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About Us

Barkham Preschool was established in 1971 and provides facilities for children from 2 to 5 years of age. Sessions are 3¾ hours long including lunchtime (children may bring a packed lunch or may leave before lunch). Sessions are funded when children are eligible.

We are a registered charity (no. 1026028) situated in Barkham Village Hall, a peaceful setting on the outskirts of Wokingham, next to open fields and Barkham Church. The Village Hall gives us the flexibility of both a small and large hall, with a secure play area outside and plenty of off road free parking.

St James’ Church, Church Lane, Barkham

We are registered with Wokingham Borough Council Community Services Department and are inspected by OFSTED. The Preschool was inspected by OFSTED in 2015 and was judged to provide a Good standard of care.

We offer a happy and caring environment for the children. Our aim is to provide learning experiences through a wide variety of structured activities and play, and to work in partnership with parents to help each child make a happy transition from home to school.

We have an excellent team of caring and committed staff, who promote a happy and supportive atmosphere. Each staff member has been police vetted and has signed both a statement of suitability and a non-discrimination declaration as laid down by OFSTED.

As a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance (PLA), it is our aim to have fully trained staff. The staff attend foundation courses run by the PLA, Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) and other agencies. All the staff are also qualified First Aiders.

We are registered for a maximum of 24 places per session. The Pre-School runs with a maximum of 24 places per session. The staffing ratio of adults to children will be a minimum of 1:4 for 2 year olds & 1:8 for 3-5 year olds. There will be at least two members of staff present at all times.

Barkham Preschool is a community group run by a committee of parents. Parental involvement is therefore essential to the smooth running of the Preschool. The committee is elected annually at the AGM in July. The financial arrangements of the Preschool are the responsibility of the committee. The committee employs the staff, who in turn are responsible for all the children in their care and the day to day activities. Fund-raising, publicity and social events are also organised by the committee.

A typical session

9.00am: Arrival.  Parents and children enter the small hall, where the children are encouraged to hang up their coats and bags on named pegs, place their lunch box on the lunch box table, and show and tell items on the show and tell table.

The children then enter the main hall (parents will leave at this point unless they need to settle their child or they need to speak to our Supervisor or their child’s Key Worker). The children will firstly find their name card for self-registration and then enjoy free play.

Our spacious main hall allows us to have a huge variety of toys and equipment at the children’s disposal.  A home corner, reading corner, drawing table, modelling table, and playdough are the staple activities plus a variety of other toys, which again rotate.

Through the morning  the children enjoy free play, allowing them to follow their interests, choose what they want to do and how to do it. They have the opportunity to take the lead with adults responding to their cues. They will however, also spend time with their Key Worker in a small group for circle time or to undertake various activities based on their next steps or interests.  They will be encouraged to try new things and different options – this includes outdoor play where children can come and go between outside and in.

Snack time.  The children can choose themselves when they would like their snack during the course of the morning.  A snack table is set up which includes a healthy snack and a choice of milk or water to drink.  Each child has to wash their hands before sitting at the table, then find their name on the board and put it in the box, to indicate that they have had their snack.

11.40am:  Tidy up time – all children are involved in the tidying up of the large hall.

11.50am: Singing on the carpet

11.55am: Story Time

12.05pm:  A physical activity, which may vary from musical movement, dance, parachute games, acting, obstacle course, ball skills etc.

12.15pm:  Wash hands and sit down for lunch (optional).  Children sit at tables with one member of staff who discusses what they have done that morning, and talk about days of the week, seasons, weather, counting.

12.45pm:  Pick up.  Parents meet back in the small hall where they wait for their child to be called through.  Parents can collect their child’s artwork, models or pick up notices, or letters from a table in the small hall.