Happy Valley Play School

For Children Aged 2-5 Years




Information Booklet


West Room, Town Hall, Port St Mary, Isle of Man

Play School Manager:

Mrs Sandra Gandy,

Meadowfield, Meadowfield Road, Port Erin, IoM

Tel:01624 835839 Mobile: 07624 482447

Web: www.happyvalleyplayschool.com

email: sandra@happyvalleyplayschool.com



We hope that your child's stay at Happy Valley Play School will be a happy one. If you have any questions or comments or would like to know more about the activities, organisation or curriculum, please contact Sandra Gandy, manager of the Play School.

Dear Parents,


We are pleased to welcome you and your child to Happy Valley Play School and look forward to working in close co-operation with you in furthering the all round development of your child. The Play School should be regarded as an extension of home.


At Happy Valley Play School we aim to:


*      Celebrate each child's individuality, helping them to become enquiring, self-motivated and independent.

*      Nurture a sense of tolerance, respect, trust and co-operation and an appreciation of the feelings of others.

*      Encourage children's sense of wonder, creativity and emotional development.

*      Settle children into school routines by providing a warm, safe and stimulating environment.

*      Help children manage their own behaviour and make appropriate choices.

*      Help children become enquiring, thinking, self-motivated independent individuals who are prepared for life in the primary school.

*      Help children to adopt a healthy lifestyle that will encourage their physical development.


The education and care of your child is a joint venture between home and school and we look forward to working with you.


Dear Parents, 2

Organisation. 4

Session Times 4

Fees 4

The Team. 4

How to find us 5

What do the Children Do? 6

Circle Time/Story Time. 6

Small Group Time. 6

Planning Time. 6

Work Time. 7

Refreshments 7

Lunch. 7

Links with Local Primary Schools 8

Liaison with Parents 8

What can you do? 8

At Home. 8

At Play School 9

Admissions policy. 9

Child protection. 9

Complaints Procedure. 10

Introduction to Play School 11

Introductory Visit 11

Settling in. 11

Parent participation in school 11

Self help skills 11

Clothing. 12

Jewellery. 12

Birthdays 12

Newsletters 12

Themes 13

Important Items of Information. 13

Drop-off and Collection of Your Child. 13

Illness 13

Medication. 14

Confidentiality. 14

Toys 14

Pattern of School Day. 15

The Curriculum. 15

Personal and Social Development 15

Language and Literacy. 15

Maths 16

Knowledge and Understanding of the World. 16

Physical 17

Creative. 17

Recording Your Child's Progress 17

Record of Achievement Book 18

Special Needs 18

Equal Opportunities Statement 18

Happy Valley Play School Behaviour Policy. 19

Philosophy. 19

Aims: 19

Objectives: 19

The agreed Code of Behaviour for our children is: 19

Parents Can Help. 20

Term dates 20



Happy Valley Play School have places for 24 children at each session.


The room is organised into distinct working areas and equipment is arranged, labelled and displayed so that the children may learn to make choices, use the materials efficiently and replace them independently.


Session Times       


9:00am to 12:00pm Monday to Friday

        12:00pm to 1:00pm lunch session Monday to Friday

        1:00pm to 4:00pm Monday to Friday




For current fees please contact Sandra Gandy.


The Team


Sandra Gandy                         Margaret Woolnough

Yvonne Hall                            Fiona Teare

Ingrid Fleming                         Julie Croft

Angela Brennan                       Helen Watterson

Janese Knight                         Andrea Driver

How to find us


Our home is in the Town Hall Port St Mary which is on the promenade overlooking the bay.


When you travel into Port St Mary you will pass the Primary School on your right hand side, after the pedestrian crossing take the next turning left, the Town Hall is the last building on your right around 100 meters from the turning.


The entrance to the Play School is on the right hand side of the building as you look from the road.


There is ample car parking directly opposite the building.

What do the Children Do?


