Welcome to Rydal Penrhos Pre-School.

Pre-School forms the bridge between home and school and is a young child’s first experience of an educational environment. It is therefore an important stepping stone in a child’s life.

Pre-School Aims

The aim of our Pre-School Department (for 2 to 4 year olds) is to provide a stimulating environment in which every child can thrive and develop at their own pace; socially, physically, emotionally and academically.

Our Pre-School pupils are also being softly prepared for the more structured environment of our Reception class.

We believe in encouraging our children to be self-motivated and independent, yet aware of their peers.

Pre-School Curriculum

At Rydal Penrhos our Pre-School activities are guided by the Curriculum for Wales Framework. This emphasises five key developmental pathways:

  • Belonging
  • Communication
  • Exploration
  • Physical Development
  • Wellbeing

These pathways are crucial for the learning and development of young children. The Curriculum for Wales aims to support children in becoming ambitious, capable learners; enterprising, creative contributors; ethical, informed citizens; and healthy, confident individuals.

Recognising the uniqueness of each child, Rydal Penrhos Pre-School provides engaging experiences that stimulate curiosity, ignite imagination, and cater to individual learning pathways, ensuring that all children feel seen, heard, and involved.

Enabling adults play a crucial role in creating emotionally safe environments, observing children’s interests, and facilitating their learning journeys. Our indoor and outdoor environments are designed to offer opportunities for exploration, investigation, and play-based learning, fostering a love for learning and a connection to the natural world.

The learning experiences our pupils enjoy in the Pre-School are rooted in real-life contexts, forging connections between school and the outside world. There is also a great emphasis on developing movement skills that will benefit pupils’ everyday life; skills developed both within the Pre-School setting and outside in the Forest and Coastal Schools.

For those parents and carers who are interested, please click here to read more about the Curriculum for Wales.

Activities & Learning

Age-Based Spaces

Our pupils spend much of the day in their age-based group.

Each group has a designated key worker who plans and oversees activities.

The age-based groups are as follows:

  • Shining Stars – 2 and 3-year-olds
  • Super Stars – 3 and 4-year-olds (must be fully potty trained)

The pupils also have many opportunities to mix between groups. Our shared Pre-School learning spaces include:

The Creative Room

This area encourages children to use skills and develop control when using equipment. They enhance their imagination and self-expression and have the opportunity to be involved in activities that develop their sensory perception.

The Creative Room includes Water Play, Sand activities, Texture Table and Malleable.

Water Play

Water Play gives children the opportunity to investigate the properties of water. This activity encourages children to develop early scientific skills, e.g. observing, experimenting, estimating and drawing conclusions.

Children can explore early concepts of volume and capacity, floating and sinking. Imaginative water play also helps to develop a child’s language skills.

Sand (Wet & Dry)

Sand activities encourage children to develop their imagination and fantasy play, whilst providing them with sensory experiences enabling their exploration of pattern, shape and size.

Children use the sand equipment as a means by which to tell stories and thereby develop their language skills. Children develop early scientific concepts such as the difference between wet and dry, balance, weight, volume, and capacity.

Texture Table

Allows children to develop an understanding of the properties of different materials. Children learn how to design, make and combine models which encourages the development of new language skills, vocabulary and mathematical concepts.


Children are given the opportunity to explore the properties of play dough, clay, gloop, slime, etc. This encourages children to observe, compare, make patterns and imprint.

The Explorers Room

In small groups, Superstars and Reception pupils work on numeracy and literacy with a ‘key worker’ (a ‘key worker is allocated to each child to help with their personal and social activities, observe and record the child’s development and give them the security and support to help them settle into their new environment).

Our Explorers Room has a graphics area and an interactive white board, enabling children to enjoy experimenting with written communication and mark-making.

Children use a variety of media to understand the connections and differences between print and pictures and learn to communicate by using symbols, pictures and words. Children are encouraged to recognise, count, sort and sequence numbers.

