Buttons – not just a preschool

Our pre-school has not only a desire to meet the educational needs of children but just as importantly the emotional wellbeing of the child and family. Children need to feel secure and loved and be in an encouraging environment in order to learn, with that in mind we seek to work with families and children who come from challenging backgrounds.

Over the years we have had a large percentage of children who are involved with social services and other agencies. Currently we have 10% of children where domestic abuse at home is known about, 6% on a child protection plan, 7% needing specialist teachers, 13% having speech and language support, 12% on a ‘Child in Need’, 3% in foster care, 13% having challenging behavioural issues, 10% English as an additional language, 6% living with another family member. We have 32% of our children claiming Free For Two funding, 57% Free Early Education funding and 10% paying pre-school fees.

Our partnerships with other agencies is essential part of good practice within the pre-school, in order that we meet the needs of the child. We meet with health visitors, social services, SENCO, specialist teachers, community nurses, speech and language therapist, occupational therapists, P.A.L.S, children’s centres and Fegans family support and counselling.

We work with any agency that a child is connected to, as we feel this way of working together will ultimately give the child and parents the best outcome, each partnership is able to support the child in their own area, but working jointly will highlight different issues and with that diverse partnership we can be more efficient and find solutions in a reasonable time frame.

All of these professionals play a large part in the life of our pre-school, in order that we provide the best possible outcomes for the children and families we care for, this is why we will always strive for and maintain these relationships.

We also have lots of fun at Buttons whilst building relationships with parents/carers. In June we filled two coaches with children, parents and staff and had a wonderful day trip to Wingham wildlife park, this was such a lovely day out with parents, they enjoyed it as much as the children did. We’ve had picnics in the garden and the children loved having a super hero week …… this involved lots of dressing up and at the end of the week we shut the main gates so the children could have a fly (run) around the building, fighting crime and saving the day …. And yes this did include the staff too!  In July we said good- bye to a lot of children who are off to school. We had a graduation afternoon in the hall with the children and their families, all the children got certificates and sweets, children going to school were also given a children’s bible.

What’s new at Buttons?

We have introduced a keep fit class for the children every Thursday morning, each group having 30 minutes each. During that time they learn about the importance of a healthy lifestyle of exercise and healthy food to keep us strong. Sadly, statistics do show us that children who live in deprived areas are more likely to have a poor diet and to be obese. Recently a child came to pre-school with a lunch box containing 5 different cakes and 2 yoghurts. We want to change that through educating children and parents. We hope at some point to be in a position where we can supply a hot nutritious meal for the children at lunch times, we would like to also run a child and parent cooking group.

We have also started a parent and toddler group every Wednesday morning, called Little Wanderers.  Our aim is to provide activities for children using the E.Y.F.S curriculum and support parents with their children’s learning.  The hope also is to feed these children into Buttons. Jane Cekic will also be running the group to help build up relationships with parents and offering family support.

The pre-school now has two new members of staff Heidi and Lisa who have settled in and join our existing team of Jade, Kila, Leanne, Dawn, Harriet and Kitty. They are a wonderful team of ladies with a real heart for the work we do, they are such a blessing to the children and families we work with, and to me…Thank you

I have found that we now have social workers and health visitors referring parents and children into the preschool who have a variety of needs. We have a good reputation for supporting the child and also have the benefit of having Fegans family support service to support the parent. This creates a holistic approach for the family working alongside the pre-school as we also are able to further refer into Fegans counselling. Professionals know we are able to offer an all-round service that does not shy away from challenging families and that we are willing to stick with them through difficult times. I personally have seen children come from other preschool settings that are intolerant of the child or parent’s behaviour and are labelled as difficult. For us this is where we work at our best and are passionate about these children and families.

We are able to offer a professional service which is lead from our faith and within our hearts.   It is not a job … it truly is a passion and desire to make a change for the better.

Jane Williams

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