Chief judge Wendy Scott says: ‘It has been another impressive year for the quality of the five nurseries that were shortlisted for this Award. In their varied and various ways, they are all offering notable contributions to the lives of the children and families with whom they work. They make a profound difference directly through the very high quality of their provision, and also crucially through their work with parents.
‘Four of the five are founded on maintained nursery schools, which are all in severely disadvantaged areas. It is both humbling and inspiring to see how their generous, thoughtful, dedicated and well-documented work is supporting children and families who are often in grave difficulties. Their efforts are transforming lives now and will continue to support outcomes for children long into the future, not least through their influence on students and other visitors. One nursery, Grosvenor House, is a private enterprise, which has achieved a great deal in a short time and has ambitious and imaginative future plans.
‘The winner this year is Greenfields Nursery School and Children’s Centre, which is situated on a particularly imaginative and inspiring site in an underprivileged area. The high levels of aesthetic awareness expressed through the ambitious art work achieved by the children have received widespread acknowledgement and appreciation, and music too is strongly supported within the very rich, responsive curriculum.
‘Staff provide for parents with a wide variety of courses, help through a foodbank, legal advice and an advocacy service. Close links with the wider community are promoted. The work at Greenfields has been described as visionary, and it is seen as a beacon in a very needy area.’
Greenfields’ curriculum is directed towards nurturing, supporting and listening to young children through a vibrant, creative approach to learning. The nursery school is well known for its work with resident artists, where children are challenged to think outside their own scale and experience by creating large works with new materials and considering questions of maths and physics as well as exploring a set of art practices. Greenfields has also won our Early Years in School Award this year and you can read more about its art projects on page 11.
"Today mummy we helped build a life-sized whale with the artists! We watched some of Moby Dick and learnt about taking care of the sea." —Imogen
Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre, White City, London
This local authority nursery school and under-threes provision is situated at the heart of the White city estate, and over a third of the children have additional needs.
Wendy Scott says: ‘Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre deserves particular commendation for the dedicated work they are doing to transform the environment so that the Forest School approach that they embrace can permeate the whole site, which is on an inner-city estate.
‘Their philosophy shines through all their work, and children benefit from the close attention and encouragement that the staff provide. Parents, students and the many visitors all appreciate the detailed thought given to developing children’s own ideas and their confidence in exploring and extending the stimulating possibilities on offer around them.’
Bedworth Heath Nursery School, Bedworth
Grosvenor House Day Nursery, Nottingham
Grove House Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Southall
Open to registered settings offering full daycare for children from 0-5 (private, voluntary or maintained sector)