This is the first time that we have been inspected under the new framework and we are really pleased with the findings.
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Childcare Inspection Report on
Tiny Tots Preschool
Ysgol Rhos Helyg
Description of the Service
Throughout this report any references to 'Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales' (CIW) should be read as 'Care Inspectorate Wales' (CIW).
Tiny Tots Preschool operates from a classroom within Ysgol Rhos Helyg which is on the outskirts of the village Rhosesmor near to Mold. It is registered to provide care to 24 children under the age of 12. The service chooses to offer the provision to children aged 2.5 years-4 years who attend or are likely to attend Ysgol Rhos Helyg. The service is open from 08:50 - 11:45 Monday to Friday during term time.
The registered person is Mr Gareth Roberts. There is a new person in charge , Mandy Meredith who is responsible for the day to day management of the service and who is in the process of becoming a registered person alongside Mr Roberts. The service is provided through the medium of English and does not provide the Welsh Language 'Active Offer'. Early years education is provided by this service and the service is also inspected by Estyn.
1. Well-being Summary
Children are encouraged to express themselves openly. They are valued, feel safe and are happy during their time at the service. Children play well together and are beginning to understand how to play co-operatively. They are offered a variety of indoor and outdoor play activities which interest them, encourage their development and which stimulate their interests further. They are provided with opportunities to develop physically and keep healthy.
To What extent do children have a voice?
Children are able to speak freely and express themselves. They felt confident to discuss their feelings and preferences about the days snack, one child saying 'yummy, I love it!' and another 'I don't like it.' Both comments were responded to appropriately by staff with a response to the latter of 'at least you've had a try, its good to try new things.' Children are supported by staff to understand their feelings and develop an understanding that it is safe to express their personal preference. We heard staff telling children 'its ok not to like everything, adults don't like everything.'
Children felt they were listened to and their opinions were valued.
To what extent do children feel safe, happy and valued?
Children are happy, value each other and the support staff provide and feel safe. We found children were happy throughout the session and they had developed positive attachments with staff. One child was seen to wave at a staff member who was walking in the storeroom briefly and say 'Bye, I'll miss you!' which was a pleasure to hear. Children's needs were recognised and valued as part of the daily routine, for example, children were given a 5 minute warning to 'finish off' what they were doing before it was tidy up time. Children are nurtured, able to develop positive attachments and are happy.
How well do children interact?
Children are learning to play co-operatively together and get along well. Children enjoy spending time with their friends, they were becoming self-disciplined and learning to take turns. Children worked co-operatively with building blocks on a joint construction project, receiving praise from staff for their efforts. Children were confident to express likes or dislikes politely and worked with perseverance and resilience.
To what extent do children enjoy their play and learning?
Children engage with the activities available to them and enjoy their time at the service. We saw children engaged positively with the activities available to them. They played enthusiastically with the sparkly playdough, making cakes for their friends and proudly carrying them carefully to show staff nearby. Children benefitted from the interaction they had from staff. Children played with activities for an appropriate amount of time and could move on to a new activity at a time of their choosing.
Children engage with and enjoy child initiated uninterrupted play and learn from playing alongside staff.
How well do children develop, learn and become independent?
Children are provided with opportunities in the daily routine to develop their independence.
Children are developing confidence and self help skills. They were able to follow their interests and had the opportunity for outdoor play and the chance to be active. They were motivated to choose freely but also enjoyed adult led whole group activities which promoted a healthy lifestyle and helped them to develop physically. Children were encouraged to become independent. We saw children pouring their own drink at snack-time and carrying them carefully back to their tables. Children were developing a sense of responsibility as we saw them clearing away their cups and place mats once snack-time had finished.
Children are encouraged to be confident, make choices which will help them further their learning and development and become independent.
2. Care and Development Summary
Staff are well qualified and have routines and procedures in place to ensure children are kept safe and healthy. Staff have high expectations of behaviour in the service and manage interactions with children in a way that supports these expectations. Staff have a sound understanding of child development and provide a nurturing environment in which children can develop. Staff understand how to meet children's individual needs.
How well do practitioners keep children safe and healthy?
Staff understand the principles of how to keep children safe and apply these accordingly. We found staff to be trained in the principles of child protection and have a good understanding of how this would be transferred into their service should they have any concerns about a child. Health and hygiene and medication policies had recently been reviewed and staff were applying these accordingly. Accidents and incidents were being recorded in a timely manner and were signed by parents to show that they had been made aware. However we found that on one occasion incident/accident had been recorded on one type of form despite there being formats for both. Staff have paediatric first aid training and previous experience of dealing with emergency services.