We follow a predictable daily routine. This helps the children's growing awareness of time and sequence as well as providing security (Mummy will be here after the story). Staff may adapt their routines from time to time on special occasions but the routine generally includes the following: circle time, small group time, planning time, work time, snack time with elements of recall and story time.


Circle Time/Story Time


These times give children opportunities to be part of a larger group and also to be involved in the same activity at the same time. Circle time activities include song, stories, number and finger rhymes. Children will be encouraged to discuss and share news with adults and the group. Over the year story time will offer the children as wide a range of good quality, developmentally appropriate literature as possible in a variety of books, story telling tapes etc.


Small Group Time



This is part of the daily routine that is initiated by staff. Over a period of time adults plan a wider range of activities, giving the children access to a broad balanced curriculum. Small group time is an important time for staff to observe and assess children's needs.


Planning Time


Staff meet with their colour group (we have three groups red, yellow and blue, each child belonging to one of these groups) to talk about what each child wants to do and how he/she will go about it.

Work Time



This is the longest single period in the daily routine. During this time children carry out their original plan and carry out new activities. The children are free to work in areas of the classroom. Staff observe the children and seek ways to support them in their work. The children have access to a wide range of planned activities and experiences at work time.




The children help tidy away activities in the room. They then join their colour group at snack tables. Refreshment time gives the staff and children opportunities to discuss what has happened in school during the morning/afternoon. It also offers children opportunities to develop social skills; sharing, taking turns and consideration for others. Juice or water as well as fruit and a biscuit is provided.





If your child is staying with us for lunch you must provide a cold packed lunch including a drink. Please use a lunch box clearly labelled with your child’s name. If any items need to be refrigerated please write your child’s name on the item and hand them to a member of staff to be placed in the fridge.


During the lunch session we will encourage the children to try everything in their lunch box, so please try to include items that they enjoy. But, please do not include sweets.




Links with Local Primary Schools



We have close links with Scoill Purt le Moirrey and Rushen Primary School and reception staff, nursery nurses and reception teachers visit the Play School to meet the children.


Liaison with Parents


Parents are always welcome to join Play School during a session, in order to see and experience at first hand, the life of the Play School.


Staff are always available to speak to parents, but this is not always practical at busy times as their main objective is to care for the children. If you wish to speak to someone about your child’s progress please arrange a suitable time.

What can you do?

At Home


Talk to your child positively about:


*      Coming to Play School

*      Being with other adults who will help look after him/her

*      Playing and sharing with others


Let them:


*      Ask questions and answer as best you can

*      Help you and get involved when you are cleaning, cooking, shopping etc.


Please explain:


*      Why things happen

*      About shapes, colour, sizes

*      About going to the doctor, dentist, clinic




*      Read to your child

*      Share pictures

*      Share television programmes

*      Sing Play School rhymes

At Play School


*      At the end of the session it is reassuring if you are not always the last person to arrive.

*      Please dress your child in suitable clothing, so that he/she may use the toilet unaided and not be upset by getting dirty.

*      Please do not send a child who has been sick or disturbed the previous night. He/she is not well enough to cope with Play School.

*      Please show interest in all your child's efforts and treat his/her art work and models with respect. However, do not expect such offerings daily, many of the activities cannot be measured by the number of pictures brought home.


Admissions policy



Application forms for admission to the Play School are available from the Play School or from Sandra Gandy, the Play School Manager. Admission is open to all children.

Child protection


Play Schools have an important part to play in the detection and prevention of child abuse.


Parents should be aware, therefore, that where it appears to a member of staff that a child has been abused, the Play School is required to report the matter to the Social Services Division immediately. Consequently, in such situations, it is likely that a social worker will contact the parents, NOT the Play School.


This requirement forms part of the Isle of Man Child Protection Committee – Local Agency procedures for dealing with Child Abuse and is not a matter for the discretion of individuals or members of Play School staff.


