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Dorothy Gardner

Nursery School

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Parents Handbook

Our Parents Handbook contains a wealth of information to help prepare you for Dorothy Garder Nursery School. Feel free to download it via the link below or simply read on to view the information in a web format.

What is a Key Person?

The nursery has a Key Person system. In the big and sometimes very busy nursery, each child has a Key Person. This person is the member of staff who makes a particular effort to get to know you and your child. This Key Person will never replace you, but she/he will be a special extra adult for your child.


As your child gains confidence, he/she may start to play away from the Key Person. Despite this, the Key Person is still there for your child as a special person who gets to know him/her and is there whenever he/she is needed. Your child’s Key Person will meet with you termly to discuss your child and his/her progress. Key Persons work in teams and you and your child will get to know all of the other members of staff over time.


Sometimes staff work in shifts and your child’s key person may not always be available. When this happens the other members of the Key Person team who also works very closely with your child are available as a point of contact.

The daily routine


Children match their name and photographs together. Each child has a photograph and name (in different scripts where appropriate.) Please always bring your child to his/her keyworker (or a team member) first thing in the morning. Please help your child to match his/her name and picture before taking him/her to an activity. Please remember to say goodbye to your child before you leave.



Children choose where they would like to play. This could be inside or outside.

Throughout the morning adults invite children to focus activities.


Children and adults tidy the nursery together.


All children have story time.


Throughout the session children are able to choose between playing inside or outside. Children plat outside in the sun, rain and snow. We make sure that children are always appropriately dressed for the weather. Please help us by sending your child in appropriate clothing. In the summer this will mean wearing a shirt that covers their shoulders as well as a hat and sun cream.


In the winter this will mean wearing a warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves or mittens. If it is raining your child might like to wear Wellington boots. We have raincoats at nursery and will insist that your child wear one outside if it is raining.


It is important that children wear shoes that are appropriate for running and climbing.

At nursery children have opportunities to play with water, paint, clay and other materials daily. This is a very important part of their learning. We encourage all children to wear aprons, but occasionally they may still get a little messy.


Please send your child to nursery in clothing that you don’t mind getting a little messy. When children get wet we change them immediately. Please help us by keeping your child’s bag of clothing on their peg full. Please mark all clothing clearly with your child’s name.


On the home visit, we will find out from you who is allowed to collect your child. Over time we will gather together photograph of all of the adults who are allowed to collect your child.

We will only allow your child to go home with someone that we have met and only if you inform us in advance.


Please help us by letting us know if anyone different will be bringing your child in or collecting him/her. In an emergency situation, if someone we have not met before will be collecting your child, we will need to see a photograph of him or her or a password set up for you to use.

Comfort and reassurance toys

If your child has a comfort toy that is very important to him/her and will help him/her to settle please give it to his/her Key Person.


Wherever possible we try to discourage children from bringing toys to nursery. Toys sometimes get lost or broken and this can led to children getting upset.


Helping children to be independent

When your child starts nursery everything will be new to him/her. To help your child adjust please help he/she work on these skills.

  • Putting his/her own coat on.

  • Using the toilet and washing his/her hands after using the toilet.



It is important to everyone that children are kept safe. Please make sure you close all doors and gates as you come in to the nursery. Please take your child across to greet his/her Key Person (or a member of the team) before leaving.

We ask all parents to enter the nursery through the cloakroom and leave via the stairs by Reception.

When exiting the building please make sure that you have only your own child/children with you.




It is important that you keep your child home if he/she is sick. Please let us know if your child has an infectious illness like chicken pox, measles, mumps or conjunctivitis. We put up notice to let all parents know to look out for symptoms of these illnesses.

If your child is ill during their time at nursery we will phone you and ask you to collect him/her.

Please let us know if there is a change to your home or mobile phone numbers (or address.)

Administering Medication

We are prepared to administer medication to children if it has been prescribed by a doctor, but we can’t give Calpol and other medication if it has been bought over the counter from a chemist. If your child has asthma or any other medical condition requiring medication we will need you to sign a form before we can give it to them. In some cases (such as epilepsy or sever food allergies) we may ask you to stay in the nursery building until staff have training on how to administer the medication. It is very important that you keep us updated on any changes in your child’s medical needs.


Through ought the year there are various classes and workshops for parents. Sometimes these are held at the Children’s Centre site at 88 Bravington Road. These include English classes and parenting courses such as Circle of Security. Please keep your eye open for posters advertising these at Reception.

Children’s progress

Key Persons write observations and take photographs of children. These are collected together in a profile. Children and parents are free to look through these profiles at any time. This profile will be given to you when your child moves to reception. We encourage parents to contribute to these profiles – this helps us to build up a complete picture of each child.

Each term parent meetings are arranged. Key Persons are always happy to discuss children and their progress, so please let your child’s Key Person know if you have any concerns.

