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Staplehurst Under 5 Playgroup

We are a small, friendly community Playgroup for children aged between two and a half to five years old, based at the Village Centre in the heart of Staplehurst.


We provide a fun, safe and stimulating environment with highly qualified and experienced staff who are experts on learning through play as well as being wonderful, fun and caring individuals who give the Playgroup its very special family feel!


With a high staff-to-child ratio-our children enjoy optimal one-to-one attention across a range of exciting and varied activities both inside the hall and outside in out fenced play area. For our older children we provide ‘ready for school sessions’, familiarising them with letters, numbers and the important skills they will need for their next big step to school.


We welcome parental involvement and offer opportunities for you to join your child during their day to play and enjoy the facilities. We also have an active committee running events and social activities.


Staplehurst Under 5s Playgroup is part of Kent County Council’s free childcare scheme for two, three and four year olds.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Ali Hicks
Contact Position
07792 938947

Where to go

The Village Centre
High Street
TN12 0BJ

We welcome children from every background and all levels of ability, including those with additional needs, disabilities, and English as another language. We actively promote positive attitudes to diversity.


We are a not for profit charity and all fees go towards the running of the Playgroup.


At the age of three all children are eligible for 15 hours of funded education from the Kent County Council. We will claim this on your behalf. Some families may be eligible for funding for two year olds within the free childcare scheme.

When is it on?

When is childcare available
Term Time Only
Carescheme Age Range:
2 year(s), 3 month(s) to 4 year(s), 5 month(s)
Opening Times
Opening Times
DayOpening TimeClosing Time
Monday 09:00 2.45
Tuesday 09:00 12:00
Wednesday 09:00 2.45
Thursday 09:00 2.30
Friday 09:00 12:00
Other Availability
We have afternoon sessions on Monday and Wednesday from 12-2.45 and a lunch club on Thursdays from 12-1

Other Details

Table of costs
Table of costs
AmountCost Type
£16.50 Per session am
£5.50 Per lunch
£9.62 Per session pm
ECD Type
Offers pickups
Cost details
Costs include a morning snack
3-4 Year Old Funding?
2 Year Old Funding?
Total vacancies
Vacancies Details
We are now open to applications for places from January 2021
Places Range
Places Range
Start AgeEnd AgePlaces
0 5 20
Immediate vacancies?
Contact Provider for Vacancy Details?
Vacancy range
Vacancy Range
Start AgeEnd AgePlaces
2.3 5 3
Vacancy Information Last updated Date
Music, Literacy and Numeracy, Computers / It, Messy Play Area, Cookery, Toys/dolls, Dressing Up, Dance, Outdoor Activities, Trike, Puppets, Water Play, Quiet Room, Games / Puzzles, Visits and Outings, Garden, Sandpit, Arts And Crafts, Scooter, Reading, Books, Sign Language / Makaton, Bike, Kitchen, Car Parking, Songs, Slide, Library Visits, Stories

Staplehurst Under 5s Playgroup is a small, local Playgroup which has been running for over 50 years. Based in the heart of the Staplehurst we run from the village centre, where we offer a large hall, a smaller quiet room for individual or small group activities, a fenced garden for outdoor play and a smaller garden for gardening and quieter play.


We have extensive experience supporting children with additional needs ranging from physical needs to learning difficulties and English as another language. Our nurturing approach helps children to feel settled and cared for and helps them to thrive. We treat each child as an individual and plan for them accordingly to help them to learn and develop.

Languages Spoken:
Wheelchair Access
Wheelchair access details
Ramps, wide doorways to main hall, disabled WC.

