Nursery News 1st July 2024


1st July 2024 – Edition 340

Find out About:

A. School Closed Monday 8th July, Training Day

B. The Importance of Arriving on Time

C. Admissions -Adding children’s names to our contact list

D. Arrangements for September 2024.

E. Reminder: parent consultations this week.

F. What are the children learning about next week?


A. School Closed Monday 8th July, Training Day

Willow Nursery School will be closed to all children on Monday 8th July. All staff will be receiving training. School will be open as usual on Tuesday 9th July. Next week’s newsletter will be emailed to parents on Tuesday 9th July.


B. The Importance of Arriving on Time

We have very well organised arrangements for arrival and departure times. Our aim is to take children in to school swiftly, so that they can get on with their learning.

We are finding a considerable number of families are arriving late. Once Keyworkers go inside with their children, they assist their children to settle, take registers and begin the day with ‘drips’. Each week the staff teach a particular focus in the first few minutes of the day. For example ‘Big Nursery’ have been working on the names of 3D shapes and describing how many edges, corners and faces these shapes have. We ‘drip’ feed this knowledge to the children over one week with the hope the children will learn it. Children arriving late miss this learning opportunity. Late children are disrupting settled groups.

By 9:00am the office staff should be getting on with their work. Each time a child arrives late, they must be escorted individually to their Keyworker group, and a mark be added to the already completed and totalled registers.

We are losing too much work time due to late children.

We are looking to tighten up our families punctuality. Procedures are clear. Please help by complying with the following requests:

  • If you know in advance that your child will absent, we ask that you inform us by completing an absence form (available from office staff) and handing this to the office staff so that the correct absence codes can be added to the registers.
  • If your child is to be absent on a particular day we ask that you call the school office before 9:00am, so that the correct absence codes can be added to registers and keyworkers can be informed.
  • Arrive on time. Some families are arriving up to 20 minutes late. Children are missing learning.
  • Arrive a little early to be able to speak to keyworkers before school begins. Keyworkers are available before school as parents begin to gather outside. Parents who arrive late will be unable to talk with their child’s keyworker, as they will be busy teaching.

Be aware that the office staff will telephone and/or email families if a child is absent and a parent has failed to let us know. We expect all families to ring before 9:00am. We should not have to ring any families.

As part of our School Improvement Plan we will be looking at improving attendance and punctuality. As our pupils are ‘Non-Statutory’ (they are not of compulsory school school age) it is not our duty to report attendance figures to the Department for Education in the same way as Primary and Secondary Schools are obliged to do. We are, however, obliged to encourage all families to be punctual and have good attendance. It is our role to encourage this in readiness for attending School.

In September we will be re-introducing our ‘Late Book’. Families who arrive late will be asked to fill in the ‘Late Book’ and record why they are late. The Senior Leaders will monitor the ‘Late Book’.  We will offer advice and support to families, who need it, to enable them to get to school on time.

We will be looking to educate families about the importance of education. We are not here to ‘tell parents off’, we are here to encourage everyone to give their children the very best start. Children cannot learn what we would like them to if they are not here!

So remember, at Willow, we expect families to work with us to provide a good education for all our pupils.


C. Admissions -Adding children’s names to our contact list

The new free funding for working two year olds is having an impact on our admissions procedures. We need to ensure we are able to offer some spaces to pupils the term they turn 2 years old. Then we have to ensure we have enough space, and staff for those children to continue with us until they leave to join the 4+ in the Primary School of their choice.

This is a bit of a puzzle which we have been planning for a while now.

We will continue to take children’s names onto our contact list from birth. We will use this contact list to offer spaces to children the term after they turn 2, or the term after they turn 3, subject to availability. I predict the school will fill at age 2, with only a few spaces available at age 3, if any.

We will no longer be able to offer siblings priority to spaces in our setting. Our admissions policy will be based purely on length of time on our contact list. Those who have their name down first on our contact list will be contacted first to be offered a space at age 2. (Only one category of children will jump to the top of the list for enrolment, and that will be children who are in Care, ie Foster Care.)

Make sure you have your younger children on our contact list. Put the word out to friends and family that they should put their child’s name on Willow’s contact list sooner rather than later should they want their child to attend here.


D. Arrangements for September 2024.

We have finalised our plans for the beginning of term in September 2024. So this information is for all the families staying with us in September.

We are aware that a number of our parents are working parents, and look for the school to be operating for all children as soon as possible. We have made our plans trying to strike a balance for everyone’s needs.

Let us start with Little Nursery…..

Little Nursery will reopen on Thursday 5th September.

Little Nursery hours remain 8:45am – 11:45am for a morning session, 11:45am-2:45pm for an afternoon session or 8:45am to 2:45pm for a full day session.

Children’s attendance patterns remain the same, unless you have spoken to me, Mrs Davies, about additional hours for your child.

