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Local Offer

Little Owls Woodland Preschool

Offering services to:
  • Children 0-5
Supporting people with:
  • Activities for children and young people
Carescheme type:
  • Pre-School Playgroup

Little Owls Woodland Preschool is nestled in its own private, self-contained woodland at Itchen Valley Country Park, offering children 2 years 9 months – 4 years the opportunity to start their journey into education in a beautiful, outdoor setting.

We have a small, highly qualified friendly team of staff who create a nurturing environment for the children. Little Owls adopts The Forest School Ethos, supporting fundamental first-hand experiences whilst encouraging safe risk taking. They learn through nature and unique hands-on experiences, learning skills they may not have the opportunity to learn at home or in a classroom.

We have a lovely mud kitchen for the children to play with, a large construction area, a campfire and a wonderful decking area and canopy for when it is raining.  The children are outside all the time running around and playing. We also visit the country park regularly and take the children on nature walks to look for birds, minibeasts and different plant life. We also access the pond in the country park to give the children an experience of pond dipping.  We have a small indoor space, with the children only playing in this area in bad weather. The indoor space includes a quiet area with reading books, a loose parts area and small world resources.

We achieve Early Learning requirements through an innovative and child-centred approach to learning. Staff creatively teach all areas of the curriculum using the outdoor environment and the curious mind of each child.


Who to contact

07774 336750 07774 336750

Through our organisation, Youth Options, we have access to a minibus. We occasionally take the children to visit places within our community, such as local farms and the local library. We try to arrange a couple of trips a year, one in the summer and one in the autumn, where children can link their curiosity about the change of seasons with some hands-on educational opportunities (for example pumpkin and strawberry picking).

Where to go

Itchen Valley Country Park
Allington Lane

SO30 3HQ

View SO30 3HQ on a map

Indoor space and a covered decking area are available for rainy days.

Opening times: Monday to Thursday 9 to 3. Sessions: 9 -12 and 12 - 3 term time only.

Time / Date Details Session Information:

Term time only

4 days a week Monday – Thursday

Sessions:  9am -3pm (all day), 9am-12pm (morning session), 12pm-3pm (afternoon session)

Age group; 2 years  and 9 months up to 5 years 


Age group - 2-4: 6.5 per hour, 19.5 per session, 39 per day

Inclusion Information

Special Needs provision
Challenging behaviour,Developmental delay,English as additional language,Hearing difficulties,Medical difficulties,Soc. Interaction Difficulties,Speech and lang. difficulties,Visual difficulties
Can make special cultural provisions
Cultural and Spec. Diet. Needs,Relig. and Cultural Awareness

Childcare Information

Funded Places

Offers 3 & 4 year old funded places
Offers 2 year old funded places

Opening Times & Facilities

Opening Times
Opening Times
DayOpening TimeClosing Time
Monday 09:00 15:00
Tuesday 09:00 15:00
Wednesday 09:00 15:00
Thursday 09:00 15:00
Walks to local park etc
Allotment Plot
Nature Exploration
Arts & Crafts
Songs, Rhymes and Music
Car Parking
Messy Play Area
Water play
Outdoor Play
Wendy House

Local Offer


Inclusion Information:

Wheelchair Access is provided - we are based totally outside

Staff can support children with Special Needs  and has experience with Medical Needs

Staff can support with Social, emotional and behaviour Need and conversations will happen at look arounds regarding our service

Outdoor setting with clear emphasis on physical needs and sensory needs

Children supported with their communication and language development 

Dietary requirements and cultural preferences are considered


Contact Name
Mariangela Bryant
Contact Telephone
07716 078724
Contact Email
Youth Options
How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

At Little Owls Woodland Preschool we have conversations with parents/carers prior to the child starting at the preschool and we ensure we understand each child’s characteristics and personality. We also ask parents to fill out an ‘all about me’ form to share more information about their child with us.

We constantly observe the children in their play and follow a planning cycle which includes observation, assessment and planning. This allows us to scaffold learning through play, based on children’s interests. We use this approach to formulate a baseline within their first two to three weeks of attendance. This may vary according to the booking pattern selected and the level of attendance. The team reflects on the outcome of the opportunities and approaches offered to tailor specific support to each child’s specific characteristics of learning and needs.

