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April 2020: Newsletter

Newsletter, April 2020

It’s hard to know where to begin in capturing the strangeness of the last few weeks. The very difficult situation created by Covid-19 continues to change by the day, with so much impact on so many lives. What remains constant, however, is the solidarity between people in our village, the bond between friends and families – even if that connection can’t be physical – the profound gratitude we hold for our wonderful, unique NHS, and the deep concern felt for everyone we know and everyone we don’t. The Pre-School staff and committee are thinking of you and your children at this most challenging of times.

One of the many tests we face is that of homeschooling. For every parent, not just those who work, this can feel like a daunting prospect. We want to emphasise that education at home is optional. Everybody’s circumstances are different, just as every child is different, and there is no right or wrong way to be going about it. In an email sent round to primary school parents last week, headteacher Dieter Cook stressed the importance of this message. If schooling is causing stress to you or your child, then leave it. If there’s one lesson this virus is teaching us, it’s that health comes above all else.

One of the tenets of our Pre-School is that we learn through play. So, if you can, simply focus on enjoying this extra time with your child. Soak up the sunshine in your garden. Fill buckets with water and stir them with sticks. Paint pasta shapes and thread them on to string. Build a den. Mix a magic potion. Hunt for minibeasts. You might have seen the information circulated by the team on the Early Years Foundation Stage, including some suggested activities. Again, these are entirely optional. Lin and Julie also shared a recipe for Ultimate PlayDough, to keep those little fingers moving and exploring!

And try to find the silver linings in these dark skies. My mum said the other day that in the future I might look back on this period as ‘a time apart’ from the rest of my life: being in the moment instead of rushing ahead, living smaller and quieter than we do normally. I think she’s right. I went for a walk yesterday evening as the sun was setting, and there were no planes in the sky, no cars on the road. Just birdsong and long golden shadows over the fields. The world didn’t seem such a bad place, after all.

Take care of each other and stay safe.

With best wishes,

Bishop Sutton Pre-School and Forest Club Committee x

Term and Holiday Dates 2020 – 2021

Term 1
Start: Thursday 3rd September 2020
Finish: Friday 23rd October 2020

Term 2
Start: Tuesday 3rd November 2020
Finish: Thursday 17th December 2020

Term 3
Start: Tuesday 5th January 2021
Finish: Friday 12th February 2021

Term 4
Start: Monday 22nd February 2021
Finish: Wednesday 31st 2021

Term 5
Start: Monday 19th April 2021
Finish: Friday 28th May 2021

Term 6
Start: Monday 7th June 2021
Finish: Tuesday 20th July 2021

Notable dates:
Good Friday 2nd April, Easter Monday 5th April, May Day Bank Hol 3rd May 2021.
Staff Inset Days Wed 2nd Sept, Mon 2nd Nov, Mon 4th Jan, Thurs 1st April, Thurs 22nd Jul
Please note – on Staff Inset days – we may be off site
Reception Children ‘Moving Up’ Day Thurs 1st July 2021 – No Forest Club
Pre-School and Forest Club Trip Date, Tuesday 18th May 2021
Parents Evening Tuesday 18th May 2021
Christmas Party for all children Friday 18th December 2020
Party for our ‘Leavers’ Weds 21st July 2021

Newsletter July 2020

Another Pre-School year has drawn to a close and what an unforgettable year it’s been. This time last summer, no one could have predicted the impact a global pandemic would have on our community. While this has brought unprecedented challenges to the Pre-School, it has also shone a light on the very best parts of our organisation. Our staff’s unfaltering dedication, passion, kindness and enthusiasm has continued to create a wonderful environment for the children, in spite of necessary restrictions. We are so proud of the team and admire how readily they have adapted. The children continue to thrive and greatly enjoy their time in the School Room.

But all good things must come to an end, and the Pre-School shut its doors for the summer holidays on Wednesday July 8. Sadly, this year, we weren’t able to host our annual leavers’ celebration, but we want to send a huge ‘Hip-hip-hooray!!!’ to all the children moving on to primary school and wish them every happiness for the future.