In the Explorers Room, children share news and record events in their life; they are encouraged to learn initial phonic sounds and words associated with these sounds. Through a variety of activities, the children can learn to form letter shapes ad control mark-making using various equipment. All the children’s work is recorded in their books which will be available to you at the end of the year.

The Role-Play Area

Allows children to work on their own and with others to pretend, improvise and think imaginatively. The area encourages the children to plan and make decisions; it allows the children to explore mathematical concepts in a context that makes sense to them. They can explore length, height, space, patterns and be involved in problem-solving.

Reading and Listening Area

This area encourages children to enjoy books and ultimately increases their interest in learning to read. It allows children to develop listening skills and concentration as well as learning how to handle and take care of books.

Discovery Area

This area embraces many new and interesting experiences for the children. In addition to the fun of tasting new foods, the children learn new words and develop skills such as spreading and cutting.

They experience the mathematical activities of weighing, measuring and sharing and the scientific process which occurs when food is modified through, for example, cooking or freezing.

Children are also given the opportunity to explore textures, experiment with natural and man-made materials and discover their environment and the world around them, encouraging them to develop an enquiring mind.

The Outside Area

Enables the children to develop their dexterity through activities such as climbing, riding, moving and pushing. These types of activities also promote awareness of their surroundings. Our range of outdoor activities include sand, water, construction, gardening and chalking.

This Pre-School also make use of Prep School areas, including:

  • School Library.
  • Wedgewood Room / Prep Music Rooms.
  • Prep Hall.
  • Rydal Penrhos Swimming Pool.

Trips and Visitors

Trips and visitors play an important part in a child’s education. Trips are part of our ongoing work and enhance the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live.

The children usually have a trip or visitor associated with their current topic. They will also explore the local area when they go shopping, visit the local church or go on a seasonal walk.

Forest and Coastal School

Rydal Penrhos Pre-School has the most incredible woodland area available on site and the coast is only a few hundred metres away and so it is a natural progression for us to have developed comprehensive ‘Forest School’ and ‘Coastal School’ provisions.

These exciting natural environments focus on providing a safe outdoor learning experience, one in which children are encouraged to explore, discover, investigate and to take suitable risks.

What could be a better way for children to learn than being outside and discovering things for themselves?

The pupils’ chosen theme may be based on a personal attribute, such as co-operation or creativity; helping to encourage personal development; or it may be based on a curriculum topic; or it may be more overtly about the forest or coast – wildlife, habitats, trees, sticks, water, general beach ecology or weather-related.

Whatever the theme, our Forest School and Coastal School offers all the children wonderful opportunities for learning at many levels. Pre-School children make use of one or both of these spaces throughout the year, whatever the weather!

The Forest School programme originated in Scandinavia and is underpinned by research into the learning behaviour of children at an early age and how best to develop this. The fundamental aims of which are to develop:

  • Self-awareness.
  • Self-regulation.
  • Intrinsic motivation.
  • Empathy.
  • Good social communication skills.
  • Independence.
  • A positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence.
  • A healthy respect for the natural environment.

Here in Rydal Penrhos we believe that communication is one of our most important jobs, especially when it comes to very young children. As such we have lots of systems in place to ensure we keep talking to you in an informative, helpful and timely way.

Key Worker

A key worker is allocated to each child to help with their personal and social activities, observe and record the child’s development and give them the security and support to settle into their new environment.

They also pick up on individual talents and can initiate one-to-one intervention to extend the progression of the child.

They are available for parent discussions online, via email or in person.

Reporting and Meetings

Assessment, reporting and parental communication opportunities include:

  • Regular updates to parents using the system ‘Evidence Me.’
  • Two written reports a year.
  • ‘Stay and Play’ sessions, which enable parents and carers to visit the Pre-School, speak to staff and watch how their children learn first-hand.
  • Meetings on request.
The School Day

Our Pre-School is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Monday to Friday term time only.

