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Early Years Parent Handbook


Early Years Unit

A Parent Handbook


Cyntwell Avenue




Tel: 02920 599224


Welcome to the Early Years Unit at Pencaerau Primary School


We are delighted to welcome you and your child to Pencaerau Primary School, Early Years Unit and look forward to working with you to make sure your child has an exciting start to their school life.


At Pencaerau we aim to give....


  • your child the very best education and care, to make sure that they get the most out of their time with us.


  • a safe, secure and stimulating environment where learning can take place.


  • experiences that ensure your child is happy, confident, interested and enthusiastic about life.


The early years of education are a crucial time for your child. Values and attitudes to learning are formed, which will last a lifetime.


Here at Pencaerau, we plan and organise learning experiences that will motivate children and involve them in their learning. We want children to enjoy being in school.


Learning takes place through purposeful structured and spontaneous play. We have a wide and varied curriculum that encompasses both the indoor and outdoor nursery environment. Active learning is a key element in our curriculum.



Each child is viewed as an individual and his/her needs met as far as are possible. Equal opportunities are offered to all children irrespective of gender, special needs, cultural or social background.



The quality and range of learning experiences provided are intended to extend and enrich experiences your child has received at home.


We look forward to welcoming you and working together for the benefit of your child.


Helen Turner


School Times


Nursery                                                                              Reception

Morning Session        9:00 -11:30am                           Whole day
Afternoon Session      12:30 - 3:00pm                         8:55am - 3:00pm

Starting School

It is important to make sure that your child arrives on time each day so they can make the most of the activities of that day and do not miss valuable information or opportunities if he/she is late.


Leaving School

To prevent your child becoming distressed, thinking they have been forgotten, it is important that they are collected on time. Please make every effort to be on time. If you are going to be unavoidably late please telephone the school and let us know (Tel: 02920 599224)



Please inform staff if someone other than yourself will be collecting your child from school. We will not allow children to leave school with someone else unless we have already been informed.


No child in nursery or reception will be allowed to leave school without an adult – please note that nobody under the age of 16 will be allowed to collect a child.




 Unfortunately, there are no facilities within the school grounds for parental parking. We respectfully request that when parking in the roads around the school that care is taken not to obstruct residents’ driveways and restricted areas such as double yellow lines.




School are highly qualified, professional educators and work closely as a team for the benefit of all children in our care. Teachers and Teaching Assistants have many years experience in working with young children and are totally committed to providing high quality education and care for the youngest members of our community.

In the Early Years Unit at Pencaerau, we always ensure we facilitate the recommended adult to child ratio and wherever possible exceed this. Many of the staff working at Pencaerau Primary School have first aid qualifications and are fully trained to deal with any medical incidents and emergencies such as cuts and grazes and bumped heads.
Here at Pencaerau, we encourage our staff to undertake professional development as we are never too old to learn! We aim to keep up to date with all new initiatives and ensure we maintain and further develop the learning and teaching at Pencaerau Primary School. We also aim to help others in their educational training and welcome students from a variety of settings and training courses.
If you have any questions and/or concerns during your child’s time at Pencaerau Nursery and Primary School please do not hesitate to speak to a member of staff.




It is the responsibility of all of us to keep the children safe whilst at school. All entrances are secure for that reason. Once the door is locked please report to the main reception. Please also ensure the nursery gate is closed and secured after use.


 Before the big day!

Starting nursery or reception can be very daunting for a child, especially if they are not used to being away from their parents. It will help your child if you make plenty of time to talk with your child about their forthcoming adventure. As part of the ‘settling in’ process, you are invited to come to the nursery or reception for a short visit prior to your child’s official start date. This visit will help your child to get to know us and the class environment.  Each child has different needs, and some will require more visits before they feel increasingly secure.A date to start will be allocated; entry will be staggered to allow children to settle and parents and staff to get to know each other.


Personal Details

When starting in the Nursery or Reception you will be asked to have a short chat to let us know a little more about your child. You will also be asked to fill in an admission form to help us to look after your child. Please inform us of any alteration and keep all information up to date.


(For the nursery meeting please bring your child’s birth certificate or passport. We will be unable to admit them unless one of these is seen)




The First Day

This is a very special, important and exciting day for both you and your child. We realise different children react in different ways to new situations. We treat each new child individually. Hopefully your child will be happy enough to say goodbye on their first day. However, if this is not the case you are welcome to stay for a while.  We may ask you to leave for a short time, for example 30 minutes or so (usually longer in reception). This helps your child to realise that they will be staying in nursery without you, but that their parents will indeed return. On the big day it also helps if you could leave younger brothers or sisters with a relative or friend. If you have any concerns do not hesitate to let us know.

What a mess!


Children learn by ‘doing’ and playing is their way of processing lots of different skills. Your child’s learning will be very ‘hands on’, inside and outside the nursery and reception. Early Years play tends to get messy at times, it usually means they’re having even more fun, and therefore learning more! We would remind Parents/Carers that school experiences can (and should be) messy!

We do our best to protect clothes with aprons, raincoats, wellies etc but we do advise you to put your child in school uniform which means their ‘best clothes’ do not get ruined! It is not good idea to send your child into school in their ‘best clothes’ as they may feel nervous about getting them dirty and not make the most of the activities and experiences on offer. We use water-based paint that in most instances will wash out, but we cannot guarantee that this will always be the case.

Clothes that are easy for children to remove or fasten, means they can be far more independent when toileting or getting ready to go outside. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.


School Uniform 

Most children in the school wear school uniform which is strongly encouraged, although not compulsory. School colours are red and black. The school sweatshirt, cardigan and polo shirts can be ordered through the school, please ask a member of staff for an order form.