Ofsted Information

Ofsted URN
Link to latest ofsted inspection report 

30 Hours Extended Entitlement

Registered to provide up to 30 hours entitlement
30 Hours Partner Details (These are details of any other childcare provider(s) that this provider will work with to offer the 30 hours entitlement)

We offer sessional childcare each morning from 9-12 am, plus a lunch club on Thursdays until 1


In addition on Mondays and Wednesdays we have an afternoon session from 12-2.45

Service status


Local Offer


Our setting is ideally suited to supporting children with additional needs due to the low staff to child ratios. We will work closely with parents and carers to provide an environment which supports your child and encourages them to thrive in our care.  With a dedicated SENCO we are able to provide support to children with special educational needs, disabilities and additional needs. Please contact us to discuss your requirements further

Staplehurst Under 5s Playgroup

Special Needs Support

We encourage all new families to visit us before booking a place, during which time we will talk with you about your child. Once booked in, we offer settling in sessions and a home visit with your child's key worker so we can get to know you and them, meaning that any concerns you have can be raised whenever you feel it is appropriate.

When your child first starts with us we will assess their starting points with a document called Development Matters. This helps us to work out their strengths and any areas where they may need extra support, and to create some next steps to support their learning and development. 

If your child has additional needs or SEND then you will also work with our Special Educational Needs Coordinator, or SENCo, Tracy Johnson. She is specially trained to ensure that you have the best support and resources to help with the development of your child.


We operate a key person approach at Staplehurst Under 5s. This means that each child will be one of a group of no more than seven children under the care of one of our key workers. The key worker will be involved with you and your child right from the star so that strong and positive relationships are built with you both.

There are lots of ways you can feel involved in how your child is being supported:

  • daily informal contact
  • opportunities for meetings at your request throughout the year
  • detailed Learning Journeys which set out photos and observations of how your child is developing throughout the year
  • an invitation to a parent meeting three times a year when we let you know about your child's progress and any additional support they might need
  • collaboration with you on any extra planning we put in place, eg a targeted plan.

The EYFS is an educational framework which allows us to plan for each child individually using a cycle of observations, assessment and planning based on three prime areas (communication and language; personal, social and emotional development; physical development) and four specific areas (literacy; mathematics; understanding the world; expressive arts and design). Each child is treated as an individual, meaning that whatever their needs we can support them in their learning and development.

Every child within the Playgroup has activities planned for their own specific needs, interests and stage of development, regardless of age or ability so every child has a tailor made programme to suit them. For children with SEND or additional needs we can coordinate with any eternal agencies to support the work you are doing with them, and build into their time with us any activities which help to support them, like using language interventions or practising physical skills.


Because we are a packaway setting, each day at Staplehurst Under 5s starts as a blank slate so we can set up the room according to the needs of the children attending on any given day, such as providing accessible resources and walkways for a wheelchair or a sensory rich environment for a child who has limited vision. 

Effective teaching and learning requires a wide range of resources appropriate to support children's development at all times. In addition, our SENCo, Miss Johnson, will work with key persons to make sure that specialist equipment is obtained if necessary. Where children are receiving support from outside agencies it may be possible to claim extra funding to buy additional resources, staff training or support additional staff cover. 

All our staff are trained in early years practice and most have received additional training in various areas such as speech and language development or supporting children with Special Educational Needs.  

We use the Best Practice Guidance document to support our teaching. This document, which was written by the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service, sets out a range of teaching strategies which can be used to support children e.g the use of visual resources or signing. The book is divided into universal, targeted and personalised levels to enable us to support children in the four broad areas of need. The areas of need are identified in the SEND code of practice and comprise of:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Physical/sensory difficulties.

Our SEND policy sets out the graduated approach we use to support children.

If your child is making insufficient progress through a targeted plan, the SENCo or key person may discuss with you the need to refer to other services, such as speech and language therapy. If your child begins to receive support from outside agencies the targeted plan would become a personalised one.

If required, your consent would be obtained to refer to the specialist teaching and learning service through the Local Inclusion Team Forum (LIFT) meeting which is held six times a year. If the referral is accepted,a specialist teacher would then visit your child to provide additional advice and guidance and may make further referrals to other services and would support your child's transition to school. At all stages you would be consulted.

In the past, where we have received children with a condition we are unfamiliar with our SENCo has researched information and shared with staff. 

An effective key person approach is essential for all children. The key person is responsible for guiding, monitoring and supporting the physical and emotional development of children in our care and this is especially important when children have special or additional needs.

