Frequently Asked Questions

Starting playgroup

At what age can my child attend the playgroup?
What are the opening hours for the playgroup?
How many children attend the playgroup and how many members of staff are there?
What qualifications do staff have?
How do I register my child for Buckingham Playgroup?
What happens when my child first starts playgroup?
What does my child need to bring to playgroup?

Financial Considerations

What are the fees?
When will my child be eligible for funding?
Can funding be split between two settings?

During Playgroup Hours

Does my child need to be potty trained?
What should my child wear to playgroup?
What refreshments will the playgroup provide?
How does the playgroup deal with behaviour issues?
What should I do if someone else is picking my child up from playgroup?
What should I do if my child is unable to attend?

Learning and Development

What sort of things will my child be learning?
How will my child’s progress be monitored?

Special Requirements

What should I do if my child has a medical condition?
How does the playgroup meet any special educational needs or disabilities?

Sickness and Accidents

Can he/she still come to playgroup if unwell?
What happens if my child becomes unwell or has an accident during the day?

Communication with Parents

How do I find out what my child has been doing at playgroup?
What should I do if I have a complaint?

Parental Involvement

How can I become more involved in the playgroup?
Can I help out during the playgroup sessions?
Can I join the Playgroup Committee?
Staff and Parent days
Can I help with the Fundraising?

Starting playgroup


At what age can my child attend the playgroup?
We accept children from the term after their second birthday to 5 years of age.

What are the opening hours for the playgroup?
We are open Monday to Friday during term time only. The morning session begins at 9.00am and finishes at 12.00pm. We encourage children to arrive as near to 9.00am as possible. Our Lunch Club runs between 12.00pm and 1.00pm. Our afternoon sessions are run on Monday, Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday from 12.00pm until 3.00pm.We also provide an Early Morning Drop off service from 8.30am – 9.00am.

Please collect your child on time to avoid unnecessary anxiety. If you are going to be late please telephone to let us know.

How many children attend the playgroup and how many members of staff are there?
We have places for 30 children per morning or afternoon session. We employ 9 members of staff. We maintain the ratio of adults to children that is set by the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements. We also welcome parent helpers to complement these ratios.

What qualifications do staff have?
All staff regularly undertake training including first aid and child protection training. Six members hold an NVQ3 Certificate in Childcare and Education, two a Level 2, one who is working towards a qualification and an Administration Manager. We ensure that all staff at Playgroup are checked via enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service.

How do I register my child for Buckingham Playgroup?
Please print an application form from the website, collect from playgroup or email Clare Lewis at buckingham.playgroup@yahoo.com. Places are filled according to our Admissions Policy.

What happens when my child first starts playgroup?
We want your child to feel happy and safe with us. To make sure that this is the case, the staff will work closely with you to decide how to help your child to settle into the playgroup.

What does my child need to bring to playgroup?
Please bring a named bag containing a change of clothes in case of accidents and nappies if required. Please ensure all belongings are clearly marked with your child’s name. Please also bring a named water bottle and a healthy packed lunch, if staying for lunch.

Financial Considerations


What are the fees?

The fees are £15.00 per 3 hour session for children aged two.  Once your child reaches three years of age they will move to the second fee tier which is £13.50 per session.  Lunch club is £5.00 per hour for two year olds and £4.50 for three year olds and over.

Absences (including illness and holidays) will be chargeable and are non-transferrable. If your child will be absent over a long period of time, please speak to the Senior Lead Practitioner.

When will my child be eligible for funding?
We are in receipt of West Sussex Free Entitlement funding for three and four year olds which enables eligible children to access 15 hours of funded sessions per week. Your child will be eligible for funding from the term after their third birthday.

