Play. Learn. Grow.
We are a small, independent pre-school nestled in the heart of the South Downs. Our idyllic, rural setting and small intake allows us to provide a unique, inclusive and personalised experience to children aged two to five.
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.
Our pre-school is crammed with learning and play resources but, most noticeably, is filled with warmth and laughter. All our teaching is delivered through play, as the children work with their peers, and are supported by our well-qualified staff.
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.
Both our setting and our approach to teaching are designed 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 have been serving our community for over 20 years, and 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.
We are also lucky enough to have many 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.
And coming soon……our very own forest classroom!
MEET THE TEAM
All our staff are well-trained, experienced professionals – several of whom have worked in our setting for many years. Everyone who works at pre-school either holds an NVQ in Child Care or is working towards that qualification. Our staff have specialist areas of interest and training that mean that Special Educational Needs, speech and language challenges and any other learning vulnerabilities are given the personalised attention they deserve. We pride ourselves on an excellent record for helping children and families meet any additional needs, and for providing excellent access and onward success for all our pupils.
Staff record the children’s play, achievements and interactions in state-of-the-art Learning Journals which can be accessed by parents online. This innovative platform 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 cornerstone of our collaborative approach to your child’s education. Your child will be assigned a member of staff as their key person, in addition to which, our small setting means that your child will be very well known by all the staff they interact with.
Parent Committee Run
Our pre-school is parent committee run. This provides you with the unique opportunity to take key roles in the business success of pre-school and to collaborate with staff in creating the very best experience for our children. Whether you are a skilled fundraiser who can bake up a storm, or an accountant with a few free hours a term to lend your skills, there will be a role for you in our friendly team. Staff and parents enjoy social events together and we find we benefit from the fact that great friendships underpin the day to day running of pre-school.