Aspiring to be curious!
“We keep moving forward,
opening new doors,
and doing new things,
because we’re curious
and curiosity keeps leading us
down new paths.”
Walter Elias “Walt” Disney
The words of Walt Disney seem particularly pertinent to Early Years. Babies and young children are naturally curious, and it is this curiosity that drives them forward, to learn, to explore, to develop social relationships and to expand their worlds, becoming the fantastic little people we see in our settings every day. Early Years educators are naturally curious too, we love to watch how children react as they see snow for the first time, taste their first strawberry, or listen to a familiar story. It is this curiosity that keeps us moving forward, as practitioners expanding our knowledge through training opportunities and sharing quality practice, and as a company developing new initiatives and expanding our successful business across Peterborough.
This brand-new Blog is an exciting venture for Stars Day Nurseries. It is a chance for us to celebrate the quality provision in our amazing settings, an opportunity to keep you updated on new initiatives in Early Years childcare and education, and a platform to recognize the achievements of our fabulous Early Years employees.
It is fair to say that the last 12 months have been a particularly curious time for us as we have most definitely “kept moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things”. Starting with the implementation of our unique Aspire Approach to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum in September 2019, embedding learning in an educational program that enabled our settings to develop their provision and share exciting and innovative learning experiences across our social media platforms.
We then expanded our portfolio to 11 settings, opening Stars Oakdale in Stanground in January 2020. Under the leadership of Sandra Coulson, the setting is already embedded in the heart of the community and excelling in the delivery of early years education. Sandra’s curiosity and interest in nutrition, well-being, and sustainable living will be a focus for upcoming blogs in the next year.
Celebrations were the order of the day at our Shooting Stars setting in Gunthorpe and our Little Stars setting on Dogsthorpe Road who both achieved Outstanding OFSTED gradings this year. Shooting Stars Manager Sallyann Frisby’s passion and curiosity for child led learning and the key person approach was highlighted by OFSTED who stated “every child is incredibly nurtured and encouraged in all that they do… they are happy, confident and share a tight bond with their key person.” Little Stars manager Ashley Bereznyckyj is probably the most curious professional I know, passionate about training and expanding her knowledge OFSTED recognized Ashley’s commitment stating “the leadership and management of this nursery is inspirational… children and their families are at the heart of every decision made by the management or staff of this nursery.”
Our Bright Stars setting on Park Road took children’s natural curiosity for outdoor play and developed a Forest Approach in their wonderful garden. Led by Senior Practitioner Joshua Cavender and Manager Clair Simpson the Forest Approach enables children to immerse themselves in nature, from den building to planting and foraging, the garden is a calm and nurturing environment where children can lose themselves in the sensory delights of the outdoors.
Congratulations were also due when we attended the NASEN SEND awards in London with our Manager Nuzhat Lilani from Shining Stars who was nominated for SEND Leader of the Year 2019 in the UK. Nuzhat has a natural affinity for special educational needs and a determination to ensure the children in her care receive the best possible start in life. Nuzhat leads with both curiosity and integrity, her empathy and understanding enables her to help families attain the support they need, while her inquisitiveness and determination means she will always go the extra mile to find a solution and achieve a positive outcome.
The last year also brought with it the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent UK lockdown. Our staff had to adapt quickly to an ever-changing situation and the team at Little Stars headed by their outstanding Manager Ashley rose to the challenge and remained open for key workers throughout lockdown. Ashley’s dedication to her setting at this time cannot be overstated, her calm demeanor and professional approach to implementing government policy changes and supporting her staff team, while welcoming children and families and maintaining the quality of her Early Years provision was amazing. Government policy allowed the rest of our settings to also re-open in June, to new regulations supporting the settings in being Covid secure environments, and so the last term has been a quiet but extremely busy one, with staff getting used to new ways of working while supporting children and families to return.
It is curiosity that has helped us to achieve so much over the last year, and it is curiosity about our future path that leads us to today, to our brand new website, to the start of the new academic year in our settings and to the beginning of a new chapter in our lives as Early Years educators. Over the next few months this blog will endeavor to give you an insight into life in an Early Years setting, showcase the amazing opportunities available to children in Stars Day Nurseries, celebrate the individual staff members who work tirelessly to provide the awe and wonder that can spark a child’s imagination and send their learning down new and different paths, and share some of the exciting new initiatives developing within the Company.
Come with us on this journey, it’s going to be an exciting ride! Aren’t you just a little bit curious too now?
See you in October when we will be looking at the Aspire Approach and what it means for children’s learning in Stars Day Nurseries.
BA Hons Early Years