Settling in

We want your child to be happy at Dorothy Gardner Centre. Nursery can be a busy and new and exciting place for a new child so we ask that you help your child to settle with us. All children are different. Some children settle very quickly. Other children take more time. It is important that this process isn’t rushed - you should be prepared for this process to take up to a week or longer. During the settling process you will need to stay at nursery with your child. If this is difficult for you, we ask that you arrange for a relative or familiar adult to stay with your child.

On the 1st Day…

We would like you to stay for one hour

9:45 – 10:45 if your child has a morning place

13:15 – 14:15 if your child has an afternoon place.

Please stay with your child and play with him/her. This will give your child time to get use to the space and all the new adults.

On the 2nd Day…

For morning places please expect to stay from 9:15 -11:00.

For afternoon places please expect to stay from 12:45 – 14:15.

If your child seems very settled his/her Key Person may ask you to sit in the Dining Room. It is important that you say goodbye to your child before you leave. Some children get very distressed if the person settling them disappears without saying goodbye.

On the 3rd Day…

For morning places please expect to stay from 9:15 -11:40.

For afternoon places please expect to stay from 12:45 – 15:15.

You should settle your child with his/her Key Person, if your child is ready, say goodbye and then go and sit in the Dining Room. Your child’s Key Person will discuss with you when your child is ready for you to leave him/her in the nursery. Please check with your child’s Key Person before you leave the nursery building.

Being on time

The nursery times are:

For morning places 9:15 – 11:45

For afternoon places 12:45 – 15:15

For full time places 9:15 – 15:15

Please try to bring your child at the start of the session. Arriving late is hard for children as all of their friends are busy and it can be difficult to get involved. If your child will be arriving late please phone and let us know. It is important that you pick your child up on time. It can be distressing for children to see everyone else going home and feel left behind.

We are aware that some parents collect children from other primary schools. For this reason we allow children to be collected from 15:05. There is an extended day provision; however, there is a cost for this. Please ask at reception for the details.

Changing clothes

Your child will have a blue bag like this hanging on his/her coat peg. Please make sure that he/she has the following in his/her bag each day:

  • 2 pairs of pants/knickers

  • 2 nappies

  • 1 packet of wipes

  • 2 pairs of sock/tights

  • vest

  • pair of trousers

  • jumper/cardigan

  • T-shirt


It is valuable for children to go on outings in their local and extended environment. We ask parents, carers and relatives to join us on outings as we are able to take more children.



Family Friday

Once your child has settled into the nursery, you are welcome to come and spend some time during the session. You can read books, cook, prepare fruit with the children, write in your home language or support the children in different ways.

Toilet training

If your child is 3 year or above we do expect your child to be toilet trained unless they have a prescribed medical condition which we need to be aware of. If you are still working on toilet training your child it’s important they feel confident using the toilet independently and can do so during their first half term with us. This may be a target for your child to achieve as part of your child’s key worker progress review in the first term.

Being bilingual…

We have children and staff who speak many different languages at our nursery. We see this as strength. If your home language is written in a different script we will ask you if you would like to write your child name in this script.

We have teacher who focuses on supporting bilingual children’s achievement. A good language model is the best foundation for all language learning so use your strongest language with your child.

Throughout your child’s time at nursery we will encourage you to talk to your child in your home language.

Special educational needs (SEN)

We welcome all children at Dorothy Gardner Centre. All children are different and we value and appreciate this difference. Many children need extra support at some stage in their life. We work closely with parents and other professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists to support children’s learning.

Medical conditions

If your child has a prescribed medical condition such as asthma for example, we need to know about it straight away. If they require on going medicine we will need to talk to you about how this has to be administered in line with our policy on administering medication.

What do children eat at nursery?

Children can help themselves to fruit, milk and water through ought the session. When children stay for lunch they are given healthy, nutritious, halal meals with a vegetarian option. Children are not forced to eat anything but are always encouraged to try new things. The fruit given to children is provided by parents. Please feel free to bring in fruit or vegetables for the children to share together.

It is important that you let us know if your child has any food allergies. We have some children with severe food allergies. The nursery is a nut free school. Please help us to keep all the children safe by not allowing your child to bring sweets, crisps or other food into the nursery. Snacks like these at the end of the day as a special ‘treat’ often spoils there appetite for real home cooked food later when children return home. We discourage parents from bringing unhealthy snacks for their children to nursery.

If you would like your child to celebrate his/her birthday at nursery you are welcome to bring in some fruit to share.

We have a lending library

We are lucky to have a library of books, CD’s and DVD’s. We have many books in different languages and scripts. Each child has a blue bag. We encourage you to choose books from the library to read at home with your child. Your child’s Key Person will be able to tell you more about how this service works.

Each child has a red bag. This bag is for borrowing CD’s and DVD’s.

Each Thursday you and your child can choose one CD or DVD to take home. We have a limited number of CD’s and DVD’s so we ask that you please look after it carefully and return it the next week so other children and families can enjoy it. There is a box for retuned CD’s at Reception so feel free to bring your child’s bag back on any day of the week.