Playgroup awarded first 'good' rating in new Northampton premises

Celebrations all round at Parklands Playgroup as the re-registered group is happy to recieve a 'Good' rating.
Celebrations all round at Parklands Playgroup as the re-registered group is happy to recieve a 'Good' rating.

Staff at Parklands Playgroup are over the moon to have been given a 'good' rating by the education watchdog - their first since moving from the nearby community centre.

Parklands Playgroup moved from the community centre two years ago and into a premesis near the school. Now in their new building, formerly a Sure Start centre, it's an access-all-areas space for the toddlers.

Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

The playgroup has become a valuable asset to the community. Not only does it accomodate 16 two and three year olds, but National Lottery funding has allowed the staff to host other sessions, including baby massage groups and stay and play.

Stand out compliments from the inspector Ann Lee, made over the one-day inspection in October, gave staff a glowing review.

The report said: 'Children, including those who receive additional funding, make good progress at the playgroup.

'They benefit from the dedication of highly skilled staff who have ambitious aspirations for all children's ongoing achievements. Staff get to know children and their families exceptionally well.

'They visit children in their own homes before the children first start at the playschool, which enables staff to develop a close and supportive partnership with the children's families'.

Senior family worker, Lauren Jacques, said: "We feel really strongly about seeing a child in their own home, getting to know them and their parents and them getting to know us. When they come it's not as daunting.

"We have a whole approach for the entire family and encourage them all to get involved here.

"And, running the extra groups helps the family feel as though they get to know us before they start playgroup and I think that's really key in helping the children to settle."

Other positive points in the report are that children were well behaved, staff are well supported by a dedicated management team and staff help children who don't speak English at home.

Lauren Jacques added: "The staff team have worked so hard in developing provision for the two year olds and we were so thrilled with our Ofsted inspection.

"All because of having this playgroup it has opened up so many doors in the community and we really want to celebrate and shout about it.

"We burst into tears when we got the news."

The only improvement the inspector suggested the playgroup should do is to maximise opportunities even further to support children in developing their knowledge of how to keep themselves safe and healthy.

"We had a lovely inspector and she has given us ways to go forward,” Lauren added.

Looking ahead, the playgroup is really excited about wanting to develop their groups and outdoor mud kitchen.