Hill Croft School

Play Dates

In Hill Croft School we pride ourselves on the friendly and welcoming family atmosphere this extends from our pupils and their families, to our staff team, and outwards to the wider community who may become part of the family.

The children are at the heart of everything we do here in Hill Croft School, and we aim to provide as much support to our pupils and their families as possible.  As part of our support for families in school, and in the wider community one of the important parts of our provision is Play Dates. 

Play Dates started in Hill Croft in October 2013 and over the years has developed into the service that we know today. Play Dates is held in school on Tuesday afternoons (during Term Time) between 2.00-3.30pm.  This is not only open to Hill Croft pupils, but also to all local children aged 0-6 years with a potential learning difficulty and their parents/carers.

In Play Dates the children have fun playing in a safe, welcoming, nurturing environment whilst their parents or carers can obtain advice on how to help their children learn through play and chat to other parents who are in the same position for support.  Families who attend Play Dates are also supported by experienced school staff who are there to provide advice and signpost parents and carers to other agencies and services that may be of benefit to them and their child or children. Our Play Dates staff love to play with the children and get to know them as they attend the sessions.

Play Dates is held in one of our Foundation Department classrooms and we also make full use of our Foundation Playground and Soft Play area each week. During the school year we hold themed play sessions for Halloween, Christmas, Valentines’ Day and Easter.  Towards the end of the school year we incorporate Fundamental Movement, Attention Autism, Sensory Stories, Art, and Music into our Play Dates sessions.

These early years can be so confusing and stressful for families so, as well as our themed play sessions, we also hold information sessions for the parents/carers.  These are based on topics pertinent to families starting their child’s educational journey.  The sessions aim to help support the parents through the early years of their child’s development with one of the main concerns being ‘statementing’, how to apply for schools and the big question- “What school is right for my child?”.  The first information session aims to help alleviate some concerns and help parents to navigate the statementing process. There will be further information sessions for new parents later in the school term on other topics.

While Play Dates was initially a way of supporting pupils who were likely to attend Hill Croft in the future, we now are supporting children who are, or will go on to access their education in the full range of specialist provision including other local special schools, learning support units or 1:1 support within the mainstream classroom.

Many of our Foundation Department pupils return to school with their parents/carers on a Tuesday afternoon so that they can attend Play Dates.  It is a chance for children to mix and socialise with other children and for parents to have the chance to chat to others who understand their needs and behaviours in a safe and familiar environment.

For further information and updates please go to www.hillcroftschool.co.uk or check out our Facebook page You can also contact us on 02890837488 or email info@hillcroftschool.co.uk.

Finding Play Dates was just massive for us, it was the perfect setting to accommodate the children’s needs and the staff could not have been more supportive or welcoming.

The staff at Play Dates really went out of their way to get to know the children and have been so supportive in any way they could.

Play Dates was the first environment where I could relax. I could let my son run in the playground and not worry about him running off. You can breathe because the children can come and be themselves.