Autumn Term 2017 – Child Development Update

This Autumn Term 2017 we have used all seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. This update does not reflect one single week’s work but rather how we have taught each of the areas. Below I have set out some examples of our activities, based on the seven areas.

We are required to have British Values underpinning all of our teaching. To reflect this at an Early Years level is slightly harder than at school level because of children’s understanding. Below I have given examples of way we have linked British Values to the teaching.

The children have been looking at the Very Hungry Caterpillar and all activities and learning experiences have been based upon this topic.

Personal Social and Emotional

The children have talked about how they feel at different times of the day sharing with each other how they feel when they are hungry, tired, happy etc. So there has been lots of conversations at the snack table about how being hungry or tired makes them feel. The children have been able to vocalise emotions to a physical need, e.g. feeling sad when they are tired.

British values

The children listened to others and have shared their thoughts with others, while respecting the thoughts of others as being as important as their own.

Communication and Language

The children have had lots of discussions to show their understanding of the Very Hungry Caterpillar book and have looked at language specifically related to the topic, for example egg, caterpillar chrysalis, and cocoon. They have been building upon vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences. They listened to the story being told to them and they have read to each other and themselves.

British Values

They know that not everyone is the same as them and that is ok. They all have the right to speak and to be heard and if another person thinks something different, that is ok too.

Physical Development

They children have pretended to be butterflies, flying around the playground making sure that they did not run into other butterflies by negotiating space and adjusting speed or direction to avoid them. They have experimented in moving in ways they think a caterpillar would move, such as slithering, shuffling, crawling and sliding. They have also observed the effects of this activity on their bodies, and could describe how they felt.

The children have told adults when hungry or tired or when they want to play. They have used tools to enable them to make and colour the amazing things for our displays.

British Values

Not everyone has the same ability. The Children recognised that some people are different but just as important to society (or in this case playgroup) and how we must respect and value them as such.


The children not only read the Very Hungry Caterpillar but could re-tell it verbatim. They looked at factual books about the life cycles of other insects. They also looked at other Eric Carle books, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Quiet Cricket and The Bad Tempered Ladybird. These books have been available for the children to look at independently, with other children or with a grown-up.

British Values

Not all the children wanted to listen to the same books, so the children were asked to ‘vote’ for which story they wanted read first, second etc. The book with the most votes was read first and so on. They learnt that this was called a majority vote, which meant more people wanted story A than story B.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar lends its self well to number, the children counted how many different things the caterpillar ate, they matched the number to the quantity of food stuffs. They counted how many segments the caterpillar has and then drew some themselves. The children sequenced the story using pictures taken from the story.

Understanding the World

The children found a moth and this led to discussions about differences and similarities between moths and butterflies, using the setting’s tablets, they learnt that they are both from the same insect family and butterflies usually fly during the day while moths fly mainly at night. The children recognised some of the plants they had in their own gardens which butterflies liked.

British Values

The children learnt that respect should be shown to many things including people, property and living things, and cruelty to animals is against the rule of the land.

Expressive Arts and Design

The children have all had an input in making the displays in playgroup, from the large display in the main classroom to the smaller ones in and around playgroup. In doing so they have looked at how mixing colours changes them into different colours, they have used different techniques and tools to do this and have used them safely, competently and appropriately.

The children have also used their imaginations and thought what it must be like being both a Hungry Caterpillar and a beautiful butterfly.

British values

As the children were making display work they thought and talked about what their aim was and how to achieve it, and in doing so they made decisions and as a group they kept to them.


We hope to give opportunities to learn and thrive through play and interaction, while enjoying their precious early years.

Please feel free to contact Bridget Cross if you have any questions or comments.

Posted in Setting News

Duchy Preschool – Autumn 2017 – Welcome and Administration

Dear 2017/18 parents

A very warm welcome to the new families who have joined us this term.  If you have any questions or comments that you would like to share please email There is always an open invitation to parents and carers to come in and see what your child actually does at playgroup and how learning underpins every activity we offer. Please check out our white board in the hallway, we use it to display just some of the learning the children have done during the week, if you want to know more please speak to a member of staff.

