KINGSTON PRE-SCHOOL HISTORY
This brief history of the pre school or playgroup as it was then known was put together for us by Brenda Neller- our thanks to her for this valuable information:
In 1962-3 what is now known as the estate was built. The University bought 12 houses for some of its first faculty; one of the families that moved in was Sue & Micky Richards and their 2 sons.
There was no playgroup so Sue decided to start her own in the village hall. Her father gave her £50 to set it up and buy some small tables and chairs.
Sue was a qualified teacher and became the first supervisor.
Brenda Neller moved into the village in 1973 and she says that at that time Sue was still the owner but Erna Metcalf was the supervisor with about six helpers. No-one was police checked and nobody outside the playgroup came to check on the children, (the norm in those days).
In about 1976 Erna moved to the University Playgroup and Sue wanted to sell her interest. A meeting was held with all the parents and it was decided to affiliate the playgroup with the Pre Schools Playgroup Association (PPA) and to have a committee of parents to run the playgroup. The new supervisor was Carol Putnam and it was about this time that Brenda started helping.
In 1978 Brenda became the supervisor and she held this position for 10 years. She thoroughly enjoyed her time at the playgroup with some excellent helpers such as; Sarah Fox, Linda Cripps, and of course Susie Arlett.
The only paperwork they had then was a daily register and Brenda can remember only one or two visits from social services: No OFSTED, no targets!
The training Brenda did was to go on a course for one evening a week for two years.
The children learnt through play; including using Kingston School swimming pool in the summer half term - no life guards or risk assessments!
It is interesting to see how things have changed– there have been various supervisors over the years, with Claire Wood our current supervisor.
The training required for staff now is well in excess of the requirements in past years and we are very lucky to have very dedicated and well qualified staff. There is a great deal of planning and record keeping required to meet with government guidelines now, and everything needs to be kept up to date to ensure readiness for an OFSTED inspection, which could happen at any time. All of this is done to a very high standard by our excellent staff team., and of course the children benefit from this, (although they are unaware of all of this and they just have a great time!)
One thing that has remained the same since the parent led committee structure was adopted in about 1976 is that same involvement of parents/carers/grandparents, which makes the Pre-school such a valuable resource in the village.
We hope it will still be going strong in another 40 years.