Filton Park Pre-school: warm & welcoming with a traditional approach

One morning this week I had the pleasure of visiting Filton Park Pre-school, a warm and welcoming preschool which is located on Charborough Road in Filton, very close to Gloucester Road.

Filton Park Pre-school is open every day in term-time and offers both morning and/or afternoon sessions, fitting around parents’ childcare needs conveniently and flexibly.

As well as having its own pre-school building, Filton Park Pre-school includes an amazing garden, complete with child-friendly trees to climb, three wooden play houses, outdoor toys and other activities.

The garden also contains a vegetable patch and herbs and when I visited, the children and pre-school worker were using a magnifying glass to learn about the plants and were also enjoying smelling the tomato plant and rosemary leaves to learn the different aromas.

Other children were doing a spot of bug-hunting in the garden with another member of staff, taking photos of bugs and then looking up the bugs on the internet.

Each of the garden’s three play houses vary with a different purpose. One has a home theme and is complete with a fridge, cooker and other furniture and the second contains bricks for children to build and create with.

The third play house is kept clear so that children can use their imaginations to make it into whatever they wish, the pre-school leader told me that it has been made into a spaceship and shop for example.

Filton Park Pre-school has been serving local children and their families since it opened in 1965. The two joint pre-school leaders are Viv Kidd, who has been working at the pre-school for 20 years, and Sue Packham, who has been working there for 19 years.

I asked Viv her opinion on what makes Filton Park pre-school different from other local pre-schools and she told me that she thinks the pre-school’s traditional approach makes it unique:

“The best bit about Filton Park Pre-school is our traditional approach. We want children to be children and have plenty of space and opportunities to express themselves but we also have very clear expectations of behaviour such as being kind, helpful and respecting others for example, listening when we ask them to do something. We do lots of work around developing social skills.”

There are two main factors which underpin everything the staff at Filton Park Pre-school do: developing communication skills and developing social and emotional skills so children learn to get along with others.

The activities that children enjoy at Filton Park Pre-school on a daily basis are interesting and exciting.

Children enjoy science experiments, craft activities, music and movement, construction, sewing and threading, stories, maths activities, role play, technology, a phonics game every session, jigsaws and other puzzles, mark-making and more.

The pre-school also regularly takes the children on day trips. In recent months children and staff have visited Weston-Super-Mare, Windmill Hill City Farm, WildPlace, Victoria Park and also a boat trip on the harbour where children enjoyed spotting famous landmarks and learning about Bristol.

Special fun events are also organised for children and their families to come along to. They recently held a Sports Day held in the garden and which children participated in activities with hopperz, scooters and stepping-stones.

And, once a term, Filton Park holds a Stay and Play session which parents can come along to find out what their children’s day is like.

The pre-school also holds an annual Teddy Bears’ Picnics!

On the morning that I visited, the children had snack time in the garden, eating tasty and healthy snacks including banana, apple, crackers and milk, water or squash.

The pre-school leaders explained that other regular snacks also include bread sticks, cucumber and carrot sticks, tomatoes, satsumas and more.

Each child is assigned their own key worker who keeps a Learning Journal for them documenting their time and progress from their very first day at Filton park, including photos and details of all the activities they have done.

The journal also identifies the next steps of each child’s development, so that staff and parents can work together in supporting the child.

Parents and carers also have regular opportunities to see their child’s Learning Journal and comment, enabling them to participate in their child’s development.

Anna Slater, a mum of two whose older child currently attends Filton Park explains:

“Filton Park is warm and friendly, accommodating preschool which offers excellent value. The teachers are hardworking and dedicated, guiding the children in building confidence, relationships and communication skills, ensuring they are ready for school. There are a variety of toys, activities and crafts as well as a fantastic enclosed garden with plenty of play equipment.”

There are currently spaces for children to start at Filton Park Pre-school in September. Each session costs £11 or £22 for all day.

The pre-school takes children under the 15 hour free childcare scheme and from September, the 30 hour free childcare scheme.

Filton Park Pre-school is a warm and welcoming hub of learning with a traditional approach and very happy children.

If you would like to find out more about this pre-school please phone 01454 866 580 or email filtonparkpreschool@gmail.com.

You can also find out more by visiting http://www.filtonparkpreschool.org/.

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