We will also need to defer our Annual General Meeting until the autumn and are currently hoping to hold it in September or October. We do hope you will be able to come. The AGM is a very important night in our calendar, where we take stock of the preceding year and look ahead to the next. It’s also where we appoint our new committee.

The committee is an essential part of Pre-School, because without one the Pre-School would not be able to run.

Would you be interested in giving a little of your time and signing up? We promise being on the committee is a lot of fun, and a great way to get involved in village life. Being a member just means joining our meetings with management every couple of months, helping to organise fundraising events (proceeds from which go straight back into the School Room), and getting together every so often for some friendly drinks in the pub! We very much need parents to step forward and volunteer, so if you are interested, please get in touch with any of the staff, or alternatively chairperson Clare Goldsmith on claregoldsmith78@gmail.com. Thank you!

Looking ahead to September, we are planning for a return to normal conditions, and are excited to welcome children both old and new back into Pre-School. Be assured we are keeping a close eye on government advice and will update you if the situation changes.

The end of term feels bittersweet for obvious reasons, but there’s another reason that cannot go unmentioned. Twenty-seven years ago, our beloved Julie Read joined the staff at Pre-School, and in the decades since she has shaped it into the remarkable place it is today. Julie’s infectious sense of fun, her wicked smile, her professionalism, her generosity, her imagination, her playfulness, her commitment to the Pre-School and every child in it, has made her an invaluable leader and friend. So, it’s with huge sadness that we wave goodbye to Julie as she embarks on her retirement adventure. We will miss her more than we can say but know her new chapter will be filled with joy.

Thank you, Julie, for all you have done for countless children over many years. You have given them something money can’t buy: happy memories of their first independent steps in the world. This is a gift that will carry them their whole lives.

So, as Julie prepares to enjoy a relaxing summer (just as soon as this rain takes a break!), we hope that you are able to do the same. To those who are moving on to school, farewell and good luck; and to those returning in September, we look forward to seeing you soon!

With best wishes,

Bishop Sutton Pre-School and Forest Club Committee x

News update 11 May 2020

Email sent to parents

Dear parents and carers,
You will have heard about the government’s latest indication of a phased return for schools and childcare settings from 1st June. It is important to note that this date is provisional and dependent on scientific evidence.
We are anticipating further details and clarification to follow and we will be working our way through all the guidance and advice.
It may very well be necessary to introduce a temporary cap on numbers to ensure safety is prioritised.
Obviously, any re-opening of pre-school has to be practical, manageable and most importantly safe for children and staff members. We will provide further information for you over the coming days and weeks.
Please find a guide for parents and carers from the DfE below.

In the meantime, stay safe and well and keep happy!
With kind regards,
Julie, Lin and Kate.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june

February 2020: Newsletter

Bishop Sutton Pre-School and Forest Club Newsletter, February 2020

Term three is rolling to a close and what a term it’s been. The children have been swept away on pirate ships (haven’t we had the weather for it?) and thrilled by treasure maps. Now they’re sailing off into half-term week and a well-deserved holiday. Remember that Monday 26 February is an Inset Day and therefore pre-school resumes on Tuesday 27. More adventures await!

Excitingly, this term pre-school joined Bishop Sutton Community Library for the Chew Valley. The little ones have loved the experience of borrowing and returning titles, being read stories in the cosy library setting and, crucially, learning the value of books and imagination. There will be plenty more library visits over the course of the year and beyond – and if you haven’t yet had a chance to pop in, why not give it a try? The library is open at The Link (the Chapel), right next door to pre-school, from 2pm to 4.30pm on Thursdays and 10am to 12pm on Saturdays. Delicious tea, coffee, cake and biscuits are available, as well as free Wi-Fi and good company. Oh, and plenty of fabulous books to suit every taste and age group.

We’ll have our own doors open for the pre-school Open Day on Saturday 21 March between 10am and 12pm. Spread the word! This is a fantastic opportunity for prospective parents to discover the wonderful world created by our vivacious, inventive, encouraging staff, and how much the children benefit from their learning. If you’d like to drop in as an existing parent, and speak to those considering a place, you’d be more than welcome.

