Southwater Village Preschool

About Our Preschool

about us

Southwater Village Hall Pre-School opened as a charity in June 1974, registered charity number 1027293. It is still the only non-profit-making pre-school in the village of Southwater. We are a member of the Early Years Alliance, a national body dedicated to the provision of childcare. We are registered with Ofsted Early Years Directorate and with W.S.C.C for free entitlement funding to ensure national standards are adhered to.

We aim to provide your child with a safe, caring environment in which they can be encouraged to learn through play and planned activities These activities are guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

children playing

All children in the early years need a safe and stimulating environment. We aim to provide children with great care and attention from qualified staff, as well as volunteer parent helpers. We want children to join with other children and adults to live, play, work and learn together.

Sessions are organised so that children can choose from, and work at, a variety of activities and, in doing so, build up their ability to select and work through a task to completion. The children are also helped and encouraged to take part in adult-led small and large group activities, which introduce them to new experiences and help them to gain new skills, as well as helping them to learn to work with others.

We see parents as partners in helping each child to learn and develop. Our pre-school recognises parents as the first and most important educators of their children. Parents are seen as partners in providing care and education for their children.”Heather Clarke, Pre-school manager.

We currently operate from two halls within the Village Hall. We are registered with Ofsted for up to 42 children. In 2020 we have a brand new, large and dedicated outside fenced play area.


What is it like at preschool post lockdown?

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all adjusting to a new normal. Many parents may feel anxious and uncertain about using childcare provision given all the media coverage and seemingly endless government publications. So, just what is it like in settings now?

At Southwater Village Hall Preschool parents and carers will notice that we now stagger the start and end times of sessions to reduce large groups congregating outside, and make social distancing that little bit easier for everyone.

The first activity of the day is hand washing. Lots of fun is had singing songs and foaming bubbles to make this activity an engaging one. Handwashing is now a far more frequent affair and goes beyond the usual toilet, lunchtime, and messy play scenarios.

Children freely access toys and resources as they explore and discover with their friends without the expectation of social distancing. Whilst staff socially distance from one another we do not distance ourselves from the children. We continue to offer the same level of engagement, contact and care we have always done. Whether it is a grazed knee or a child missing Mummy and/or Daddy, TLC and comfort is always given.

Children play and learn outside as much as possible. Many of our indoor resources are moved outside to create a stimulating and challenging environment that goes beyond physical play, whilst benefiting from being out in the fresh air. We also have a large playground with climbing frame, roundabout, swings and mud kitchens.

Cleaning has become second nature to us all. It is a big part of the new normal. Resources and equipment are carefully selected to ensure they can be cleaned effectively.

We place additional focus on children’s social and emotional development. We help and encourage children to form strong relationships with the staff and children so they feel safe, secure and settled. Children continue to make friends, laugh and learn together without restriction in a Covid-secure environment. We plan carefully to ensure that revised procedures affecting the adults do not affect the children. For the children it really has been business as usual at preschool, where learning is fun!

We are a term-time setting offering lunch link to enable children to stay and play all day. We welcome children from two years four months and offer universal funding for three and four year-olds.

early years foundation stage (EYFS)

The provisions for children’s development and learning is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE 2012). Our provision reflects the four overarching principles of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

the four key themes within the EYFS are:

  • A unique child
  • Positive relationships
  • Enabling environments
  • Learning and development

The areas of learning and development within the EYFS are:

Prime Areas

  • Personal, Social and Emotional development
  • Communication and language
  • Physical development

Specific Areas

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

children visiting local shop

None of the areas of learning and development can be delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally important and depend upon each other to support a rounded approach to child development. All the areas must be delivered through planned purposeful play, with a balance of adult-led and child initiated play. We aim to achieve the following:

  • High quality early years care and education to all children in a warm, secure, safe and caring environment.
  • To work in partnership with parents/carers so that we can provide for all children’s individual and changing needs.
  • Our Inclusion Co-ordinator encourages equal opportunities for all children, regardless of cultural differences, gender, and learning abilities.
  • Play equipment, materials and activities provided are planned by qualified staff to cover all areas of learning, enabling most children to achieve the early learning goals by the end of reception year at school.
  • All areas of learning are regularly evaluated, and modified and extended to meet the needs of the individual.


