Our history

Dicker House is believed to be the longest running preschool in Burgess Hill, having been established in 1938. The preschool takes it's name from its founder, Mrs Dicker, who ran the group initially from her home in Junction Road as a Nursery School. From there, the preschool moved to the United Reformed Church - again in Junction Road - where it stayed for several years, until proposed building work at the Church meant that the preschool needed to find alternative accommodation.

This coincided with the closure of a private playgroup - Bright Stars - who had been based at the 1st Burgess Hill Scout Hut in Station Road. It was here that the preschool was based until 2009, when it relocated to its current home at the Community Room of Birchwood Grove CP School.


Physical Development (PD) - The aim of the Pre-School is to ensure children move confidently and imaginatively with increasing control and co-ordination with spatial awareness. They will use a range of small and large equipment and balancing and climbing apparatus, with increasing skill. They will handle appropriate tools, objects, construction and malleable materials safely and with increasing control. They will be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and how to make healthy choices in relation to food. They will demonstrate increasing independence when selecting activities and in their personal hygiene and dressing.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) - The children will grow in confidence and self-respect and consequently will be able to establish effective relationships with the other children and with adults. In a variety of situations they will work as part of a group or independently and will be encouraged to concentrate and persevere in their learning, seeking help when necessary. They will be encouraged to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and show respect for people of other cultures and beliefs. The children will learn to take turns and share fairly.

They will be able to express their feelings and behave in appropriate ways and develop an understanding of what is right and wrong. They will be encouraged to treat living things and their environment with care and concern and express their feelings in response to their experiences of the world.

Communication & Language (C.L) - The children will learn how to listen and respond to their surroundings by talking with their peers and adults alike, They will be encouraged to answer questions about how and why things happen, and will be able to follow simple instructions. They will develop the ability to listen and join in stories, rhymes and songs both in small groups and individually, and have the confidence to repeat familiar refrains and make up their own. We believe Communication and Language is the key to all children's development and will concentrate on this aspect. The adults in the setting will converse continually with the children and demonstrate good vocal communication in order to encourage this in the children.

Between the ages of 24-36 months a progress review will be done of your child by their key person assessing their levels in these -œ-prime areas.- Developing on from this, another four key areas - called œspecific areas will also be observed. These are Mathematics, Understanding the world, Expressive arts & design, and Literacy.

Mathematics (MD) - The children will develop their mathematical language such as circle, square and concepts (like smaller-than), describing shape, position, size and quantity. They will begin to recognise patterns and become familiar with number rhymes, songs, stories, counting games and activities. They will have the opportunity to compare, sort, match, order, sequence and count using everyday objects. They will be able to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding & using numbers. They will begin to recognise and use numbers 1 to 10 and become familiar with numbers around them in their everyday lives.

Through practical activities the children will be able to understand and record numbers, begin to show awareness of addition and subtraction, and begin to use the language involved.

Understanding the World (UW) - The children will be encouraged to talk about where they live, their environment, their families and past and present events in their own lives. They will explore and recognise features of living things both natural and man-made and begin to notice similarities and differences. We will guide children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

They will talk about their observations, sometimes recording them and ask questions to gain information about why things happen and how things work. They will explore and select materials and equipment and use skills such as cutting, joining, folding and building for a variety of purposes. They will use information and technology, where appropriate, to support their learning.

Expressive arts & design (EAD) - Children explore sound, colour, texture and shape through a variety of activities. They will have an opportunity to respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel. Through art, music, dance, stories and imaginative play, they will show an increasing ability to use their imagination, to listen and to observe. By the use of differing materials, tools, instruments and other resources they will be encouraged to express their ideas and communicate their feelings.

Literacy (LIT) - The children will have the opportunity to experience a variety of books and develop an interest in writing. They will begin to understand that words and pictures convey meaning and associate sounds with words and letters. They will also begin to recognise the letters of the alphabet and familiar words, including their own name and start to write their names using appropriate capitals and small letters and be aware of the uses of writing. Children will be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest. The activities and resources children use from which they learn and develop include painting and creative media, puzzles - both large for the floor and small on the table top, manipulative and building activities, board games, a home corner/shop/puppet theatre, water play, cooking, bikes, rockers and a climbing frame, as well as all sorts of imaginative play opportunities (eg a play farm, a zoo, a doll's house, cars and garages etc). Singing, action/number rhymes, games and stories are an integral part of our daily sessions. Team activities and sports skills are included in the timetable regularly - outside when the weather permits or in the hall.

Throughout the year, we try to arrange enjoyable educational visits, for example, to the library, the fire station, nature walks, and a summer outing. We also teach children about safety, health and hygiene and have other visits to or from members of the community.

The Key Person System

Whilst with us at preschool you and your child will be allocated a named member of staff as their key person. She will be your personal contact and will liaise with you in a variety of ways.