We were visited by some amazing magical fairies over the summer holidays and they have transformed our rather sad and somewhat colourless playground into a bright and exciting place for the children. It looks absolutely amazing, the staff cannot thank the fairies enough for all their hard work, we are sure the children will appreciate it too. So a huge thank you Freya, Cas, Gosia and Blair for all your hard work, thanks also to Sarah for opening up the playgroup and helping them. You will also not have failed to notice how tidy the entrance to preschool is and thanks goes to Adam for offering to take the items to the recycling centre.

We are delighted to be able to say we have been joined by a new member of staff, Naomi who will be covering some of Laura’s hours, mainly in the Out of Hours provision. Naomi has a great deal of experience and knowledge about Child Care and I know she will be an asset to our playgroup. Laura has not left us, she has just cut back on her hours so she can concentrate on her University course.

As most of you know Venetia started her new job this term, she has been in touch and apart from missing us, things are going well and she is enjoying the challenge of her new job.

Even after so many of our children have gone onto school, numbers of children are good and we are already nearly full on a Thursday morning. We need to know how many children we have in each session so we can staff it, it is therefore really important that when the Preference Forms go out each term that they are returned even if you do not want changes to your child’s hours. If we do not have the forms confirming your wish to attend days then you may run the risk of being turned away for that session if we are under staffed. So PLEASE when the forms go out, send them back as soon as you can.

The lunch club staff have asked that if grapes are included in your child’s packed lunch, please cut them into quarters, grapes are just the right size to become stuck in a child’s throat. Likewise please do not send clothing, food etc. in plastic bags.

Our Early opening session is proving to be very popular, especially for those who have to leave Bradninch on the 8’ o clock bus. If this can be of any help to you please speak to a member of staff. It costs £2.00 per session per child.

Thank you for collecting your children on time, especially at the end of the day, it means that the Out of Hours children do not have to sit on the carpet for any longer than necessary while waiting for the session children to be collected.

May I also remind all parents to remain in the hallway and not to come into the classrooms when collecting their child from Afterschool Club; this is purely for the safety of your children.

Our opening times are:
OoH Breakfast – 8.00am – 9.15am
Morning session – 9.15am – 11.45am
Lunch – 11.45pm – 12.45pm
Afternoon session – 12.45pm – 3.15pm
OoH session 1 – 3.15pm  – 5.00pm
OoH session 2 – 5.00pm – 6.00pm

Please note that any photographs/videos which include other children taken at any preschool event, or the naming of other children or even parents are not to be posted on social media. This follows recommendations from the Devon Children’s Safeguarding Team. This is for the safety of all our children.

For Health and Safety reasons we would appreciate it if prams and buggies are not brought into the setting, the children sit on the floor in both classrooms, and although we wash the floors every day, sometimes the floors are dirty before we start the day. Thank you to those parents who already leave their buggies/prams etc outside; the staff greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness. If it is raining then please use our canopy to put the prams under.

Please bring babies into the setting; the staff will more than happily ‘take’ the babies for lots of cuddles while you see to your child.

If you would like to share lunch with your child, please bring it in, we encourage parents to either join us or sit with the children especially after a morning parent play date session.

Please note we also have a regular e-newsletter which is sent out to our mailing list. Various news involving Playgroup (including a regular child development update and fundraising activities) are shared here, as well as on our website and social media pages. You can subscribe to our e-newsletter via our HOME PAGE.

Finally the staff would like to thank you all for your support given to Playgroup, from being a trustee to  fundraising to parent play dates, your hard work is always appreciated. But also, more importantly for allowing us to care for your child, we are all aware of just how big an honour it is to be part of these very young, precious and most amazing little people.