On a more somber matter, we hope you will take note of the NHS Coronavirus Public Information poster in our lobby. Please read this notice carefully. Rest assured that pre-school exercises – at this time and every other – the highest level of cleanliness and hygiene to avoid the spread of infection. Find out more about the virus and how to stay safe at gov.uk/coronavirus.

Other literature to be aware of – this time on the parents’ information board above the coat pegs – is our readopted Safeguarding Policy and updated Behaviour Regulation Policy. These policies are regularly reviewed, and amended where necessary, to ensure that pre-school is in line with current advice and recommended practice. Do have a read, and if you’d like any or all of the policies emailed to you to look over at home, please ask one of the staff.

Looking ahead into 2020, we’ll be fundraising again at the fabulous Chew Valley 10K on Sunday 14 June – put it in your diaries! As ever, nearer the time we’ll be asking for your baking – or buying – prowess, as we seek to supply 1500+ slices of cake to hungry runners. If you’d like to volunteer to help on the day, either in setting up or selling refreshments, we’d be most grateful. More details to come!

And if you’re feeling the New Year volunteering spirit, and fancy joining our fun and friendly committee, please speak to one of us or to one of the staff. We’d be absolutely delighted to welcome you on board, in as great or small a capacity as you would like. Being on the committee is a lovely way to make friends, be part of the community and help contribute to the pre-school, now and in the future.

We hope you have a brilliant week off. If your little ones are still looking to learn over the holiday, why not try Numberblocks on CBeebies (available on iPlayer)? Numberblocks is recommended to parents as a fun and effective way to learn Maths in early years. It captures a different approach to understanding numbers than many of us will have grown up with, and is well worth dipping into if you have a moment.

Happy half term!

And best wishes,

Bishop Sutton Pre-School and Forest Club Committee x

December 2019: Newsletter

Bishop Sutton Pre-School & Forest Club Newsletter December 2019

Thank you to everyone who came and supported our fantastic Christmas Fayre at the end of November. We had a brilliant day! Santa’s Grotto was a magical hit with the children, the festive stalls looked amazing and the Grand Raffle went with a bang. We really appreciate every volunteer who helped us pull it off, as well as those who kindly provided cakes for our refreshments. The mulled wine, in particular, went down very well indeed! We’d also like to extend our gratitude to the local businesses who donated raffle prizes. We raised a wonderful amount for the Pre-School that will go to benefit the children and their learning resources throughout the year to come.

With the Fayre done and (snow)dusted, we’re now dashing towards the end of December and the big day itself, somehow staying afloat on a raft of mince pies and Snowballs. The Pre-School’s Christmas party takes place this coming Wednesday 18 December, with children invited from 10 a.m. and parents welcome to join from 12.30 p.m. for a special performance. The party marks the end of term, with Pre-School resuming after the holidays on Monday 6 January.

Before then, if you’ve still got Christmas shopping to do (who hasn’t?), please remember that there is a really easy way to help support our fundraising efforts and that’s through the charity shopping fundraising site easyfundraising.org.uk. All you have to do is search for Bishop Sutton Pre-School then visit retailers and shop online as normal. Every purchase you make sends a lovely £2.5% automatically to our Pre-School. There are loads of major retailers signed on, so next time you’re thinking of buying from John Lewis or M&S, take just a few seconds to go through easyfundraising.com. Thank you!

Also, if you’d like to order uniform for Pre-School (not obligatory), do try the family-run business www.myclothing.com, the UK’s largest provider of school wear.

As we turn towards the New Year, we urge parents to remember that the deadline for Primary School applications is by midnight on 15 January.

We also look with optimism to 2020 as a time of hope and new beginnings. As we were desperately sad to inform you a few weeks ago, Jennie’s husband died suddenly in October. She wanted us to share the below note with you:

‘I would like to thank you, our wonderful committee and parents (past and present), for all your kind messages, support and generosity at what is a very difficult time for me and my family.

I have booked my spa day at Charlton House for just before Christmas and I’m very much looking forward to a day of pampering and relaxation accompanied by my daughter. Thank you all so much!

The staff have been amazing, too. Thank you, lovely ladies! “I love you guys!”