Wrap around care operates from 8am to 8.30am and then from 4.30pm to 6pm Monday to Friday term time only. There is no charge for early morning wrap around care, and no need to pre-book. After-school wrap around care sessions involve an additional charge and must be booked as per normal day sessions.

Morning sessions run from 8.30am to 12pm, with a full day running from 8.30am to 4.30pm.


Pre-School is an exciting time both for you and your child, and we know you both need to prepare for this. You can help prepare your child for school by following these very practical steps: –

  1. Try to ensure your child is toilet trained before their start date if aged three or over. Two-year-olds who are not yet dry will be helped with potty training rather than being rushed. Potty training packs are also available from the Pre-School on request.
  2. Encourage your child to mix with other children.
  3. Try to provide your child with toys which stimulate the imagination and develop manual dexterity, e.g. bricks, construction sets, dolls with removable clothes.
  4. Encourage your child to tidy away toys.
  5. Sing rhymes with your child.
  6. Set aside a special time daily for sharing a story with your child.
  7. Join the local library and borrow books for your child.
  8. Encourage your child to use pencils and crayons.
  9. Encourage your child to sit at the table for meals and help them to use a knife and fork.

Supporting Both Parents & Children

We aim for children to feel safe, stimulated and happy in the Pre-School and to feel secure and comfortable with all staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children’s well-being and their role as active partners, with the child being able to benefit from all Pre-School has to offer.

We aim to support parents and other carers to help their children settle quickly and easily by giving consideration to the individual needs and circumstances of each child and their families.

The Pre-School staff will work in partnership with parents to settle their child into the nursery environment by:

  • Providing parents with relevant information regarding the policies and procedures of the Pre-School.
  • Reassuring parents whose children seem to be taking a long time settling in.
  • Encouraging parents, where appropriate, to separate themselves from their children for brief periods at first, gradually building to longer absences.
  • Shortening sessions where needed to help children settle into the environment.
  • Reviewing the nominated ‘key worker’ if the child is bonding with another member of staff to ensure the child’s needs are supported.
  • Children will not be taken on an outing from the Pre-School until he/she is completely settled.
  • Introducing swimming at the age of 2-and-a-half.

The Joining Process

Rydal Penrhos welcomes all families and children regardless of gender, cultural and religious background. Children do not have to meet any specific requirements to attend the setting. However, we do not admit children younger than 2 years due to our facilities not being suitable for babies.

Families and children with special needs are welcomed and the School and setting will accommodate where necessary, and will work with the appropriate agencies. Under exceptional circumstances the setting may not be able to offer a place if we are unable to meet the child’s needs and requirements. The decision will only be made after all avenues have been exhausted and the setting will provide a reason for the decision of non-admission.

The Admissions Process

The first stage of our admissions process is to provide you with a tour of the School and Pre-School setting, and then invite you for a further discussion about your child joining the school. Once the Offer of a Place has been accepted, your child is welcome to attend a settling-in session before starting. For more information about the Admissions process, please contact admissions@rydalpenrhos.com.

Moving Up To Reception

We hope for and encourage all of our Pre-School to move into the next class, i.e. Reception when they are ready. Every week in Trinity Term the Pre-School have a ‘getting to know you’ taster with our Reception teacher to make it a smooth transition.

School Lunches

The School, which provides lunches and snacks for the Pre-School, currently, has a maximum score of 5 with Conwy Environmental Health. All our meals, snacks and drinks are selected to ensure that children are having a healthy start to life. All food is prepared freshly on site by the School’s domestic staff, who are trained in advanced food and hygiene.

All dietary requirements can be catered for. The School produces seasonal menus that run over a three-week period.

And remember to send your child in with…

  • A daily water bottle.
  • Nappies, wet wipes and nappy cream (if needed).
  • Plenty of spare clothes, including socks.
  • And waterproofs and Wellington boots to let the adventure begin…

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