If you have a concern, it is always best to approach the subject. By doing so, we can try to put everything in place within the setting to support your child's degree of need. Our team is motivated by ensuring children can achieve their best. The manager and the whole team are qualified to carry out an initial assessment against the current early years guidance. We intend to work closely with you so that we can celebrate your children’s achievements either at pre-school or at home.

How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?

Each child is designated a key person who will build good relationships with the child and their family. They will support the child’s development and support the family with any concerns they have regarding the child’s development. The key person is supported by the setting’s SENDCo to provide guidance and additional support where necessary.

In some instances, children may need specific targeted intervention; these children will have an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). This approach allows us to plan for their next steps or targets, aiming to enhance areas of development where they may need it the most. If, after a period of implementation of our strategies, we are still concerned about a child’s level of progress, we may discuss with you the need to undergo further specific assessments. Our intent in doing this is to gain as much information as possible on areas of the child’s development that need addressing. We will seek permission from parents/carers before completing referrals for additional assessments and explain what this entails. After completing this, we will arrange a meeting to discuss our findings and how best to move forward to help your child.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?

We recognize that each child has unique needs and develops at different rates. We adapt all activities to match the individual child’s current stage of development and needs and this will be evidenced through observations. When your child starts, they will have a settling-in period. During this time we observe which adult they bond with best and that adult typically becomes their key person. The key person will observe and plan for your children’s next steps and provide a range of interactive and engaging experiences and activities to suit their needs.

 At Little Owls Woodland Pre-school we adhere to Early Years Foundation Stage guidance to plan our curriculum. Our curriculum is underpinned by ‘Development Matters’ and Forest School Principles. Practitioners adapt activities to suit individual children’s characteristics of effective learning, by applying diverse types of teaching approaches to ensure that children are suitably challenged. The learning opportunities offered are a mixture of Planning in The Moment approach and adult led opportunities. Observations on activities may be in the form of posts on your child’s learning journal account, potentially including some photographs that record the activity. When outside professionals are involved in your child’s development. We will actively engage with them and follow their advice and suggestions in order to support your child's learning. Specific training may be booked if specific areas of support are required.

To assist us in evaluating the impact of the learning opportunities provided, we carry out peer-on-peer observations once a term and we undergo supervisions and training. We discuss the observations on the impact of the activities through reflective conversations and discussions with SENDCo and / or manager.

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?

We set up an online learning journal for each child, which contains an ‘About Me’ section that we urge parents / carers to fill in before the child starts. If you prefer to discuss your child’s starting point in person this can be arranged. We post observations regularly about your child’s progress. However, we value the time we spend directly engaged playing alongside your children and we consider it the most important part of our role. This means that at times online observations may not be uploaded daily. For this reason, we are always happy for parents / carers to ask us about their children at drop off or pick up times. Alternatively, to discuss your child’s progress more formally, a telephone call or a meeting can be arranged. Parents can always send the manager or the SENDCo an email to request these and agree convenient times. To review each child’s progress, we will refer to the knowledge of your child’s key person and their learning journals. We aim to prepare termly reports that provide a summary of your child’s progress and if you wish a follow-up meeting can be arranged. The regularity of formal meetings between staff and parents will depend on the child’s level of need and level of concern.

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?

At Little Owls Pre-school we follow the Forest School Ethos which has a strong emphasis on children’s wellbeing. We spend the majority of our time outside exploring the woodland and sharing an appreciation for all nature. We follow a child-led approach which is fun and helps build confidence and self-esteem. We help children to manage risk and encourage them to take part in forest school activities including den building, using real tools and fire safety which is proven to support children wellbeing.

We are committed to meeting all children’s needs as these are Youth Options core values. We desire to build good relationships with families so that children feel comfortable and secure in our care. If needed we will involve other professionals (e.g. Health Visitors, EYA Advisor/Teacher, Speech Therapist) to ensure we support your child in all areas of their development. We will support you and your children with toilet training, and any issues regarding eating, sleeping etc. The Pre-school is equipped with an indoor changing mat, children’s toilet seats and potties etc. If your children have any specific medical needs, we will discuss with you what actions are required to ensure your children’s wellbeing is supported. Where appropriate, our staff will undergo required training - e.g., EpiPen training. In exceptional circumstances a Risk Assessment may also be prepared to ensure that all key factors regarding your child’s wellbeing are acknowledged systematically by all staff.