Bridget Cross – Managing Supervisor

Posted in Setting News

Duchy Preschool and Playgroup AGM 2017

Duchy Preschool and Playgroup will be holding our Annual General Meeting on Friday 11th August 2017 at 19.30 at the Duchy Preschool, Millway, Bradninch, Devon, EX5 4NL. Whether you are a parent, staff member or a supporter of Duchy Preschool, you are very welcome to attend.

The AGM is an annual meeting of the Members of the Charity which runs the Preschool. The Annual Accounts and Report of Trustees will be voted on by Members and Members will also have the opportunity to appoint Trustees.

Please note, our Members consist of those who have completed and returned a Membership Form. These individuals have received a formal notice together with relevant documents. However, all of you are welcome to attend to observe and we will have Membership Forms available to complete should you wish to become a Member and be eligible to vote in 2018.

Others may wish to stand for election as a Trustee for the coming year, in which case please come along and make yourself known to us.

We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Thank you

Andrew Boys

Chair of Trustees – Duchy Preschool and Playgroup

Posted in Setting News

Managing Supervisor’s Update – May 2017

Each week we plan activities for the children as a foundation for their learning. All of our staff in contact with the children contribute to the plan and it is based on what the children have asked about or done or we feel they will engage with well.

A typical week in May this year included:

  • Respect for others – what makes us and others special – children to talk about their friendships and how they value others. How can we be a good friend? Specific language related to PSE learning objectives – lots of positive words and phrases such as: thoughtful, polite, nice, caring, helpful, friendship, good friend, good, sharing, take turns, patient, wait, proud, well done, kind, impressed and pleased.
  • Going on a bug hunt, using equipment, children to catch and look at bugs, lots of emphasis on being careful with the animals.
  • Thinking about summer and the hotter weather, what we must do to keep ourselves safe in the sun. e.g. sun cream, wearing sensible clothes and a hat and the importance of staying hydrated.
  • Communal painting on large roll of paper and in the playground with paint brushes, toys and roller paint toys.
  • How much can a container hold? Filling containers with water and comparing how much each contains.
  • Role play hairdresser area. painting








For small groups or 1:1 for school children:

  • Maths shape and space;
  • Literacy phonics.

Also on offer every day for children:

  • puzzles;
  • Play-Doh;
  • home corner;
  • dressing up;
  • book corner/quiet area;
  • construction;
  • sand;
  • water (not in the winter);
  • craft, singing/ musical instruments;
  • ICT;
  • Bikes/scooters/ride on toys/ stilts/hoops/balls;
  • Small world – farm/dolls house;
  • Animals (jungle/ wild/domestic/farm/dinosaurs).










We hope to give opportunities to learn and thrive through play and interaction, while enjoying their precious early years.

Please feel free to contact Bridget Cross if you have any questions or comments.

Posted in Setting News

Make sure Bradninch Summer Fayre is in your diary!

Join Us – Saturday 8th July 2017 –  10am- 3pm – Bradninch Football Ground

Do make sure you come along to Bradninch Summer Fayre, back this year. It is all set to be a fun packed day with lots to see, buy, do and win! All in support of Duchy Preschool.

There will be craft stalls where you can snap up some unique artisan products, something beautiful to give or to keep.

If you prefer exotic animals, Animal Encounters with Chris Johnson will be there. You’ll have a chance to hold snakes, lizards, and other awesome creatures.

Have you ever tried bubble football? We haven’t either. Running around inside huge inflatable balls, looks fun!

Try the bouncy assault course and children’s soft play. Or swing boats – possibly a more sedate option for those who fancy a little sit down while staying on the go. There will also be face painting for young and young at heart. Or keep a momento of the day in the form of a caricature.IMG_6126








Do not miss our fun family dog show starting at 11am (classes are £1.50 per entry). Your family pooch will have the chance to strut its stuff and win a rosette, whether it’s for:

  • Child’s best friend;
  • Dog most like owner;
  • Dog with waggiest tail;
  • Dog with glossiest coat;
  • Scruffiest dog/Worst hair day;
  • Veteran (over the age of 8 years, special prize for the oldest dog);
  • or Best trick!

