At Stepping Stones we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, which has been written for children aged from birth to five. This is a national curriculum, which contains guidance on how children will progress through stages of development. The play activities we provide have a high level of adult input, but we also encourage the children to become independent and confident at their own pace.
Every half term staff will decide on a new theme. The planning and craft activities associated take all aspects of the curriculum and learning into account to provide the children with a balanced syllabus.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
This involves helping the children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others to form healthy relationships, and have respect for others. To develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings, to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and to have confidence in their abilities.
Communication and Language
To give the children the opportunity to experience a rich language environment, and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, to develop their coordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and songs) to ignite their interest.
Providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers. To calculate simple addition and subtraction, describe space and shape, and to measure.
Understanding the World
We guide the children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive Arts and Design
We enable children to explore and play with a wide range of media and material, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activites in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design.
A child identified as having special educational needs will be assessed individually, with professional support if necessary, to ensure the child and their family are completely supported. Every child’s needs will be discussed when they are formally offered a place at playgroup and there will be time to talk to families about how we can best support them.
We have an allocated member of Staff who is our qualified SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) who is responsible for organising all aspects of the child’s education on an individual basis.
Somerset County Council’s SEND Local Offer webpage has information on the services available for children and young people up to 25 years with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and how to access them. Stepping Stones Playgroup are listed as a childcare provider with SEN provision.
A named ENCO (Equalities C-ordinator) is also available at playgroup to ensure we are working with current Equal Opportunities Legislation.
Every child is met at the side pedestrian welcome gate where they say their goodbyes and are walked up to Stepping Stones through the school site by staff.
In the cloakroom entrance, the children remove their outer clothing and hang it on their allocated peg, which has a picture of themselves on it. Lunchboxes are kept by their pegs. Hands are washed and they can enter the main playgroup, where staff will sign them in. Drinks bottles are put in the drinks tray, where they are accessible for the child to help themselves during their session. Please label all items so we can keep track of your child’s belongings.
A typical session contains a mixture of adult led and self chosen activities. These include crafting, painting, drawing, puzzles, home corner, dressing up, books, sand, water, construction, playdough and much, much more! The children are always encouraged to choose their own activites and support is given where needed.
We have the school hall available to us, which we use for some larger events. Music and dancing are all done within the playgroup.
We would like to give you an idea of how a general playgroup day is structured, from the table below. Some activities may take longer to do or if the children are particularly enjoying a task, staff will make sure they receive the maximum benefit from it and give them time. We welcome a fluidity to our days!
|Welcome at the gate
Hang coats up, wash hands and signed in.
|Choosing Time – craft activity, playdough, construction, puzzles, dressing up…
|Pack away activities.
|Register Time – the daily register is taken.
|Circle Time – each child takes turns to talk, share and listen about things they have been involved in. Also the time to discuss Playgroup themes.
Collect name cards and wash hands.
Inside play and book corner.
|Outside Play – outdoor clothing put on and line up.
Play in the playground with the bikes, trikes, cars and lots more!
Line up ready to come back inside, take off outdoor clothing.
|Table Top activities – board games, construction, mark making, small world sets.
Pack away and story time.
|Welcomes to children joining us for an afternoon session,
Goodbyes to children leaving after a morning session.
Children collect their name cards and wash hands.
|Lunch Time – for children and staff.
Staggered lunch for staff to assist children.
|Carpet Play and choosing time.
Outside Play in the back play areas – fort, mud kitchen, playgroup garden, house, slide, water play and sand pit.
|Story and Song Time
|Home Time – children taken to the gate for collection and an opportunity to talk to staff.
Extra special sessions are fitted into this structure during the week on certain days, and these include:
Forest School, Sports sessions, Music & Dance and Cooking
Please don’t send your child to playgroup in their best clothes! The children are encouraged to participate in all sorts of potentially messy craft activites every day, and whilst staff endeavour to keep everyone clean by providing aprons and protective clothing, accidents do happen. We will always provide spare clothing if necessary. However some personal spare clothes kept in your child’s bag on their peg is very handy and will make them feel more comfortable when getting changed.