What specialist services and expertise are avaliable at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

The team and the designated SENDCo are committed to ensure all children can access the support they need to develop and thrive. We have staff who are specifically trained in the Forest School ethos, which is a specialised approach to outdoor learning that aims to develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning in woodland environments.

We also work closely with the Inclusion Support Officers and Advisory Teachers from services for young children, who are available to support the setting when necessary. If other professionals are already involved, we will invite them to visit your child at the setting and liaise with them so that we can adapt our practice and our environment accordingly. If no professionals are involved, we will evaluate all information we have on your child and try to find who best can support your child at home and in the setting.

What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?

At Little Owls we have a highly skilled team. Several members of the team hold qualified teacher status (QTS) and NVQ L3/4 in child development. We also have staff who are trained in the Forest School Approach.  We consider continuous professional development (CPD) to be important for of all staff. We currently have a staff member completing their forest school training. At Little Owls Pre-school we regularly attend training courses in all areas of the EYFS and on child development and share that knowledge within the team. Our SENDCo has attended induction training for the role, and all the SENDCo networking support meetings to keep up to date with changes and inclusive practice.

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

Most of our sessions are run from our outdoor woodland setting. We complete a daily risk assessment to ensure the woodland is safe to use. The children also take part in a safety group time every morning to discuss any changes in the environment and potential risks they may encounter. Activities outside the setting take place once the manager has evaluated risks, pros, and cons of an outing/ trip ensuring children’s safety is maintained. If necessary, we will discuss additional measures that we may take to ensure they can be included, for example carers may accompany us during an outing.

How accessible is the setting/school/college enviroment?

Our Pre-school is located in the woods. The paths leading from the car park to the pre-school are compacted gravel. These can become muddy and slippery especially in wet weather. Within the setting the compacted gravel path continues, and children are taught early on to be aware of small stumps and roots that are potential trip hazards. The setting has compostable toilets that are accessed via steps. There is also a small step up onto the decking and into the cabin.

How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?

As we are a woodland setting, children attend from all around our local area, meaning we have a wide range of feeder schools. We liaise with the schools and share information on children’s assessments and characteristics of effective learning before the end of the summer term. We welcome reception class teachers into our setting if they wish to come in to observe and familiarise themselves with your children before their new adventure. All the information gathered by our setting and your knowledge of your child will be passed on during an arranged transition meeting, where your views and your children’s views are shared to make sure the transition is as easy and effective as possible. On some occasions children require more support with the transition to school. We can attend stay and play sessions with the child in their new school and we can provide a one-page profile for their teacher.

How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?

Our setting receives Early years funding which also contains some special needs funding which we use to make our setting more inclusive. We use Makaton (simple sign language) in the setting daily and teach it to the children during group times to aid communication and language skills.

We also use a visual timetable with the children to prepare them for the day.  Where possible we would make reasonable adjustments, adapting provision and activities, to meet individual child needs, coordinated by the SENDCo. If we feel that children require additional support to what we can incorporate in everyday practice, we will try to refer a child for some additional Inclusion Funding. This would be allocated to match some specific requirements and adjustments.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

At Little Owls Pre-school, staff have a good understanding of child development, which allows them to make accurate assessments of children. We use these assessments and our knowledge of the child to consider the level of support required.  

Suggestions by outside professionals are always welcome as well as recommendations from parents / carers. In the event deeper conversations are deemed necessary, regular conversations/ meetings will be organised. Different children will require diverse levels of support to bridge the gap to achieve their age targets.

How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

Our team is very approachable and will enjoy sharing information about your child’s day at pick up and drop off. Parents are welcomed to talk regularly to their child's key person and other staff working at the setting about any concerns they have or changes they have seen in their child. We also love to hear and see what your child has been doing away from pre-school and encourage parents to share pictures and information through Tapestry, our online learning journal.  We hold consultations meetings, where parents/carers are invited into the setting to discuss their child's progress every term. Your views are important as they help us build a true picture of your child and we use these to make accurate assessments and plan appropriate next steps.

Occasionally we organise fundraising events such family forest school sessions and a summer fayre. We will inform you of these events in advance so that you can arrange to participate if you wish.

Offering services to:
  • Children 0-5
Supporting people with:
  • Activities for children and young people
Carescheme type:
  • Pre-School Playgroup


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Last Updated: 03 March 2023

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