Frequently Asked Questions

What are your Autumn term dates?

Monday 11th September to Friday 15th December

No classes Monday 16th October – Friday 27th October (half-term, 2 weeks)

Do I have to book for the whole term?

Places are booked and paid for in advance for the term. This will guarantee your place which many parents prefer as they’re arranging nursery days around Little Owl and want to be sure of a spot in their desired class. Booking termly gives a real continuity to the class so I can consolidate the letter sounds we learn and hopefully start to blend some sounds together (the next step towards reading). You can carry ONE class over to the following term if you need to miss a class (see ‘what if my child is ill’ question below).

Do you offer Free Trials?

A Free Trial taster class can be booked via email if we have space. Please bear in mind whole term bookings will get priority so it could mean there’s no space left in that class once you’ve done your Free Trial. Because of this we offer a money back guarantee if you sign-up and change your mind. If you don’t like the class we’ll refund your money!

What if my child is ill?

If your child is ill you can carry ONE class over to the next term (this will be a discount code off the price of next term’s classes). You need to tell us via email if you’d like to carry a class over. You can also do a ‘make-up’ class another day, week or venue, subject to availability. Or, if you prefer, you can always send an eligible friend in your place. You will still get access to the online phonics videos and will be given your missed ‘homework’ sheets either by email to print off, or a hard copy at the following session.

Do you do drop-in places at all?

We used to do just drop-in but found our numbers were getting unmanageable and many people were disappointed when they’d try to book in but found the class was full. Saying that it is possible that any unsold places will be available a day or so before the class, to be booked and paid for online. All classes will have strict maximum limits on numbers though, so there’s no guarantee drop-in places will be available from week to week.

How many children are in a class?

We restrict our numbers to keep the classes enjoyable for everyone and to ensure each child gets their voice heard! Numbers will depend on venue but will be between 12-14 maximum.

Little Owl is ‘educational’ – what does that mean?

Book Club is something you can enjoy with your child but still be certain they’re getting educational value. We cover all of the learning and development aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage and rely on its guidance for planning and executing our classes. For more detailed information see the EYFS section via our home page.

I see the children learn phonics – what is that?

Phonics simply means the sounds of the letters which make up words. By learning to listen for the sounds of letters children are one step closer to blending these sounds together to read words. The name of the letter can come later and is important but at Little Owl we concentrate on the sounds. For example, if you break down the word DOG:the letter D makes the sound DUR (not DEE), the letter O makes the sound O (not OWE) and the letter G makes the sound GUH (not GEE). If you blend these sounds, you get dur-o-guh for DOG, not DEE-OWE-GEE, which doesn’t blend.

To help the children remember their sounds we use an active learning system so each sound has an action. We concentrate on the ‘initial sounds’: those common letters which start many words. We also work in lower case rather than capitals simply because these letters are more common when a child begins to read. We do though like to help each child recognise the capital letter at the start of their name.

The phonics elements of our classes are devised and monitored by Mrs Neal, an Early Years specialist teacher with 35 years in the classroom. She also taught reading recovery for the last 10 years. You can see her on our You Tube channel with many of the sounds we learn in class.

My child is younger than 2 but seems to love books, could they come?

We do have some children from 20/22 months who really benefit from the class. If you think your child can sit for a time and listen to a story, be comfortable walking around and following basic instructions, and be out of the phase of putting everything in their mouths, they could be ready. Do ask if you have further questions.

What if my child just doesn’t like it?

We hope they will but please be assured that we offer a money-back guarantee if this is the case! Sometimes children are just not ready for Little Owl but remember at this age they change quickly and often coming back a few months down the line can make all the difference.

Why are you more expensive than some drop-in toddler groups?

We’re really different to a drop-in toddler group! You’ll see from our pictures that each class is set-up rather like a nursery with a reading area, an art table, and areas for games. We don’t arrive 5 minutes before and throw a few cushions on the floor! We usually need to hire a room for a minimum of 1.5 hours for each (50 minute) class and most venues have a 2 hour minimum hire. All classes are carefully planned and tested and follow EYFS guidance. There are take home ‘homework’ sheets, online resources, and a specially created art activity to make and take home. Our numbers are strictly limited so each child can have a positive experience. We hope you'll think you're getting your money's worth!

What about babies and younger siblings – can I bring them?

We recognise that many parents and carers will bring younger siblings to class and it’s no problem. Siblings only pay when they’re old enough to join in and that’s usually not until at least 20 months. Carers do need to appreciate though that some siblings can be disruptive to the rest of the class so need to use their judgement at certain times (for example, during our story or on the alphabet mat). It’s also important to know that the class is safe for 2+, but there may be equipment around that’s not baby/crawler/toddler-proof. And finally, please keep a close eye on the younger ones so they don’t destroy what has been set-up for their older siblings!

How much is it and how do I pay?

Prices for the Autumn term, 2017 will be as follows:

Full-term (12 weeks)

1st child: £120.00

2nd sibling/twin: £108.00

Do check with Zoe that a place exists in your desired class before you pay and please note places won’t be held for more than 24 hours without payment.

From September all payments will be online via the website but to book now please use your child’s name AND the venue as reference:

Sort Code: 40-04-37 Account number: 81800299

I might join mid-term, does this matter?

If there’s a place available and you join mid-term the price will be adjusted pro-rata.