As we are well into 2015 our 21st year and spring is now upon us I thought it might be an idea to give you a brief update of what’s been happening at nursery and what plans we have for the future. Life at nursery remains busy, as we are involved in various action research projects and staff training initiatives. Developments are also underway to upgrade the nursery garden and to create a sensory room. We have also been in the process of reviewing our communication systems and exploring how we can use technology more effectively. Don’t hesitate to ask if you want further information or to discuss any thoughts or ideas, your feedback is always welcome – Linda
Active Movement Programme
The second phase of the Active Movement 12 month programme is now coming to an end and you will all have hopefully received the April newsletter from the Active Movement team. The third phase has been planned to start in June and will include the Stan and Sid sports day! Feedback from parents, staff and children continues to be very positive and the evaluation of the effects on children and staff has been encouraging. The children have become aware that activity is an important part of their lives and recognise its benefits. The team have also been involved with their own Active Movement™ programme and are beginning to feel the positive effects, so much so we have entered an OSH team into the race for life 5k pretty muddy run in Peterborough on June 21st.
Swedish education exchange
Last year we hosted a visit with early years teachers from Sweden to share good practice and in a few weeks Lisa and I will be involved in a return visit to Sweden with a group of early years colleagues. We will be part of a new initiative supporting partnership development between schools and practitioners. The groups we visit are in Stockholm: Ängbybarnens pre-schools and are well known for their involvement in a European project concerning peace education. They offer Reggio Emilia education a sociocratic leadership structure and empathic model of communication, known as NVC. We are both looking forward to exploring new ideas and methods of early education and how it can benefit, support and inform our thinking and practice within nursery.
Paediatric First Aid
Our first aid practice in nursery has been recognised as exemplary so much so that we were recently asked to partner with the NDNA and the Department for Education (DfE) to help them develop best practice models in early years settings for Paediatric First Aid to share with the sector nationally. We were highlighted for ensuring that not only are all our staff team trained in Paediatric First Aid to deal with minor accidents but more importantly that they are empowered to respond with confidence in an emergency. Take a look at out case study and video.
CONNECT…ing more effectively
Although feedback about communication between nursery and parents has always been very positive we continue to explore ways of improving how we share information with you on a daily basis. As the nursery has grown over the years our existing admin systems have struggled to cope with the increased business demands and have now become time consuming and inflexible. Through extensive research we have decided to invest in the state of the art iConnect software from Connect Childcare that has been designed specifically for the early years sector. The new system will not only enable us to become more efficient in the way we process information i.e. invoicing, funding etc. but will also revoluntionise the way the staff team make EYFS observations moving from a manual system to using the latest touchscreen technology, giving parents access ‘real time’ to their children’s daily progress at nursery. The system is currently being pilot tested within nursery with staff and parents and will be launched in June.
We have also invested in creating a new nursery website that will be launched in June. This will tie in with the iConnect system that will be accessed from the new parent portal on the site.
The Great Outdoors – development of the Nursery Garden
We place a high priority on the value and benefits of out door play and the NR team have all been involved reviewing and developing plans to upgrade the nursery garden. To ensure that the outdoor environment offers a variety of rich learning experiences we have observed carefully how the children use the area and reflected on what needs to be added and where. Building work has already begun and is due to be completed by the end of June. Watch this space!
Team Learning & Development
Creating a culture of supporting people is at the heart of all we do in ensuring a skilled and flexible workforce and we are passionate about and work hard to continually develop an effective learning culture in which all staff are involved. We have a strong commitment to staff development and all staff are encouraged to take qualifications and also participate actively in ongoing professional development. Here’s just a flavor of what the team have been up too recently!
A huge well done to Annabel Smith (Baby Nest) and Jade Wright (Nursery Room) have recently completed their Level 3 in Children and Young Peoples Workforce.
Gemma and Alice Garside (Baby Room) are both currently studying for their Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for the Children and Young Peoples Workforce. Gemma through the ‘Management’ route and Alice for ‘Advanced Practitioner’.
Eileen, our full time chef is working through her ‘Allergen Awareness’ course to support our stringent practices on providing meals and snacks to children with allergies, intolerances or alternative meals. It will also ensure that we meet the revised current guidance for the Food Information for Consumers Regulation Law 2014.
Jade Liles (Baby Nest) is studying for her Level 2 Basic Food Hygiene Certificate to support safe practices when handling, providing and preparing food.
Janet Williams (Nursery Room Team Leader) is studying on a ‘Managing Effectively’ course to support her within her current role.
Ella Oakley (School Room Team Leader) will be beginning her A1 Assessors award and will be supporting Gemma and Lisa to deliver level 2 and 3 Early Years Educator qualifications to our students and staff team.