Register for a Club and Read our Handbook
You can register your child with Smartkidz Play and Learn and book in for any of our clubs from this page. Just click on the link below which will take you to our Magic Bookings system.
Parent Handbook 2021-2022
"Smartkidz Play and Learn" is out of school care with a difference. At Smartkidz we believe that children are the masters of their own play and should therefore be free to play with as little adult intervention as possible. This means that children use their own initiative and imagination to decide how they spend their time in our clubs. Our staff use the PARS model of playwork practice which means that they make instantaneous decisions about whether and how to intervene according to each and every different situation as it happens. Smartkidz staff encourage children in making their own decisions about how they play and who they play with and support children in making those decisions when appropriate.
About Smartkidz Play and Learn
Smartkidz Play and Learn Ltd is registered with Ofsted.
Our settings run from Girton, Haddenham, Ridgefield, Mayfield and Cherry Hinton schools.
The club is open, weekdays during term time, from:
Breakfast club (Girton, Haddenham and Mayfield): 7:30am to 8:50am
After school club (Girton, Haddenham, Ridgefield and Cherry Hinton): 3:15pm to 6:00pm
We also offer holiday care from 8:00am to 6:00pm (Half days available).
Our breakfast, after school and holiday clubs are situated within the school building and has access to inside and outside spaces.
Please note that we cannot accept children into our clubs earlier then these times and children should be picked up on time.
Smartkidz Play and Learn Ltd is a privately run company, employing approximately 17 staff over 4 settings. We enjoy a close working relationship with the Schools in order to ensure continuity of care, safeguarding and maintain good communication links.
We provide a daily healthy snack and fresh fruit, vegetables, hi-juice, and water is available to the children to help themselves to. We use fresh ingredients and follow statutory guidelines to make sure the food is safe and healthy for your children. We meet individual dietary requirements and parental preferences wherever possible. We have a free-flowing snack time and allow children to decide when they are ready to eat, but request that food be consumed whilst sitting at the snack table.
Please note the food we provide at the club is not intended as a substitute for a main evening meal.
Policies and Procedures
The club has clearly defined policies and procedures. Key points of the main policies are included in this Handbook. Copies of the full policies are kept at the club as well as available on our policy page.
The Smartkidz Ethos
Our underpinning philosophy comes from the PARS model which is based on the philosophy of the adventure playground pioneers from the 1950s/60s. At Smartkidz we believe that children should be children and have the opportunity to decide for themselves how they spend their time at our clubs. We believe that children are the experts in play and as far as possible should be given time and space to make their own decisions about how they play, who they play with and long they play for.
Our understanding of play is defined by the Playwork Principles (2005):
“Play is a process that is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. That is, children and young people determine and control the content and intent of their play, by following their own instincts, ideas, and interests, in their own way for their own reasons.”
At Smartkidz we therefore support and facilitate children’s play without directing or controlling it.
The Smartkidz Environment
Our outdoor area has been modelled on the original adventure playgrounds from the 1960s. Lady Allen of Hurtwood, one of the adventure playground pioneers, defined these as follows.
"a playground where children are provided with miscellaneous equipment, often waste material, from which they may contrive their own amusement." 
We have added ropes swings, climbing nets, fire pit area, loose parts (crates, tyres, wood, old bikes, drainpipes, pallets, and ropes) which allow children to take part in a range of different play types (Hughes, 2002). We also offer experiences that children may not have come across before, from climbing high, lighting fires, using tools, playing outside in a variety of weathers and playing in the dark.
Our indoor space also aims to offer as many opportunities as possible for children to explore and create on their own terms. We offer loose parts (Nicholson, 1971) for the children to use for their own purposes and children make their own choices about how they use the space and materials.
The PARS model includes a range of theories and methods, which help us to evaluate the outdoor and indoor space according to children’s needs. Our staff continuously evaluate and adapt according to a range of PARS theories, what is or isn’t being used and what the children want or suggest. This often involves making risk-benefit assessments to decide whether to, for example, add additional materials to the setting or to remove equipment which is too dangerous. Children also regularly adapt the outdoor and indoor spaces themselves which increases their sense of ownership and belonging in our clubs.
