Frequently Asked Questions
These are questions we are often asked. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for then please get in touch, we are always happy to help.
When can my child start Playgroup?
Children may start at Torphins Playgroup, if a place is available, at any time after they are 2 years old and can remain with us until they start school. We strongly recommend that you visit Playgroup with your child before they start so that you can become familiar with the building and the staff. It will also allow you to ask any questions that you may have well ahead of your child starting.
How many sessions can my child attend each week?
Our sessions usually run every weekday during term with various sessions options available between 9am and 3pm. From April 2019 we have decided to offer sessions times of 9am-12.10pm, 9-1pm, 11.50am-3pm and a full day option of 9am-3pm. The number of sessions your child attends will primarily depend on personal choice and day list availability, although our policy is still to encourage a minimum of two sessions per week. We have four terms per year and they match those of Torphins Primary School. Dates of terms and holidays can be found on the Aberdeenshire Council website.
How much does a session cost?
From April 2019, all children aged between three and five years old are entitled to claim up to 30 hours per week of funded placement within a recognised preschool setting operating term time as we do under the 1140 Hour Expansion Scheme. You can choose to access all of your extended hour entitlement with us if this is your preferred option but we are happy to advise on split placements and fully support partnership working with other funding providers. Alongside this, we also accept funded ‘Eligible Twos’ under a similar scheme provided by Aberdeenshire Council and if you require further information regarding either of these options please feel free contact the Playgroup directly. Aberdeenshire Council pay all funding invoices directly to the preschool settings and funding only comes into effect the next eligible term after your child’s third birthday. In the case of an eligible two, it can vary from after your child’s second birthday to the next eligible term after your child second birthday depending on the category of eligibility.
If your child joins us before preschool funding becomes available then our fee from October 2018 is £15 per 3 hour 10 minute session for all self-funding children. Fees are invoiced termly in advance via the treasurer and in addition to session fees we ask all parents to contribute £1 per session towards the cost of a healthy snack which we provide for the children. This is also payable termly, in advance.
Can I visit with my child before registering?
Yes! We positively encourage you to come along, sample a session, meet the staff and get a feel for the place. And if you then decide to register, we are happy for you to come along to a few sessions to help your child become familiar and comfortable in the setting before you leave them alone for the first time. If your child is to start in August we offer a few shorter sessions in the lead up to the end of our summer term specially organised for the new intake; this helps to prepare them for their ‘proper’ start a little later in the year.
Does my child need to be toilet trained?
No, your child does not need to be toilet trained and if he or she is still in nappies please make sure the staff are aware and leave a couple of nappies, and wipes, in your child’s bag which will be kept on their peg. To reduce the number of changes required please ensure your child is wearing a fresh nappy on arrival at Playgroup. If your child is toilet training we again ask that you inform staff and keep some spare clothes in their bag. We will do our best to continue supporting your child any way necessary during their toilet training period.
Will I be asked to help out at Playgroup sessions?
Yes, without sufficient help we cannot offer children full use of our facilities so all parents are expected to regularly help out at sessions. We have a rota secretary who will work out how many sessions you will be asked to do, based on the number of children at Playgroup and the number of days your child attends. You will have the opportunity to advise the rota secretary of days that are not suitable for you. Special arrangements exist for mothers during pregnancy or for those suffering from ill health. All volunteer helpers must join the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme.
Can someone else take my place on the helper rota?
It is very much part of our ethos that parents/guardians take an active part in our Playgroup and get involved as much as possible, sharing in their child’s first steps away from home. However, we appreciate that in some circumstances, for instance if you are working full-time, helping out on the rota may be impossible. We welcome all carers for our children and are happy for them to help out in our sessions in your absence. However, they must be willing to take up PVG Scheme membership as is expected by all of our volunteers.
Can I bring a younger sibling when I am helping out at a session?
Yes of course, we are always happy to share our sessions with little sisters and brothers!
What foods are offered as snacks?
We offer a healthy snack each session including a carbohydrate and fruit or vegetable and a choice of milk or water. Typical examples might be bread sticks and hummus with chopped apples and grapes or weetabix with banana and blueberries or a wrap filled with grated cheese and fresh peas and lettuce picked from our garden (and grown by the children). If your child has an intolerance or allergy we will discuss this with you and will take measures to ensure they are not brought into contact with the allergen.
How can I tell if my child is progressing?
Every time you collect your child a staff member will give you a brief summary of what your child has been doing that session. Should you wish to discuss anything in more detail staff would be very happy to arrange a mutually convenient time for both parties.
Each child has a key worker who will try to get to know your child a little better and they will maintain a profile of your child over their time with us. This will include photographs, examples of their work and notes on experiences and achievements. In August 2018 we set up an online Learning Journal so that both parents and children can access this information at any time. Staff will explain this online journal with you in more depth once your child has been officially enrolled into playgroup. Alongside this, all children moving on to another setting will also receive a written report prior to their exit.