New starters in Little Nursery will receive paperwork advising parents what their child’s first day will be. New Catkins Class children have start dates somewhere between the 9th September 2024 and 13th September 2024


Big Nursery:

Wednesday 4th September 2024 has been scheduled as a visit day. All children who are transitioning from Little Nursery to Big Nursery in September 2024 are invited to attend a Stay and Play session lasting for 90 mins, with a parent. The purpose of this visit is to give you and your child the opportunity to meet the Big Nursery staff, explore the Big Nursery classrooms together and say ‘Hello’ to your child’s Keyworker. Little Nursery Keyworkers will distribute paper invitations to Little Nursery parents at this week’s Parent Consultations, for you to keep as a reminder for September. There will be three sessions:

9:00am to 10:30am For Green and Red group children.

11:00am to 12:30pm For Yellow group children already attending Willow

1:00pm to 2:30pm For new Yellow group children, joining us from September.

These stay and play visits are optional. You do not have to attend, but it will be a way to see Big Nursery with your child. We cannot offer these visits at alternative times or dates as we are looking to get the school up and running as quickly as possible for those parents who are working.

Parents must stay with their children at this event.

Thursday 5th September  – Big Nursery Re-opens for regular Nursery sessions.

Green Group, Red Group and Yellow Group (who have attended in Little Nursery) return to join Big Nursery, attending for their agreed attendance pattern.

Children attending for 30 hours will begin on Thursday 5th September.

Children attending for two and a half days at the end of the week will begin on Thursday 5th at 8:50am.

Children attending for two and a half days at the beginning of the week will begin on Monday 9th September.

Big Nursery hours are:

Morning session: 8:50am to 11:50am

Wednesday afternoon session: 11:50am to 2:50pm.

Full day session: 8:50am to 2:50pm


E. Reminder: parent consultations this week.

This week we will be having face to face parent consultations for all the children across the week on 1st, 2nd and 4th July 2024.  Please bear in mind that all consultations will be 5 minutes long.

Little Nursery:

Monday 1st July

Miss Cashmore, Catkins Yellow Group Children-between 3:15pm and 4:05pm

Mrs McGrath, Catkins Yellow Group Children-between 3:00pm and 3:35pm

Miss Gaffney’s Green Group Children- between 3:15pm and 3:55pm

Mrs Brinkley’s Red Group Children- between 3:15pm and 4:15pm

Tuesday 2nd July

Miss Tyler’s Catkins Orange group children between 3:15pm and 4:15pm

Thursday 4th July

Mrs Watson’s Blue Group Children- between 3:00pm and 3:55pm

Big Nursery:

Monday 1st July-  No appointments scheduled.

Tuesday 2nd July

Miss Skai’s Orange Group Children- between 3:15pm and 3:55pm

Miss Howe’s Yellow Group Children – between 3:15pm and 4:10pm

Thursday 4th July

Mrs Patterson’s Green Group Children -between 3:15pm and 4:25pm

Miss Cashmore’s Yellow Group Children -between 3:15pm and 4:00pm


F. What are the children learning about this week?

The theme throughout nursery is the story ‘Peace at Last’.

In Catkins, the children will have a picnic area set up and lots of teddy bears. They will combine the two, to have a teddy bear’s picnic. Staff will sit with the children and pretend their teddies are eating and drinking the food. They will model lots of play and language to support the children with their small world role play. Adults will also encourage the children to use their listening ears as they play different sounds from the book. The children will be asked to name as many sounds as they can.

In the Catkins garden, the children will focus on improving their ball skills. Everyone will focus on different skills each day. These skills will include; kicking, throwing, catching and playing lots of different ball games. Staff will promote turn taking and offer lots of words of encouragement to the children.

In the Link, the children will recreate characters from the story using playdough. This activity is great for building fine motor skills and strengthening the muscles in young people’ s hands. As the children play, adults will use language from the story to encourage children to retell the tale. They will use lots of descriptive language to explain how they are playing with the playdough, ie squeeze, roll, flatten etc.

In Room 3, the children will be able to play in a house similar to the house of Mr Bear in the book. They will have lots of props to be able to recreate the story and act it out as all three characters. Staff will also set up an area for the children to retell the story on a smaller scale. There will be figures and a dolls house for the children to play with.

In Room 2, the children will explore the literacy side of the book. There will be opportunities for children to make familiar words from the story. They will use paint, stampers and their phonics knowledge to create words that have appeared in the story ‘Peace at Last’.

In Room 1, the children will play Bingo Bears, which is a colour matching game. The game prompts children to look at the colours that they need to name and match to complete the game. Staff will encourage children to be as independent as possible when naming colours but will offer support when needed.

Outside, the children will investigate water and its properties as the water tray is set up outside. Children will be asked to wear aprons each time they are at the tray, and replace them after they have finished. There will be also be an easel set up so that the children can enjoy the weather outside and explore painting in the garden.