DESPITE all the pressures of last year’s lockdown, the Upper Wharfedale Primary Federation was determined to open its own pre-school based at Grassington Primary School, to fill the void left by the sad closure of the Dales Playgroup.

Since opening in September, the pre-school has gone from strength to strength and is now operating at almost full capacity.

Plans are also in the pipeline for expansion to meet the high demand from families throughout Upper Wharfedale and Littondale.

Co-executive headteacher Ella Besharati said: “We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to our new early years provision and word of mouth has meant we are already oversubscribed almost every day.

“The tailored setting, facilities and our dedicated team within Grassington Primary School, provides a wonderfully nurturing environment for the children and it’s a delight to see their rapid social and emotional development, alongside their communication and language skills.”

The Upper Wharfedale Primary Federation pre-school welcomes children from a wide catchment area.

Those in attendance are not just from Grassington and Cracoe but also from Litton and Langstrothdale.

Whether children plan to continue at Grassington school or one of the other three primary schools of the Federation – Burnsall, Cracoe or Kettlewell – the pre-school provides the perfect stepping stone for a smooth and stress-free transition.

The school says the youngsters at the pre-school especially love playing and learning in the large and interactive outdoor area.

This has been filled with pirate ships, climbing walls, outdoor theatre, little builder’s site, herb gardens and story teller’s corner.

Since returning after Easter the children had been talking a lot about the lambs in the fields, so one of the local farmer dads brought in lambs for the children to feed.

Alongside the success of the pre-school, the Upper Wharfedale Primary Federation has also been excited to offer forest school ‘Stay and Play’ sessions at the woodland classroom within the grounds of Kettlewell School.

With some welcome sunny weather, little ones due to start school within the Federation this September enjoyed fantastic afternoons.

As well as outdoor play the sessions included activities based on Julia Donaldson’s popular Gruffalo book.

Interested parents can find more information at: as well as on the Facebook page.