Nursery World Awards 2020 - Pre-School of the Year

Friday, February 5, 2021

Puddleduck Preschool, Windsor

By building empathy, teaching children to care for one another’s feelings and appreciating and valuing differences, Puddleduck Preschool equips children with the skills to become thoughtful, caring and active citizens in school and in their wider community. The setting sits within 40 acres of woodland, and Forest School is at the heart of preschool life.

Children prepare their own snacks by chopping wood, starting the campfire and cooking favourites such as blackberry bread or vegan pizzas, and learn about nature and conquering their fears. Children talk about what they see in the outdoors and love to see activity at night recorded on camera.

They collect eggs from the chicken coop and grow vegetables in the greenhouse, learning the true meaning of ‘farm to table’, and keep active and fit through daily PE lessons and a weekly sports class.

Children also take part in extra-curricular lessons including music, story yoga and French, and engage daily in mindfulness activities to help manage their feelings, increase confidence and concentration, and decrease levels of anxiety. Meanwhile, they also learn the meaning of community through their weekly interactions with the residents of a local care home.

Before the pandemic, children and residents took part in joint activities such as cooking, dancing, planting and weaving.

During lockdown, the preschool helped maintain these relationships, with children sending pictures and messages to the residents, while a ‘waving window’ enabled them to walk by and wave hello to their elderly friends.

Parents are hugely involved in the work of the preschool through the parent forum, a group of parents and staff who meet to plan special events such as Christmas events and summer fairs.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Clophill Preschool

When Clophill Preschool was set up seven years ago by Imogen, a teacher, and Chris, a nursery nurse, just two children attended, one of whom was Imogen’s daughter. The passion and commitment they had for high-level education and care has now created a preschool community that stretches way beyond the boundary of the setting, working with local Flower Club members, a dance school and local churches, meeting residents from the local care home and holding Christmas and Easter craft mornings for the public, as well as setting up a community allotment to help with the mental health and wellbeing of all generations in the surrounding area.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Enya’s Childcare

The unique pedagogy developed by the team at Enya’s Childcare does not prioritise academic education over the importance of nurturing other, softer skills, such as compassion and inner confidence.

Staff pride themselves on awakening children’s senses and helping to broaden their minds and outlook on life. Educators use sessions as a window to enhance the encounters and opportunities available to all children.

Reflective practice is fundamental to discovering each child’s best motivator for learning.

Staff have been invited to present the pedagogy at institutions such as the University Centre Peterborough and University Academy Holbeach.

FINALISTS

Fit ‘N’ Fun Kids, Falmouth

Leeds Montessori School and Day Nursery

CRITERION

Open to registered settings offering sessional care and education

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