Please note dogs must remain on a lead at all times and we will have some basic rules to keep things friendly and tidy!

We will have burgers, doughnuts, candy floss, cake, ice cream and cups of tea available to fuel your day.

Make sure you enter our prize draw, with some amazing prizes to be won! Bear-Outline_small-1




Brandnich Summer Fayre, back by popular demand, in support of Duchy Preschool.

Entrance just 50p for adults, 20p for children.

Everyone is welcome for what will be a fantastic day!

If you have any questions or would like some prize draw tickets, contact

Posted in Events and Fundraising

Join our Bonus Ball Prize Draw!

Bonus Ball Image 2

The Duchy Preschool Bonus Ball Prize Draw continues, with recent big wins of £30-40. We have 17 numbers taken of a possible 59, with £10 on offer each week, which rolls over if there is no winner. So you can win big if your number comes in!

One of our many initiatives to raise funds to keep our fantastic setting going is the Bonus Ball Prize Draw.

The idea is that any individual (parent, supporter etc.) over the age of 16 can purchase a number from 1 to 59 (subject to availability) for £1 per week. 50p goes into a prize draw pot and 50p is donated to the preschool. Each week we use the drawn bonus ball number from Saturday’s National Lottery and the owner of that number receives the prize draw pot. If a number is drawn which is not allocated, the prize draw pot rolls over to the following week.

We hope you agree this is a great way for you to potentially win some prize money, while also donating to secure the future of the Duchy Preschool.

If you would like to learn more, or pick a number and sign up, please contact the Duchy Preschool Trustees

Then sit back and watch the numbers roll in!

Posted in Events and Fundraising

Looking to Declutter in January?


We have been given an opportunity to run the Exeter Sunday Market and Car Boot Sale in Marsh Barton on 15th January 2016. We have secured some willing volunteers to run the set up and close down. But we also have a free pitch to sell car boot type items.

So if you have anything in your house, garage, sheds or elsewhere that you are looking to dispose of, we can take them off your hands, save you time and inconvenience and any funds we raise will go directly towards keeping our preschool running.

Please contact Andrew Boys or speak to Bridget or Donna at the preschool if you have any items you want to donate.

Posted in Uncategorized

Volunteer Post Available


Following the departure of our Business Manager, we will shortly be looking to recruit a new Administrator. But to assist with a crucial transition, we are looking for a willing volunteer who could really help out the Duchy Preschool and give us an opportunity to reorganise and recruit.

We hope this opportunity may appeal to someone interested in learning about administration and business practices, looking for valuable work experience for your CV and it may lead to an interest in the final role we recruit for.

For the Preschool, we really could use someone who has the time and motivation to help us as soon as possible in January, with our Business Manager leaving. You will be working with the Trustees and our Managing Supervisor Bridget Cross. The voluntary post could continue for up to 2 months.

Please contact Andrew Boys or speak to Bridget or Donna at the Preschool if you would like to discuss the role in more detail or apply.


Posted in Uncategorized

Farewell to our Business Manager


We are sorry to announce that Phil Whateley, our Business Manager, will be leaving the Duchy Preschool in January. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Phil for his many years of hard work and expertise. He has been a very safe pair of hands who has steered the preschool through much development, most recently the conversion to charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) status and he will be hugely missed.

The Trustees and staff wish Phil all the very best in his future endeavours.

Posted in Uncategorized

November Update from Staff


It is hard to believe that we are approaching the end of term in just a couple of weeks. This half term is one of our busiest with the preparation for Christmas, so expect to hear Christmas songs and see lots of glitter.

We have lots of fundraising events taking place this term, from letter from Father Christmas to the Christmas Fayre. Many thanks must go to Lis and the Trustees who have arranged it and to Alex who has managed to get us some amazing draw prizes. There are posters in the small classroom asking for your support with help on the day, providing a cake and draw prize. If you can offer help in any way please speak to any Trustee, Bridget or Donna.

