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The children’s smiles said it all when Peter Mullett, the Customer Service Manager of the Tesco store at West Durrington presented a £2000 Community Award from the Tesco Charity Trust to Joss Sapwell, the Managing Supervisor of Ferring Funtime Community Playgroup.

73 local children’s charities and schools in the UK are sharing £185,000 from the Tesco Charity Trust.

Peter Mullett said, “This donation reinforces our commitment to support local community initiatives. It gives us great pleasure to help Ferring Funtime Community Playgroup and know that they will benefit greatly from this donation.”

Joss Sapwell said, “We were delighted and somewhat overwhelmed when we heard that our application had been successful. This really was the icing on the cake, topping off a tremendous fundraising effort by families, committee and staff, both past and present, associated with Playgroup. Thanks to Tesco’s we have had great fun unwrapping lots of new packages, which are still arriving. The children now have a wonderfully equipped outdoor playarea, boosting a playhouse, soft play equipment, tandem bikes and new water tray, to name but a few of the items purchased.”

Ferring Funtime Community Playgroup is a registered charity and part of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, whose constitution it follows. A committee of parent volunteers who oversee the running of the playgroup, employ staff, and are responsible for the finance, manages the playgroup.

The Playgroup, which benefits from its own purpose built Lodge, is set in the grounds of Ferring C of E primary school, and provides a pre-school education facility for 3 and 4 year old children.

Joss Sapwell explained that “First and foremost we are a playgroup and not a school. It is our belief that the Early Learning Goals as set out in the curriculum guidance for the foundation stage (the stage before key stage one) are best achieved through informal and structured play with the emphasis on learning through play. This is where the children are given opportunities to find out for themselves with hands on experience rather than being told, for example the difference between dry and wet sand.”

“Ferring Funtime is all about having fun and learning too. Through both informal and structured play and activities our young children learn about six key topic areas, which are:

  • Creative
  • Language and literature
  • Knowledge and understanding of the world
  • Maths
  • Social and Personal
  • Physical

For some children this maybe the first time they have joined in as part of a team and socialising and learning how to communicate and get along with others, both children and adults alike, is very important, and develops a real sense of community.

Throughout the session the children, by moving between the various core topic linked stations and activities, sometimes unknowingly, are learning:

At the start of the day, by finding their name on the name board and calling the register they are recognising the letters of the alphabet and identifying themselves. Dressing up in the home corner, feeds the imagination and encourages role-play. Story time, making words and a topic come to life and leads to an appreciation of books. Even at snack time – they are learning, as it may mean trying a food for the first time. The date is not just a day but a number, a date, which in turn leads onto a week, a month and a year. And the weatherboard – it might be raining but it’s part of a season, changing climate and nature. And all those paintings are pieces of work to be proud of, giving the children a sense of achievement.”

Of the newly equipped outside playarea Joss said “The development of the outside playarea has meant that we can create the core topic linked stations outside, making the activities and play transferable and the children benefit from an even greater range of experiences, thus enable us to help the children achieve their full potential.”

The playgroup, which opens 5 days a week during term-time, offers both morning and afternoon sessions and a lunchclub, has a team of 8 staff, known affectionately by the children as Aunties. Joss said, “We work to a high ratio of adults to children, combined with significant involvement of parents/carers.”

Mornings – session time 9.00a.m. – 11.45a.m. (doors open at 8.45a.m.)
Lunchclubs – session time 11.45a.m. -12.45p.m.
Afternoons – session time 12.45p.m. -3.15p.m. (depending on term)

It is never too soon to think about your child’s education and if you are interested in considering a place at Ferring Funtime they would be delighted for you, and your child, to visit and see the playgroup firsthand, please contact Joss Sapwell on 01903 245907


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