Complaints Procedure



We hope that parents / carers will have confidence in Happy Valley Play School and the high standard of education and care which is offered to their child.


Should there be any cause for complaint, we hope that parents will contact Sandra Gandy to discuss any issues in the first instance.


If you are unhappy with the way in which your complaint is handled, you should make a complaint, in writing, to the Registrations and Inspections Officer of the Department of Health and Social Security. The Registrations and Inspections Officer will involve the necessary authorities to ensure that your complaint is dealt with promptly.

Introduction to Play School

Introductory Visit


On this visit you and your child will meet your staff member and spend time joining in activities, and familiarising your child with the layout and routine of the Play School.


We arrange all these visits in small groups so that staff have ample time to talk to you, and start to form good relationships and confidences with your child.


Settling in



Children vary tremendously in the way they react to new experiences.

Do allow your child plenty of time to get used to Play School.


We have found that when you first leave your child at Play School, it is best to do so for only a short time, making sure that you say, "Goodbye" and tell them when you are coming back. The time can be slowly built up over a few days or weeks if necessary.


Parents are welcome to come and see me at any time about any worries or concerns they feel. If there has been any change within the family, whether of a happy or sad nature, I would be grateful to know about it, so that I can help families wherever possible, and make sure we are aware and able to help the child in school in the best supportive way.

Parent participation in school


Parents who would like to help at school are most welcome, but we ask you to first let your child become settled and confident in Play School.

Self help skills



Please show your child how to put a coat on, also how to pull sleeves through the right way and let your child practice doing it alone.


Please try to ensure that your child can go to the toilet by him / herself, and is wearing clothes which he or she can undo unaided. Children, when new to school, can have unnecessary accidents because they could not undo their clothes by themselves, and this can greatly upset them.





Please could you mark all outdoor clothing with your child's name, as many coats and jackets are of identical size or design. The same applies to shoes and Wellingtons although soft shoes or pumps should be worn when children are in Play School.


Parents are encouraged to send their children to Play School in clothing which will not be spoiled by the child participating in activities which involve sand, water, paint and glue. The Play School does have waterproof aprons which are used whenever possible.



From a safety point of view, it is best if children do not wear jewellery in the Play School. Only stud earrings are acceptable.




When a child has a birthday there will be a celebration held in the Play School for him / her. This will consist of the Play School providing a cake for the birthday child and giving a piece to every child, choosing a small present from the "Birthday Box", and receiving a card made by other children.




Current newsletters will be pinned on the notice board in the entrance area to inform parents / carers of the current events e.g. students in the Play School or staff professional development. There are individual newsletters a couple of times a term giving details of future events.




Each term there is a display in the entrance area outlining the activities to be undertaken in each area of the curriculum. There are lists of skills, concepts, and attitudes, which are to be developed.

Important Items of Information 


Drop-off and Collection of Your Child


When your child arrives at Play School please make sure that they are marked in by a member of staff and their time of arrival is recorded.


If someone other than yourself is likely to collect your child you must complete a ‘Child Pick-up Authorisation’ form (available at the Play School) beforehand. We are unable to allow anyone not on the authorisation form to collect your child.





If your child is ill and likely to be away from school for more than two days, we would welcome a Telephone Call or Message from you. We request that if your child has suffered from such 24-hour infections as an upset stomach and sickness / diarrhoea they remain at home for a further 48 hours after the complaint has finished. In the case of infectious diseases, such as Chickenpox, the Local Authority issues guidelines on the required length of absence from school. A copy of these guidelines (Management of Communicable Diseases in School, Nurseries and Workplaces) is available at the Play School.






If your child has been prescribed antibiotics, please keep him / her at home until the end of the course. Staff can only administer long term medications for conditions such as asthma and eczema with written permission and instructions from parents / carers.






It is the policy of the Play School that all information provided by parents / carers regarding their child is treated as strictly confidential. Any discussions related to development, well being, concerns or care of your child are also treated as confidential.