The staff will be organising a Christmas Hamper (to be drawn last day of term). So please watch out for notices in your children’s pockets, on the white board and on posters in and around the Preschool. It is vital that we have your support as without it we will struggle to carry on. Hamper prize draw tickets will be on sale in Preschool. Please consider bringing in something that we can put in the hamper, last time we were given so much we made two hampers!

The Bonus Ball will be restarting in December. If you want more details please contact Andrew at

Thank you to everyone who purchased photographs and Christmas cards, the children’s work looks spectacular, as do the children’s photographs. Please save the date for next year’s photographs Wednesday 11th October 2017 in the morning. Please bring along any family members if you would like a family group photograph.

Guess the Weight of Becky’s Baby was won by Leonie. Many congratulations to Becky and her family on the birth of her beautiful baby daughter!

Many thanks to Maddy, Leonie and Amy (and her daughter) for their hard work at the Silverton Baby Sale. Also to Harriet, Simon, Sarah M and Phil for representing the Preschool as marshals at the town firework display.


We have some exciting news to announce, we will be opening at 7.45 am for an early drop off session. At the moment it is an extra chargeable session. Should you wish to use this session please speak to Phil, Donna or Bridget.

The preference forms for next term will be out very soon, so please fill it in and return as soon as you can. If you would like a Friday please indicate this on the sheet, the more people who want it, the more chance we have of reopening on Fridays again.

Thank you for collecting your children on time, especially at the end of the day, it means that the Out of Hours children do not have to sit on the carpet for any longer than necessary waiting for the session children to be collected .

May I also remind all parents to remain in the hallway and not to come into the classrooms when collecting their child from Afterschool Club; this is purely for the safety of your children.

Our opening times are

OoH Breakfast 8.00am – 9.15am

Morning session 9.15am – 11.45am

Lunch 11.45pm – 12.45 pm

Afternoon session 12.45pm – 3.15pm

OoH session 1 3.15pm  – 5.00pm

OoH session 2 5.00pm – 6.00pm

The Playdate sheet for next term will be going up in the next couple of weeks, please fill in the dates you would like to come and play, you can come along as many times as you want. You also do not have to wait until your rota date – if you would like to stay and play when dropping your child off please do, the more the merrier – and it is fascinating to see what children get up to when at Preschool. It is how the vast majority of us became involved in Preschool education. Also if you would like to have lunch with your child after a morning session please do just bring along a packed lunch.

We now have so many 2 year olds that we now give them a special outdoor playtime. While the 3-4 year olds have snack, the 2 years olds can go out and explore, climb and play. It has been fascinating watching them; we have noticed that they are all desperate to climb and stand on top of anything! So if you have toys or climbing equipment that we could use for these very special children we would be grateful to receive them. Our supply of toy cars has dwindled to just a handful, if you have any spare ones I can guarantee that they will be very much loved! We also need toys for our 2 year olds.

Thank you for your support, Preschool really does appreciate it and need it; without it we would not be able to have a preschool in the town. We need to do a lot of fundraising this term to ensure that we are be able to provide childcare for your amazing children. The Duchy Preschool and Playgroup is a very special place, the children are amazing and the staff are very experienced – between us we have nearly 100 years worth of it! We are proud to say that we work at the Duchy Preschool and Playgroup.

We have a good reputation for the standard of care given to our children by those within childcare services and the community at large. this is being shown by how many children we have, already we have sessions that are nearly full!

Finally, our Christmas Celebration will be on Thursday 8th December, our last day this year at 1.30pm in the Baptist Church. Please share our celebration, the children have been learning Christmas songs and would love to see family there.

Please note that photographs taken of the children at any Preschool event are not to be posted on social media if they include other children. This follows recommendations from the Children’s Safeguarding Team.

The staff and Trustees would like to wish you all a  Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year. See you all next term, the week beginning the 9th January 2017.

Posted in Uncategorized