HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE THE PRE-SCHOOL’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY?
We had a big celebration which Jeremy Quin, our local MP, attended along with two of the three original founders. Also present were many past staff, committee members and children. A lovely album of memories was made by the children of Rudgwick Primary School, who had previously attended the setting, and we displayed pictures from throughout the years for people to enjoy.
HOW WAS THE PRE-SCHOOL INITIALLY SET UP?
It was founded in September 1969 by three local women who saw a need for early education within the village. Two of the three founders still live locally and take a keen interest in the pre-school. One of these founders is my mother, who attends our events whenever possible. We have always been a community pre-school run by dedicated staff and a parents’ committee. Before joining the staff team in 2000, I was a member of the committee and chaired it for four years. I became supervisor of the pre-school in 2007.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES THE SETTING HAS SEEN OVER THE 50 YEARS?
When the pre-school was founded, funding did not exist. Since the introduction of early years funding, more places have been taken up and have become accessible to all families. More recently, the development of outside learning is a change Rudgwick Pre-School has embraced by being recognised as a sun-safe and Eco Nursery, following Forest School principles and achieving various gardening awards.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PRE-SCHOOL IN THIS TIME?
We were delighted to receive an Outstanding in our last Ofsted inspection as it was recognition of the commitment and hard work of all involved in running the pre-school. Over the years, we also are proud to have successfully supported many children with a wide variety of special educational needs and disabilities. Most of our staff have returned to the setting to train and work following their children’s attendance because they are so passionate about the pre-school and its ethos.