Dear Parents and Carers,
Welcome to Term 1 at St Pauls Nursery School and Children’s Centre and to those children and families who have started new to us.
We look forward to getting to know you and your child and to having a fabulous year ahead with lots of loving and exciting learning experiences.
To give you a flavour…this year we will be working with local artists, The Old Vic Theatre, we are the Curious, Soundwaves (Musicians), and Bristol Children’s Kitchen to enhance our dynamic curriculum. And we have plenty of day trips planned to get out and about Bristol in our minibus.
IMPACT OF COVID
Frustratingly, this first term has already brought a few challenges with it, caused by our ever-present pest COVID 19.
Sadly, we have still suspended home visits due to the prevalence of the virus, and in Nursery School we have already lost 61 days of staff illness (Covid and other illnesses) and isolation.
We have also been forced into the awful position of having to temporarily close our EYS2 Room due to Covid, as we had 4 staff who had contracted the virus and 3 staff not yet fully vaccinated so forced to isolate for 10 days.
Both of these situations have impacted the ‘settling in’ plans in the rooms, for which we apologise.
Despite our best-laid contingency plans we cannot function if a whole staff team is affected by COVID, the high number of supply staff that would be required is not readily available, nor in fact, would the setting actually be safe for children if it was being delivered by strangers.
A number of parents have written to me expressing their frustration, we empathise hugely, but in this instance, we have no alternative but to close.
Our assumption is that with so many staff having had Covid, or now having had their 2nd vaccination, this situation is very unlikely to arise again.
GETTING YOU BACK ON SITE
Thank you for your understanding of drop off and collections over the last 19 months. Handing children over at the gate is SO far removed from our principles and values around parent partnerships, transitions etc., but has been a necessity to keep us all safe.
Some aspects of the ‘gate handover’ are actually working well, and what we have noticed is that because the boundaries are so clear for children, they are settling incredibly well straight into their learning with the support of their key person (particularly with our under 3s – where the staffing ratio is much higher).
However, some aspects are working less well – particularly at the end of the day for our nursery school children (3-4s).
With this in mind, we would now like to try and SLOWLY introduce parents back on site.
- Drop off to continue at the top garden gate in the morning (with late arrivals coming to the front door)
- Collection route will now be IN through the side (POD) gate, down steps to the back entrance of the main nursery building, ALONG the main corridor, IN to the Nursery Rooms 1 and 2, OUT through the front door – a fixed one-way system.
We will trail this for the next 2 weeks until half term when it will be reviewed.
A member of staff will lead the way for you – but please note there are steps on this route, so no buggies can be brought in.
Sadly, you still won’t see how beautifully the nursery is set up at the start of the day…you will only see the mess left by a day of hard learning and playing!
Early Years 2:
- This will stay the same right now, with front door drop off and collection – but we will be reviewing this next month
Baby Rooms 1 and 2:
- Babies can now be brought INTO the rooms
- To control the numbers of adults in the room, only 2 adults can be dropping/collecting child at any one time in the room, so we ask you please to be mindful of this
ALL PARENTS MUST WEAR A MASK TO BE ALLOWED ON SITE – we ask you please to respect this request at all time
Parent Information Sessions:
After half term, Robin and I will be sharing with you our dates for virtual and live parent information sessions over the year.
These will be to invite you to join us to think together about some specific aspects of the early years for example:
- Supporting children’s emotions
- Dispositions for learning
- Communication and language
We will also be inviting you to a ‘meet the leaders’ session, where we will introduce you to the new way in which we will be checking in on your child’s progress, and we can also respond to any of your questions, watch out for the zoom invite for this!
Bristol Central Children’s Centre
Please do remember to have a look at our Central Bristol Children’s Centre website and Facebook page, https://centralbristolcc.co.uk
Our Children’s Centre team are now back up and running live groups again, alongside other online services, Food club, and some fantastic parenting or adult learning programmes.
These services are led by experts, who work in amazing partnerships with other local partners – so can signpost you to whatever support you might need. They also offer 1:1 support for when you feel you are really struggling with life as a parent.
Our Central Bristol Children’s Centre is the most wonderful resource, for those of you who don’t know what we offer – check it out! I know from experience that the Children’s Centre team have been invaluable, and often transformational to many families over the years.
That’s all from me for now, I will be writing to you regularly over the coming year to keep you updated and share opportunities and developments.
Thank you for choosing St Pauls, and thank you for sharing your incredible, unique and precious young children with us – they really are a joy.
Stay safe and connected.
Headteacher and National Leader of Education