We are a small, independent child-care setting nestled in the heart of the South Downs. Our idyllic, rural setting and small intake allows us to provide a unique, inclusive and personalised pre-school experience to children aged 2 to 5 years.
The school is run by a long-serving and dedicated Early Years team, alongside a tireless parent-led committee. We are unusual in being not-for-profit, and have registered charity status. This arrangement leads to a marvellous synergy that brings the school alive and makes the children the absolute priority in all that we do. We pride ourselves on enjoying close, cooperative and collaborative relationships with every family.
All our teaching is delivered through play, as the children work with their peers in key groups, supported by our well-qualified staff. We have been serving our community for over 20 years, and so, have been able to develop a tried and tested approach to early years education. We welcome visits from parents at any time and are happy to spend time talking through our philosophies and methods.
Is crammed with learning and play resources but, most noticeably, is filled with warmth and laughter. Our small intake means that even the most nervous 2 year old will receive the one to one nurture that they need in order to make school a positive experience from the very first day. For our older pupils we have zoned areas to foster key learning objectives within the Early Years Curriculum, and we pride ourselves on having some of the best-prepared leavers heading off to their BIG schools each summer. We are also lucky enough to have dedicated parent helpers who come in to share their enthusiasm for science, dance, ecology, art, languages, music, gardening and drama. The result is that we are able to offer a safe and comforting setting for every child where they have access to one of the most innovative and successful curriculums available in the area.
We benefit from a very close relationship with West Dean Primary School and are able to make use of their fabulous grounds, orchard and other resources – we even feature in their annual sports day! Our lovely setting allows the children direct access to village walks; we are a stone’s throw from the remarkable gardens at West Dean College and we have direct access to the 8km Centurion Way recreation path from our car park. Our own large garden features year round messy play, gardening areas, outdoor ‘theatre’ and plenty of space to run, play and create in a safe and fully enclosed area.
Are all trained, experienced professionals – several of whom have worked in our setting for many years. Everyone who works at pre-school either holds an NVQ Level 3 in Child Care or is studying to achieve that qualification. Our staff have specialist areas of interest and training that mean that Special Educational Needs, speech and language problems and any other learning vulnerabilities are given the personalised attention they deserve.
Staff record the childrens’ play, achievements and interactions in state of the art Learning Journals which can be accessed by parents online. We find this to be a great sharing platform, which not only allows a sneak-peek into your child’s day, but also makes for a seamless way of following up pre-school learning with reinforcement at home. Our staff’s observations and system of reporting to parents is the corner stone of our collaborative approach to your child’s education.