St Mary's Playgroup is a registered charity and is run by a dedicated committee of parents, the playgroup was established in 1985 and is located near the centre of Faversham, in the grounds of St Mary's of Charity Primary School. We have our own mobile building with a secure fenced outside area as well as the use of the schools large playing fields. We also have good links with St Marys Children Centre which is also located on the school site.
We provide a high standard of care and education for children. Our staff are qualified too or working towards a level 3 qualification in Early Years relevant studies, our staff continue to update their knowledge and skills in all areas of childcare and child development, including safeguarding and paediatric first aid.
We are registered to care for children from 2 years to school age and staff work hard to ensure that they provide a curriculum which meets individual needs and enables children to reach their full potential.
We provide 9 x 3hour sessions each week during term time for mixed age groups, we also run a 3hour sessions on a Wednesday afternoon for children over 3 years, helping to build and consolidate further the foundation skills being learnt during their time at playgroup, this session also allows us to include different activities and games to promote further learning and aid transition into school.
The playgroup strives to have strong partnerships with parents/guardians and recognises that parents/guardians are children's first educators and value the contributions they make to children’s learning, helping us to see the whole child when making developmental assessments. We provide opportunities for parents/guardians to get involved in playgroup life and work in partnerships with them to ensure children's needs are meet and their development is enhanced.
St Mary’s Playgroup is registered for the government funding schemes for 2, 3 and 4 year olds, we keep our session fees and charges affordable, we do not charge parents/guardians extra for providing children with morning or afternoon snack, topping up sun cream, baby wipes, nappy sacks or the occasional nappy, if there are no more in the child’s bag, the children’s wellbeing and comfort is of utmost importance to us.
Our building is used solely by the playgroup, it was refurbished in 2015, using grants from local charity supporters and foundations including Benstead House, Swale Borough Council, and funds raised by the committee and staff. This refurbishment project ensured that the playgroup could continue to operate whilst making the building more energy efficient by adding new heating/air cooling system and double glazed windows. The outside of the building was clad with wooden boards enhancing the appearance of the building.
Our current goal is to enhance the outside learning environment, in January we were lucky to receive a large shed, this has made a big difference to being able to access and store a greater variety of resources safely, this was donated for free by Dunster House and was greatly appreciated as it enabled us to move forward to enhance other areas. In July 2020, we had the fence and safety surface replaced to ensure we have a safe and secure area for the children to play.
We are now raising funds to revamp the grassed area that is now a dirt patch with either block paving or AstroTurf to make the area usable all year round. We are also looking at enhancing the are to make it a more stimulating and interesting learning space by adding fixed chalk boards, music wall, water wall, pulley system for the sand pit, water pump and tap for the mud kitchen, boot and puddle suit storage easily accessed by the children independently.