About Us

Welcome to St John's Sunshine Pre-school


We are a small pre-school located in the village of Copthorne.  We take children from the age of 2 years to school age.  We hope the information below will help to answer any questions you may have regarding your child starting at St John's Sunshine but if you have any other queries please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Most of our staff are professionally trained and all regularly update their training to cover all aspects of pre-school care.  All of our staff are police checked and trained in first aid and child protection.


We follow closely the Local Education Authority school terms.  Our term dates and holidays can be found on the newsletter published every half term. 

Each morning session is registered to have a maximum of 20 children with a minimum of 3 staff.

We have a Food Hygiene Rating of 5.

Children are admitted from 2 years old and do not need to be out of nappies.  If your child is still in nappies please provide spare nappies, wipes and nappy sacks so we may change them should the need arise.  It is our policy for parents to take home their child’s soiled nappies.




We are OFSTED approved with a Good rating, a copy of our latest inspection report is available at the setting or by clicking here.  

Opening Hours
Please click here to see out opening hours.
Allocation of Places

Places are allocated according to the following criteria as the child gets to the top of the waiting list.  Priority of places will be given to children living in Copthorne. We will do our best to find a session for a child who has recently moved into the village and who will be starting school at the next intake.


Settling in at Sunshine


Please be prepared to stay with your child for the first couple of sessions.  It will be very strange for them at first, even if they are used to other pre-schools.  It is vital that your child becomes familiar with our staff and group routines before being left.  Confident starts for children at this age pave the way for a less stressful future in similar circumstances.


We cannot accept children before 09:15 start time,unless they are pre booked in for 8.45, due to our insurance policy. Staff will do a morning and afternoon register to sign your child in.


It is extremely important that you are prompt when collecting your child.  It can be very distressing for children if you are not there to meet them on time.  If, for any reason you are delayed, please contact us on the following number; 07963 501762, so that we may reassure your child (please use this number only during pre-school hours).   If you cannot collect your child, please let us and your child know who will be coming and a  ensure that they have the password that can be quoted and verified on collection of your child.  At 12:15 your child will be handed over to you or your representative personally, it is then that you will assume responsibility.  Please ensure you have all your child’s belongings with you when you leave.


We encourage children to bring in an item for the theme of the week. They are welcome to bring in their favourite blanket or soft toy.  Please do not bring in any sort of toy weapon, as this could frighten other children. 


We are required by Ofsted to keep a Learning Journal of your child.  This will be explained to you once your child starts at the Pre-school.  We operate a keyworker system, which ensures that each child and family has one particular staff member who will support your child throughout their time at Sunshine.  Regular parent meetings to provide opportunities for staff to discuss the children’s progress and any questions you may have. If you have any questions before a meeting please feel free to speak to a member of staff.


Lunch Club


We currently offer a lunch club on a Monday and Tuesday (subject to demand).  It runs straight after the morning session and enables the children the experience of having lunch with their friends ready for when they start school.  Your child can only attend the lunch club if they have attended that morning’s session. The cost of the lunch club can be found here, payment is required in advance and unfortunately we cannot offer refunds for any sessions your child is unable to attend.  Please ensure you provide your child with a healthy lunch and also please ensure NO NUTS and GRAPES ARE CUT due to children with allergies and choking hazards.


Registration Form


We require you to complete a registration form and an ethnic authenticity form, which is strictly confidential before starting at the Pre-school.  It includes all the information we need to take care of your child.  Please complete and return as soon as possible, so that we may be ready for your child when he/she starts Pre-school.  If there are any points that you are not sure of, or may wish to discuss with us personally, then do not hesitate to call.  Please advise us of any changes to your details to ensure our records are up to date.



We require a £40 deposit to put your child on our waiting list of which £25 will be refundable with your first term’s fees.  The remainder will be used to pay for resources for your child whilst they are at the Pre-school. Fees are payable in advance at the beginning of each term, details of the current fees can be found by clicking here. 


There are no refunds for sickness or other unforeseen events, as running costs remain the same. Due to the staff to child ratios we are unable to make up lost sessions or swap sessions to accomodate other arrangements.  We require half a terms' notice if you wish to withdraw your child from the Pre-school. If your child receives the Free Entitlement you will not be able to transfer the funding to a new setting until the current funding term has come to an end


Payment is required promptly, so that we may meet our running costs and keep the fees low.  However, if at any time you have difficulty in paying fees, please do not hesitate in contacting our treasurer in confidence who will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements.

Free Entitlement


Every child is entitled to fifteen hours free entitlement per week the term after their third birthday.  These free hours can be used at any two OFSTED approved Pre-school or nursery.  A form will be given to you to complete to receive these free spaces and a copy of your child’s birth certificate will be required to process the application. However if your child is using full allocation of their Free Entitlement at another setting, you will be charged at the current funded rate for any sessions attended at Sunshine.


Please see the separate section with more details about the Free Entitlement or click here.


Educational Programes and Activities


We provide a safe, happy and stimulating environment, where children can learn about themselves and the world in which they live.  We feel the best learning is through play.


At St John’s Pre-school we are working towards the government set Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).


Each week we offer a theme to explore and our activities based on the theme they always include the seven areas of learning:

The 3 Prime areas: communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development also,

Literacy, mathematics, understanding of the world and expressive arts and design.   


Staff will consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and will use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development.  All staff working with the youngest children will focus strongly on the three prime areas, which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capacities all children need to develop and learn effectively, and become ready for school. It is expected that the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas. But throughout the early years, if a child’s progress in any prime area gives cause for concern, staff will discuss this with the child’s parents and/or carers and agree how to support the child.


