Our Kindergarten

Our Kindergarten is led by Heather Shann and four part-time teaching assistants.  The aim of the kindergarten is to guide children as they take their first steps towards learning and independence through integrated work and play – indoors and out.

The kindergarten is housed in a large converted barn divided into areas for block play, art and craft/cooking, role play, focus work, small world and design and technology.  In the Kindergarten we meet all the requirements of the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and provide high quality resources.  Our play and other learning materials are usually made of wood and other natural materials that allow for open ended play and the opportunity for each child’s imaginative and creative play to be set free.  Outside is a landscaped garden with areas for physical play with a climbing frame and swing, water play complete with working hand-pump, a mud kitchen, a wooded area for imaginative play, to make dens and pretend campfires, listen to stories and climb trees.  There is a pagoda for craft, stories, dressing up, dancing or meeting with friends and a covered area for large block play, sand or water tray and much more. The large sand-pit is a great place for working together to build castles, channels, boats and bury treasure!  Through the middle of the garden runs a stream complete with a spring and a trip trap bridge.

Froebel believed that from the beginning the child must be surrounded by kindness, understanding and beauty.  We share this belief. We place a high importance on the Kindergarten environment.  The use of natural materials and soft warm colours of natural wood and combine to provide a homely atmosphere. There is a calm unhurried feel to the Kindergarten which begins as the children listen to the sounds of relaxing music at candle time and carries on throughout the day.

What did Ofsted say?

“Children make exceptional progress in all areas of learning.  They enjoy a vast range of unique experiences that enhance their learning and ensure they develop into well rounded individuals who are knowledgeable and self-assured”

Read our latest Ofsted inspection report

Early Years Inspection Report

Why is Annan Kindergarten special?

The Kindergarten is run with a strong, Froebelian influence, where the belief is that, through engaging with the world, understanding unfolds. We value giving children opportunities for uninterrupted play -as a creative activity and a way for children to learn and discover about the world around them.

Frequently asked questions

Are the staff qualified?

Our Kindergarten team is led by a qualified early years teacher supported by another graduate and other staff with qualifications in early years.

How many sessions does my child need to attend?

Children who are under three when they start kindergarten attend a minimum of three morning sessions.  They then build this up to every morning and can also add afternoon sessions when they are ready.  The older children in kindergarten who are in “reception” year attend everyday and are all full-time by their final term before moving into year one.

What snacks and drinks are provided?

Children have water available to them at all times. At snack times they have a choice of water, dairy milk and non-dairy milk. They have fruit every day and another snack which they help prepare chosen from home-made bread, rice cakes, muesli, smoothies, oat cakes and bread sticks. Children are involved in preparing and serving all snacks. Children in the EYFS bring their own packed lunch. There is healthy eating guidance which is in the Parents Information Guide. (See Useful Information page). There is a chart on the wall in the welcome area which lists any food products used in the kindergarten in either snack time, cooking activities or play activities. Parents whose child’s have any allergies are advised to check this to ensure their child doesn’t come into contact with anything which may cause a reaction.

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The Early Years Foundation Stage sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.  All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes. The EYFS is divided into two areas, Prime areas, which begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas.  The Prime areas are:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Making relationships, Self-confidence and self-awareness, Managing feelings and behaviour.

Communication and Language: Listening and attention, Understanding, Speaking.

Physical Development: Moving and handling, Health and self-care.

The Specific Areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.  They grow out of the Prime areas and provide important contexts for learning.

  • Literacy: Reading, Writing.
  • Mathematics: Numbers, Shape, space and measure.
  • Understanding the World: People and communities, The world, Technology.
  • Expressive Arts and Design: Exploring and using media and materials, Being imaginative.

To find out more about the EYFS please click here

How will I know how my child is getting on at Kindergarten?

Every child has their own special “key person” whose job it is to make sure the children in their group are happy, feeling safe and making excellent progress.  They meet with parents regularly and are always available for a “quick chat” if you have messages to pass on or are concerned about anything.

Do you do any assessments when children start kindergarten?

When children are due to start kindergarten a member of the kindergarten team will arrange to visit the child at home to get to know them.  When they start in kindergarten the staff do a series of observations which help them understand how the children are settling, their well-being, their interests and their learning style.  We also have meetings with parents soon after children have started to share knowledge about the child.

Can I come into the kindergarten to settle my child?

We have years of experience of settling children into kindergarten and understand that every child’s needs are different.  For this reason we don’t have a set way of doing things but will talk to you to decide what will work best for your child before their first day.

Do I get to come and see what happens in kindergarten?

Kindergarten parents are always welcome to come in to see children’s work and share their Learning Journeys at the end of a session.  The children enjoy organising special events such as tea parties or exhibitions of work to show their parents.  We also invite parents in for special celebrations and festivals quite regularly.

What happens at the end of EYFS?

At the end of the EYFS – in the summer term of the reception year in school – teachers complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile. This assessment is carried out by the kindergarten teacher and is based on what they, and other staff caring for your child, have observed over a period of time.

These records go with the child into Year One.

How can I help my child at home?

Download these ideas sheets for ways to support your child at home

Parents info about EYFS

Helping your kindergarten child with maths


What are the daily routines in the EYFS?

Children arrive at 9.15am and are greeted by the practitioners. They are free to choose activities until 9.30am when they gather together for “Candle Time”. This is a quiet reflective time when children listen to music, take part in guided meditations, mindfulness activities etc. After candle time there is “free flow” activity time where children can choose to play inside or outside in either self-chosen child-led activities or take part in an adult led or supported group activity. During the morning there will be groups for snack time but children are largely allowed lots of time to “wallow” in their play uninterrupted. On Friday mornings the younger pre-school children go off to the wildlife area to take part in Forest School activities. Lunchtime is from 12.15pm to 1.15pm after which morning children go home and children staying for the afternoon take part in arrange of activities both inside and out. These include Forest School, yoga, movement and free play. The kindergarten day ends at 3.15pm.

What if I am late picking up from Kindergarten?

We understand that occasionally parents can get held up and arrive late. We ask that you ring the school office and let us know you are on your way if you are going to be late. The Late Collection Policy is on the Policy page with more information about what would happen if no-one arrives to collect a child.

What happens if a child goes missing?

We supervise children very carefully at all times. There is a policy for the procedure to be followed should a child go missing on or off-site. This can be found in the policy section of the website.

How do I know who my child’s keyperson is?

When your child starts at Kindergarten they will be appointed a key person. This is usually the person who will do a home visit before they start. The key person groups are displayed in the welcome area. The key person’s role is to support you and your child during the settling in process as well as be the person who keeps your child’s records and holds regular meetings with you to discuss how your child is getting on at school.

How are children with SEN or disabilities supported in the EYFS?

We have an experienced SENCO who works with the EYFS teachers to ensure that children identified with any SEN or other difficulties or disabilities are fully supported within the setting. See our page on SEN for more details.