As the weather changes your child will need a sunhat or a winter hat and gloves. It is also a good idea to provide some wellies in a plastic bag that are kept in playgroup for wet days.
All clothing should ideally be labelled, but definitely all outer wear including coats, hats, gloves, scarves and wellies.
We recommend you might consider purchasing some Stepping Stones uniform. We have jumpers and polo shirts available with our logo on. They are very hard wearing and may save on extra purchases of clothes for playgroup. They can also help get your child used to wearing a little uniform in preparation for school.
You can order online at South West Schoolwear. Or visit the shop locally at 23 Broad Street, Wells BA5 2DJ.
Stepping Stones Sweatshirt £10.50
Stepping Stones Polo £6.95
During a morning session, your child will have structured time to enjoy their healthy snack brought in from home. Playgroup will provide free milk or water daily during snack time. Our milk is delivered fresh regularly by the supplier Cool Milk, and is kept refrigerated in the kitchen.
Please provide a bottle with their name on containing water or a favourite drink (no fizzy drinks please). This is placed in the drinks tray by your child so they can help themselves when they need a drink throughout their session.
If your child is staying for an all day session (8.30/9am – 3pm) or an afternoon session (12pm – 3pm) they will need to bring a packed lunch with them. We do encourage healthy eating at playgroup as we sit down together to eat and use this as an opportunity to discuss our food.
Until recently we were able to offer the opportunity to purchase a hot lunch on a Monday and Thursday, provided by Stoberry Park school. This created a lovely social interaction for the children with school staff, helping them become familiar with the school environment and giving them an experience of school dinners before they start school and can take advantage of free school meals for KS1. Feedback from the school was wonderful, confirming the children made the transition extremely well. Sadly, during the pandemic we were forced to give up this opportunity, however we hope to get it up and running again as soon as we can.
We have cooking as part of our curriculum and the children are encouraged to learn about a wide variety of foods. They will then often eat their creations as their snack too! If your child is allergic to any food groups or has particular dietary requirements, please state this on their Registration Form.
The safety of our children is paramount and all our members of staff are extremely vigilant and trained to be aware of potential hazards. All reasonable precautions, including risk assessments are undertaken regularly to ensure the safety of the children at all times while attending playgroup.
The main building door is locked during a session once everyone has arrived. The rear fire door can be opened easily from the inside in case of emergencies.
On arrival and collection at playgroup, the children are walked to the main pedestrian gate on the school site. This gate is kept locked by school outside of these handover times.
If your child is unwell, please do not send them to playgroup. Please inform staff in the morning, either by phone 01749 677011, leaving a voice message, or emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then know not expect your child that day.
If the illness includes vomiting or diarrhoea we ask that your child does not return to playgroup for 48 hours after the last symptoms have stopped. If your child contracts an infectious illness please keep them at home and inform playgroup so we can let other parents know if necessary.
Playgroup are following the Department of Education”s most recent guidance from 1st April 2022 to their measures for managing Covid-19.
- Parents and carers (and all adults) with symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature and feel unwell should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until well.
- Children who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can return to playgroup when they no longer have a high temperature and are well enough.
- Parents and carers (and all adults) with a positive Covid-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious.
- Children with a positive Covid-19 test result are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days.
Staff at Stepping Stones are no longer provided with self-test kits and will therefore not be testing regularly as before. They will follow the advice above for parents and all adults.
If a child in our care needs medical assistance but it is not an emergency, we will contact the person named on your registration form to collect the child and take them to their local doctor or casualty department, if required.
In the event of an medical emergency an ambulance will be called and a member of staff will accompany the child to hospital. Their parents or carers will be informed immediately.
All playgroup staff are first aid certified and attend regular courses to make sure they are well experienced and equipped with the latest techniques to provide the best treatment for a child should an event occur. So rest assured, your child is in safe hands.
As a setting we aim to regularly review and update our policies. We maintain our policies in line with national requirements and Ofsted Recommendations. All of our policies are available on request from the setting.