Lantern Pre-School: One Mum’s Perspective

Today’s post on Bishopston Mum features an interview with a local mum who has a child who attends Lantern Pre-School. Lantern Pre-School is in Redland and boasts an Ofsted rating of 2 (Good) as well as having being awarded the Bristol Standard; a national award that is a recognition of excellence.
I was keen to find out this mum’s views on Lantern Pre-School and how highly she would recommend it to other parents. I hope you find this post useful and informative.
Lantern Preschool
How did you choose a pre-school for your child?
I really enjoyed picking a pre school for my son and looked around most of the local preschools as well as speaking to other parents of children at these preschools to help guide my decision. I didn’t want to just go for the one that was the closest but rather pick the one that was the best fit for my son.

What made you decide on Lantern Pre-School?
Of the pre schools I looked at, Lantern stood out for the calm and engaging environment in the room when we visited. During our time there the children were breaking up a block of ice in which various plastic dinosaurs had been frozen as the children had been talking about the film “Ice Age” – such a brilliant idea and just one of many examples of the staff’s engagement with the children.
The facilities there are also excellent with a well equipped pre-school room, a large neighbouring hall where they do Lunch Club or run around and play with balls and an amazing garden with a wooded area, a climbing frame and pet rabbits – what else could you want!
Finally,throughout our visit the staff all welcomed my son and helped him to join in with the activities that were taking place. They were warm and caring from the outset.

How long did it take for your child to settle in? How did staff help the settling in process?
The week before he started at Lantern his key worker came to visit him (and me) at home. She brought some toys with her and then sat and played with him for half an hour. She also showed him his badge that would be on his peg as well as in the room for registration and discussed what he would do the morning he started. She asked if there were any particular things he liked playing with so they could be set up on the day he starts.
On the day he started she was available to help settle him, and I was able to join him for a short period to make sure he was happy before I left. They make sure that they don’t have too many new children starting each day to ensure that they can receive as much attention as they require to settle easily. My son settled in fantastically so this process worked really well for him.
Each morning when the children arrive they are welcomed enthusiastically by the staff and my son has to be reminded to say goodbye to me as he is so keen to get into the room to see what has been laid out for the day. With children who have struggled to settle I have been so impressed by the staff’s ability to preempt their tears by engaging them in an activity before they even remember to be upset!

What do you like best about Lantern?
Such a tricky question when there is so much to like! The staff make Lantern what it is and so it would have to be them – they are so committed and caring and provide a loving structured environment for the children. They ensure that all children are given the opportunity to take on roles in the pre-school and will support them in this. They have endless enthusiasm and are always thinking of new and interesting activities for the children to do.

What do you like least?
The only thing I don’t like is the walk from St Andrews to get there but at least I don’t need gym membership!

What kind of activities do Lantern offer?
The staff set up tables with various activities the night before so that the room is up and ready as soon as the children arrive in the morning. There are the usual creative activities such as playdough, painting and sticking. They might then have jigsaws, beads, or other activities on another table as well as floor based activities such as toy cars and ramps. The “dinosaur den” the staff created was a great success with my son this term. There is a also quiet corner for reading and of course a home corner.
The garden is fantastic and just before half term my son was planting bulbs so there would be flowers in the Spring. There is a great climbing frame, a sandpit and a wooded area to hide in. In the summer they set up a net to “play tennis” and they also have bikes to ride.
As if that wasn’t enough they have two pet rabbits they can feed and stroke.
Lantern also run a lunch club which is a real asset as it means that my son can have a longer morning (finishing at 1.15) and so I can go to activities with my other son without having a mad rush to get there for pick up (he also loves being a “lunch clubber”.)

What does a typical day involve?
Every day there is plenty of free play which is interspersed with circle time, snack time, small group time, garden play and singing. If it is wet then the children often use the main hall for ball games or the bikes are brought inside.
Twice a week there is show and tell when the children are encouraged to talk about an item from home and the other children are encouraged to ask questions. They also have “Mr Socks in his box” to help them learn about rhyming and they do some basic phonics with the children to prepare them for school. Once a term there is “wheels week” when the children bring in their bikes and scooters from home and the church car park is allocated for their use.

What do you think of the staff?
The staff are absolutely fantastic and a huge asset to the preschool. I couldn’t imagine feeling happier about leaving my child in someone else’s care as they make every effort to get to know each child and bring out the best in them. They have unfaltering interest in the children and are always happy to chat at the end of the morning and share anecdotes of the things your child had said/been up to!

Has your child from being there and if so, how?
My son has benefited hugely from being there. He is young in his year and has struggled with concentrating on activities and following rules but the support and guidance they have given him (alongside the calm environment) has meant that he is flourishing. I feel that his time at Lantern will prepare him brilliantly for when he starts at school next year.

Anything else that you would like to mention?
If you look at a map and think it is a little too far for you I would recommend you just go and visit as once your child is at Lantern you couldn’t imagine sending them anywhere else!
Bishopston Mum readers – I hope you found this post useful! If you would like more information about Lantern Pre-School, please visit the Lantern Pre-School website or email or phone 0117 946 4699.

One response to “Lantern Pre-School: One Mum’s Perspective

  1. Your post is definitely helpful for moms out there who are having a hard time choosing the right preschool for their little one. I am a year away on sending my son off to preschool and just this early, I really want to know the basic of choosing the best preschool for my kid. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

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