West Essex Life
In 2002, as a new single parent aged 38, I decided to change from my successful marketing career to a career in Early Years by opening a full day-care nursery within London Borough of Newham.
My ethos, to highlight on ‘creativity and vision’ which is expressed in everything I do (to make my dream come true) with a view to placing a prominence on the relationship between young children and the environment they encounter.
Whilst singularly running my nursery I commenced a degree course in Childcare and Education and successfully I achieved a BA Hons. with a First Class alongside a qualification of ‘Early Years Teacher Status.’
I discovered the ‘Reggio Emilia in Italy’ a prosperous town that set up an innovative approach of ‘Early Childhood Education’ in Northern Italy. Centres were originally started up by a group of parents who wanted to steer away from the church monopolised institutions. They have now gained International repute in the last quarter of century.
I followed this up by attending their training in Italy. Upon my return I implemented some of the practices as my awareness was raised such as, reflecting on ‘time, rhythm and pace’ of how children and adults use this process, and this is crucial to the Reggio Emilia Philosophy. “our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountains, as high as possible.” “This is a way to start anew and live and work for the future.” Loris Malaguzzi states.
My method contains a blend of the ‘structure and stability’ from some of the elements of both Montessori and the ‘spontaneity and fluidity’ of Reggio Emilia with the focus on ‘attentiveness to a child’s interests’ through the ‘emergent curriculum.’ I am seeking to create an environment that stimulates children’s inquisitiveness alongside their views as I believe that they can acquire knowledge within themselves through their natural curiosity and creativity. This means, ‘to make time for children’s thoughts and ideas, and give value to their work, their conversations and their feelings by slowing down to listen patiently to the child.’
Another one of my main objectives is to ‘develop children's love of nature, their understanding of the interplay of nature and the benefits of the natural elements.’
To enable expansion of the nursery I went into business with a respected businessman who came from a career in the Construction Industry.
We strive to foster children’s growth through helping children to organise their thoughts and take responsibility for their next steps in continuous play to consolidate what they learn. We acknowledge that children have experiences on a day to day basis which becomes an important element to their learning process, as this supports their knowledge in a meaningful context.
Part of our philosophy is for children to enjoy and benefit from outdoor physicality and spaces, in our planning we incorporate daily visits to the local forest, open spaces, opportunities for children to breathe outdoor as this supports their immune system. We work hard to nurture, support and educate our parents as their confidence within us builds up. We want to instil a ‘holistic approach’ ensuring that the children learn through fun as each child can flourish. Parents demonstrate their appreciation on how effective we are at giving our children a strong foundation of education and social interaction.
Take a child who is afraid to climb a tree for instance. It’s scary as a parent to watch your child wobble on branches, for sure. Children who are given the chance to do this will develop mental focus and problem-solving skills as they also learn balance, shift their weight and use motor skills to place their hands and feet in certain spots while climbing, overcoming any fears and building up on their confidence. I believe that resilience cannot be taught, it is gained when children have the confidence to try and fail repeatedly and their natural capability to solve problems for themselves; sharing, exchanging and negotiating is fundamental.
We constantly educate our staff team to be professional and instil respect in order for us to retain our staff team. Our inspiration is to enlighten them on how to be effective collaborators with the children and for them to be supportive by listening, observing and document whatever the children choose. Our staff team appreciate their role is to offer structured and unstructured forms of pedagogy as well as identifying the importance of revisiting learning and enabling children the opportunities to practice and develop further skills.
As an established provider we continually strive and progress to aspire to an ‘outstanding provision’ whilst working towards ‘exemplary best practice’ in the Early Years.