Terriers Playgroup opened for the first time on 3rd June, 1969,for 3 days a week, with 15 children per session. Jean Thorne and Annette Crampton , who both had playgroup aged children, had arranged to rent St Francis Church Hall, and enlisted the help of Jean Bray, who had worked in a playgroup.
A committee was formed with the first meeting held on 24th April, 1969. Jean Thorne, Jean Bray, Annette Crampton, Ishbel Kennington, Sylvia Parmenter, Maureen Smyth, Jean Bromley, David McKnight and Mike Crampton were its first members.
The church hall was in a bad state of repair, therefore a band of helpers spent weeks cleaning, painting, sanding, installing toilets etc, in order to get the necessary permission. A jumble sale, cheese and wine party and coffee mornings raised the £61 needed for a basic ‘do-it-yourself playgroup kit’.
Terriers Playgroup joined the Pre-School Playgroups Association, and adopted their constitution at a special meeting on 8th July l969. This enabled them to register the playgroup as a charity.
In order to give the playgroup a good start, the staff worked the first term without pay, and the church hall committee waived the first terms rent. Equipment had to be stored in the church, which meant carrying heavy items 100 yards each day until a wooden shed could be erected in the garden. An area was fenced off and a sandpit built so that the children could play outside.
By Autumn 1969 playgroup was able to open for 5 days a week. In 1972 two afternoon sessions were started, which lasted until l975. The first Christmas party was in 1970, with the first open day in 1971.
21 years on.
On 30th June, 1989, Terriers Playgroup celebrated its 21st birthday with an open day, followed by a lunch at the Scout Hut in Highworth Road. Members of the original committee and staff were invited, together with friends from Pre-school Playgroups Association, Social Services, the Mayor, and other interested parties.
All agreed that the open day was a great success, and evidence that Terriers Playgroup was still thriving and meeting the needs of children in the area.
Out of the old and into the new! 1993 -1994
Playgroup was going from strength to strength, but the Church Hall was showing its age,(with buckets having to be strategically placed round the hall whenever it rained), and eventually the news came that the money had been raised, and plans passed for a new church hall to be built. This was seen as a mixed blessing: a new church hall would be wonderful, but where would playgroup operate while it was being built? The playgroup committee at the time, and Jan Bosher, (the Supervisor) looked for suitable premises, which proved difficult, as we needed to stay close by.
Michael and Mary Hussey, publicans of the Happy Wanderer in Arnison Avenue heard of the predicament, and offered the use of the family room at the pub (their son was on our waiting list). Social Services were approached, came to look, and decided that it would be suitable, as a temporary home. Playgroup therefore moved out of the church hall in January 1993, and spent a very happy 16 months operating from the family room at the Happy Wanderer, moving back into the new Church Hall after Easter 1994
In June 2000 Terriers Playgroup joined the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership at Bucks County Council, and from September that year were able to claim Government funding for the 3 and 4 year old children.
This funding has been very beneficial. When children are eligible for funding parents are keen for their children to attend as many sessions per week as possible, therefore the playgroup has built up a healthy waiting list.
Playgroup’s first Ofsted inspection was carried out in June, 2004. The inspector looked at both the care and education that the children attending received, and we were very pleased to get ‘Outstanding’ grade for both. A second inspection was carried out in February, 2007, at which we were graded a very respectable ‘Good’ in both areas. As it is now 3 years since that inspection we are expecting an Ofsted inspector to arrive on the doorstep any time from now (they arrive unannounced, in order to get a true picture of the setting).
Early Years Foundation Stage
The Governments Early Years Foundation Stage document is used to plan fun activities to help the children in their learning, as research shows that children learn best when they are happy and enjoying themselves.
40 years on
We celebrated 40 years of playgroup with an Open Day on 13th June 2009, which was very successful, with past staff and children helping mark the occasion. The playgroup staff and children also spent a very happy morning at Beconscot on 3rd June, travelling there by train from Wycombe station. We had a picnic, complete with celebration cake. This was a double celebration, as Beconscot were also celebrating being open for 100 years.
In the couple of years since the 40 years Celebration we have organised 2 more very successful annual Spring Fair’s, and last year we went on an outing to Peterlee Manor Farm, spending the morning picking fruit and having a picnic. This year we are looking forward with great excitement to having Ark Farm come to visit us, with a variety of farm animals to look at, learn about, and pet.
We have a healthy waiting list at the moment, and whilst we don’t know what the future holds in the way of changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage etc, we are hopeful that Terriers Playgroup will continue to adapt to them, and therefore continue to provide a service to the families in the Terriers area for the foreseeable future.