Role of adults at Smartkidz
At Smartkidz we use the PARS model of playwork practice (Newstead, 2016). Decisions about whether to intervene or not are continuously being made at all times within our settings using the PARS model. This often means that it looks like our staff are standing around doing nothing! In fact, they are using ‘containment’, where they are assessing whether intervention is really in the children’s best interests. Our staff have all been trained in making these judgements using the PARS model. Staff only intervene if they feel that they need to from a safety perspective, an operational perspective (i.e., snack, lunch or parent pick up) or to give a child help or support (physical or emotional), where needed. PARS Techniques are used by our staff to decide if intervention is needed, with the majority of these Techniques being carried out without the children noticing. Our PARS practitioners make decisions about whether to intervene in children’s activities on a minute-by-minute basis, according to individual situations as they occur. Sometimes our staff will decide that it is in the children’s best interests to make decisions and solve problems for themselves, where they judge the children capable of doing so. This means that in our clubs’ children are often given time to sort out disputes between themselves, assess risk for themselves or just given space to enjoy time on their own. In this way we enable children to develop independence, resilience and above all, a sense of freedom and opportunity to enjoy their childhood without the pressures of the adult world.
Supporting and facilitating play
At Smartkidz we support and facilitate children’s play without directing or controlling it. This means that we:
- Provide an environment which offers children a range of play types, including risk in play.
- Provide a range of equipment, resources and activities on a daily basis which frequently change according to children’s needs
- Encourage children to request additional or alternative equipment as they choose, and if a request has to be refused, explain why.
- Respect children’s wishes not to engage in specific activities or with certain children.
- Make outdoor play available every day unless the weather is particularly bad.
- Encourage children to change both the indoor and outdoor environments to suit their own play needs.
- Offer occasional structured activities on a free choice basis that enable children who choose to do so to develop their knowledge and/or skills in a specific area
- Allow children freedom of creative expression, particularly in artistic or creative play.
- Interrupt and intervene in children’s self-directed activities only when necessary.
- Wherever possible, warn children in advance when time is running out .
- Allow children not to be visible to adults at all times (although all children are always within hearing range of staff.
Risk in Play
Smartkidz Play and Learn believe that activities that contain a higher level of risk are important for children to take part in to help children grow, learn, and become independent in assessing risk for themselves. At Smartkidz we therefore allow children to assess the risk of activities themselves and staff members support children with this when necessary. We often talk to children about risk and hazards in the club and get them involved in helping with the club risk assessment.
We believe that the children should feel empowered in the decision process of setting boundaries. We feel that this way the children are more inclined to take notice of the boundaries instead of seeing the boundary as more of a challenge set by adults, which they should attempt to overcome!
As a club we allow children to access a range of different weather conditions including rain, snow, heat, ice and winds. We will make decisions about the safety of the children based on weather conditions as they occur. We expect children to bring suitable clothing for the weather.
Some of the activities we provide for the children to access risk in play are:
- Tree climbing and climbing nets
- Fire making - including cooking over open fires
- Woodwork and using tools such as bill hooks, loppers, sheath knives, bow saws and mallets
- Activities with bricks
- Activities involving glue guns, spray paint and other solvent resources.
- Playing near and around lakes, ponds, rivers, and the sea (on trips)
- Use of sharp kitchen equipment and indoor cooking activities
 PPSG PLAYWORK PRINCIPLES SCRUTINY GROUP (2005) The Playwork Principles.
 ALLEN, M. & NICHOLSON, M. (1975) Lady Allen of Hurtwood Memoirs of an Uneducated Lady, London, Thames and Hudson.
 HUGHES, B. (2002) A Playworker's Taxonomy of Play Types, London, PlayEducation.
 NICHOLSON, S. (1971) How not to cheat children - the Theory of Loose Parts. Landscape Architecture, 62, 30-35.
 Newstead, S. (2016). Deconstructing and reconstructing the unorthodox recipe of playwork. Unpublished doctoral thesis, UCL Institute of Education, London, UK.
Terms and Conditions
Our club is accessible to children and families between the ages of 4 and 11, (3 to 11 for Ridgefield) your child does not have to attend the school the setting is located in.
Admission to the club is organised by the manager and Playleader and we use a waiting list system when the need arises. The waiting list is operated on a first come-first served basis, with the exception of siblings who will have priority for the same days as a sibling already attending. See our Admission and Fees Policy for more details.
How to Register with Smartkidz Play and Learn
In order to register your child for Smartkidz you need to visit our registration page. From there you will be able to follow the link to magic booking and register your child for Smartkidz Play and Learn.
Registering via Magic bookings should be straightforward, however, if you have any problems feel free to contact us via email or from our contact page.
Payment and Fees
A one-off registration fee of £7.50 will be charged for all new starters, which covers your child for the use of after school, breakfast and holiday club, and will be added to your first invoice.
Fees are payable at the time of booking via debit or credit card or by childcare vouchers. We accept vouchers from most voucher schemes and can be organised prior to your child attending. For bookings of 34 sessions or over a payment plan can be arranged via magicbookings.
We do not accept cash payments and from September 2021 we will no longer accept cheques or BACS payments.
