A PRESCHOOL had cause for a double celebration after marking its 50th birthday and getting praise from an education watchdog.

Layer Preschool, in Layer de la Haye, started in 1969 as a playgroup run by a group of women in the village.

The centre now has 49 children on the roll and Ofsted has rated it good across the board.

Inspector Lynn Hughes praised the school’s partnerships with parents and said children were well behaved.

The report said: “Children behave well and show clear motivation to learn.

“They act confidently, demonstrating they feel safe and secure within the preschool.

“Staff give children clear directions to help them to understand the pre-school routines and rules.”

Office manager Karena Dunn said: “This is really important to us and we are delighted that parents feel that way.

“We have worked so hard making improvements over the years including the development of our website, Facebook page and the way we communicate with parents by a weekly newsletter.

“Every team member is delighted with this feedback.

“Being a pack away preschool in a village hall can be tough sometimes but everyone works really hard to provide a varied, engaging and most importantly, caring environment for the children and the inspector said this shone through which is amazing for us to hear.”

To mark the preschool’s 50th birthday they held a party with games, a magic show and cream teas.

It raised £1,000 to help pay for new resources for the children.

Paula Clark, preschool manager, started working at the centre in 1987. She said: “I feel proud of our achievement. When I think back over the years, we have had some lows but mainly highs and so many great experiences.

“We welcome children from many surrounding villages as well as our own so feel that is testament to how well we are doing.

“Children who attended here are now grown up and we care for their children, it’s wonderful to be part of that.

“The staff are an amazing team, I am so proud of them all, and we are supported by a great committee.”