Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that choosing a playschool for your child can be a daunting task. Here, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you make an informed decision.
Our team is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment where your child can grow, learn, and have fun. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!
The maximum number of children per playschool group is 6. We recommend a minimum of 3 children in order for a new group to start. Occasionally we do start a group with 2 children, provided a 3rd child is going to join eminently.
Play Sense enrolments are open all year long because acceptance is based on the age of the child and not the time of year. Children can enrol from 22 months and our curriculum caters for up to 5 years old.
Playschools are mixed ages, within reason. We believe that it is important for socialisation to have peers of the same age but recognise the benefits of mixed ages too. Little ones learn from watching their older friends. Older friends gain confidence in their mastery of skills, learn patience and leadership skills from helping their younger friends. Children following the learning readiness (4-5 curriculum) will usually be in a group together.
Our curriculum is based on a 5-day week and we require a minimum attendance of 3 days a week. We recommend that younger children or children who are attending playschool for the first time attend 3 days a week to start. Once the child gets a little older and is used to the environment, we recommend that the child moves to 4 or 5 days a week to get the maximum benefit from the curriculum. It is best to discuss directly with the teacher as some schools will enrol a little one for 2 days if there is capacity.
Fees for in-home groups are area-specific. Existing groups fees are listed on each teacher’s playschool page. If you want more information about fees in your area, please contact us.
Unless your teacher is providing an aftercare or afternoon program, Play Sense is a morning program and ends at midday. Each group has snack time at approximately 10h30 each day. Snacks are provided by the parents. We encourage social eating and assistance with food preparation. Parents either provide their own snack box, alternatively your school may ask that each parent takes it in turns to provide snacks for all the children for one full week on a rotation basis. This avoids issues that may come up when one child gets a special treat in their lunchbox and all the other children want the same. It also encourages more conservative eaters to become bolder in their taste exploration when they see other children eating a certain type of food. We provide a list of healthy snack ideas on enrolment and each school will take into account any allergies of any little ones attending.
Play Sense does not generally operate in line with any local government school calendars, terms or semesters. Playschools are closed on religious and national public holidays and teachers are entitled to take up to 7 weeks of paid leave annually.
The teacher’s paid leave dates will be discussed and decided upon between the teacher and parents at an individual playschool level, with a fair amount of notice given to the parents to give them time to arrange alternative childcare during the teacher’s leave. Traditionally, there is a 4-week closure over the summer with the remaining 3 weeks taken throughout the rest of the school year. Dates will differ according to territory and teacher.
Playschool starts at approximately 08h30 each day and finishes at 12h00. Each school runs slightly differently according to the parent’s requirements, but a minimum of 3.5 hours per day is provided.
Play Sense is a half-day playschool program and the children are collected at 12h00 each day unless a teacher is offering an aftercare or afternoon program. This is generally not the case in a host home environment and more likely if the teacher is running the playschool from her own home.
We understand that your child is still very little and your nanny is welcome to attend with your child for as long as is necessary within reason. This is usually approximately 2 weeks. Your teacher will discuss with you the best way to phase out this support when needed.
The schools are run according to a flexible daily program, which is introduced gradually over a few weeks. The routine balances active and passive activities and takes into account special needs such as nappy changing, toilet training, etc.
The basic program is as follows:
08h30 – 08h45 Settling in and book sharing with caregiver
08h45 – 09h00 Story, music and movement
09h00 – 09h30 Art
09h30 – 10h00 Sensory play
10h00 – 10h15 Snack
10h15 – 11h00 Outdoor play
11h00 – 11h45 Imaginary play plan
11h45 – 12h00 Reading and reflection
Each playschool has its own policy regarding vaccinations, and this is guided by the teacher and the host home and considers the opinions of the parents and teacher.
Our teachers are either qualified teachers or therapists (Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Play Therapists, etc.) or have extensive experience working with children. Some teachers come to Play Sense looking for a career change, and these teachers are rigorously screened and vetted and closely mentored in their first few years. All Play Sense teachers are required to complete specific Play Sense training.
