Playgroup uses an online journal called Tapestry as one way of keeping parents and carers as involved as possible in their children’s time at Stepping Stones as they can.
It is a lovely way for parents and carers to see photos of what their children get up to during the day. Your child’s keyworker will regularly upload photos and add descriptions of your child’s activities. You can make comments and even send photos of your child back to playgroup too.
Each parent or carer is given individual secure log in details, after providing their permissions and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the use of Tapestry, on registration for playgroup. Online security is very important to our establishment and we will protect your child’s information at all stages.
We love to try and include parents and carers as much as we can with all the wonderful things your child gets up to at playgroup. The children love to share all the different activities planned for every day.
Every half term has a different theme, and we share the staff’s planned activites with parents, so you can see what your child will enjoy and how it will fit into our curriculum.
At the end of each half term we produce a Newsletter, which includes lots of lovely photos of your children and some of their adventures. This is emailed out to all parents and carers of registered children, who have given permissions.
Carly, our Playgroup Leader is a qualified Forest School teacher and we currently run one forest school session a week on a Wednesday afternoon, which is very popular.
We really value the Forest School opportunity for as many of our children as we can. Research shows that young children are stimulated by the sensory experience of the natural world outdoors and it can nurture their self-belief, confidence, learning capacity, enthusiasm, communication, problem solving skills and emotional well-being.
During a session, the children will have their lesson outdoors through a hands on learning experience, collecting treasures and discovering the natural world within the beautiful woodland grounds available to playgroup on the school site.
In a controlled, safe, environment Forest School ensures that the children taking part naturally learn to assess risks and are encouraged to make sensible and informed decisions about how to deal with unfamiliar and unpredictable situations. Much of the learning for a child comes as a result of the opportunities they have for testing their own abilities in a real life context.
Forest School sets learning in a different context for children where they can undertake a range of practical activities and carry out small achievable tasks. Children can develop their team working skills in sharing tools, and also become more independent. Those that are unfamiliar with woodlands and green spaces can become more confident in using them, and this can form the basis of a wonderful life long relationship with natural spaces.
Throughout the year there are times when we like to take the children out of the playgroup on local walks, to visit the town and its amenities, or to attend local events. These trips are always very well planned and fully supervised; we also ask if parents or carers would like to attend and everyone is well informed of every excursion.
We have an annual playgroup trip in the summer term. This is always a great day out for the children, key workers, parents and carers. We always make sure the venue is of educational value and fits with the theme the children have been learning about that term. We also like to give parents and carers a choice of the venue, where we can. Playgroup will always try to subsidise the costs of these trips to make it as affordable as possible.
Please sign the relevant form in your registration pack to agree consent for your child to attend these trips.
Occasionally we invite people or companies who specialise in giving children educational experiences, to visit the children at playgroup. These might include important members of our community like the emergency services, or Zoo Lab who bring in animals for the children to see and handle.
At the end of each academic year we hold our annual Farewell Picnic for all the children and parents and carers. This is also an opportunity for a small graduation ceremony for our children who will be leaving us to start school. It often gets quite emotional but it is a lovely chance for our Keyworkers to say good luck!
We are proud of the testimonials we’ve received from our parents and carers, who together with their children, are the best reflection of the work we do at Stepping Stones Playgroup. Here are some of their words:
Samantha G“My little boy attended Stepping Stones from 3 years old. His confidence and imagination grew so much with the help and support of the amazing key workers. We’ve found the transition from Stepping Stones to Stoberry smooth and believe it’s because he was already used to the school site and surroundings. Thank you Stepping Stones.”
Candice“Stepping Stones Playgroup has provided a kind and nurturing environment to all of my three children who have attended and loved being there. The activities on offer have been really varied and fulfilling, and staff have been so attentive with settling in and preparing us for school. Communication about what children have been up to in the sessions has been invaluable, we still feel very connected to their day. We would not hesitate to recommend Stepping Stones to our friends – and often do!”
Beren“From the very beginning all the teachers at Stepping Stones made all of us feel welcome and accepted. My son has adjusted very quickly after his settling in sessions and comes home each time telling us what he did. He loves being able to play both indoors and outdoors freely and clearly feels he has the support he needs.”
Emma D“Fredy treats Stepping Stones as her second home. I have seen her thrive in her time attending which is thanks to the kindness and encouragement of all the staff. There are so many creative, imaginative, outdoor activities thoughtfully put together it never surprises me that she is always so full of enthusiasm about her day. It’s a big step to leave a child in someone else’s care. At Stepping Stones I never worry for a second.”
Sarah B“Both my children have been through this amazing playgroup and both have blossomed. I highly recommend this amazing nursery, the staff are patient and kind to both children and parents. I love it that much that my third child is on the waiting list.”
Emma W“Our girls loved their time at Stepping Stones! The staff are amazing, such kind and thoughtful practitioners and our children thrived under their care and guidance. Happily, the girls still say hello to the staff most days as they are now at Stoberry School and we know that this really eased their transition to big school.”