The price per session per child applies to all children. This is payable for all booked sessions including when your child is sick, on residential trips or on holiday.
We do not charge for bank holidays or professional training days.
Please ensure that fees are paid promptly. Non-payment of fees may result in your place being terminated. If you are having difficulty paying fees, please speak in confidence to the management.
Late payments will be passed onto Chameleon Collections Debt Recovery. Please see our admissions policy for more details on when payments are due.
If you pick up your child after the agreed time, you will incur the following late fees per child:
£5 for the first 15 minutes.
Full session price for anything over 15 minutes.
£25 for anything over 30 minutes.
Changes to Days and Cancellation
You must give us 2 weeks’ notice of termination or of changes to attendance. If you need to change the days that your child attends, please contact the manager or play leader. We will try to accommodate such changes wherever possible.
Please remember that we need to know if your child will not be attending the Club for any reason. Even if you have informed your child's school, you still need to notify us as the school does not automatically pass this information on to us. If your child doesn’t attend a booked session, we will have to treat them as a ‘missing child’ unless you have notified us of their absence, this could result in the police being called.
If you know in advance of any days when your child will not be attending during the following week, please try to let the manager or play leader know at least 48 hours prior to the child’s absence. In cases of illness or emergency, when notice cannot be given, please call as soon as you can. Contact details can be found at the end of this Handbook.
You and your child are welcome to visit the Club before your child's first day to familiarise your child with the setting, meet the staff and give you a chance to speak to us, a date for this will need booking with the play leader or manager.
During your child’s first session time will be set aside for an induction. The induction will include running through the club's rules and routines and introducing your child to members of staff and the other children, we will allow the child to make their own social interactions with distant supervision and support where necessary.
See our Child Induction Policy for more details.
Arrivals and Departures
Our staff collects EYFS children from their class and are escorted to the club until they are confident to do this themselves. Alternatively, the class teacher or a TA may bring them to us. A register is taken when children arrive in our care, and you must sign out your child each day when you collect them.
We expect that the people you have named will collect your child on the registration form. If you need a different person to collect your child on a particular day, you must notify us in advance, and we will ask them to tell us the password you gave us on your registration form. We will not release your child into the care of a person unknown to us without your authorisation.
See our Arrivals and Departures Policy for more details.
The club finishes at 6:00pm; if you are delayed for any reason please telephone the club to let us know. A late payment fee of £5:00 per 15 minutes will be charged if you collect your child after the club has closed.
If your child remains uncollected after 6:30pm and you have not warned us that you will be delayed and we have been unable to reach you or any of your emergency contacts, we will follow our Uncollected Children Policy and contact the Social Care team if necessary.
Child Protection and Safeguarding
We are committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which the children in our care are protected from abuse and harm. Any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately responded to. We comply with local and national child protection procedures and ensure that all staff are appropriately trained. For more details see our Safeguarding Policy.
Our Club provides a safe and caring environment, free from discrimination, for everyone in our community and we provide a setting where all children can feel happy, welcomed, and safe.
- We respect the different racial origins, religions, cultures and languages in a multi-ethnic society so that each child is valued as an individual without racial or gender stereotyping.
- We will challenge inappropriate attitudes and practices.
We will not tolerate any form of racial harassment or discrimination.
We make every effort to accommodate and welcome all children. We will work in liaison with parents, carers and relevant professionals to fully understand your child’s specific requirements. We will endeavour to accommodate all children of all abilities, whilst working within the Club’s limitations. Each case will be considered individually and risk-assessed to ensure everyone’s safety. Staff will work closely with parents that have children with special needs and a child passport will be created to help staff deal with their needs appropriately and help them feel as comfortable as we can.
Our staff-training programme includes specific elements relating to children with special needs.
For more details on equal opportunities and special needs, see our Equalities Policy.
When children attend Smartkidz Play and Learn children come in with a clean slate, regardless of any behavioural issues during the school day or at home. Any concerns, behavioural issues or incidents that have happened during the school day should be passed on to the club play leader to help with understanding how the child may be feeling, however this must be done confidentially without the child being aware of these conversations. No sanctions for this behaviour should be completed at Smartkidz and all staff and parents must be aware that the child has come in with a clean slate.
Behaviour Management Strategies
The Club, the Manager and the staff team will manage behaviour according to clear, consistent and positive strategies. Parents/carers are encouraged to contribute to these strategies, raising any concerns or suggestions.
Behaviour management in the Club will be structured around the following principles:
- Staff and children will work together to establish a clear set of expectations governing all behaviour in the Club. These will be periodically reviewed so that new children have a say in how the rules of the Club operate.