Yes, all in-home teachers are trained in First Aid & CPR and required to keep their certification up to date.
You are required to give one months’ notice in writing to Play Sense management or to the teacher directly, but please note that we require a minimum two months’ notice before the summer break if you do not plan on your child returning in the new school year.
We encourage our teachers to solve any disputes or issues that might arise as they are the owners of their school, but if you feel you cannot approach your teacher directly, then we ask that you escalate the matter to Play Sense management if necessary.
Some ECD programs are exempt from registration and licensing, depending on the type of program and where and when it operates.
In South Africa, as an example, the government requires that only playschools with more than 6 children register with the Department of Social Development. Since Play Sense playschools accommodate for 6 or fewer children, they are not required to register.
Even if a program is exempt from registration or a license, Play Sense teachers will follow the guidelines of the early childhood regulations in a local territory to ensure the expected standards are met.
The teachers are required to invest in a Play Sense kit that contains everything they need to conduct the program. The equipment is very specifically connected to the curriculum and belongs to the teacher. However, consumables do run low and teachers can levy small amounts to parents to replenish stock.
Most teachers have worked in situations where they are the only carer for far more than 6 children. The teacher is always with the children and toileting is carried out as a group (whether changing nappies or using the toilet with potty training). Children learn from each other in this regard, for example, we all wash hands, and even if only one child ‘goes to the toilet,’ soon they all are enticed by having a turn sitting on a potty or toilet. The same applies to change nappies and it is usually a part of the morning routine. Everyone sits on their little cushion and waits their turn for a nappy change whilst looking at books/puzzles. The same “cushion” concept can be applied to attending to an injury. In some venues the teacher may have a nanny to assist however majority are caring for your little ones alone.
We try to have a back-up host home for the playschools so that the family does not need to have outsiders in their home whilst sick and the other children are not exposed to illness. If no back-up home is available, then the class will be cancelled and/or rescheduled to another day if the playschool meets less than 5 days a week.
There are many benefits to hosting, the key ones being that your child is in the security of their own home and you have the convenience of not being tied to drop off and pick up times, especially convenient for a working parent. In addition, the host pays no placement fee, and receives a monthly discount on school fees. Please check with teacher regarding the host home discount offered in your area.
Host homes come in all shapes and sizes, but the room where the playschool takes place must be a minimum size as dictated by local regulations (approximately 4 x 4 m). This can be a shared living space in the home (sitting room or dining room, etc.) or a separate room (converted garage, sunroom, etc.). There also needs to be a contained outside area where the children can play safely, without the risk of water hazards and pets. All host homes are thoroughly checked and assessed for safety before being approved as a venue, and the teacher is responsible for the monitoring of safety hazards daily. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about hosting.
If there are any people who come to the home for work/deliveries, the teacher is notified beforehand. If prospective parents want to visit the group during class time, proof of identification is required before the visit and the host parents are informed ahead of time.
Play Sense has emergency plan procedures in place and this includes protocols for security. Only listed adults are authorised to collect a child. Unless the teacher is notified by the parent of another adult fetching the child, he/she will not be allowed to leave premises, even with another parent in the group.
Play Sense will ensure that both the company and the teacher are covered by insurance. Host Parents have to commit to having Third Party insurance (which comes with their household policy). If there is an incident that is unrelated to the business’s activities, (e.g. a tile falling off the roof and hurting a child) and it happens while the teacher is at the third party’s house, the Host Home’s Thirds party insurance will cover the incident. If there is a link to the teacher’s activities and responsibility, the teacher is covered by their insurance.
You may request a copy of the Health & Safety Regulations for your territory. This document is continuously reviewed and updated according to local regulations.
We are an inclusive program but depending on the teacher’s capacity and experience, it is sometimes required that the child be accompanied by a carer to assist with their individual needs. We recommend you enquire as to the specific needs of your child so that we can advise on the best approach for your little one.