A guide to the EYFS Statutory framework can be downloaded here, or please ask a member of staff and we will happily show you a paper copy.


The toys and equipment we offer within the group provide opportunities for children either independently or with adult help, to develop new skills and concepts in the course of their play and exploration.  The equipment we provide is appropriate for the ages and stages of the children, and also:


  • Offers challenges to develop physical, social, personal and intellectual skills.

  • Features positive images of people, both male and female, from a range of cultural groups with and without disabilities.

  • Includes a range of raw materials that can be used in a variety of ways and encourages an open-ended approach to creativity and problem solving.

  • Will enable children independently and with adult support, to develop individual potential and move towards recognised early learning goals


Although we do encourage all children to, we do not insist that they participate in a particular activity.  Please do not be concerned if at the end of a session your child does not have a painting etc. to take home.


We benefit greatly at Sunshine from our newly developed outside area as we understand the importance of learning opportunities gained from an outdoor classroom. We often take the children on walks to the church and its grounds and the local schools. There will also be other outings throughout the year that you will be notified about with which we always welcome parental help. This forms the basis of our educational policy.  Photographs are available within the Pre-school showing the vast range of activities that we include in our sessions, we also have our timetable and planned activities on display in every session.


Snack Time


We operate a rolling snack time between 10:00hrs and 11:00hrs where your child can choose from a variety of healthy snacks and milk/water.  We invite parents to donate any suitable items to be shared during this time. Please be aware of allergies so no nuts please.



Old clothes are best for playing in.   We do have aprons that we use for messy and water play, but sometimes accidents do happen.  If your child gets paint on his/her clothes, we offer the following advice: Rub with plenty of soap and soak in cold water for 24 hours before washing. Plimsolls or suitable slippers, so no giant Thomas Tank or flip flops please, to change into at Pre-school. This helps keep the floor clean and also minimises accidents when little feet come into contact with others when playing.  For safety reasons we ask that no child comes to pre-school with earrings, however if your child’s earrings cannot be removed, please ensure that they are taped over.  Please read our policy for more details.


Outdoor Dress- Please be sure your child has suitable footwear for outdoor play, this should be any thing your child can run around in without falling over e.g. trainers and not flip-flops.  Please also make sure your child has appropriate clothing for the weather available at pre-school.  A warm coat and shoes are required when its cold, wellington boots for the rain.  In sunny weather please make sure your child is sun creamed and brings a sunhat.


It is also helpful if coats, hats and shoes etc are named so we can ensure your child returns with the right clothing.



No child should be in pre-school who is obviously unwell.  Please inform us if your child catches any infectious diseases.  Any child suffering sickness and diarrhoea must be excluded from the group for at least 48 hours after the last attack.  Please let us know if your child goes into hospital for any reason, as we like to include them and their family in our prayers.  We also need to be informed of any allergies or dietary requirements your child may have.  Please also inform us of any medication your child has taken before attending a session so that we can add it to our medical records




In case of accidents, all staff are trained are in First Aid.  The supervisor in charge will notify you of any accident involving your child during the session.   You may also be required to sign the Accident Notification book.  Please also inform us of any incident occurring prior to coming to pre-school, i.e. bumps on the head, etc. in order that we may monitor your child’s behaviour during the session, you will be asked to write this in the Existing Injury Book.


Parental Help


We are a committee run group, governed by a constitution and we rely heavily on parental involvement. Without a committee a pre-school cannot operate.


To enable us to maintain and improve the standard of equipment in the group, we need to hold regular fund raising events.  To make these successful, we need lots of support from parents.  You will be kept informed of these events as they happen.  Remember, it is your child that will benefit.  If you would like to join the Committee please tick the box on the registration form.  The committee is made up of members (mums and dads) elected annually, which meets about twice a term.  The committee always welcomes new members who can give some time and fresh ideas to help with the running of the pre-school.  It is also a good way to make new friends.


We also invite parents to help within a session but you will be unable to bring any siblings.




We believe that adults and children flourish best in an ordered environment in which everyone knows what is expected of them and children are free to develop their play and learning without fear of being hurt or hindered by anyone else.  We aim to work towards a situation in which children can develop self-discipline and self esteem in an atmosphere of mutual respect and encouragement.


All adults in Pre-school will ensure that the agreed rules are applied consistently, so those children have the security of knowing what to expect and can build up useful habits of behaviour.  All adults will try to provide a positive role model for the children with regard to courtesy, care and friendliness.  Desirable behaviour, such as kindness and willingness to share, will be praised and encouraged.  Positive steps will be taken to avoid situations in which children receive adult attention only in return for undesirable behaviour.  When children behave in unacceptable ways, it will be made clear to the child or children in question that it is the behaviour, not the child, which is unwelcome.


Equal Opportunities


We aim to offer a caring environment open to all children and their families in the community, regardless of their religion or belief, gender, sexuality, family status, colour, ethnic origin, culture, means or disability.  As a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, we aim to provide the highest quality education and care for all our children.  We welcome each individual child and family and provide a warm and caring environment within which all children can learn and develop as they play.


We believe children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt careful attention to their needs and wishes.  Our intention is to work in partnership with parents and the community generally and we welcome suggestions on how to improve our group at any time.  A parent who is uneasy about any aspect of the group’s provision should first of all talk over any worries and anxieties with a supervisor.  If the outcome of this is deemed unsatisfactory, the complaint procedure should be followed, a copy of which is available in pre-school.


Lines of Communication

Day Book

Newsletter every half term

Notice board

Notes home



Keyworker Meetings