- The Club recognises that challenging behaviours can be as a result of anxieties and stresses. All staff will be sensitive to this and will communicate with parents/carers about any concerns.
- The Club’s expectations will be dealt with on an individual basis and any persistent or high-risk behaviours will be communicated to parents positively and support will be offered.
- Staff will use PARS methods and techniques to manage any potentially challenging behaviours.
- When dealing with challenging behaviour, staff will always communicate in a clear, calm, and positive manner. For those children who need support, staff will investigate strategies and offer consistent care whilst at the club.
- Staff, Parents/carers will make every effort to set a positive example to children by behaving in a friendly and tolerant manner themselves, promoting an atmosphere where children and adults respect and value one another. Staff, Parents/Carers will avoid shouting at work. When talking to a child, staff will approach the child and talk to them in a calm and respectful manner.
- Staff will work as a team by discussing incidents and resolving to act collectively and consistently.
If your child is violent, or if their behaviour poses an immediate danger to themselves or others, we will require you to collect them from the Club immediately. In exceptional circumstances, and only when all other attempts at behaviour management have failed, we reserve the right to permanently exclude a child from the Club. See our Suspensions and Exclusions Policy for full details.
We will not tolerate from any person, whether a parent, carer or visitor showing aggressive, confrontational or threatening behaviour; or behaviour intended to result in conflict. Our Club is a place of safety and security for the children who attend and the staff who work here, and we reserve the right to ban anyone exhibiting inappropriate behaviour from our premises.
We are unable to care for children who are unwell. If your child becomes unwell whilst at the Club, we will contact you and ask you to make arrangements for them to be collected.Please inform the Manager of any infectious illness your child contracts. If your child has had sickness or diarrhoea, please do not send him or her to the Club for 48 hours after the illness has ceased. See our Illness and Accidents Policy for more details.
Every precaution is taken to ensure the safety of the children at all times, and the Club is fully insured. Our staff members are trained in paediatric first aid and a first aid kit is kept on the premises. If your child has an accident whilst in our care, you will be informed when you collect your child. For full details see our Illness and Accidents Policy.
Please let the Manager or playleader know if your child is taking prescribed medicine. If your child needs to take medicine whilst at the Club you will need to complete a Permission to administer medication form in advance. See our Administering Medication Policy for more details. Medication can only be administered if a doctor prescribes it and we can only give the dosage shown on the label.
It is a parental responsibility to make sure that the medication being held within our club is in date and updated where necessary.
If you have any queries, comments or need to discuss any matters concerning your child, please feel free to speak to the manager, or any other member of staff you feel comfortable in talking to.
Verbal complaints will be brought to the next staff meeting for discussion and action.
All written complaints will be acknowledged within five working days of receipt and a full written response will be given within 28 days.
Our Complaints Policy is available on the policy page.
Pledge to Parents
We value our relationship with parents/carers and are committed to working in partnership with you to provide top quality play and care for your children. We will:
- Welcome you at all times to discuss our work, have a chat or take part in our activities.
- Keep you informed of opening times, fees and charges, programmes of activities, menus, and procedures.
- Be consistent and reliable to enable you to plan with confidence and peace of mind.
- Share and discuss your child's achievements, experiences, progress, and friendships.
- Be available to discuss decisions about running the club.
- Ask your permission for outings and special events.
Listen to your views and concerns to ensure that we continue to meet your needs.
These Principles establish the professional and ethical framework for playwork and as such must be regarded as a whole. They describe what is unique about play and playwork, and provide the playwork perspective for working with children and young people. They are based on the recognition that children and young people's capacity for positive development will be enhanced if given access to the broadest range of environments and play opportunities.
- All children and young people need to play. The impulse to play is innate. Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity, and is fundamental to the healthy development and well being of individuals and communities.
- Play is a process that is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. That is, children and young people determine and control the content and intent of their play, by following their own instincts, ideas and interests, in their own way for their own reasons.
- The prime focus and essence of playwork is to support and facilitate the play process and this should inform the development of play policy, strategy, training and education.
- For playworkers, the play process takes precedence and playworkers act as advocates for play when engaging with adult led agendas.
- The role of the playworker is to support all children and young people in the creation of a space in which they can play.
- The playworker's response to children and young people playing is based on a sound up to date knowledge of the play process, and reflective practice.
- Playworkers recognise their own impact on the play space and also the impact of children and young people's play on the playworker.
- Playworkers choose an intervention style that enables children and young people to extend their play. All playworker intervention must balance risk with the developmental benefit and well being of children.
Smartkidz Play and Learn Ltd
19a Grandridge Close
Fulbourn CB21 5HN
Ofsted: Piccadilly Gate
Manchester M1 2WD
Tel: 0300 123 1231