Staff keep children safe by following well organised procedures and keeping their knowledge up to date.
How well do practitioners manage interactions?
Staff apply fair and consistent behaviour management strategies and interact positively with children.
Children benefitted from staff applying rules and routines within the service that were age appropriate and which were applied effectively. Children behaved well throughout the session and knew, through songs and actions what the expected behaviours were. For example, a song which encouraged good listening, looking and sitting, Mr Tig Tog a soft toy who had laminated pictures of good listening, good looking and good sitting hung around his neck and makaton actions were used to promote the expected behaviours.
Staff were positive role models for children, participating alongside children in their play, modelling interactions and joining them in being physically active. Staff gave children regular praise and encouragement. They skilfully engaged with each of the children throughout the session ensuring all children felt included and valued.
How well do practitioners promote children's play, learning and development and meet their individual needs?
Staff ensure children are cared for in a nurturing environment which implements the principles of the Foundation Phase and which meets their individual needs. Staff ensured children had a balance within the daily routine of busy times when they could be active and choose activities independently and quieter adult led group and meal times. Staff were confident and relaxed. They promoted play well whilst encouraging children to develop the skills and self-assurance needed to be 'school ready'. Staff supported children to learn new skills and develop new positional vocabulary such as over, under, inside and next to. Staff had a good awareness of additional learning needs and how to care for children with such needs. They knew where to source help and support for children with additional needs and provide an inclusive service which integrates support for children with additional needs in a way which benefits all children attending and promotes equality and diversity. There was a consistent staff team which ensured children received stability and were able to develop attachments and a sense of security.
Staff successfully promote children's play, learning and development and meet their individual needs effectively.
3. The Environment Summary
Leaders ensure children are cared for in an environment which is equipped with the appropriate resources to meet their needs, is well maintained and decorated to a good standard. Equipment and resources are well maintained and leaders ensure there are suitable risk assessments and procedures in place so children remain safe.
How well do leaders ensure the safety of the environment?
Leaders ensure procedures are in place and are followed by staff so the environment remains safe.
Daily risk assessments were in place for the environment which assessed the suitability of both indoor and outdoor play spaces and appropriate preventative action was put in place when risks were identified in these areas. For example, it was recorded that the outdoor play area was too icy on one occasion and was therefore unsuitable for use on that day.
Leaders ensured the service had a 'Lockdown Policy' and procedure in place which helped staff to be aware of what to do in the event of a major incident and which implemented the recommended procedure. This is beneficial to the safety of children whilst in the service and whilst out on any off site visits.
The outdoor area was well maintained. This area enabled children to run, climb, scoot and experience different surfaces for example, grass and matted flooring. The ample outdoor space at this service allowed children to take risks and develop skills related to risk taking whilst being safe.
Leaders ensure children are cared for in an environment which is safe, secure yet still enables children to learn to take risks.
How well do leaders ensure the suitability of the environment?
Leaders ensure children have access to a room which is suitable and conductive to their needs.
All areas of the service were found to be well maintained and suitably decorated in light colours. Colourful displays of the children's work complimented the room and enabled the service to develop a sense of ownership over the play space. Careful arrangement of storage units enabled children to play in small groups whilst still being able to access toys and equipment independently. Storage was labelled clearly with photographs of the equipment available thus encouraging children's independence and choice. Low level table and chairs ensured children had suitable work spaces for craft, developing writing skills, manipulating playdough area and eating at. An open carpeted area provided children with a space to move around freely or sit together as a group to share stories.
Leaders arrange the space available successfully to provide the children with an environment which is suitable for their play, learning and developmental needs.
How well do leaders ensure the quality of resources and equipment?
Leaders ensure that resources and equipment are well maintained and cleaned regularly. All equipment used by the children during the inspection was in good condition and well maintained. Leaders ensured risk assessments and the health and hygiene policy gave consideration to the maintenance of perishable equipment used regularly by the children. For example, the play sand that is on the floor is threw away daily, it is sieved weekly and replaced termly. Water in the water tray was changed and cleaned daily and home-made playdough was scheduled for replacement every four weeks or sooner to keep it fresh and hygienic. There was a range of play equipment available and ample choice. It was pleasing to see leaders considering future enhancements to the resources which were already available with the recent purchase of further storage and a space rocket play tent. Leaders have access to a variety of play spaces within the extensive outdoor environment on the school grounds. Supervised access is available for the children to; a wooded area for exploration, a large playing field, a pond, poly-tunnels for growing plants and the school's pet chickens. There is a wind turbine on the school site which generates a renewable source of energy which the service is able to use.
