Puffins welcomes tinier tots

PUFFINS Pre-school at Beer is welcoming even tinier tots from this term.

The group, which meets in the grounds of Beer Primary in Mare Lane, now offers full day care for two-and-a-half year-olds and from October the minimum age will drop to two.

The toilets have been extended to give a larger changing area, and a book corner has been created to incorporate sleeping and quiet areas.

Pre-school leader Julie Weber runs the group, which has 33 children registered, with deputy Natalie Puddicombe. Two of the five members of staff are studying for NVQ Level 3s in childcare and development, administrator Annie Thurgood is studying for NVQ Level 3 in management, and Julie is working toward Early Years Professional Status. She said: “We should be one of the first groups around to have an early years professional.” Forest schools is a major part of the Puffins programme. It aims to increase the children’s awareness of the natural world and build self-esteem and confidence, through regular visits to local woodland areas and to the village. They have campfires, go on ‘bear hunts’, and play games.

“It’s about learning how to look after yourself and take responsibility for your own risks,” said Julie. “It focuses on what the children can do, not what results they can get.”

The group is funded through grants and fundraising. It is hosting a Halloween party at the Dolphin Hotel on October 30, tickets on sale nearer the time, and its Nativity and coffee morning is at Mariners Hall on December 8. “We put it on for free and raise funds through the cake stall,” said Julie.

Term started yesterday, Natalie was looking forward to seeing the children. “It’s them that makes the job worthwhile,” she said.

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To register your child call (01395) 20403 or visit www.puffinsatbeer.co.uk.