Back in the 1970’s a Play Group was established in St Matthew’s church halls and over the years this has grown and developed into a Preschool rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted.
We operate for 38 weeks in the year following closely the term times kept by local schools. The 15 Hour Free Entitlement is divided up into sessions of 3 hours, mornings running from 9 am until noon and afternoons from noon until 3 pm. Additional sessions are available at very reasonable rates. We accept Two Year Funding.
There are 10 Early Years Practitioners who work at the preschool; two have relevant degrees, seven have Level 3 qualifications and one is an Apprentice who has achieved her Level 2. We believe in high adult to child ratios so that a good variety of activities can be offered in a safe and secure setting.
The preschool has an abundance of space for children to move and express themselves – the Small Hall is our ‘Messy play’ room with a sand tray and water play (rice play during the winter months), painting, a craft area and a child height sink for washing hands and drinking water.
In the Large Hall is situated our Role play area (often set out as a ‘Home Carner’), dressing up clothes, Literacy and Maths areas, a ‘Small World’ carpet and trolley with many different themes being available through the terms, a play dough table, book case with comfy cushions, dolls/bags/pushchairs and 6 large safety mats upon which can be placed our large Balance set, Wiggly Worm tunnel, large foam building blocks, slides etc.
There is a Quiet/Story room available for our SENCO/INCO to work with small groups of children or individuals who may need additional help (see our ‘Local Offer’ on the preschool website) – the SENCO/INCO is not included in our ratios so she can be available to work with children with SEND or English as an additional language. Other practitioners take small groups of the older children to start Phonic work or work with 2 year old children for short age-appropriate activities; at the end of each session children have stories and singing in this room before they go home.
Outside there is a covered play area for all-year-round use and a large grassed garden. A slide and ‘rocker’ is for use on the grass, a big trolley with hoops, balls etc. and – when the weather is good – water and sand play too; there is also a variety of smaller equipment available in a trolley (books, cars, mark making etc), and a box slide, play houses and kitchen under cover.
We have nappy changing facilities and ‘Reminder’lists for children who are potty training – we encourage children to be as independent going to the toilet as possible ready for the move to school.
We are a ‘Free Flow’ preschool with the children able to access all areas as they wish except at lunch times and registration when we all come together.
We provide a healthy snack each morning, with milk and water for drinking – water is always available for drinking.
Jo Jingles music group comes to us once a fortnight at no additional cost to parents, this is an exceptional resource especially aiding children in speech development – and great fun!
The Book Bus (West Sussex mobile book service for children) visits normally every 4 weeks or each half term allowing the children to sit on the bus (it does not move when children are on board!) and have stories read to them – the preschool can borrow books for use in the setting.
At Harvest time we learn a few simple songs and rhymes and invite a Worthing Churches Homeless Project representative along to talk to the children about helping others – we ask for donations of dried and tinned food to give to the charity.
The older children particpate in a Nativity in the last week of the autumn term with all costumes provided by the preschool. Parents and family are invited to join us for this Christmas celebration in the church.
All the children are invited to our Christmas Party on the last day of the autumn term with entertainment and food plus a special visitor normally arrives to the sound of bells! All this is free so that every child can join in the fun of the season.
Children going to school next September have a Leaver’s Party at the end of the summer term which is also free of charge.
The official St Matthews Preschool site can be accessed here