Leaders provide good quality equipment and resources to children which promotes their play, learning and development.
4. Leadership and Management Summary
Leadership has recently changed however the procedures in place have been well-maintained and continued effectively. Leaders have a clear vision for their service and communicate this well. They have effective self-evaluation procedures in place and actively seek the advice and guidance of external agencies when needed. Leaders are driven to continuously improve the quality of care, play and learning provided by their service and manage staff and resources accordingly. Information and documentation in relation to the recruitment and suitability of staff is an area for development.
Leaders have valued partnerships with parents, the school from which they operate and external agencies.
How effective is leadership?
Leaders are forward thinking, set high expectations for themselves and staff and communicate their sense of purpose well.
Leaders are clear about their aims, lay these out clearly within the statement of purpose and communicate them to staff working with the children. They ensure the children are cared for by well qualified and professional staff who are motivated to keep their knowledge and understanding of child development up to date. Continual professional development is encouraged and leaders promote high expectations. The person in charge is working toward her level 5 management qualification and another member of staff is working towards her level 3 for the benefit of the children in their care.
Leadership is effective in promoting an accurate picture of the service and is effective in ensuring the service operates in accordance with the regulations and national minimum standards.
How effective is self evaluation and planning for improvement?
Leaders use self-evaluation effectively to ensure there is improvement in the quality of care, play and learning provided.
Leaders appreciate the value of self-evaluation and reflective practice. They actively seek the advice of external agencies and welcome their feedback. There is a schedule for reviewing and updating all relevant paperwork to ensure their policies and procedures remain relevant to the service they are providing. Children's views, staff views and parent's views of the service are sought annually to form part of the annual quality care review. Leaders prioritise matters they wish to improve in a timely manner, for example, during the inspection it was discussed with the person in charge that the format of the staff files, and the necessary content to demonstrate staff have been safely recruited, be developed. Since the inspection, the person in charge has provided CIW with evidence of development of this information.
Leaders consider children's, staff and parent's views and challenge themselves to provide improved care year on year.
How effective is the management of practitioners, staff and other resources?
Overall, the management of practitioners, staff and resources is successful.
Leaders plan and effectively manage a team of 5 staff. They ensure there is continuity of care for the children and staff have been consistent, working for the service for a number of years. Leaders ensure staff are well deployed and work seamlessly as a team to meet the children's daily needs. Leaders encourage a positive ethos which staff translate to their work with the children. Leaders need to develop their staff files to ensure information is easy to locate and keep up to date. For example, we found the registered person had updated and received their renewed enhanced criminal record certificate in January 2017, however, CIW have not yet had sight of the certificate. This is a matter which needs addressing as a matter of priority.
Leaders manage staff and resources effectively for the benefit of children using the service.
How effective are partnerships?
Leaders actively seek ways to establish trust, develop links with the community and promote partnerships.
Leaders value the contribution parents and the wider community can bring to the children they care for. During the inspection we heard staff talking to children about their home experiences and linking these experiences to their play during the session to help develop their understanding of the world around them. Leaders had recently attended training on the 'Solihull Approach' and were keen to implement what they had learnt. The service is registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) which should reassure parents that their children's personal information is being handled and stored securely by the service.
Leaders have developed strong partnerships with the Early Entitlement teacher who beneficially, works permanently on site and is therefore available for advice and guidance when needed. It was pleasing to see a letter from the local Assembly Member congratulating the service on their 2015 Estyn Report.
Links with the local authority have meant children learn about renewable energy first hand, as part of the electricity used by the service is harvested on site through the use of the wind turbine.
Leaders nurture partnerships and value the contribution they can make to their service.
5. Improvements required and recommended following this inspection
Area of non-compliance from previous inspections
Recommendations for improvement
1. To develop staff files further
2. To include a body map on the accident and Incident form to clarify and to ensure that DBS procedures are followed fully, including the submission of the certificate to CIW for verification.
How we undertook this inspection
This was a full unannounced inspection undertaken as part of our normal schedule of inspections. One inspector visited the service on 14th March 2018 between the hours of 09:15 and 12:40.