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A playgroup or pre-school group is a registered childcare facility that offers sessional care - usually 2 - 3 hours - for children between the ages of 3 - 5 years, though they may take children from 2 years.

They may be run by a committee of parents and staffed by a qualified or experienced supervisor with assistant(s), with parents helping on a voluntary rota basis. Parents should not automatically assume that all carers have been subject to DBS checks. Supervisors and Officers in Charge will, but assistant staff may not necessarily be. Groups are open several mornings or afternoon sessions each week, usually in term-time only.

The group will be inspected by Ofsted and inspection reports will be on the internet.

Playgroups provide children with pre-school experiences such as arts, crafts and construction activities, sand and water play, adventure play, music and movement, books and stories as well as the opportunity to socialise with other children. They provide a stable, secure, and relaxed environment where parents and carers feel satisfied to leave their children to have a short break. Parents and carers also have the chance to share the responsibility for their own and other children in the group, to watch and learn from them, to learn with other parents/carers, and to support each other.

The group will ask you to stay with your child for several sessions until your child becomes familiar with the new setting and staff. They may ask you to start by leaving your child for short periods until you are leaving them for the whole session. 

You will be asked to complete a registration form giving details of your child, any illnesses or allergies, where you can be contacted etc, and any information that will help your child to settle. You should be given information about the group.