Little Scholars Nursery, Wrexham, has developed a strategy to promote children’s wellbeing. The nursery focusses on staff interaction, providing challenging experiences and positively encouraging children’s voice. The strategy is effective - children feel valued, have higher levels of confidence and increased independence.
Number of pupils: 91
Age range: 6 weeks - 4 years
Date of Estyn inspection: June 2014
Context and background to sector-leading practice
Little Scholars Nursery is an English-medium setting located at the Centre for The Child, Family and Society at Glyndwr University, Wrexham. The setting is registered for 91 children and provides day care for children between 6 weeks and 4 years of age. Included in the provision is part-time funded education for three-year-olds each afternoon. The current facilities were purpose designed and opened in 2011. Most children who attend the setting are British and use English as their first language. A few children attending the setting have additional learning needs. The setting consistently aims to combine acknowledged best practice with innovation.
Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice
The setting has a long established commitment to placing children’s wellbeing at the core of its provision. Wellbeing is an important consideration in all aspects of our planning for continuous improvement. It is very important to us that children enjoy their time at the setting, are well motivated, develop a love of learning, become increasingly independent and develop positive behaviours and confidence.
We have developed our strategy to promote children’s wellbeing around three key areas:
- well trained practitioners who are responsive to children’s needs and are good language role models;
- providing challenging experiences that encourage children’s independence and social skills well; and
- positively encouraging children’s voice.
Effective interaction between practitioners and children is very important for children’s learning and wellbeing. As part of our self-evaluation process, we continually monitor and review the quality of adult-child relationships and the language they use with children. For example, we monitor how practitioners respond to children who are struggling with an activity, i.e. do they intervene too soon and stop the child learning or do they intervene too late so that the child becomes frustrated? We encourage all practitioners to use appropriate vocabulary with the children, such as, using the term ‘diagonal’ when working with shapes. We monitor children’s use of such vocabulary during their independent play. We use the information from monitoring to identify and meet training needs for all practitioners or for individual practitioners as required. As a result, practitioners interact positively with children and almost all children have a sense of self-worth, are confident in learning from their mistakes and enjoy using new and interesting vocabulary.
We promote positive social interaction and relationships between children in a number of ways. For example, during snack and meal times children choose who they sit with, they serve themselves, make menu choices and help one another. Some activities have number limits specifically to encourage children to take turns and develop relationships within a small group. We use parachute activities in both small and large groups to encourage co-operation and teamwork. In pairs, children take turns to be Helpwr Heddiw. These activities support their self-esteem, sense of responsibility, and their ability and willingness to share and to help others well.
To enhance the development of children’s social skills further, we create regular opportunities for children to interact with visitors to the setting. For example, we recently invited parents and the Mayor to join the children for breakfast. During this visit, children acted as hosts, served food and chatted with guests. Visits out of the setting, such as to the local professional football club, also provide valuable opportunities for children to develop their social skills, which in turn promotes their wellbeing.
Practitioners maximise opportunities for listening to children and encouraging their voice throughout the session to enhance children’s wellbeing. During circle times, practitioners encourage children to share their news, respond to, or retell, a story. They encourage children to suggest activities they would like to do the following day and this is written in the ‘Children’s Ideas Book’ and acted on when the child next attends. Every child’s contribution is valued and important. Children are encouraged to be both active listeners and speakers.
Impact on provision and learners’ standards
The strategy has been very effective and has supported the setting in ensuring that children’s wellbeing is of a very high standard.
Children know they are valued, that they are capable and competent learners and how to use practitioners as a resource and as support. They have high levels of self-esteem, are highly motivated and are actively involved. They are able to concentrate and persevere with activities, demonstrating confidence and enthusiasm.
They develop a love of learning and a very positive attitude towards the opportunities available to them. Children’s increased confidence supports their independence well. Children behave well and respect other children and adults.
This contributes significantly to them achieving well in all areas of the Foundation Phase.
We have shared our practice with other settings and with professionals from the UK and further afield.