If you are a regular reader of Bishopston Mum, you will know that I have recently been doing a series of posts about pre-schools in and around Bishopston. Today’s post is about Busy Bees Pre-School in Henleaze.
The mum who kindly helped me with this post originally approached me requesting I include a post about Busy Bees. She told me that it Busy Bees is not as well-known as some of the local pre-schools, yet she felt it was well-worth writing about.
She explained that she was very impressed with Busy Bees and that her little girl was happy there. She also said that although Busy Bees was in Henleaze, it is not far too walk there.
So here we go…
1) How did you select a pre-school for your child?
I started off by looking at OFSTED reports and asking around. I also visited some local preschools. In the end I think the visits were the most useful part; you have to find somewhere that suits your own child.
Realistically, there were also some practical considerations – I wanted somewhere within walking distance, that would accept children from age 2 ½ and which had places available mid-way through the year.
2) What made you decide on your child’s pre-school?
I first looked at Busy Bees because it had a place available at the time I was looking and was nearby – my next-door neighbour’s children both used to go there. So I didn’t go along with any particular expectations but I immediately liked it.
The pre-school leader (Sian) was really welcoming and spent ages with me answering all my questions. The environment seemed safe, there were interesting activities on offer and some outside space to play in. While I was busy asking questions my daughter just went off and joined in with the other children – and when I was finished she didn’t want to leave! So it was easy to see she would be happy there.
3) How did your child settle into pre-school? How did staff help her settle in?
She settled in really easily. It wasn’t the first time I had left her – she used to go to a childminder so that gave her an advantage – but also the preschool was very friendly and welcoming which made it easy for her.
Because she was very young when she started – only just 2 ½ – it was nice that the preschool was relatively small so she quickly got to know all the staff. They were also very good at speaking to me at the end of every session so I knew how it was going. And when I picked her up she was generally clutching some unidentifiable painting and full of talk about what she had done, what she had eaten as a snack and who she had played with, so I knew she was enjoying it.
4) What do you like best about your child’s pre-school?
I like the fact that the children do different activities every session. Because it’s not in a huge hall, there isn’t space to put out all the toys and resources every day, which actually means that the staff have to be a lot more creative with what they’ve got.
One day I was there they had set up a vet’s practice in the corner of the room, Another week there was a baby clinic. Another week they had a blackout tent and lots of different light sources for the children to play with. It makes it really interesting and my daughter always has lots to tell me about when I pick her up.
Also the staff are also excellent and the way it is run is not too regimented, which I like. They are happy to be flexible with things if necessary.
5) What do you like least?
I originally thought the size of the hall could be a drawback but in fact I think in some ways it’s an advantage because it leads to more variety. Plus they have a patio area outside and the use of some of the other rooms at the church hall if they want them so in fact there is plenty of space.
6) What kind of activities does the pre-school offer?
They do loads of different things: painting; play dough; making things – last week my daughter came home with a hedgehog made from clay and dried spaghetti in its own ‘hedgehog house’ made of a painted cardboard box – dressing up; riding on trikes; looking at bugs through magnifying glasses; drawing round each other with chalk; reading stories; stilt walking; singing; playing with water outside; sticklebricks; using magnets; making a track for toy cars; pretending to run a shop… Seriously, I think they have a good time.
7) What does a typical day involve?
When the children arrive they sign in by putting their own ‘bee’ up on a velcro beehive and then are free to choose what activity they want to get involved in. Some of the activities they can do independently and some are led by staff. If the weather is nice they have the doors open and some activities outside too.
They have a break mid-session where all the children sit round a table together and have a fruit snack and a drink of water or milk. Then they do further activities and finish off with some quieter time and a story.
A typical day for my daughter usually involves making some creation using so much paint or glue that it is then so wet that it has to be left to dry for about a week before we can take it home.
8) What are the staff like?
Great. Friendly, excellent with the children, patient, enthusiastic, highly qualified.
9) Anything else you would like to mention?
It isworth mentioning that it is nearer to Bishopston than it sounds! It is a nice short walk along the footpath next to Golden Hill Sports Ground.
If you are interested in visiting Busy Bees, there is an open day on Thursday 29 November 10-12. Please call Sian Tel. 07949 225350 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Busy Bees still have places available for this year.
Please see Bishopston Mum’s Pre-School/Schools Page for more information about Busy Bees and other pre-schools in and around Bishopston.
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