Not only was it the first day of term on Wednesday 6th January, but it was also the very first day of our new nursery. It was very exciting seeing the new children arriving and it really wasn't very long before even the most nervous had settled in and were playing with the new toys, activities and friends. In fact it wasn't very long either for us to have our very first sleeping beauty, snoozing in the quiet corner!
We celebrated its official grand opening on Thursday 28th January, with Mrs Sally Marks, Chairman of Surrey County Council cutting the ribbon and unveiling a commemorative plaque. After a blessing by Mrs Nicholls, Mrs Marks then joined the other guests (children and adults!) to celebrate with a traditional children's tea party complete with balloons, fancy dress characters and of course plenty of party food! With special thanks to Miss Bousfield for dressing up as a penguin and Mrs Darg for the wonderful cakes.
Mr Crisell said, "We are delighted that Mrs Marks was able to join us today, to mark a new chapter in the School's life. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who've worked so tirelessly to help realise our decision to create a dedicated nursery at Barrow Hills, especially Mrs Pulleyn, Mr Clarke, Mr Graham Powell, School Governor and Architect. We extend a warm welcome to the younger children who have joined the special caring and nurturing environment that is unique to Barrow Hills and look forward to supporting every child as they start their educational journey."
The on-site Nursery will initially offer a maximum of 12 high-quality places for children during the school's academic year. It is envisaged the Nursery will help to create a greater choice and flexibility for parents and make it easier for them to access the childcare and early education services they need. The required staff-to-child ratio for two to three year olds is 1:4 so the move to extending the age range at Barrow Hills also provides local employment opportunities as additional qualified staff members will be appointed.
The 'learning' focused hours of Nursery will be from 8.15am to 3.15pm with 'wrap round' care offered from 8am to 6pm to fit with the demands of modern working life. Existing floor space within the Early Years Department will be used to accommodate the nursery which, alongside some interior building work and the purchase of premium age-related furniture, play equipment,educational toys and resources, will provide an excellent addition to our long established existing Pre-Prep portfolio.
For many years Barrow Hills has provided excellent care and education for the Early Years Foundation Stage (ages 3-5) via its Kindy and Reception classes. This combined with the Key Stage 1 intake (years 1 and 2) has traditionally represented the School's Pre-Prep intake. The decision to provide a nursery facility at the school provides parents with access to a seamless education fortheir child from the age of two to 13 years - ensuring the consistency and continuity that helps to create a stable and secure learning environment. The aim is to provide an easy transition for children and for parents; it is anticipated that the availability of care for younger children will be especially beneficial for families with an older sibling already in attendance at Barrow Hills.
The superb 'Free Flow' facility at Barrow Hills (which provides the opportunity for children in Early Years Foundation Stage with the freedom to experience learning both inside and outside the classroom setting year round) that links classrooms to a safe and enclosed outdoor learning space, will also be accessible to the nursery children. The focus on outside learning is deeply entrenched in the School's teaching ethos, with Barrow Hills being an early adopter of the outdoor classroom and Forest School concepts. The Pre-Prep Outdoor Classroom encourages children to explore the world of nature afforded by the School's magnificent 33 acres of grounds.
Headmaster, Matthew Unsworth said, "It's important to us that the start of every child's educational journey is a happy one and the Early Years framework is the basis for all our teaching and learning. By exposing children to early education in a safe, caring and social setting it helps to improve the academic ability of toddlers and give them a head start in their learning, providing agrounding for their education in a special environment where children can flourish."
All enquiries for the Barrow Hills Nursery should be directed to Pauline McBrown, Registrar on 44 (0)1428 681032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org