Alphabet Preschool in Easton, near Wells, will be heading for pastures new this year – although not too far down the road. Their new premises will be at St Lawrence’s School in Westbury-Sub-Mendip, which will be opening its doors to welcome the staff and children of Alphabet from September.
Jenny Rogers, preschool leader, said: “We’re all excited about the move. It opens up more opportunities for learning and sustained play, because at the moment we have to clear the Village Hall daily so it can be used for other things. At the school, we’ll have access to more green space and an adventure play area, and it means there’ll be a seamless move when the children go up from preschool to reception.”
Alphabet has a long history in Easton Village Hall, having welcomed the first children there in 1973. The decision to move was made when a space opened up at St Lawrence’s, thanks to some changes at the school.
Rosie Thorner, headteacher of the Federation of Priddy and St Lawrence’s, said: “There are some very positive changes happening where Priddy and St Lawrence’s will be working much more closely with each other in future. Children from both schools will be learning together, which allows us to share resources and gives the children bigger horizons. We’re looking forward to welcoming Alphabet on site here; it’s all a part of giving the children a great foundation going forward.”
Although they will be sharing a home, the school and preschool will remain independent from one another, with their own staff and governing committees. Many of the pre-schoolers at Alphabet go on to enrol at St Lawrence’s, so the move has been widely welcomed for easing the transition into primary school.
Jenny continued: “At the end of the day it’s about what’s best for the children. Easton and Westbury-Sub-Mendip are like two halves of a whole, so it makes sense for the preschool and the school to come together like this. It won’t change the care that we give the children – Alphabet’s very focussed on play based learning, and it’s a really nurturing environment where the children learn key skills while they’re having lots of fun. But it gives us more scope to individually tailor the care that we give, with the chance to move in and out of different learning environments.”
The move will take place during the summer holidays, with Alphabet continuing to run from Easton Village Hall until then. Local parent Emma Giffard, who currently has one child at the preschool and another at St Lawrence’s, said: “I’m over the moon about the change because I think it’s going to really benefit the kids. I know a lot of schools are struggling with huge class sizes, but we’re really lucky – with village settings the kids get so much more individual support because the classes are a bit smaller. The teachers and the preschool staff know exactly where our kids are at academically and socially. I would worry that their needs would got lost in a bigger school or a busier nursery.”
Rosie Thorner continued: “The preschool and the school are both such important parts of the community, and it makes perfect sense for us all to work more closely together. These children are our future doctors, builders, engineers and artists, and these changes are going to make sure we can deliver a very high quality, child-centred education across the age ranges.”
Alphabet currently has the capacity to enrol more children, and interested parents are invited to come and meet the staff, who can be contacted on 01749 871227.