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Early Starters & Pre-School

Heslington Pre-School operates during school term time.  The capacity of each pre-school session is 20 children.  During the 2019/2020 school year there has been a minimum of 3 staff/adults present in morning sessions and moving forward we will continue to ensure that we offer a as high as possible staff:child ratio.

Early Starters (2 Yrs 6 Mths +)

The purpose of this group is to provide a general introduction to making that big step of leaving your child for the first time.  The Toddler Group Coordinator, Helen, is always present in this session, which helps your child to settle if they have come to Toddlers in the past.

Pre-School (3 Yrs +)


Children are brought into the session by their parent/carer and collect a name label to hang their coat and bag up with.  The sessions can be varied, and due to weather conditions, indoor/outdoor play can be quite fluid, however a typical day might proceed as follows:

The room is laid out with play opportunities to engage the childrens' interest although often these 'put out' items change as the session progresses!  The children have free access to a wealth of other educational and fun toys.  Once all the children have arrived, staff run an adult-led activity which children may choose to join in with, for example: planting bulbs for springtime; sensory collage; nativity scenes at Christmas; pottery lamps for Diwali; and PE in the summer (physical education/sports in the school hall).

At around mid-session the tidy-up-time music is put on and everyone helps to tidy up!  The register is then taken, followed by a short table-time with the children in their key groups: the children love to be 'spiders', 'ladybirds', and 'butterflies' and enjoy playing with their key person.  Afterwards, children and staff go outdoors to play in the outdoor play area with a variety of different play equipment. 


Play is always planned with the childrens' interests in mind, and often from observation of their play, staff will develop a major theme for the week.  For example, we have had a 'pirate week', where everyone dressed up as pirates, and the entire room was decked-out as a pirate galley!  Music week is another example of a child-led there, where staff had observed the children using cardboard tubes and boxes as musical instruments.  Parents/carers were invited to visit and share their musical talents with the class. For holidays and special occasions such as Christmas and Diwali, the room is very colourful and the children are involved in creating fabulous decorations and displays. Other special activities include: the sponsored Pea Hunt, World Book Day, a visit by the dental educator, and watching caterpillars transform into butterflies.