We want children who see the really tough problems as puzzles, and have the tenacity, the creative resources and the creative ability to solve these puzzles. Children will have a strong sense of identity and well-being; be connected with, and contribute to their world; be confident and involved learners; and be effective communicators.
The Nottingham Nursery School & Training Centre opened in September 2008 in a bespoke building featuring a split-level design with the nursery school occupying the ground floor and the training centre upstairs. We are the only Local Authority maintained Nursery School in the City and have no defined catchment. We are unique in that as a school we admit up to 126 children aged 3 – 4, and also admit up to 40 eligible 2 year olds. Children are admitted in order from the waiting list. We also offer privately funded, wrap-around day care for children from 6 months – 4 years.
The extensive use of glass in the design gives the building a light and airy feel, and a bright and spacious reception leads through to a space for parents and to the classrooms at the rear of the building. The classrooms and training facilities are comfortable and well equipped for the demands of modern learning, development and care. An on-site kitchen provides freshly prepared meals for the children. All meals served are vegetarian and are of an excellent standard. The Kitchen has a hygiene rating of 5. Children will also be offered a snack both morning and afternoon, which consists of fruit and carbohydrate, with a choice of milk or water.
The 4 classrooms are large and link into each other. Each has an interactive whiteboard or e-board which is accessible to all children. There are toilets adjoining each classroom and we have nappy changing facilities. A large hall provides space for lunch and for large group activities such as parachute games, dancing or school celebrations and shows. There is an extensive, enclosed outdoor area with trees, grass, climbing equipment, sand pit, hard surface area for wheeled toys, different textured surfaces and a large covered area. There is also a large natural interactive area with gravel, pulleys and a super water play system. This area was created with Local Authority Early Years Capital Grant funding and offers very wet play!
We also have an allotment, which has been recently refurbished, where the children grow vegetables which we harvest and eat. There are chickens, fish and a wild area for children to explore and learn about the outdoors. We provide outdoor clothes and boots for children to play outside whatever the weather.
In October 2016 our school was awarded the prestigious ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ Mark – Gold Award, in recognition of the outdoor and off-site opportunities which we offer our children (aged 2-4) and the work we do in terms of promoting learning outside of the classroom with other professionals. We are very pleased about this as it offers us recognition of something which is an absolutely integral part of our provision and which research shows is vital to children’s development, well-being and learning. We are now one of only 20 school in the UK to have this award and 1 of only 2 nursery schools.
There is a magical space which has been developed as a ‘Forest School’ area (http://www.forestschools.com/). This has become our own woodland and orchard area. It has a fire pit and log store; an enclosed pond; living willow structures; a storytelling area; apple, pear and native deciduous trees and obstacles for children to climb and balance. The development has been funded by a grant through the Local Authority’s Early Years Innovation Fund and is continually evolving. Staff are specially qualified and trained in leading outdoor activities such as fire building or pond dipping. Children have access to this area every week in all weathers. Connecting with nature and being outdoors has been proven to be an essential part of healthy child development.
All of our education staff are qualified and experienced teachers and childcare practitioners. They are trained in paediatric first aid and all staff hold current safeguarding certificates. We are a Makaton friendly school with all staff trained to Foundation level. Makaton is a sign and symbol system, used alongside spoken language to support and accelerate natural language development.
We are a very diverse school community and we love to celebrate this. We actively promote the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. These are interpreted for children of this age, as learning right from wrong; learning to take turns and share; making choices in their play; making shared decisions about resources and through clear boundaries of behaviour, and challenging negative views and stereotypes. These values underpin our PSED curriculum, and through our social, moral, spiritual and cultural teaching, children develop an awareness and understanding of other people, their feelings, cultures and beliefs. We celebrate a range of festivals, cultural and geographical days throughout the year, where the children learn about the faiths, customs and clothes, food, dance and music and much more – often wonderfully supported by parents’ involvement.