Welcome to St Thomas Playgroup

Building Foundations for life through a balance of adult facilitated and child initiated learning. Children can explore, develop and learn in a safe and stimulating environment.

A PARENT RUN ORGANISATION

Welcome to our Playgroup

A WORLD BEYOND HOME

Here at St Thomas’ Playgroup we ensure all children feel valued and respected, receiving the high quality, challenging learning opportunities which build on the children’s interests and capabilities.

St Thomas’s offers a unique combination of parental input and high quality active learning experiences, and aims to provide local children aged two to five years with a safe, stimulating environment in which they can explore the world beyond home.
It provides a friendly meeting place where children can become more independent, through a variety of well planned activities on a day to day basis.

Ofsted-2016

St Thomas’ Playgroup is proud to have been awarded ‘Outstanding’ in all areas during our 2016 Ofsted inspection.

Meet our Staff

The St Thomas’s staff team comprises highly qualified, committed and focused practitioners. All meet the training and development requirements set down by OFSTED, and all are up to date with First Aid and Safe guarding training. Inset days are provided, and include a combination of on-premises and external training, in order to foster progressive strategies for encouraging children to want to find out for themselves.

Testimonials

WHAT PARENTS SAY ABOUT US

CONTACT US

Activities

EVERYTHING WE GET UP TO & MORE

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Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

We work within the revised Early Years Foundation Stage and towards the early learning goals. The 7 areas covered are:

  • Personal Social and Emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Communication and Language
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

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The room is arranged in areas to allow children to become independent thinkers and adult facilitated activities also take place. The planning reflects the children’s interests, and also parental input (you know your child better than anyone).

This means the children progress through their journey in the EYFS, in a fun and relevant way and progress is recorded electronically and shared with parents as well as being displayed in children’s profile books. This provides useful evidence and information to pass on to the school your child will be attending, as well as making a fantastic DVD for you to take with you after your child’s time with us.

outside storytime

Our strategic observation and evaluation process ensures planning reflects the children’s interests, and individual care and learning requirements are met. Our self-evaluation and informed discussions identify strengths and priorities for development that improves the provision for all children.

We understand the importance of liaising closely with parents, other professionals and linking with our community, and diversity is respected.

We encourage the children to think creatively and imaginatively, and, we do this by having dynamic and flexible systems that supports personalised learning. We provide a balance of adult facilitated and child initiated learning that allows children to take calculated risks. This ensures children are confident, competent, creative, independent learners with excellent self-esteem.

We operate the Key Person system, providing excellent links with parents, children and staff.

Daily records of nappy, toileting routines and quantity of food consumed are available for parents/carers (especially useful for 2-3 year olds.). We encourage older children to vocalise events more, and Key Persons are also available to exchange information with you.

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Parents are asked to provide nappies, cream, wipes, change of clothes (especially when potty training), outdoor clothing and wellingtons. We provide sun hats and waterproofs for the children to wear.   We like to use the outdoors as much as possible and have free flow after morning snack.

Nutritious, freshly prepared meals and healthy snacks are prepared by our qualified housekeeper. All dietary requirements are catered for and we liaise closely with parents. The menus are displayed on our parent’s notice board.

Admissions

EVERYTHING WE GET UP TO & MORE

Joining the Playgroup
St Thomas’s playgroup is a registered charity and all parents become part of the committee, which helps to run the playgroup. An elected sub-committee is responsible for policy, finance and administration. All parents are expected to get involved in the running of the playgroup in some way and to attend committee meetings and fundraising events.

Please think carefully about your ability to get involved before applying for a place for your child. To join our waiting list complete and return the application form.

DOWNLOAD FORM

Completing this form does not guarantee a place at playgroup and we do not take length of time on the waiting list into consideration when allocating places. Most places will be offered in June for a September start. However places can become available throughout the year.

If you would like to apply for a place, please download an application form here and return it to:

St Thomas’ Playgroup, St Thomas’ Church Hall, 75 Monsell Road, London, N4 2EF

Alternatively you can email the completed form to: playgroupleader@stthomasplaygroup.co.uk

For admissions enquiries email: playgroupleader@stthomasplaygroup.co.uk

Current Fees

The standard fees for 2 year olds are £100 per week. This is for 20 hours per week, for a 39 week year. From the term after a child’s third birthday*, the fees are reduced to £50 per week.
• Fees are invoiced half-termly and must be paid promptly.
• Fees are charged for the place and not based on attendance (i.e. you must still pay for days your child misses due to illness or absence)

From September 2017, the standard fees for 2 year olds will be £110 per week.

Childcare Vouchers
We are happy to accept childcare vouchers to pay towards your fees. We accept childcare vouchers from all recognised voucher providers. We are already set up with a number of voucher schemes and provide details on our invoices of how to pay. If we are not currently taking payments from your voucher provider we are happy to work with you to set playgroup up with them.

