Little Squirrels@Shiplake Primary - Planting seeds for early learning

We want to sow the seeds to ensure each and every child has a lifetime love of learning!

Our aim is to develop children's confidence and curiosity in a happy, fun and nurturing environment. We offer a safe, happy and stimulating pre-school environment, in which children can learn through play and positively develop their social, emotional, physical and intellectual capabilities. Each child is valued and respected as an individual and we believe every child must have the opportunity to reach their full potential.


At Shiplake CE Primary
School, our purpose is
to lead, develop, inspire
and educate all our young
community. We welcome everyone!

Mrs Katherine Page-Howie
Head Teacher

We are brilliant!

  • Academically excellent
  • Nurturing environment
  • Lots of sports, music and arts
  • Varied residentials & day trips
  • Great after-school clubs
  • Reception to Year 6
  • Little Squirrels@Shiplake Primary – nursery provision on site from 01.09.2022

Our Vision

We understand that children learn best through doing activities they find interesting such as playing rhyming games, storytime, cooking, parading around in dressing up clothes, building castles and singing. We encourage children to ask questions about the world around them, for example, do birds play and what happens to snow when it melts?

Little Squirrels@Shiplake Primary are based in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside –  we have a fantastic garden and look out onto fields where we go to bug hunt, build dens and climb trees. Inside is a bright welcoming, creative space – from book corners to places to paint, make and cook. There’s a maximum of sixteen children in any session ranging from age 2yrs to 4yrs. Age appropriate focused activities take place daily to help each child reach their learning goals.

Our team is a unique. We employ a highly qualified, nurturing and fun team made up of a Manager, Deputy Manager,  and team of Nursery Assistant/Teaching Assistants who all hold current DBS checks and meet EYFS regulations and child to adult ratios.

Our staff continue their professional development through regular supervision sessions which leads to focused training. We’re overseen and managed by the Headteacher and Governors of Shiplake CE Primary School.

We work to the following ratios: For children aged 2yrs, at least one member of staff for every four children (at least one member of staff holds a full and relevant level 3 childcare qualification, at least half of all other staff hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification) For children aged 3yrs and over, at least one member of staff for every eight children (at least one member of staff holds a full and relevant level 3 childcare qualification, at least half of all other staff hold a full and relevant level 2 childcare qualification)

Little Squirrels is open all day Monday to Thursday, and Friday mornings.  Each day is made up of 2 sessions – morning session is 8.45am to midday and afternoon session is midday to 3.15pm.  For those children only staying for just the morning,  we offer a lunch club session from midday to 1.00pm.  Please contact Holly (our Nursery Manager) to discuss availability within these sessions.

Useful information

Our beautiful nursery is warm and inviting to little visitors but if you think your child will take some time to adjust, don’t worry, we have different ways of addressing this. When numbers are high, we operate a staggered intake, with no more than two new starters in any one session. We find this very effective in reducing stress levels in the setting and ensuring a calm environment for new and existing children.

We believe children settle best when they have a key person to relate to so we allocate each child with a key worker before they start. Their role is to ensure that your child’s care is tailored to their needs. They will be responsible for observing and assessing your child, forming a strong bond with them through playing and talking to them.

We accept children from 2 years to school age supporting the development of all children including those with special educational needs. Our setting works to the requirements of The SEN Code of Practice, and the nursery is registered on the Early Years Register and both the voluntary and compulsory Childcare Register. We are managed by the Governing body of Shiplake CE School.

All our sessions are open to children who are entitled to 2 year old funding, 15 hour 3 year old universal funding and extended 30 hour funding. We can also assist in the application of Pupil Premium and SEN additional funding.

Fees for non funded hours are £21.85 per 3 1/4  hour pre booked session. All additional fees are listed in our  Admissions and Attendance Policy 2023


Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy   –  (EYFS) Little Squirrels@Shiplake Primary 2023/2024

Welcome Letter 2023

Term dates 2023-2024

Term dates 2024-2025

Whilst there is no such thing as a typical day, it might look a little like this:

  • Drop off and self-registration, settle to an activity.
  • Free play: offering a range of activities inside and outside which cover the 7 areas of learning outlined in the EYFS (explained in more detail in the ‘curriculum’ section of our prospectus). Monday mornings include a trip to the school hall for a PE lesson.
  • Snack time: children independently wash their hands and sit down to enjoy this time together with their friends. Parents are asked to provide a nutritious snack from home and we offer them milk. On Thursdays the morning snack is toast, children are encouraged in small groups to use the toaster under supervision and spread their toast with a selected topping.
  • Focus or group time activity: During this time we focus on a phonics or maths activities based around our weekly theme and individual learning goals. Children might work in groups or individually with their key worker.
  • Story Time and group discussions: we hold this indoors and outdoors and during normal times we encourage parents, grandparents or carers to come and contribute.
  • Hand wash and Lunch: children and staff sit down and enjoy their packed lunches together.
  • We continue the afternoon with free play inside and out (Tuesdays are a walk to the woods) followed by a snack, and end the day with story time, which the children all enjoy.


Jessica Assem
Reception Class Teacher (0.2fte)