September Newsletter

Welcome to our September Newsletter. Can we just say a huge thank you to you all for the support you have given both, staff and your children over the past few days. The children are settling very well and are adapting to their new routines. We hope they will continue to enjoy their new learning experiences.

2 Year Old Checks – Appointments will be made in the next few weeks
Key workers will arrange to meet with some parents to discuss the 2 year old progress check (see information in blue diary) and these will be arranged over the coming weeks. This is a great opportunity to discuss your child’s current interests and development. Please continue to discuss ANY concerns at any time, or if you would like a general ‘catch up’ please arrange this with your child’s key worker.

ECAT – What is it?
As part of the nursery curriculum, we carry out ECAT (Every Child A Talker) screening on all children around the age of 3. This involves 2 members of staff sitting with your child in a quiet area, playing a short memory skill /language activity. The aim is to identify any concerns regarding speech and language development and /or understanding of speech. This sometimes may result in referrals or discussions with the Speech and Language Therapists who we work very closely with. You are very welcome to view your child’s personal screening information (if age applicable) and we will speak to you individually if we feel their is a need for additional support.

Each day, the children ‘plan’ their own areas of play and most of the time, this will include the outdoors, therefore can we ask that warm coats are worn during this changeable weather. We do supply wetsuits for every child during rainy days, however an under fleece is a great idea to pop into their bag, clearly labelled to give extra warmth.

Curriculum ideas/parent support – Stay and Play days
As the children become more settled over the coming months, we encourage parents/carers, grandparents etc to visit the pre-school to share their own skills. Over the years we have enjoyed and continue to enjoy visits from dental nurses, fire fighters, police officers, nurses/doctors, gardeners, musicians, travelling grandparents and many more!! If you would like to share your own skills/ideas no matter what, please arrange to visit us, you will be more than welcome. If you would just like to see what happens during a typical session, why not speak to staff about stay and play.

Fees/nursery funding
If your child is currently registered for a funded 2 year old or 3 year old place, you do not need to do anything at the moment. You will be asked at some point over each term to sign a declaration form confirming sessions attended. If your child becomes eligible for nursery funding during this term, i.e will turn 3 before December 31, they will be funded on current hours from January 2016. We know that many of you have requested the full allocation of 15 hours per week in January, however due to limited vacancies, additional sessions will only become available if another child leaves the setting. You will be contacted if any spaces become available.

BLAST Language development program
I am sure that some of you are now more aware of the BLAST program that has been introduced in the setting. The children have responded really well and we have already seen an improvement in turn taking, maintaining attention and language skills, to name just a few! For those of you who are not aware of this program, every child from the age of 3 will be part of a small teaching group over a six week period at some point. The next group will begin their program this term. For more information look at

Small group time
Each session, the children are separated into three groups for focused teaching/learning activities. For the younger children, staff sit on the carpet and offer a range of activities within the BOO baskets (basket of opportunity). These include a jigsaw, beads and threading, mark making blackboard, a storybook and a shape sorter, as well as lots of singing. The main aim of theses activities is to promote PSE and physical development, language skills, as well as turn taking and sharing. Similar activities are also sent home to continue this learning with parents. Information is provided within the ‘Boo Bags’ as well as a feedback document to share your thoughts.

For the older children (nursery education year), small group time consists of number skills, shape recognition, board games, letters and phonics and other games to promote critical thinking and readiness for reception. If you would like to discuss any of these areas or have specific learning targets, please write a note in your child’s diary.

Blue Diaries
Diaries are updated regularly and can be taken home at any time. Please continue to add your own comments, photographs and get your child to personalise them with their own creations. Please remember to return them too!

Dates for your diary

As part of Durham book festival, we have been informed that a theatre production group will attend Cleadon Park Library on Monday 28 September at 10am to perform ‘Man on the Moon’. Children who attend a Monday session will be taken to the event with staff, however ALL children are welcome. The cost is £1 per ticket. If your child does NOT attend a Monday morning session but you would like to come along, please speak to a member of staff so that additional tickets can be purchased BEFORE the event takes place.

A note from Anmmarie Noble – Red Group Keyworker

“You may notice that I wear hearing aids this is because I have Menieres disease which has led to partial deafness. While the condition doesn’t impact upon my ability to work with your children, I sometimes have difficulty hearing and may need people to repeat themselves or speak louder. I would really appreciate your patience and understanding with this matter. It is hoped that I can be a good role model for your children and show that disability doesn’t have to be a barrier to achieving your full potential.

I’m looking forward to working with yourselves and your children in the coming weeks and months. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask either myself or Joanne our manager.”

Ann-Marie Noble

Any questions please speak to a member of the team at any time. Many thanks.