Preschool Admission Statement
Our Preschool offers children a true “pre-school year” before they move up to Reception. With their own purpose-built EYFS building, which is shared with Reception, our pre-school children enjoy a well-rounded school experience so that when the time comes to start "big school" they are raring to go!
Our main intake is at the start of the academic year in September and priority will always be given to parents of children who are applying to Black Firs Reception the following September. We will always consider in-year admissions for Pre-schoolers moving into the area, or once school offers have been made in April. We would encourage you to consider a minimum of 2 days/4 sessions so your child has the opportunity to make relationships and get to know our routine.
Sometimes availability for sessions may change. For example, we may be able to offer full time in September but need to reassess sessions in April to allow us to accommodate more Reception starters once school offers have been made. Parents will be contacted if we need to reassess their current sessions.
Every child will be entitled to 15 hours free to claim at Black Firs Preschool starting the term after their 3rd birthday. Additionally, you may be entitled to 30 hours. Check here: https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-and-education-for-2-to-4-year-olds
We are a busy Preschool and therefore operate a waiting list and though we try our best to accommodate every request, we do fill up very quickly. Priority will always be given to Reception starters. If space allows we may be able to offer places to some younger children. This may be afternoon sessions initially.
To add your child to our waiting list, please complete all of the forms in our pre-school application pack which can be found below and return them to our school office by post, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or pop them straight to us between the hours of 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday-Friday by hand.
Once applications are received, we apply similar criteria to that applied to our Reception School starters with priority given to those children who will be joining our School once they reach four years of age. This means that we prioritise siblings and children living nearest to School first. We understand that attending our Preschool but being unable to secure a place in our Reception class would be disappointing and disruptive so applying the same criteria hopefully lessens the chances of this happening.
Places in our Preschool fill up quickly and we endeavour to offer all children a minimum of 15 hours (2 full days and one morning or afternoon) in our setting before joining our Reception class.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee full time places so, some of our children attend two settings if full time childcare is required. In this event we work closely with other childcare providers to ensure continuity of care and a smooth transition into our Reception class.
We encourage you to apply for your child’s Preschool place as soon as you can. This enables us to manage our numbers and plan staffing.
Parents will be contacted by email by the School Office to offer a pre-school place prior to the start of the term. Emails will be sent in June for the September intake. You will also be contacted if you have been unsuccessful in securing a place for that term and offered the next available term.
Late applications are always welcome, however to avoid disappointment, it is better to plan well ahead and get your application to us as soon as you can.
Our Preschool operates for ten sessions each week. The sessions are from 8.45 until 11.45am and 12.45 – 3.20 p.m. It is a part of Black Firs School and registered to accept a wide variety of Nursery Vouchers.
We also offer a lunch club. If you would like to enrol your child for any number of sessions please telephone the School Office, on 01260 272935.
Our intent for our Early Years
At Black Firs, the EYFS curriculum is designed to encourage independent, inquisitive and happy life-long learners who are equipped with the resilience and confidence for life in our ever-changing world. We recognise children’s prior learning and different starting points and create a holistic curriculum that maximises opportunities for first hand experiences and builds strong foundations for the future.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual and we understand that all their learning journeys will be different. We acknowledge and celebrate children’s interests and provide opportunities for children to follow their imagination and creativity through play.
We provide vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision that supports and challenges children in investigating, developing and applying their skills.
At Black Firs we see parents as our partners and work with them to encourage and support children to be the best they can be. We value the importance of a successful transition into KS1 and work with our infant team to provide children with the skills, attitudes and behaviours needed to make a strong start in Year 1.
In Preschool and Reception, we meet the welfare requirements laid down in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2021). We actively safeguard and promote the welfare of all our children. We recognise that children learn most effectively when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults who care for them. We aim to provide a setting that is a safe and stimulating environment where children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence and independence.
We begin by ensuring a strong foundation in the Prime areas of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language. We know that unless a child is secure in these areas, learning and development in the specific areas of the EYFS framework will be limited.
Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-led activities and challenges organised as a ‘play sandwich’ during our day.
How does this look in practice…
Black Firs children are provided with plenty of time to engage in exploration through enticing experiences centred on their interests and deeply rooted in a love of books and reading.
Reading is at the heart of our EYFS curriculum and we follow a DfE validated early reading programme to ensure a strong start for all our children.
We follow a maths mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on key skills so that our children develop a deep understanding and acquisition of mathematical language.
Our inclusive approach means that all children play and learn together but we are timely in our intervention and support for children not reaching their potential or those who are ready for more challenge.
We are reflective practitioners with a good subject knowledge. We welcome professional discussion and development. This is supported by engagement with other EYFS practitioners across our cluster of local schools.
We build strong relationships with parents and families from the outset. We keep them informed through our use of Earwig and Teams, and through more formal parents’ evenings. We value parents’ contributions to their child’s journey and share and celebrate successes with them.
We aim to ensure all children progress through a balanced and creative EYFS curriculum. We strive to ensure that every child makes a good level of progress from their individual starting points, including vulnerable groups such as though with SEND, PP or EAL children. Every child gets the best possible start to their Black Firs journey. We take the following measures to check we are achieving this;
- We record quality Earwig observations of children whilst they play and learn. These inform our professional judgements and steer our planning to ensure our practice remains relevant and appropriate.
- Summative phonics assessments are completed half termly for all our Reception children
- Each term we use a checkpoint spreadsheet to highlight children ‘on track’ and ‘not on track’ to meet the requirements of the Early Learning Goals for Reception, or the Development Matters guidance for 3 to 4 year olds for our Pre-schoolers.
- Parents are invited to provide evidence of their child’s learning at home through Earwig.
The impact of our curriculum is also measured by how effectively it helps our children develop into well rounded individuals who embody our Black Firs values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens.
At the end of EYFS Black Firs children;
- Have strong communication skills. Our children listen respectfully and with a tolerance of the views of others. Our children speak up and ask for help.
- Take pride in all that they do and always strive to do and be their best.
- Demonstrate emotional resilience and the ability to persevere when they encounter a challenge.
- Develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own abilities.
- Are kind, respectful and honest, demonstrate inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in our wider society.