We realise ‘term time only’ isn’t always convenient for working parents and provision for early years holiday club can be very hard to find. Our Early Years Holiday Clubs, which run through the school holidays, are for children from 2 years old; we have high adult to child ratios and highly qualified staff ensuring the children are safe, engaged and having fun all the time.
“…has had an amazing time at Holiday Club. Thank you so much to the staff for making it such fun!”
“.. all they talk about at home is Holiday Club”
“… enjoyed every second of Holiday Club. It has given him the confidence to make lots of new friends”
“…so worn out I’ve had to wake him up in the mornings which doesn’t normally happen”
Welcome to the Potley Hill website…
I’m Andrea and I’ve been the manager at Potley Hill Early Years since September 2018. I am NNEB trained and have a BA (hons) degree in Early Years Education. With over 25 years of opportunities and experience in Early Years I am lucky enough to be able to create a setting filled with authentic treasures and open ended materials. Together with my passionate and forward thinking tribe of staff, we bring a mix of Montessori, Steiner, Reggio Emilia and Te Whariki philosophies to our environment.
Our beautiful natural environment gives our children plenty of opportunities to have real life, authentic experiences. We work together from the heart to create a community based on a culture of respect for the environment, all living creatures and each other. Our children are welcomed into a stimulating, well-resourced and natural environment that awakens their creativity and helps them develop a wide range of skills, we teach our children how to think, not what to think!
We are so proud that we are now an Accredited Curiosity Approach Setting !
We have created a magical environment and love to show it off, I’m sure you and your child will enjoy your journey with us creating the thinkers and doers of the future.
We are extremely proud of our setting! Here is a selection of images to give you a feel for both inside the building and the outside features.
You are, of course, very welcome to come and see for yourself…
The Curiosity Approach
The Curiosity Approach – Be Curious, Have Fun, Make a Difference – is a modern day approach to Early Childhood. Taking parts from Reggio, Steiner, Te Whāriki with a sprinkle of Montessori.
We create an environment and culture of curiosity, awe and wonder – embedded at the heart of our setting. An extension of home, not a watered down version of school!
We are aiming for healthy bodies, healthy minds and a healthy planet ….
The children in our setting can enjoy a breakfast of wholegrain cereal with a low-GI value, which benefits overall health and protects teeth. Children bring in a piece of fruit or vegetable for each snacktime which is presented as a supervised, rolling buffet, full of vitamins! Packed lunches may be provided, but we can supply a carefully planned and nutritionally balanced 2-course hot lunch from our catering partners. Water bottles are always available for the children and they are prompted to drink constantly throughout the day.
Our children are encouraged to play outside in all weathers – there’s no such thing as bad weather if you have the right clothing! Outdoor exercise is a very important part of developing those muscles for gross and fine motor skills.
Wherever possible we have cut down or stopped using things which are harmful to our planet. No more glitter or antibac wipes! We use eco friendly cleaners, an eco-egg for washing and compost our snack waster to use on our vegetable patch, The children take our paper and cardboard to the recycling bins on site and we are now looking at the Eco Schools accreditation scheme.
Sensitive and careful encouragement of self confidence, managing feelings and playing co-operatively provides the basis for children’s sound personal, social and emotional wellbeing. Our Curiosity Approach and In the Moment Planning are perfect to make sure these areas of development are addressed.
Anna Ephgrave, In the Moment Planning’ guru, describes fully engaged children as being happy, independent, confident, unique, taking risks, taking the lead, communicating, challenged, creative, secure, curious, persistent, sociable, enthusiastic and other similar words. She continues by stating that: A child who is happy can become deeply engaged; A child who is challenged will be deeply engaged; A child who is not being controlled by adults will be deeply engaged; A child who feels secure will be deeply engage.
In the moment planning
When children are deeply engaged, brain development is enabled with new synapses forming and this means they are making progress. Deep involvement indicates brain activity and this happens most during high quality child initiated play.
A lack of child-initiated play severely limits possibilities for children to explore and communicate their own interests and ideas. It also restricts opportunities for children to engage in the sort of dialogue that can scaffold their understanding and knowledge of the world around them. Genuine child initiated play is spontaneous and belongs to the child or children, it is not imposed by adults with any kind of agenda of what they feel the child should be doing and learning!! True child initiated play cannot be pre planned because we don’t know what the children will initiate. That means that staff will plan as they go, plan spontaneously – plan in the moment and respond as appropriate.
The Forest School approach to learning in the outdoors is rooted firmly in the key progressive education theorists of the past one hundred and fifty years – from Froebel to Steiner, Vygotsky to Montessori, Dewey to Gardner – all of them put the child at the centre of their own learning; all talk of the importance of children being allowed to explore the world, in woodlands or wild spaces with appropriate support.
When children are given the space to explore in nature it helps them to build confidence, independence, and self-esteem. Forest school teaches the children to manage their play boundaries, evaluate risks and look out for each other in the richest classroom we have – the outdoors.
Every so often we have an OFSTED inspection, which enables us to receive government funding for our 2, 3 and 4 year olds. We are very proud of our Pre-School achievements. Justifiably so – according to OFSTED:
“Children make outstanding progress in relation to their developmental starting points, which successfully prepares them for their future and starting school.”
“Children are exceptionally motivated, confident and independent in their play because staff provide them with a wealth of exciting indoor and outdoor resources and activities.”
“Staff work very effectively in partnership with parents to provide them with resources and ideas to continue children’s learning and development at home.”
“Staff provide children with an excellent role model due to their calm interaction and communication with children.”
“Staff focus strongly on helping children learn to be polite, listen to each other and take turns. Consequently, children are extremely well behaved.”