Nursery Education Grant
The calculation of our fees for 3 year olds is based on us receiving the Nursery Education Grant for your child in the term after they turn 3. This is provided by Islington council. We are part of the nursery education scheme and apply to the council for this funding on behalf of parents. We then deduct this funding from our fee invoices to parents. If your child attends another nursery who already claim for this funding on your child’s behalf we will not be able to deduct this amount from your invoice and you will be invoiced separately for the relevant amount (currently £750 per term).

Our fees aren’t free for 3 year olds because of the extras we provide to the basic 15 hours care that the NEG covers. These include and additional 5 hours care, lunch and snacks each day and extra curricular activities – music, French, sports, outings, living eggs. We invest in training all of our staff on an ongoing basis resulting in a highly qualified staff group and low staff turnover. We also have a higher staff ratio than many comparable settings.

‘Free’ places on ‘2-Year-Old Offer’
St Thomas’ Playgroup is working with the council to offer a small number of free places for two year olds from families who are receiving benefits and/or experiencing economic disadvantage. You must apply when your child is 2 but the free place will continue until the child leaves to attend school aged 4.
• Places are part-time, term-time only (16 hours per week) for 4 mornings a week.
• A very limited number of places are available and will be allocated according to a list of eligibility criteria – see Free Places Section for more details
• Children on this scheme can pay to attend on a fifth morning. The rate is currently £10 but this can be negotiated according to the family’s need.

* This is included as a guide only. The exact qualifying date is advised to Playgroup by Islington Council at the start of each term.

Extended Hours Policy

We offer extended hour on three afternoons – Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until 3.15pm.  We have found that children really enjoy this extra time where they can do more activities in smaller group, focussing on literacy, numeracy and having fun.

General:

1. Pick up is between 3.05pm and 3.15pm on extended days. For those not attending the Extended Hours pick up remains at 1.05 to 1.15pm.

2. Extended Hours is only on offer to children who attend core-hours (9.15am-1.15pm) at Playgroup.

3. We are able to offer 2-day or 3-day places on Extended Hours. We do not offer the option of doing only one afternoon of Extended Hours per week. This is to ensure the scheme remains financially viable.

4. 2-day places can consist of any combination of days. There are 3 options; Monday & Tuesday, Monday & Wednesday, Tuesday & Wednesday. Please make it clear which option you require on the Extended Hours Booking Form. We ask that you stick to the same two afternoons every week. If you need to swap your days around please speak to the Playgroup Leader.

5. The cost of Extended Hours is £6.50 per hour. For two afternoons this is a total extra payment of £26 per week. For three afternoons this is a total extra payment of £39 per week. This will be invoiced each half term.

6. You can sign-up for Extended Hours at any point throughout the academic year. We prefer parents to sign-up for extended hours at the start of a term or half term. Please give at least one week’s notice before you would like your child to start extended hours.

7. Priority will be given to the older age group in Playgroup; i.e. children beginning school the following academic year. However, if you feel your child will be ready please do apply.

8. You need to give a full half term’s notice if you wish to stop extended hours and return to just core hours.

9. In order to maintain appropriate staff ratios, a maximum of 16 to 20 children can attend extended hours at any one time (depending on the number of 2 year olds). If all the children are 3 years or over then the maximum is 20 children. A maximum of 4 two-year-olds can attend extended hours and in this instance the maximum total would be 16 children (i.e. 12 over three-year-olds).

10. Parents need to apply to the Admissions Secretary to sign their child up for Extended Hours. If you would like to sign up for extended hours please contact the Anna Sharp (jonnynanna@yahoo.co.uk). You will need to complete a booking form to confirm your place.

Trial, Occasional and Emergency Use:

Whilst wanting to get families to sign-up to the full scheme, are aware that occasionally parents would like their child to stay for extended hours when they need a couple of hours extra childcare or should they wish to try out the scheme before signing up.

1. Extended Hours can be used (by families who have not already signed up) two times per term i.e. 6 times per year

2. This costs £15.00 (£17.50 from September 2017) for either Tuesday or Wednesday 1.15pm-3.15pm. The session must be paid for in advance in cash directly to the Playgroup Leader (to minimise admin).

3. A trial, occasional or emergency session must be booked into Claudine’s diary in advance. Ideally, this should be booked a week in advance, but we understand that occasionally emergencies may require shorter notice.

4. The number of trial or emergency places that can be accepted on any one day is at the Playgroup Leader’s discretion and places will be accepted on a first come, first served basis (first come being first to pay their £20).

Notes on Financial Viability:

1. Playgroup requires uptake of at least 24 sessions, spread across the 3 afternoons to make the Extended Hours scheme viable (based on current rent and staff costs). One ‘session’ is one Extended Hours afternoon. i.e. A child doing 2-days on Extended Hours uses 2 sessions per week; a child doing 3-days on Extended Hours uses 3 sessions per week.

