Review: Sunshine Playgroup
I started taking my daughter to Sunshine just as she had turned one and tottering around. I remember how shy she was, and how she was even scared when I went to the kitchen area to make a cup of tea (she was going through separation anxiety and was also worried as I had just started dropping her off to nursery 2 mornings a week). As I took Bub out of nursery 6 months later, it was really wonderful to see her transition in a consistent environment outside of home. By the time we left (after 18 months), Bub had transitioned into a boisterous bubbly toddler. She made some great friends, and there were others that were still there from when she had first joined. (The only reason we left is due to Bub starting nursery, and I don't want to overload her timetable. We may return next year though for the cooking or art classes).
So, a bit more about Sunshine. From 1-2, they have a playgroup that encourages children to play, but in a structured way. There's free play - art time (sticking and painting) - free play - song - snack - goodbye time. I found it really interesting to look at the different painting/sticking styles the children have. Bub was a big fan of letting the fan drip slowly all over the paper, but not too keen on sticking - hers always looked quite minimalist. Others were a fan of slapping everything onto the medium. They all looked great, but it's fun to see how different they are even at such a young age.
From 2-3, there are story & art classes and cookery classes. We only went to the story & art class, but I can say that it's a great transition from the pre-nursery class. I love how the read a story at the beginning of class, the art project is then linked to the story, and the story is read again at the end of the session to draw it to a close. The art has transitioned from just sticking to painting, using a variety of medium and discovering textures. I also like, really really like, how Agnieszka maintains order at the end of the session (when concentration spans are limited). Children are reminded that unless they sit still they won't get a sticker, so it doesn't run into total chaos like some other classes at the end.
From 3-5, they have the same classes but they are run without carers.
It's worth mentioning the class sizes as well. There is only ever a maximum of eight children, and there are two teachers available. I think that's a fab teacher:student ratio, especially as they're not drop off sessions and every child is with their parent/carer. I've known Agnieszka and Monika for a while now, and can hand on heart say they are very very warm hearted, diligent and experienced with young children. I have asked Monika to babysit for us a few times as she offers that service (as well as Reiki). Cina has also joined the team this year; she's fab, and has great experience with kids - we know her also from when she ran the Rhyme Times at Belsize Library (thanks so much!)
Also. There are often home made biscuits in the kitchen. Those that know me know I really can't resist a tea and biscuit, and sometimes that's my breakfast as I show up late (again) to the class.
Please note - I have not been paid by Agnieszka or Sunshine playgroup for this review. I just really really like them and wish them all the best x