Transfer to Primary School


Penacaerau Nursery feeds a number of local primary schools in the area. We hope that many of our children will continue their education through our primary school. Information regarding school admissions is available, please do not hesitate to ask or contact the admissions department within Cardiff Council on 02920 872000.


Waiting List

Whilst Parents/Carers are welcome to register children directly with the nursery, we must point out that all admissions to Pencaerau Nursery are authorised by Pupil and Student Services in County Hall, we would advise you to contact this department on 02920 872000 to ensure that your child is on the central waiting list. The school will forward details of those children who have registered directly with us to Pupil and Student Services.



An Open Door...

We welcome parental help in the Early Years Unit. If you feel able to offer time to assist in any area, please do not hesitate to offer.We welcome parents visiting in the classroom but it is best to arrange a mutually convenient time to see staff about specific problems or queries. Early Years staff are always willing to answer your questions. Please feel welcome to ask.

Your child’s progress will be assessed throughout the Early Years. Parents are welcome to discuss their child’s progress at any time and also when the school holds its formal parents’ evenings. Please feel free to involve your child at home in any aspect of topic work or to ask for more details of the current topic. A topic information sheet is always posted on the Parent Information Board.


Healthy Eating



We ask if you would give a contribution of £1 at the beginning of each week towards the purchase of snack items and to help cover the cost of cooking activities. We appreciate this  contribution greatly. Your child will be provided with a portion of fruit/toast/cereal and drink daily. They do not need to bring any other snacks.


Lunch Club

Here at Pencaerau, we offer a Nursery Lunch Club service. The lunch time service is run entirely by the Nursery and is separate from the lunch time provision for the remainder of the primary school.  This service is to support working parents and carers, and to help prepare the children for the new experiences they will meet when they begin school full time.
Please ask a member of staff for more detail. 




Good standards of behaviour are essential to the smooth running of the school. At our school we believe in positive behaviour management and the need to foster in the child responsibility for their own behaviour. It is important that you support the school in maintaining a good standard of behaviour. It is much easier to teach good habits from the beginning. Always try to be positive and give plenty of praise when your child does something well. This will reinforce the teachers’ methods of praising the child whenever possible.


Please inform us if you or your child is concerned by the behaviour of anyone else. Problems can then be quickly resolved.


Health and Safety


We encourage children in simple health matters. We encourage children to wash their hands and take themselves to the toilet independently. Whilst we will admit children who are still in nappies/pull ups, we will work with parents/carers in toilet training and are able to give advice and tips in how to achieve this.


The wearing of jewellery, including earrings, is not encouraged – accidents may happen that could be easily avoided. We would also suggest that long hair is tied back as it is safer and more hygienic – we are not alone in having outbreaks of head lice or ‘nits’ as it is commonly known.



If your child is unwell and unable to attend school please notify us as soon as possible. In case of sickness and diarrhoea allow for 48 hours before returning to nursery.

Children suffering from asthma should have their medication in school if required. Please ensure their medication is clearly labelled with their name.


Please inform us if your child has any medical problems or becomes allergic to anything.


Occasionally, a child may contract headlice. Please treat your child’s hair immediately, not returning to nursery until the hair is completely clear. Please don’t be afraid to ask a member of staff for any advice regarding this.


If your child is taken ill in school it is very important that we are able to contact you. Please make sure that all contact numbers are up to date.



For the health and wellbeing of children and staff keep your child at home if he/she is unwell. Poorly children do not concentrate, are easily upset, often tired and can pass germs to others!





Complaints are very rare at Pencaerau Nursery and Primary School and we would like to keep it this way. However, if you or your child is unhappy about something we would like to know. We can only do something to improve the situation if we know about it. Whilsy recognising that it is impossible to please everyone all of the time, we find that by talking to one another serious complaints can be avoided. There are a number of stages to follow if you feel the need to complain. These are: 
Stage 1
Informal Stage - discussion with your class teacher.
Stage 2
Headteacher's Investigation - discussion with the deputy headteacher and/or headteacher.
Stage 3
Governing Body Review - complaint referred to Chair of Governors.
Stage 4
County Council Review - LEA to review the complaint and/or a review of how the complaint had been handled.
Stage 5
Welsh Assembly Government Review - review of procedure and investigation into how your complaint has  be

If you would like further information on the complaints procedure, please refer to the whole school prospectus or ask a member of staff for more detail.


How to Help Your Child


You are your child’s first teacher, what you do at home makes all the difference in the early stages of talking, reading, writing and number skills. We will work with you closely to make sure that your child learns.

There are many ways in which you can help:


<>§Talk to your child about what he/she plans to do in school and what s/he has been doing.
<>§Help your child by making them as independent as possible before they come to school – toilet training, washing, dressing etc.
<>§Take part in the many projects and programmes we run e.g. Language and Play Programme, Number and Play Programme.
<>§Read stories to your child at home, join the local library. The school lending library and home reading scheme will give your child the opportunity to choose a book to borrow for a week, this event happens on Fridays– ask a member of staff for further detail.
<>§Talk with your child about where they live, the locality, the street, the park, the family and what they like to do.
<>§Encourage your child to look and listen to what is going on in the world around them.
<>§Play games e.g. spot numbers on houses and the colours of their clothes.
<>§Allow your child to play with money and help you when you go shopping.
<>§Involve your child in household jobs and talk about what you are doing, what happened yesterday and what you intend to do tomorrow.


Remember it is very important that your child learns the correct way from the start, as bad habits are difficult to break. Please do not hesitate to ask a teacher for more information on how you can help your child with their talking, reading, writing and number skills.