After a year without a toddler group on Thursday afternoons, a new comparable venture has been launched called ‘Family Space’. It is a weekly opportunity for families to come together and occupy the Ark for an hour or so. Toddlers get used to the environment for when they start at Mr Noah’s and parents have the opportunity of networking. But please note that there will be weeks when this forum is closed. We publish dates on Facebook and on the information page of this website.
Right at the end of last term the OFSTED inspector arrived. Eventually the report was published and we were delighted that our contribution to children’s well-being was rated as ‘outstanding’.
The overall judgment of the nursery school was ‘good’. Realistically, ‘good’ covers rather a wide range of assessment, and the report itself which can be read online is a bland document which for the most part uses expressions that sound like generic descriptors selected from a database. Nevertheless, it was gratifying to read lines such as ‘Children show heart-warming empathy towards others… Staff model exceptional behaviour and manners, meaning children behave extremely well. Staff provide children with imaginative opportunities which motivate them to learn.’
Twenty years ago there was a little girl who needed a nursery. To cut a long story short, Mr Noah’s was born to cater for the need. We opened at the beginning of January 1995.
At first there was one paid member of staff who came to us from a day nursery in Oxford and then there was a little band of enthusiasts who worked voluntarily until we could afford to employ more staff.
So memorable was the excitement when we had five children at one of our sessions and it seemed like we had arrived. We are still in touch with our original Committee and some of the very first children. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to try to gather together some of the children, now grown up, who were at Mr Noah’s in the first few years?
Are you getting up-to-date information with our app yet? This is one of this year’s innovations. Too often people say that they did not know that a function was on and we are trying to make sure that no one misses out. Set up to do so this app will ensure that you get notifications on your mobile phone so that you need never be without the very latest.
You can download the ‘OurSchoolsApp’ from the app store for apple or android devices. There is a version for other platforms which can be accessed through the publisher’s website. Once you have the app you just need to search for Mr Noah’s Nursery School among local schools using the system.
We are so grateful to Hinxden Farm Dairy for a wonderful afternoon seeing just how we get our milk.
The visit was part of a whole term project for the children to discover how we get our food.
It was wonderful to be able to touch the cows and new calves, to watch them being milked, to be in the dairy where the product is processed, and then to taste the milk, yoghurt and cream.
It is important for children to learn that food does not just come from the supermarket; but it is much more effective for children to visit a farm and for their knowledge of the world to be absorbed through experience rather than just be told barren facts.
The visit has also made a difference to our school practice. We are changing the milk we offer to the children for snack to Guernsey milk. This was successfully trialled in July and is to be implemented in September.
Last term was marked by invaluable enhancement to our equipment and resources.
Not least among the new items available to children are the large wooden blocks which are called ‘hollow blocks’ on account of their construction. It has been the intention to introduce these for some time and dedicated funding became available making this possible. See page 7 for an extended article about the use of blocks in early childhood education.
Other additions to the inventory of Noah’s are specifically intended to enhance the support of two year olds, such as appropriate furniture.
People come from all over the country to see what we do at Mr Noah’s, but this Autumn has been exceptional with visitors from the US, Hungary and Romania!
It was just so exciting to welcome a group of Christian friends from these countries committed to early childhood education.
They were in Britain for the tenth anniversary of Christian Initiatives in Early Years Education.
Gaining the Kent Quality Mark award has to be the really big news of the term.
On Thursday 7th November our little representation went to the award ceremony at the Ashford International hotel. From the 600 early years settings in the county there were 24 that received the award. That is an indicator of just how significant it is for us.
Mr Peter was the guest speaker for the evening, talking about the award and the impact on practice at Mr Noah’s. Miss Karen went forward to accept the plaque and certificate.
Not all the staff were able to make the occasion, but it was good to have with us Margaret Smith, Governor, Miss Brigid and Phil—Mr Peter was not the only man in our group! All the team at Mr Noah’s are to be thanked for their dedication and commitment without which this accolade would never be ours.
Following that evening we received a message from an officer of the County Council:
“You and your team are truly inspirational – thank you so much.”