that their children will be properly cared for in a way that causes as little distress as possible. .

Lost Child Procedures

All precautions are taken to ensure children are safe and secure on the premises during Pre-school hours. Precautions are also taken if children are taken outside.  In the event that a child is lost, we will ensure a search is made for the child immediately, parents and authorities are notified at the appropriate stage, and a high level of care is maintained to the rest of the children at Stepping Stones while these procedures are followed.

E-Safety Policy

Stepping Stones staff will ensure that adults and children communicate and learn to use ICT safely.  We recognize the value of ICT, the importance of using it safely and the need to outline the acceptable use of Internet, emails, storage of documents and children’s records, images, Social networks, cameras and mobile phones.

Making a Complaint

Stepping Stones believes that children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt, careful attention to their needs and wishes.  We welcome suggestions on how to improve our pre-school and will give prompt and serious attention to any concerns about the running of the setting.  We have a parent’s suggestion box for compliments, comments or suggestions and we anticipate that most concerns will be resolved quickly by an informal approach to the appropriate member of staff.  If this does not achieve the desired result, we have a set of procedures for dealing with concerns.  Our aim to bring all concerns about the running of our setting to a satisfactory conclusion for all of the parties involved in a timely manner.

Confidentiality

It is our intention to respect the privacy of children and their parents and carers, while ensuring that they access high quality Pre-School care and education.

We aim to ensure that all parents and carers can share their information in the confidence that it will only be used to enhance the welfare of their children.

Whistle Blowing Policy

Blowing the whistle is more formally known as ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’ and workers are protected in certain ways under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.  Stepping Stones pre-school is committed to maintaining a culture where it is safe and acceptable for all employees, committee or parents to raise concerns about practices or procedures in the pre-school. This policy is designed to assist those who have come to a decision to express a concern after making reasonable attempts to raise these concerns and have not been satisfied by our complaints procedure.

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