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Challengers Chat: April 2017

Challengers Chat: April 2017

Welcome to the fifth instalment of the Challengers Chat. This month, our Guildford Pre-School Manager, Kat Link, talks about how the schemes operate and the importance of these schemes.

Hi, my name is Kat, and I’m the pre-school manager at the Guildford Pre-School.

We run a free flow Pre-School setting, for all children ages 2-5. We have 20 spaces per session, offering spaces for disabled and non-disabled children. Our Pre-School offers a unique setting; we have a sensory room with bubble tubes and an interactive wall and floor, as well as a soft play and an outside play structure with swings and a mud kitchen.

The children lead the learning, and the activities are planned around their targets and interests. This means that our Pre-School has a relaxed atmosphere. Play has no rules, and this is evident on our Pre-School floor. The children welcome each other daily and understand that sometimes we all play differently and therefore learn differently. The children are encouraged to support each other and challenge their impairments. Our children have varying levels of support they need, ranging from 1:1 support through to our 1:8 ratio. This means we have more staff in the Pre-School than another setting would.

Our staff use a range of communication methods with all the children, from PECs through to Makaton. This means our children with communication difficulties are able to communicate their wants and needs with their peers. This makes our Pre-School truly inclusive, as our children are all able to play together and they understand others may be a little slower than them and that’s ok, we just need to wait.

The staff all have childcare qualifications that range from level 3 to level 6. All staff have in date Paediatric First aid certificates, and have all been on various in-house and county run training sessions. As for myself, I hold a BA (HONS) Childhood Studies: Early Years and a Postgraduate diploma in The Applied Psychology of Intellectual Disabilities.

We have only been open a year and have met some fantastic families along the way. We are meeting new faces every half-term, which is very exciting! Next month on the 2nd May from 9.30-12pm, we are holding a coffee morning in the hope of meeting even more new faces. You don’t need to stay for the whole session – just drop in and say hello! Children are welcome to come and see what we are about with their mummies and daddies – there may even be some cake!

It is a unique setting, and we operate under the Challengers ethos of never leaving a child out. We believe by including everyone we will send our wonderful children into the world accepting of other people’s differences, as the small changes can make a big difference.