2. Playgroup will trial extended hours at 3-days-a-week from 24th February 2014. The intention is to formally review this after one year with a view to making a longterm commitment to hiring the church hall in the afternoon for either 2 or 3 afternoons.

3. However, we reserve the right to go back down to 2-days a week or cancel the scheme entirely if there is insufficient uptake. In this instance, parents will be given at least half a term notice before any change is made to the scheme.

St Thomas’ Playgroup is working with the council to offer a small number of free places for two year olds who are experiencing economic disadvantage. This is part of the government’s plan to introduce free access to childcare for some 2 year olds. You must apply when your child is 2 but the free place will continue until the child leaves to attend school aged 4.

• Places will be part-time, term-time only (16 hours per week). There are places available from 9.15-1.15 four mornings a week

• Eligible two year olds will be able to start their place the term after their second birthday

• A very limited number of places are available and will be allocated according to a list of eligibility criteria – see below for more details

Who is eligible?
Families must be resident in Islington.
To be eligible for a place, parents/carers must be getting one of the following:
• Income support
• income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
• income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
• support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
• the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
• Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an an annual income not over £16,190
• the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).

Children looked after by the local authority are also entitled to a place.
If you child is eligible, you can start claiming free early education from the beginning of the term after your child turns 2.

New rules from September 2014
From September 2014 more two year olds will be eligible for free early education. As well as the current rules, a child will then be eligible if any of the following apply:
• you get Working Tax Credit and earn no more than £16,190 a year
• your child has a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan
• your child has Disability Living Allowance
• a child has left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order

When can I apply?
You can apply for an eligibility check one term before you would be able to start claiming free hours.

For a place starting in the Autumn term (September 2014), your child must have been born on or before 31st August 2012. Please submit your eligibility check form by Friday 30th May.

If your child was born on or after 1st September 2012, you cannot apply for an eligibility check yet.

How can I apply?
You need to complete a form to find out if your child is eligible. There are two different types of form to choose from, depending on which benefits and tax credits you receive.
The online form can be completed by anyone who is not receiving Working Tax Credit. Click on the link below, which will take you to the online eligibility check form:

Click here to complete an eligibility check form

Parents who do not have access to the internet can complete the paper form located here.

If you receive Working Tax Credit, you need to complete the paper version of the eligibility check form and post it to the Free School Meals team. The paper form is available to download and print at the bottom of this page. You can also get a copy of the paper form at your local children’s centre. You will need to provide a copy of your most recent TC602a Tax Credits letter when you send in the form.

Once you have submitted your eligibility check, the Council will use the information you have provided to check if your child is eligible for a free part-time place and will notify you by post or email (depending on what you specify on the form).

If you are eligible, you can then apply for a free place at St Thomas’ Playgroup.

We will ask to see your ‘confirmation of eligibility letter’ as proof of eligibility for this scheme.

Please note we only offer 4 free places at any one time and there is no guarantee that there will be a place available, even if you are eligible.

For further information please call 020 7354 9347 or email stpadmissions@gmail.com

Dreaming

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Gallery

HAVE A LOOK AT WHAT WE GET UP TO

Our Policies

ALL THE NITTY, GRITTY DETAILS

 

Term Dates

THOSE DAYS WE'LL BE WORKING

Autumn

Autumn First Term: 4 Sep 2017 (Mon) to 20 Oct 2017 (Fri)

Autumn Half Term Holidays: 23 Oct 2017 (Mon) to 27 Oct 2017 (Fri)

Autumn Second Term: 30 Oct 2017 (Mon) to 21 Dec 2017 (Thu)

Winter Holidays: 22 Dec 2017 (Fri) to 2 Jan 2018 (Tue)

Spring

Spring First Term: 3 Jan 2018 (Wed) to 9 Feb 2018 (Fri)

Spring Half Term Holidays: 12 Feb 2018 (Mon) to 16 Feb 2018 (Fri)

Spring Second Term: 19 Feb 2018 (Mon) to 29 Mar 2018 (Thu)

Easter Holidays: 30 Mar 2018 (Fri) to 13 Apr 2018 (Fri)

Summer

Summer First Term: 16 Apr 2018 (Mon) to 25 May 2018 (Fri)

Summer Half Term Holidays: 28 May 2018 (Mon) to 1 Jun 2018 (Fri)

Summer Second Term: 4 Jun 2018 (Mon) to 20 Jul 2018 (Fri)

Summer Holidays: 23 Jul 2018 (Mon)

Inset Days

4 Sep17, 5th Sep 17, 3rd Jan 18, 16th Apr 18, 4th Jun 18

Blog

DAY IN THE LIFE

Contact Us

WHY NOT VISIT US? OR DROP US A LINE

St. Thomas’s Church Hall

75 Monsell Road

London

N4 2EF

Telephone: 0207 3549 347

Email: (Manager) playgroupleader@stthomasplaygroup.co.uk