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The Conservatory group is the first part of our Pre-School Department.

Children join this group towards their third birthday and spend six months to a year there before moving on to our main Pre-School. The programme in our ‘Little Pre-School Group’ is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage with emphasis on developing social skills, forming friendships and role play. Language and communication skills are promoted through fun activities and during circle and story times.

Children move in to the main Pre-School group when they are ready for a more structured day which will prepare them for the first stage of their formal education. The Pre-School is a purpose designed, air-conditioned building set within Ellingham’s grounds with direct access to the pre-school garden.

The children can play outside in the enclosed playground or run and hide in the extensive grounds, use the swing, play in the sand pit and on the pirate ship, visit the animals and enjoy all the rough and tumble play little children just love so much.

The curriculum contains both structured play with adult-led activities and opportunities for free play in and around the playroom and the grounds. There are times for fun and discovery, for exploring and letting off steam, for quiet play and stories, for craft and messy play and for making friendships with their key person and with the other children. We pay particular attention to personal and social skills wanting our children to be considerate and kind, with a good self esteem and a developing confidence to make sense of the world they live in.

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Careful consideration is given to the format of the day. The seven areas of learning are covered with routines, activities and topic work. We value unplanned opportunities to seize the day and be flexible with our planning in response to the changing weather, children’s immediate interests, recent experiences and visitors. The children have opportunities to access all our resources and to participate in our planning process.

When our children move on to school they will start to use a phonics reading programme to help with early reading. In preparation for this we encourage them to develop their listening skills and to enjoy rhythm, music, stories and role play. We draw their attention to the sounds around us and to the words we use in conversation.

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We may use Letters & Sounds to introduce simple sounds linked to key words we are using in our topic or when we are helping them to recognise the first sounds in their name.

Opportunities for mark making and emergent writing help children to express themselves.

Now we see the children drawing faces and wanting to write their names and indeed wanting to write like adults do, so the writing area has space and equipment for everyone to experiment with their marks and letters. Hopefully all the children will go off to school feeling confident with their early writing.

Praise is given for all the different skills the children learn and for all the different achievements they make during the day.

Individual levels of achievement matter to us and we value their play and involvement and the enthusiasm they show for a busy and fun day with us.

Profiles are shared with parents and note is made of concerns or parental considerations towards learning and in the final months before school development notes are shared with the new school.

We underwent a most successful Ofsted Inspection’s in 2006, 2009, 2015 were pleased to be graded Outstanding in all areas.