Extended Free Entitlement (From September 2017) –  Many working parents of three to four year olds will be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare for 38 weeks of the year. Eligibility rules for the additional 15 hours are as follows:

  • Both parents must be working – or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family.
  • Each parent earns the equivalent of 16 hours a week at National Minimum Wage (for those aged 24 or under) or National Living Wage (for those aged 25 or over). Each parent earns less than £100,000 per year.
  • It may also be available where one parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring or is disabled or incapacitated and in receipt of specific disability benefits.
  •  

We can also offer spaces for 2 year olds who meet the criteria for the 15 hours free entitlement.

As of April 2015, nurseries, schools, child minders and other childcare providers are now able to claim extra funding through the Early Years Pupil Premium. This is to support and improve the quality of provision within Early Years Settings for 3 and 4 year olds. More information about the Early Years Pupil Premium can be found here.

Can funding be split between two settings?
Funding hours can be split between a maximum of two childcare settings who are registered to receive funding. Parents must complete a FE Parent Declaration form at each childcare setting, on which there is a section to show that hours are also claimed at another setting.

During Playgroup Hours


Does my child need to be potty trained?
Many children starting at playgroup will still need support for potty and toilet training. Parents are requested to provide a named bag with nappies, change of clothes and toilet seats or potties so that our staff will be able help children with toilet training. If a child uses particular words for going to the toilet then it would be helpful if we could be advised of these.

What should my child wear to playgroup?
We provide protective clothing for the children when they take part in messy activities but inevitably, they do get messy during painting/gluing etc, and possibly muddy when playing outdoors, so please dress your child for potentially messy play.

We encourage children to be independent in taking themselves to the toilet, and taking off and putting on outdoor clothes so it helps if you can dress them in clothing that is easy for them to manage. Sweatshirts, t-shirts and sun hats with the playgroup logo on are available to purchase at playgroup.

What refreshments will the playgroup provide?
Our playgroup makes snack time a social occasion at which children eat together. We plan the snack menu to provide the children with healthy and nutritious food. We provide milk or water and ensure that water is available in the playroom at all times. Please tell us about your child’s dietary needs and we plan accordingly.

How does the playgroup deal with behaviour issues?
At Buckingham Playgroup we aim to support all children to control their actions and reactions appropriately. Each child has the right to feel safe, be respected and to learn and play in a secure and happy environment. The staff role is to encourage each child to develop their sense of responsibility towards others, be polite to each other and adults, take care of resources, keep them tidy and look after the playgroup environment.

We actively teach children to respect others. Bullying, whether physical, verbal or emotional, is not acceptable under any circumstances. Any reports of bullying will be carefully investigated and, if substantiated, action will be taken.

What should I do if someone else is picking my child up from playgroup?
If you know that a relative or person other than yourself or your child’s usual carer is likely to collect your child from the playgroup you must let us know in advance. We cannot allow a child to be collected by a third party unless we have permission from you. Should you wish to make a permanent change to the arrangements for collection of your child please speak to a member of staff.

What should I do if my child is unable to attend?
Your child will greatly benefit from regular attendance. However, if your child is unable to attend a session please telephone or text to let us know as soon as possible.

Learning and Development


What sort of things will my child be learning?
Children learn through playing, exploring and communicating so the emphasis at playgroup is still on play. However, we do follow government guidelines on learning and development. For all children we follow the guidance of the Statutory Framework of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which provides the curriculum from birth until the end of the Reception class year. There are seven areas of learning – communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development, literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.

How will my child’s progress be monitored?
When your child starts at Buckingham Playgroup they are assigned a Key Person, but this may be subject to change. Your child needs to bond with their Key Person independently and this is hard to do without knowing the individual child. If a child “chooses” a different key person, parents and staff are informed immediately.

The Key Person will monitor your child’s progress through the ‘Foundation Stage’ curriculum. They will keep a record of the key signs of your child’s development, ensure that activities are organised to suit their needs and interests and work with you to provide for his/her well-being and progression. You are always welcome to discuss your child with the Key Person or any other member of staff as you wish.

