A review of Magic Dragon Pre-school by Bishopston Mum reader, Claire Sapsford…
My daughter attends Magic Dragon preschool, based in the hall of the Church of the Good Shepherd, off Kings Drive in Bishopston. The preschool is open Monday – Thursday from 9am until 1pm (Mon, Tues, Weds for lunch club) and until 12pm on a Thursday.
I chose this preschool after hearing glowing reports of it from friends and other parents that had children already there, and after visiting for myself and speaking to the members of staff, I felt that it was absolutely the right kind of safe, secure and nurturing setting for my daughter.
She was 2 and a half when she started going, and as I just about to have another baby her little life was in a state of upheaval, but the staff really helped her to settle smoothly. We had a few taster sessions where she could meet the staff and other children and join in with the activities, and before long she was barely looking back to say goodbye to me!
We filled in an ‘all about me’ sheet before she started so that they would know what sort of things she liked and what she might be feeling more tentative about, and I really felt that her key worker took a great deal of time getting to understand what makes her tick so that activities could be planned to fire her interest.
This is one of the main things that I like best about Magic Dragon: children are embraced as individuals with their own approach to things, and the staff are very tuned in to how they might react to certain situations or activities; providing them with reassurance, but still challenging them to have a go at things that might be tricky or unfamiliar.
I have witnessed their warmth and boundless enthusiasm during my ‘on duty’ mornings as every parent is expected to help out at least once per half term. This is always such fun and enables us to experience the excitement of Magic Dragon first hand. A few weeks ago I was being a firework, dancing to ABBA songs whilst twirling a streamer!
The array of activities is fantastic: crafts, puzzles, play doh, building blocks, trains, book corner, role play, and singing are all commonly available, but often weeks will have themes such as dinosaurs, space or shops (to name but a few) and stories and activities are carefully chosen to incorporate this theme.
If anything, I would like to hear more about what the children get up day to day, although I know this would be tricky given how focused on the children the staff are during every session and pick up is such a busy time.
Another real draw for me was the fact that the children go out into the garden every day to participate in a myriad of things. The children are encouraged to be independent in putting on their wellies and getting outside to choose something to do, and there is always plenty on offer.
We are patiently waiting for our daffodils to shoot after they were planted in a pot to bring home from the Magic Dragon garden, though it is more common to bring home wet and muddy clothes because they have been having such fun!
Magic Dragon are approaching the end of an era with leader Miriam Lord – who has been involved with the preschool for over twenty years – retiring this summer. The team is in search of an inspiring leader to take over the reins so if anyone out there is interested or knows anyone who might be, do get in touch with them.
All the staff have been Magic Dragon mums and as such it really does have a warm, family feel which I cannot recommend highly enough. Places are available from September 2018.
To find out more about Magic Dragon or to get in touch, please visit http://magicdragonpreschool.org.uk/