Nursery World Awards 14: Organisations - Nursery of the Year

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Winner - Manor House Nursery School, Margate

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This nursery is situated in Margate Central Ward, ranked 22nd out of 32,482 wards in England, placing it among England's most deprived 1%.

Manor House places great emphasis on encouraging and nurturing relationships with the child, the whole family, the community and other agencies. It currently has 46 employees, eight of which are males. They provide positive role models to children who may have experienced domestic abuse, neglect, deprivation and stress.

Outdoor environments are also very important to the nursery, not only its own dedicated outside spaces (forest school), but local parkland, woodland, beaches, and community visits, which have included The Turner Centre and Margate Caves.Judge Wendy Scott says:

It has been difficult to decide on a single winner for the Award this year, as managers and staff in all the shortlisted nurseries demonstrate such committed, principled and considerate thought to the children and families they serve.

This nursery is awarded Nursery of the Year because of their continuing pursuit of inclusive high-quality provision in a very disadvantaged area. They offer extended opportunities for forest and beach school experience, and specialist Forest School staff are now integrated within the team, and share their expertise with neighbouring schools and settings.

Activities are occasionally made available to families at weekends.

Participation in live music is continuously on offer around the nursery and sometimes in the public park outside. This space is well used as an extension of the outdoor area. A qualified teacher works across the nursery, and a dedicated co-ordinator ensures that children with special needs are identified and well supported.

The individual talents and skills of staff are appreciated and developed. The managers are very responsive to the needs of local families as well as staff suggestions, and alert to opportunities for improvement. The leadership team works tirelessly to ensure that the nursery provides a stimulating, reassuring and enjoyable learning community for all involved. As Jayne Sheerin, one of the managers, says, their attitude to their work is 'in the soul'.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Cowgate Under 5s, Edinburgh

This nursery stands out for the total commitment of all involved to children's rights. The UNCRC, along with responsive attention to each child's interests and needs, guides longer-term strategic decisions as well as everyday practice.

Parents subscribe to the principles and approach of the staff, which include extended opportunities for untrammelled experience out of doors through a Forest School outside the city. Children are neither constrained nor rushed, and are given full scope to express their ideas in a warm and appreciative environment.

This nursery was a deserving winner six years ago, and continues to develop a wise philosophy and holistic provision with great integrity.

Atelier Nursery, Bath

Highly commended for the courage, imagination and sheer hard work of the leadership team and all the staff over the past year. They have met the challenge of keeping the nursery open in difficult circumstances while also developing practice in line with their deeply held principles and a real respect for children, grounded in the UNCRC. They are knowledgeable about many different approaches to early education and care, and are discriminating in applying them.

Staff succeed in providing a beautiful and stimulating free-flow environment that is accessible to children of all ages.

Parents particularly appreciate the way that continuity of key person for all children while at the nursery is assured.

Finalists

Roundabout Nursery, Brighton

Blois Meadow Day Nursery, Steeple Bumpstead.

Criterion

Open to registered settings offering full daycare for children from birth to five (private, voluntary or maintained sector).

Sponsored by childcare.co.uk

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