Horfield Methodist Playgroup: A Bishopston Mum Review

If you have young children approaching pre-school age, you may be interested to hear that there are currently places available at Horfield Methodist Playgroup, a pre-school which is open from Monday – Friday in term-time 9am – 12 noon.

This pre-school has been running for an impressive 49 years and offers a fantastic variety of activities for the children, plus a huge hall and a great collection of scooters and bikes for the children to whizz around in!

Here is a local parent’s review of this pre-school with lots more information – it’s always helpful to have another parent’s experiences and opinions when deciding on childcare options…

    

Why did you choose Horfield Methodist Playgroup for your child?

My elder son came here and absolutely loved it! They did an amazing job preparing him for school: he learnt how to socialise/play/share with other children, how to sit and listen, how to line up, etc.

I love that it’s very much all play based learning but the setting and routine definitely helped him make a relatively easy transition to ‘big’ school.

So I really wanted my younger son to be able to have the same experience and he now loves it too!

How did staff manage your child’s settling-in process?

We were both invited to come for a play as many times as we liked in the term before my son actually started, then when he did start it was very flexible – first of all I stayed for a bit, then I left him and came back a bit early.

Neither of my sons had really been away from me when they started pre-school made a big effort to welcome and engage them and they were fine.

In fact, both of them loved it so much that they weren’t that bothered about me leaving them!

What do you like best about Horfield Methodist Playgroup?

I love the big open space and the amazing effort that the staff put in to turn it into a stimulating place for the children to play in.

There are specific zones, including: a cosy reading area; a physical activity area (which may be a mini trampoline or climbing frame); a music table; a home corner with a kitchen, phones, and play dough; an art table and painting easel; jigsaws and counting/sorting toys, a ‘tactile’ area which could be water, sand, soil, leaves, dry pasta; and a big area in the middle with changing toys (building blocks, train set, castle, airport or farm for example).

The zones are consistent which I think is reassuring for the children but the actual activities within them are always changing so there is the choice of doing something new and exciting or familiar and comforting.

My son likes to try to guess what will be set out in the middle of the hall each morning but is always delighted with whatever it is!

What do you like least?

There’s nothing that I don’t like! I know that the fact that the playgroup is mornings only may not be suitable if you’re looking for all day childcare but it is exactly the pre-school setting and hours I was looking for.

What kind of activities are on offer?

As well as the changing activities I talked about, they regularly have themed weeks when the children are encouraged to dress up or bring in things from home.

We had building week where there was a mini building site with lots of toy tools, all the building blocks were out and they did junk modelling on a really big scale.

There was farm week when all the farm toys were out and there was a focus on learning about animals as well as a trip to the city farm. Next week is pirate week!

They go out on little walks to look at wildlife or to post a letter and they took to the bus to go for a drink and a snack in a cafe.

There is a small outdoor space which again the staff put a lot of effort into making entertaining for the children, with a sandpit, big toy garage, tent and improvised musical instruments from pots and pans for example.

They have also set up obstacle courses out there. They do gardening (planting potatoes, sunflowers, tomatoes) in containers too.

They have a kitchen so they also get to do some cooking – they’ve made pizza, pancakes, cakes.

While the children are having singing time in a side room the big hall is cleared away and a selection of bikes, scooters and prams are brought out so the children can really burn off some energy racing around on those!

It’s scary to watch as they all hurtle around but somehow they all avoid each other!

What do you think of the staff?

The staff are amazing! They are very experienced and each of them is there every day which I think is a big reason all the children there are so happy and settled.

They are very caring, giving cuddles whenever needed and have endless patience. At pick up time the children love to run around the hall playing tag and sometimes the helpers will join in – I don’t know how they have the energy!

The children adore them and also have a great deal of respect for them – whilst obviously quite happy to ignore me, my son wouldn’t dream of not doing as he’s told at pre-school!

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I’m not sure the pre-school is very well-known but I think it’s a great place where the children benefit from all the effort put in by the very committed staff.

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If you would like to find out more or to arrange a visit at Horfield Methodist Playgroup, please phone 07903 350214 or email playgroup@horfieldmethodist.org.uk.

 

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