I feel very fortunate to have the support of so many wonderful people. Thank you all once again!

Jennie’

Our very best wishes to Jennie and her family, and to you and yours, for a peaceful, loving Christmas and a happy New Year.

Bishop Sutton Pre-School and Forest Club Committee x

October: Newsletter

Bishop Sutton Pre-School & Forest Club Newsletter October 2019

Welcome back for the autumn term! The leaves are reddening, the nights are drawing in, and it’s the perfect excuse for cosy jumpers, lighting fires and scoffing mashed potato. The children have returned happily into the swing of things at pre-school, with our new arrivals settling in brilliantly as well. We are delighted to have wonderful Becca back following her maternity leave, plus new staff members Sarah Naylor and Hannah Moores, whom the children adore.

This week we are excited to be putting up our scarecrow in support of the Harvey Hext Trust Scarecrow Trail. Look out for our guy, who’ll be sporting an out-of-this-world look to tie in with our space theme in the schoolroom! If you’re creating your own scarecrow this year, remember he or she has to be ready by this Sunday 6 October.

In other upcoming dates, Concept Photography will be coming into pre-school on Tuesday 8 October, 10.30 am to 12.30pm. This is a fantastic opportunity to buy professional shots of your little one – and maybe, if you’re really organised, tick off some early Christmas presents? If your child attends pre-school on Tuesdays they will automatically be photographed; if not, please just come into pre-school during these hours and Concept will fit you in. Also, if you’d like siblings to take part they are welcome to join. We look forward to seeing you there!

On Friday 8 November we will be gathering for our annual pre-school parents’ drinks at the Red Lion from 8pm. This is always so much fun, just a chance to meet fellow parents or catch up with friends over some beverages. If you’re new and don’t know anyone, please don’t feel put off: we’d love you to come along J.

Unbelievably (because how can we be talking about Christmas already?) it’s also time to get a date in your diary for our 2019 Christmas Fayre. This year the fayre is happening on Saturday 30 November at the village hall in Bishop Sutton. Last year’s was a sparkling success and we hope to build on that and raise even more funds for pre-school this year. Expect the return of Santa’s Grotto, local artisan Christmas treats and unique shopping opportunities. Nearer the time we’ll be asking for volunteers to help on the day, but if you’d like to get in early please do speak to one of the staff or committee – it’s a nice way to get a head start on that festive feeling!

Speaking of helping out, we’d also like to draw your attention to the box in the pre-school foyer containing plastic milk bottle tops. If you can add to these by bringing in any milk bottle tops from home we’d be hugely grateful. These plastic tops can be recycled to raise money for charity and this year donations will go to help Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. Please wash out your milk bottle tops and remember they have to have either the number 2 or 4 inside the recycling triangle marked inside (they all do). Thank you.

Finally, if you’re looking to order pre-school uniform (not obligatory!) then do visit www.myclothing.com, the UK’s largest provider of school wear. It’s a family-run business and 5% of whatever you spend will go directly back to the pre-school. On further money matters, we’d like to encourage a gentle reminder to parents to check whether they are eligible for government funding for their two-year-olds. Follow this link www.childcarechoices.gov.uk to discover more.

With best wishes,

Bishop Sutton Pre-School and Forest Club Committee

30 November: Join us at our Christmas Fayre

Come and join in the fun as once again Bishop Sutton Pre-School hosts our fabulous Christmas Fayre, on Saturday 30th November 2019 at Bishop Sutton Village Hall from 12pm to 4pm.

We will be bringing together a host of seasonal suppliers of gifts, crafts and produce, including local decorations and delicious food – and the chance to try our famous Yule-dogs and mulled wine while you browse. There will be plenty of magic and sparkle for our little guests, with the return of Santa’s Grotto, festive face painting and a lucky dip packed with treats. And with a Grand Raffle draw of fantastic prizes kindly donated by both our stallholders and local businesses, this is the perfect way to get your family in the Christmas spirit.

Entrance is just £1 for adults and children go free. All funds raised go to support Bishop Sutton Pre-School and Forest Club. We look forward to welcoming you next month!