A New Year has started and we wanted to update you on all things Chirpy Chicks and our plans for the rest of this academic year and beyond.

For the benefit of new parents, first of all welcome and thank you for coming to join the fun, and we’ll take this opportunity to present some general information and outline our aspirations for the playgroup. You’ll find a lot of details about the playgroup here on our website, and we also make good use of our Facebook Page @chirpychicksplaygroup for announcements and a peek into some of the day to day activities the children are involved in.

Chirpy Chicks Playgroup Ltd is owned and managed by Jill and Nick Moore. Jill has several years’ experience in science education and childcare, running a successful baby-signing project teaching children to communicate before they can speak, and also has a theatre background. Nick works in education and community development sitting on the board of directors of a number of charities working on peace-building and anti-poverty initiatives. Nick is also managing director of The Pre-School Support Network, which works with relevant Health Trusts, the Charity Commission and the Education Authority in helping pre-school playgroups across the province thrive and become sustainable.

We’re currently building out our team of experienced staff to bring even more ideas and fun activities into the setting, and looking at ways to increase the services we offer to the wider community through potential summer schemes for children from 4 to 11 years of age. Planning what we’ll be looking to achieve from 2017 to 2020 is a good sign we’re heading in the right direction.

As a pre-school we deliver a curriculum guided by the Education Authority to prepare children for school. We also provide the opportunity for children younger than the pre-school year to come and join the fun and learn in much the same ways as the older children through structured play. This is what we have to provide as a participant in the government’s Pre-school Expansion Programme, but we aspire to more.

We’ve created a new statement of the mission, vision and aims that drives what we want to achieve with the playgroup for the benefit of all the children who attend and you’ll find that here. We want to provide a memorable experience for the children, giving them lots of stories to bring home, with fun as the foundation of everything we do.

We are connecting with local schools and specialist education providers such as Exploris to help us meet our goals, and we already enjoy a wonderful relationship with Greyabbey Primary, joining them for a joint sports day last year, something we’ll be repeating again in 2017.

As part of our renewed focus on three themes, understanding the world, understanding ourselves, and understanding our health and well-being, we’ll be seeking to have special events in the form of trips out and bringing some unique experiences to playgroup for the children to enjoy. There’s a lot of work to do and we’re just getting started, but we want to provide the children in our care with something that makes them smile, laugh and they remember fondly.

Alongside all of this we are looking at how we can better connect to parents and carers. Currently we send newsletters and notes home, website and Facebook updates, we’ll have another meeting of ‘The Hatchery(our think-tank where we steal all your great ideas over tea and buns) after half-term, there’s some fantastic art and crafts brought home from playgroup as well. We are looking at other ways of letting families experience what happens via apps or special behind-the-scenes sections of our website. We’ll keep everyone posted as we go and a questionnaire will out to current families and carers next month to help us shape some of these ideas based on feedback we get. One idea that did come from previous feedback was courses for parents around health and specifically mental health. We have a course coming up on that very subject in partnership with Aware NI called ‘Mood Matters’ and will have full details about that shortly.

We hope this gives you a brief look at how Chirpy Chicks will be developing over the next while. If you have any ideas you can add to the grand plan, or know of any special events or opportunities we could investigate perhaps through someone you know or some of your own talents that you could showcase to the children do please get in touch. You can reach us via messaging the Facebook Page, dropping a note into playgroup for us, or emailing info@chirpychicksplaygroup.com

We look forward to hearing from you and many thanks for all your support.

Jill & Nick Moore
Managing Directors