Special Requirements


What should I do if my child has a medical condition?
If your child needs medication we would be grateful if you could speak to a member of staff before bringing any medicines into the playroom. If your child needs an inhaler it is often possible to obtain one inhaler for the playgroup and one for home, which avoids problems in the evenings or at weekends if the inhaler has been left at the playgroup.

How does the playgroup meet any special educational needs or disabilities?
Buckingham Playgroup believes that all children have a right to be a part of their local community and to be welcomed and included on equal terms in their local playgroup. The playgroup works to the requirements of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (2015). We provide an environment in which all children, including those with special educational needs, are supported to reach their full potential.

Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is Michelle Jackson who ensures our provision meets the needs of each individual child, working closely with outside agencies to develop a learning plan specific to each child.

Sickness and Accidents


Can he/she still come to playgroup if unwell?
If your child is unwell and/or contagious we would not expect them at playgroup and you should follow your doctor’s advice. After a bout of sickness or diarrhoea we ask you to keep your child at home for 48 hours, following the last instance. Young children need this time to recover their stamina. Normal coughs and colds that are running their course are acceptable as long as your child feels well enough to attend.

What happens if my child becomes unwell or has an accident during the day?
If your child is unwell during the day a member of staff will try and contact you as soon as possible in order for you to collect them. For this reason, please help us to ensure that your contact details are kept up to date.

If your child is hurt at playgroup our first aid qualified staff will look after them. The accident will be recorded in the Accident Book and if necessary you will be contacted. If we are unable to contact you immediately, a member of staff will accompany your child for any necessary treatment.

Communication with Parents


How do I find out what my child has been doing at playgroup?
A newsletter is produced each half term informing parents of activities, as well as providing important dates and news. Staff are always ready to update you with the day’s events when you collect your child from playgroup, and regular updates can be arranged with your child’s key person.

What should I do if I have a complaint?
We will give prompt attention to your concerns and strive to quickly resolve most in an informal way. However, if a solution is not found we have a set procedure in place to ensure that a satisfactory conclusion for all parties is reached. Parents may approach Ofsted directly at any stage of the complaints procedure. The address and telephone number of our Ofsted regional centre is:

Ofsted,
Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD.
Telephone No. 0300 123 1231 or e-mail enquiries enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk

Parental Involvement


How can I become more involved in the playgroup?
We recognise that parents are the first and most important educators of their children so we positively welcome parental involvement in the playgroup. Our staff see themselves as your partners in providing care and education for your child and there are many ways in which parents can become more involved to make the playgroup a welcoming and stimulating place:

  • exchanging knowledge about your child’s needs, activities, interests and progress with staff
  • helping during playgroup sessions
  • sharing your own special skills and interests with all the children such as playing a musical instrument, speaking a foreign language etc.
  • helping to provide, make and look after the equipment and materials used in the children’s play activities
  • being part of the Committee
  • building friendships with other parents


Can I help out during the playgroup sessions?
Assisting at the session enables you to experience the day to day routines of the playgroup and helps the children to get the best out of their activities. For health and safety reasons we regret that we are unable to allow younger siblings, who are less than 18 months of age, to accompany parent helpers. If you would like to help out during playgroup hours, please speak to Cheryl.

Can I join the Playgroup Committee?
New members are always welcome to come along to meetings where we discuss the management of the playgroup in a relaxed and friendly setting. Meetings are held every half term. Our Annual General Meeting is held once a year in the summer.

Staff and Parent days
Throughout the year we host regular activities which parents can come along to. Learning Journals are also available for parents to view. We also hold an end of year Sports Day held at the local green, where children’s families gather to support fun events. In July we also have an end of term event run by the Committee.

Can I help with the Fundraising?
Buckingham Playgroup is a charity and therefore regular fund raising events are held. We are delighted that most parents participate in our fundraising efforts, and appreciate any time you can offer in organising events. We are always open to any fundraising ideas that you may have.

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