Your child's key person will invite you to see your child's Learning Journey and hear about their progress. This also provides an opportunity to talk about any concerns. Individual appointments can always be requested at any reasonable time.

We also make an overall assessment of your child's progress three times a year. There are also two statutory assessments: the Progress Check at Age Two and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. Most children will have started school before the EYFS Profile is required but the Progress Check at Two is very important: the check gives us the opportunity to discuss with you your child's starting points and the progress they have made since starting. If your child is delayed in any area, we will discuss this with you and you can also discuss this with your health visitor. 

A commitment to inclusive practice that enables all children to be included is at the heart of our work. In our regular staff meetings, your child's key worker will ensure that all planned activities are suitable to meet your child's needs. This is caller differentiation. For example, where a child may find it hard to sit still and listen to stories, we may provide one to one support for them to help maintain their attention and read shorter stories so that can sustain concentration until the end.

Our trips in the past have included visiting the local farm at lambing time and visiting Tiny Town play centre in Maidstone. We thoroughly research and risk assess venues prior to confirming trips to ensure that they are suitable for all of our children, eg having flat or ramped surfaces for a walking aid. When we do go on outings we take along first aid kits (all our staff are trained in paediatric first aid) and emergency contact details for all the children attending. 

Staplehurst Under 5s Playgroup is accessed via a ramp. It is on one level, so there are no stairs to negotiate, and the doorways and corridors are all wide. The outdoor area is flat and accessible for wheelchairs or frames.

Wherever possible we will make any reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of children, parents or staff. There is an accessible toilet which includes changing facilities. Please let us know if you have any difficulties with accessibility.

In the term before children start school we run Ready for School sessions with our older children to help them to develop or practice skills for school readiness, such as self care, dressing, and number and letter recognition.  

We are available to support parents through the applications process and will make you aware of any open days the local schools offer. Once you have chosen a school we will, nearer their start date, visit the new school with them. We will also liaise with their new teacher, passing on relevant learning paperwork with your permission and also providing relevant information about your child's likes, dislikes, interest and so forth.

  • Following best practice guidance for the early years for setting planning at a universal level, targeted support and for individualised learning
  • Targeted or personal plans are used to monitor progress and will be reviewed with parents at set times to view progress towards the child's set outcomes
  • If no progress or little progress has been made with a targeted plan then with parental consent a request may be made to attend our local LIFT meeting to discuss action support from specialist teaching services
  • Staff liaise with outside agencies to support children within the setting. These may include specialist teachers, speech and language, physio, OT etc
  • We have regular staff meetings to discuss individual children's next steps or any concerns we may have about a individual or group of children
  • Parents are encouraged to attend our consultation weeks
  • Keyworkers have daily contact with parents/carers or contact books may be offered as a means of communication
  • Staff training i ongoing, with opportunities for staff to attend to promote awareness of SEND
  • We maintain individual risk assessments where needed 

If you are interested in a place at Staplehurst Under 5s then please contact us We would be delighted to show you round so you can meet the staff and children and see the Playgroup for yourself. 

Once you have made a booking we will offer you a home visit with your child's key parson and/or SENCo and a settling in session at the Playgroup. These provide us with the opportunity to get to know you and your child and to help us to ensure that your child's transition to Playgroup is as smooth as possible. We are happy to offer more than one visit or settling in session if this would be beneficial to your child. 

Our SENCo will help you to make any arrangements for additional funding such as the new SEN inclusion fund (SENIF) and can also applyimg for funding under the Disability Access Funs (DAF). This provides a small extra amount of funding to be used to support your child in the setting.

Our SEND policy provides the context for supporting children through the graduated approach and our complaints policy and procedure is available on our website or at the Playgroup, please just ask. 

We have an open door policy and welcome all comments from parents in whichever format you prefer. We will also offer out regular questionnaires to assess our performance. We welcome constructive feedback.

Initially any concerns should be directed to the key worker or to the manager, Mrs Hicks, and we  will aim to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. 

You can also email the committee at


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