Fees for under 3s and for children accessing hours above the funded 15 hours from September 2020.

Morning Session £18.00
Lunch Link £6.75
Afternoon Session £18.00
Adhoc Session £19.00

Fees are due in by the end of the second week of the term. Unfortunately, we are unable to give refunds if for any reason a child is unable to attend. If fees are not paid promptly, the committee reserve the right to refuse your child a place.

We are happy to take online payments (please show the name of child) or Employee Childcare Vouchers Fees (these usually provide tax savings). We are registered with a range of voucher providers. We can provide further information on request.

If you pay by cash or cheque then these should always be in a sealed envelope with your child’s name clearly marked on the front. Please also write ‘fees’ on the front of the envelope.

Lunch Link

children activity

We have introduced a Lunch Link session for over 3s, which provides the option for children to eat their lunch at Pre-School. The experience of eating lunch in the Pre-School setting helps to develop children’s social skills and independence before they move on to ‘big school’.

Attending Lunch Link gives the opportunity to attend Pre-School for the whole day or a longer morning/afternoon session on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday.

Parents/Carers provide their child with a packed lunch in line with our Lunch Link Policy. Lunch Link fees are £6.75 per session and are not currently covered by government funding. The fees are payable termly in advance and are due by the end of the second week of term.

Free Entitlement Funding

In line with the current guidelines regarding funding, children are fully funded for up to five sessions per week (dependent on availability), from the term following their 3rd birthday.

Universal Free Entitlement Funding Policy

Key Person Scheme

We hold consultation meetings with parents to talk about your child’s progress.

Each new child is assigned a member of staff (Key Person), who initially helps them settle into Pre-School. It is their ongoing responsibility to encourage the child in their new environment, to observe and record their achievements, and to identify areas for future development.

To support your child’s progress, we encourage you to liaise regularly with their Key Person. They are generally available before and after each session, or if necessary an appointment can be arranged. Some information from the journal will be shared with other settings/carers that your child may attend. Relevant information will be given to the infant schools during the summer term prior to children starting in the following Autumn term.

children activity

The Key Person is also responsible for keeping your child’s Learning Journal up to date. This journal is a developmental record containing information, photographs and examples of activities. It is shared with parents and eventually passed on to the appropriate Infant School.

our staff

The staff are professionally trained or are currently studying for relevant qualifications. We are kept updated about courses offered by the Early Years Alliance and other professional agencies, which staff are encouraged to attend.

A daily staff rota is displayed on the parent notice board in the preschool.

Manager, Designated Safeguarding and Child Protection Officer Heather Clarke
Deputy Manager, Designated Safeguarding and Child Protection Person Wendy Lowis
SENCO, Leader, Health & Safety Officer Emma Buckland
Key Person Assistant Irene Slade
Key Person Assistant Theresa Parsons
Key Person Assistant Samantha (Sammy) McGowan
Key Person Assistant Sarah Herd
Assistant Katie Roberts
Assistant Tracy McLaughlin
Assistant Trina Matheson

Routines and Activities

View Example of our Routines and Activities

This is the foundation of the session. Times are a guide only and children’s individual needs and spontaneous play take priority over plans. The activities listed are only a small example of what the children do.

Term Dates

Autumn Term 2020

First day of term Monday 7th September
Half Term Monday 26th October – Friday 30th October
Last day of term Friday 18th December

Spring Term 2021

First day of term Monday 4th January
Half Term Monday 15th February – Friday 19th February
Last day of term Thursday 1st April

Summer Term 2021

First day of term Monday 19th April
Half Term Monday 31st May – Friday 4th June
Last day of term Friday 16th July Graduation Day


Day AM Lunch Link PM
Monday 9.15am – 12.15pm 12.15pm – 1pm 1.00pm – 4.00pm
Tuesday 9.15am – 12.15pm 12.15pm – 1pm 1.00pm – 4.00pm
Wednesday 9.15am – 12.15pm N/A No session
Thursday 9.15am – 12.15pm 12.15pm – 1pm 1.00pm – 4.00pm
Friday 9.15am – 12.15pm N/A No session
OFSTED rated good Logo