There are many elements in creating an Outstanding Nursery School but in our opinion the key summary ingredients are:
· The EYFS
· The Learning environment
Methwold Nursery School is an old Victorian building which was completely renovated in 2006. Great care and consideration has been taken when developing the setting. We have tried to create a home from home environment and have been on numerous training courses that look at how the environment can affect children, parent/carers, staff and visitors alike.
Our setting is modern, warm and welcoming, meeting all the children’s learning needs and the decoration of soft fabrics, neutral colours, low lighting and calming music makes entering the setting a tranquil experience. This results in the children being calm, relaxed and confident to select activities that hold their attention. Visitors often comment on how engaged the children are and how it’s difficult to believe that we have 36 children (maximum) onsite at any one time.
This positive environment creates an atmosphere where children can feel confident to express themselves, communicate with each other and learn to form friendships, all the time learning while they play. Careful consideration has also been extended to the outdoors, using all natural materials, and resources that stimulate the imagination and creative play. We operate free flow indoor /out door play so that those children who wish to access the garden are free to do so. However, this can leave the garden with a rather ‘used’ feel, but our philosophy is “a manicured garden is either not used or is made of plastic”!
We have spent many years developing and testing the layout of our setting and incorporating different approaches to child learning. Included in our holistic approach has been creating “My Space” single areas indoors and out, to enable children to have reflective time on their own, should they wish to. We have not only created cosy spaces where children can relax but we have also introduced as many natural materials into the setting as possible. Rather than providing children with lots of boxes containing plastic toys, we provide them with a variety of resources such as fabrics, textures, boxes, art equipment and natural materials which they use to create their own games and/or structures, which encourages use of imagination, creativity, communication skills and strong team work.
The nursery was last inspected in March 2014 and the overall judgement was GOOD.
We were given across the board ‘good judgements’ on all aspects of the nursery. Whilst we were pleased with the judgement, we were left feeling a little frustrated as the Ofsted Inspector said that we were just short of an 'Outstanding' judgement.
Most Early Years professionals believe there should be a ‘Very Good’ judgment as do we, as we would have without doubt fallen into that category! :(
To view our full inspection report on line you can either go to our Website www.methwoldnurseryschool.co.uk. and click on the link for Ofsted quoting our registration number EY393602 or you can go direct to www.ofsted.gov.uk/childcare.