These will include parent/key person consultations and completion of an identified focus observation sheet which will be completed by the key person and copied to you for your information. You will also be made familiar with a second member of staff as an extra point of contact. You are welcome to come in and speak to your key person - or indeed any other member of staff at any convenient time. Please be aware however, that staff may need to allocate you special time for this away from very busy periods. Also, if your child's key person is altered for any reason you will be advised about this in writing.

Daily Routine

Time Activity Description
8.55 - 9.10 Morning session arrivals Greeting and settling in of children
9.10 -10.00 Morning session Free play time and other activities child or adult led
10.00 - 10.15 AM register time Talk about weather, days of week and theme of week etc.
10.15 - 11.15 Morning session Rolling snack - (toilet and hand washing- inc. toilet trainers) then free play time / quiet time
11.15 - 11.45 Circle time Circle time activities - group sessions: adult led, story time
11.45 - 11.55 Morning session ending Preparation to leave, goodbye song
11.55 Afternoon and lunch clubbers arrival Lunch clubbers and afternoon children sit at tables. Departure of morning children/released to carers
11.55 - 12.10 Lunch club Children wash hands for lunch and sit down together. Lunch clubbers go home
12.10 - 1.00 Afternoon sessions Free play time and other activities child or adult led.
1.00 - 1.15 PM register time Talk about weather, days of week and theme of week etc.
1.15 - 2.15 Afternoon session Rolling snack (toilet and hand washing inc. toilet trainers) then free play time / quiet time
2.15 - 2.45 Circle time Circle time activities - group sessions: adult led, story time
2.45 - 2.55 Afternoon session ending Preparation to leave, goodbye song
2.55 End of the Day All children vacate session. Released to carers. A prompt pick up time is encouraged please.

An example of an average day at Dicker House Preschool. Timings within the day are subject to adjustments.

Meet the team

We are lucky to have a very pro-active & friendly staff team who are well- versed in the workings of the preschool and our policies and procedures. We are a long standing team and regularly attend updates and trainings to develop our experiences and to benefit those of the children in our care. All the staff have a group of key children for whom they prepare learning journals, through observations, discussions with parents and other appropriate methods. Our children develop into confident, capable learners well prepared for their transitions to main stream school - which is truly down to the dedication of everyone at the preschool.

All of our staff are qualified practitioners.

Jacqui Manager

GDPR administer – Safeguarding & Protection of Children Lead

Jacqui has been working in childcare since 1994 and joined the Dicker House staff as Assistant Supervisor in 2000. Having gained her NVQ Level 3 Early Years, Care & Education Qualification in 1999, Jacqui has also completed a Certificate in Management of Qualify services for Children, Level 4. She has an up to date first aid certificate and has attended safeguarding & protection of children including PREVENT TRAINING.

Julia Supervisor

Julia is an established member of staff and as of September 2019 has been promoted to Supervisor. Julia has a level 3 NVQ in Early Years, Care & Education Qualification. She is fully trained in first aid and our safeguarding & protection of children policies.

Assistant Supervisor

Hannah is an experienced senior practitioner and is joining Dicker House Preschool as an assistant supervisor as of September 2019. Hannah already has a level 3 qualification in childcare & Education and we welcome her to the team.

Practitioner & Lead SENDCO/Inco

Alison gained her Assistant Playworker Certificate and a working with Young children certificate in 1999 prior to joining Dicker House Preschool in September of that year. Alison has the role of our Lead Special Education Needs & Disability coordinator (SENDCO) and has responsibility for writing and reviewing Individual Plans and supporting other staff in the administration. She has attended various courses for this role and has an up to date first aid certificate and has attended safeguarding & protection of children including PREVENT TRAINING.

Qualified Practitioner

Tracey joined Dicker House Preschool in January 2018, but was already qualified having gained her NVQ Level 3 in Early Years Care & Education previously. Tracey has an up to date first aid certificate and has attended safeguarding & protection of children including PREVENT Training.

Qualified Practitioner

Yasmin joined Dicker House Preschool in March 2019. She has returned to childcare after taking a career break. She is undertaking a paediatric first aid course and has a level 2 certificate in childcare & education.

Qualified Practitioner

Marie joined us in October 2019 and is a very experienced practitioner having worked previously in other day care settings. Marie has also had experience of speech & language and has had training in this area. She is fully trained in pediatric first aid and safeguarding and PREVENT issues.

Trainee Practitioner

Steph has seen her own children go through Dicker House Preschool and has been a committee member in the past. Steph has been a reliable and consistent member of our bank staff and as of September 2019 is now undertaking her Level 3 certificate in childcare & education.

New Fees

Age Cost/3 hours Lunch Club
Under 3s £16.50 £5.50
Over 3s £15.00 £5.00

Applicable from 24th February 2020 (from half-term).

Current Fees

Age Cost/3 hours Lunch Club
Under 3s £16.00 £5.50
Over 3s £14.00 £4.50

Fees are paid in advance on a half-termly basis.

Free Entitlement Funding

we try to ensure that all eligible children can access their 15 hours of Free entitlement and subject to availability we do offer the extended 15 hours of childcare as well.