Whilst we realise that it is sometimes helps a child to settle into school if they bring a favourite toy from home, we would ask you to discourage this practice as soon as you can. Toys can get lost or broken and this can be very upsetting for the child. We encourage any such toy brought to school to be taken by the child to a member of staff and, after showing it to her, letting it go home safely with mum / dad until the end of the session.

Pattern of School Day 

The Curriculum

Personal and Social Development


The children are learning how to learn, play and socialise with groups of children and adults outside their immediate family.


The children develop an understanding of the need for a clear set of rules for their own personal safety and well being e.g. walk slowly etc. as well as the importance of personal hygiene and consideration of others. Turn taking and sharing are reinforced at group times.


Through role-play, art, music and dance children develop their self-expression and storybooks enable them to empathise with situations which they have not experienced.


A range of religious and cultural events are investigated and books, jigsaws and other artefacts support these activities.


The children are encouraged to care for their environment and keep it tidy.


Language and Literacy


We provide the children with a range of purposes to write, using their own unique style of "Emergent Writing". They are encouraged to find their own name card and write their own name.


A wide range of games help develop some of the essential skills for reading e.g. matching and sequencing. Poems and rhymes introduce them to the concept of sounds and phonics in a fun way.


We try to provide a print rich environment and the children have free access to a well stocked book corner and listening tapes. Big books, puppets and role-play enhance story telling.


Group times provide the children with the opportunity to join in discussions about a variety of topics and enable them to share their views and develop turn taking and listening skills.



To develop the concept of number, we provide a range of practical problem solving activities e.g. matching and sorting real objects.


Games help develop counting skills and number recognition and at group times the children learn number rhymes and do further counting activities.


2D and 3D shapes are investigated and symmetry and tessellation are explored.


The children are given opportunities to make simple comparisons of size, length, weight and capacity. They use real and plastic money in activities and in the "Home Room".


The children collect simple data and record it with pictures. They explore simple fractions when sharing fruit at group times.


In all activities children are encouraged to describe, predict, test, observe and explain to develop their problem solving and investigative skills.


Knowledge and Understanding of the World


The children explore a range of scientific concepts through play and investigative activities e.g. air, water, natural materials, light, heat, sound, forces and life and living processes.


The children are encouraged to question the world around them, to look for similarities and differences, growth and change and patterns. Opportunities are provided for the children to predict, experiment, observe and record findings.


The children investigate, take apart and look at models to aid their design and making skills. They are taught to safely use a range of materials, tools and techniques to make models.


Information technology is an important part of the curriculum and we aim to develop the confidence and co-ordination to use the mouse, keyboards as well as the cassette recorder.


Many people who work in the local community e.g. police, fire, road safety, dental service etc. come into the Play School to talk to the children. The children look at their locality and land and building use, e.g. where are the shops, schools, parks etc? They make simple imaginary and real maps and develop appropriate geographical vocabulary.


The children look at their own families, how they have changed since they were babies and begin to sequence events and develop some concept of past, present and future.




The children develop their fine motor control in the use of scissors, pencils, construction sets etc.


The children are given opportunities to develop ball skills - rolling, kicking, throwing and catching.


They use the large apparatus to develop their gross motor skills, climbing, balancing, crawling, swinging etc.


There are opportunities to play games which involve hopping, jumping, skipping, walking and running.





The children use a range of artistic tools and techniques and explore 2D and 3D work. They use real objects, work from other cultures, as well as work by well known artists and authors, as inspirations for their own work. They experiment with colour mixing and do observational drawings and paintings.


The children have a wide range of music and sounds to listen to and discuss. They are encouraged to respond to music through art and dance. They sing rhymes and songs and use a range of musical instruments.


Recording Your Child's Progress


Throughout your child's time in the Play School, a record is kept of his / her progress and achievements in all aspects of the curriculum.


