A nursery in White City which focuses on outdoor learning has been singled out for praise by judges of a prestigious national award.
Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre in Australia Road, has been highly commended in the 2018 Nursery World awards.
It is recognition of the hard work by the H&F Council-funded nursery school and centre for under-threes, where more than a third of children have additional needs.
“It is a magnificent achievement, and celebrates remarkable teaching, care and support by a dedicated team under the direction of head teacher Michele Barrett,” said Cllr Larry Culhane, Cabinet Member for Children and Education.
“The school makes a real difference to local families, introduces children to stimulating new ideas and skills and gives them a wonderful start in life. It’s at the heart of the community, bringing people from all backgrounds together.”
Wendy Scott, who has judged schools’ performances for 12 years, said: “Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre deserves particular commendation for the dedicated work it is doing to transform the environment so that the ‘forest school’ approach it embraces can permeate the whole site, which is on an inner-city estate.
“Its philosophy shines through all its work, and children benefit from the close attention and encouragement that the staff provide.”
Senior teacher Jo Skone said it was a team effort.
“I think it’s important for everyone to see that people who choose early years as a career are doing it because they want to make a difference,” she said.
“The competition is so high. There are a lot of people doing a lot of good things in early years so to be recognised like this is really nice. It’s very exciting.”
Jo and the team stimulate children by introducing them to different ways of learning and developing interests, with the woodlands playing a key part in outdoor learning.
“It gives children a love of the outdoors,” said Jo. “They learn to assess and manage risk, solve meaningful problems, work as a team, and think in creative ways that they can’t necessarily do inside with toys.
“We need people to care about the natural world. If you haven’t introduced a child to the natural world when they’re young, the chances are they’re not going to invest in it when they get older.”
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