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What Age Children Do We Run Clubs For?

The simple answer is roughly 18 months to around age 11 (or maybe a little older if they really want to come, see below!) but it’s a little more complex than that, and unfortunately, we cannot accommodate children in reception year (this includes the summer holidays after finishing in reception until they start Year 1 in the September).

The simple bit for pre-school aged children: Our Saplings parent & toddler group runs for toddlers who are confident walkers (often around 18 months) up to 4 years old (maximum age is during the summer before they start reception at school).

The trickier bit, primary school Year 1 - Year 6 aged children: Our after school clubs & holiday clubs are for children in Year 1 to Year 6. Children in reception are unfortunately too young for our holiday & after school clubs, and the children must have begun Year 1 (i.e. they can attend from September onwards once they've started Year 1).  The Outdoors Project is on the Compulsory & Voluntary Ofsted Childcare Register but not on the Early Years Register (which allows care for children from birth to 31st August after their 5th birthday). Ofsted came to visit us and commented that whilst our clubs were excellent, we had some children attending who were too young to be there, and that we must be stricter with our age policy. We know this can be really disappointing to parents, especially if an older sibling is attending, but we need to follow the rule from Ofsted on this.


'Why Don't You Join The Early Years Register to allow younger children?'

All children are different and we know that some children may cope better than others. This depends on their character, if they play with older children at school, whether they have a sibling at home, and other factors, but there are others who need lots of reassurance in the reception age group.  With our ratios, types of activities planned and upper age limit of 11, our instructors want to keep activities flowing for ALL kids in the group and offer appropriate support. This means they aren't able to spend lots of time with one child if they need a lot of extra support on the basics due to their young age. It affects the experience of that individual child & the others in the group and we want a happy time for all.

We know from past experience where reception age children have attended the club that many have difficulty ‘keeping up’, with some of the games we play, the social pace of the group and the physical aspects required to join in with the group activities.  

The holiday club days are long & tiring for very young children. They're outdoors all day, there are instructions to follow throughout the day, and there are new faces for them to become accustomed to. This can be overwhelming for some younger children, and they would therefore struggle to keep up, which this in turn affects the rest of the group.

As much as we would like to, there can be no exceptions to this age limit - the Ofsted guidance is very strict. But we really look forward to welcoming your children when they are in Year 1 and aged five after the summer holidays. It gives us such a buzz when the kids join us - chomping at the bit to get involved and, on-the-whole, normally completely ready & mature enough to get stuck in - they love it straight away. As parents, we see the jump from reception to Year 1 as a coming of age for children as they head into the “bigger part of school” - they grow up quickly that year.  

'My child is over 12. Can they come?'

Our core age group is around age 7-10, but we are happy for slightly older children to come along. Once kids start secondary school, we find that they usually want to be with older children and will request to do different things at the club. However, they are welcome to come if they want to! That's the crucial bit here. A grumpy teen can really bring the energy down in a group of younger children, so if they don't want to come, then they shouldn't book on. If they're keen, then we're happy to have them. Please do check with your pre-teen that they want to come before booking them in. Also, please let the office know if you are booking on an older child. We can give them small jobs/responsibilties through the day to make them feel more welcome/valued/included.  We had one child who loved our clubs so much he is now one of our instructors - anything is possible when kids are keen and want to be there!