The "All About Me" sheet which parents are asked to fill in when their child starts Play School begins the process of staff getting to know each child.


Once children are familiar with the Play School, their written assessment is ongoing, and informs the planning for each child's learning.


Record of Achievement Book


This is a portfolio that will be built up over your child's time in the Play School and will include: - photographs, samples of work, certificates, badges and any things done at home that you would like to go into the book.


Parental involvement is encouraged throughout the school year and we welcome your written comments in your child's Record of Achievement book. These "Books" are kept in the Play School for you to share whenever you wish and to take home to show other members of the family. The book is kept by the child at the end of the year.


Special Needs


These can include behaviour difficulties, learning difficulties, speech and language problems, medical problems and physical disabilities. Exceptionally able children also have special needs. Early identification and recognition of a child's specific needs is important, so that a structured programme of support can be implemented. Some children only need a short period of support, whilst others may need longer.


We liaise on a regular basis with outside agencies such as The Speech Therapy Service, The Sensory Impaired Service, Health Visitors, Educational Psychologists and Social Services.


The staff work as a team to ensure maximum support. Parents are encouraged to work in partnership, taking an active role in the implementation of their child's programme.

Equal Opportunities Statement


It is important to recognise that young children absorb the influences around them and these should be positive, ensuring that all children see their race, culture, gender, abilities and experiences valued and reflected in the curriculum.


Many of our children will have had experiences in a number of establishments (day nurseries, play groups, toddler groups etc.) or with a number of carers before coming to Happy Valley. Each child has a right to expect that Happy Valley will provide for their specific developmental needs.


Staff should ensure through their planning, monitoring and evaluation, that the Play School curriculum offers equal opportunities to all children.

Happy Valley Play School Behaviour Policy



*      To achieve acceptable behaviour in our school and ultimately within the community based upon a positive approach: -

*      Through encouragement and praise

*      Through raising self esteem and promoting a positive self image.



*      To develop a sense of self discipline and ultimately a responsibility from each child for their own actions.

*      To create an atmosphere of caring and respect for oneself and for others, in order that effective learning can take place within the Play School for everyone.



*      To adopt a simple code of behaviour that is consistently reinforced from the child's first days in Play School

*      To set appropriate and obtainable targets for children to follow e.g. including attitudes towards each other, the environment and equipment.

*      To establish good pupil / staff / parent relationships.

*      To be aware that there is often an underlying reason for inappropriate behaviour.

*      To make the child aware that it is the behaviour / action that is unacceptable and not the child.

*      To encourage co-operative activities / games whereby all the children in the group get a turn and their contribution is valued as part of the whole e.g. snack time, passing games, shared model building.

*      To involve parents in early consultation in order to discuss any problems and agree on appropriate actions.

The agreed Code of Behaviour for our children is:


*      Be kind to everyone

*      Share with everyone

*      Be friends with everyone

*      Help each other

*      Listen and do as they are asked

*      Walk in the Play School

*      Help to put things away


At Happy Valley Play School we will not accept any behaviour which is dangerous or upsetting to others or which disrupts the Play School sessions.


*      physical aggression

*      verbal aggression

*      swearing

*      bullying

*      racist remarks

*      hitting out

*      rudeness / bad manners


All of these situations are best dealt with where staff, parents and children work in partnership.


Parents Can Help.


*      By encouraging good behaviour at home in a consistent and positive way.

*      By discussing the importance of good behaviour in school with their child.

*      By telling the staff if there are problems at home which might affect the child's behaviour in school.

*      By keeping in close contact with the Play School staff.

*      By supporting the school in maintaining good behaviour. When you have concerns about something that has happened in school then tell the person in charge.


We believe that the importance of good behaviour cannot be over emphasised. We enjoy a happy positive atmosphere at Happy Valley Play School and wish to maintain this through working together with you.

Term dates 


The Play School is open during normal Primary School term times. These dates are available from Play School or the Department of Education.