A PRE-SCHOOL at a Chester village has been continuing to thrive under new management, despite the most difficult of years caused by the Covid crisis.

Dodleston Pre-school has been a well-loved feature of community life in Dodleston for 35 years.

Last year, new manager Cheryl Jones came on board, with the unique challenge of managing a setting through a pandemic.

After experiencing 16 years in early years management, education and supporting children with additional learning needs, Cheryl was attracted to the pre-school's unique child-led approach to learning.

Deputy manager Heather Marsh said that at Dodleston Pre-School: “Children are at the centre of every aspect of our practice, meaning we are entirely child-led. We follow the child’s interest in the moment; we observe the child, don’t interrupt and see where their own interests will take them!

"We aim to support young children (ages 2-5) in their own unique learning journey through play and exploration.”

Even though 2020-2021 has been extremely challenging, the early years team led by Cheryl are determined that the children in their care can continue to learn in a safe but engaging environment.

Cheryl explained: “This academic year in pre-school we have focused highly on the children’s well-being, both in an emotional sense and from a health perspective.

"Children are living through so much right now but our team are supporting the children to continue to thrive and most importantly have fun.”

Cheryl said that the challenge of keeping up with ever-changing Covid-19 guidance for pre-school settings has been a huge task.

Her diligence has meant that, as yet, the pre-school has not had any outbreaks.

Parent Katie Lyttle says that finding Dodleston Pre School was a stroke of luck.

She said: “I had been looking for somewhere for my daughter where play was truly valued. I needed somewhere that offered the free hours and a friend recommended Dodleston.

"Their Ofsted report was glowing and as soon as I met Heather the teacher I knew it was the right fit, she was so passionate about child development and the environment was warm and friendly.

"I am really grateful that throughout what we are living through my daughter can be somewhere safe, enjoy herself and learn. It is a 10-minute drive from Chester centre and yet my daughter gets to play outside surrounded by fields! Dodleston Pre-School really is a hidden gem.”

For more information about Dodleston Pre-School, email dodlestonpreschoolmanager@gmail.com or call 01244 661611.