About Us

Blundellsands Kindergarten was awarded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted;- in all area’s at our latest inspection 2015. The Kindergarten is recognised for it’s high educational standards however our Early Years Curriculum is highly inspired by Scandinavian principles.

We believe that when parents and practitioners work together the results have a positive impact on the children’s learning and development. Parents as partners, sharing skills and being involved are important and highly valued

Our kindergarten nestles in a corner of the grounds of Ursuline Catholic School, it provides a warm intimate environment in a purpose built modern building.  We have only two classrooms in contrast to the larger less personal environment of a school based nursery. We are able to offer another year of play and exploring before school readiness becomes an issue.

Although we are in close proximity to Ursuline we have successfully introduced many children to the other schools in our catchment area.  We operate a well proven and thorough transition system.

We are a non-profit making charity and enjoy the support of our families and the local community.

Our children are encouraged to use our architect designed outdoor spaces as their ‘outdoor class room’.  Outdoor play continues throughout the year and we will always spend many hours daily outside in all weathers.

We offer a range of extra curriculum activities and encourage trips out into the community

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Certifications

Why is Scandinavia’s approach to education held in such high regard? Why, too, is the approach ideal for nursery school aged children?

In Scandinavia, children have a longer period of their life in which they primarily learn through free play and social interaction, starting school two years later than in the UK. When starting school at six or seven, they have had the continuity of being in the same setting for four or five years. Here in England, many children have only had one year of being in a group, before moving to another school at age four.

In Scandinavia, children attend nursery to gain competencies needed for life. British values are fundamental, and focus is given to children’s social development and fostering of democracy and citizenship. The kindergarten also recognises the importance of a ‘the love for nature’ at an early age.

There is a long tradition of nursery education in Scandinavia, which is strongly influenced by educationists who emphasised children’s right to play, be heard and be in nature. So, at the core of the pre-school curriculum are fundamental values, not goals.

Early years education is informal and relaxed and nurseries aim to be like homes. Groups of ages are often mixed. Children’s abilities and achievements are not measured. However, the processes whereby the pedagogues educate the children are assessed. When at school, there is little testing and no league tables.  However we are following The Early Years Curriculum and all our children’s progress is tracked and shared with parents and other professionals.

Looking at very young children, why do they benefit from being out in nature?

Children concentrate better and co-operate more outdoors. This may be because the outdoor environment makes them calmer and there are fewer distractions, but it could also be that the children involve themselves in meeting challenges they set themselves. By taking children out into nature we foster active learning, independence and resilience.

Scandinavian studies show that the levels of stress hormone in children in a nature-based nursery were lower than those in children in a conventional one. Air, sound and light must make us more relaxed and thereby more receptive to learning.

Children must be resourceful and creative in their learning – to use their imagination and inventiveness. Being outdoors, playing with what one finds, fosters an appreciation for simple things.

It is also so that nature is full of mystery and beauty. Being outside through all seasons foster that important sense of awe and wonder. There is so much to observe and be curious about. The quality of the sensory experiences in nature – what the children can see, hear and touch are beneficial.

Think about 2- 5-year-olds, comfortably dressed and with wholesome food in their tummy, sitting on a log under the open skies, modelling mud cakes on pieces of bark and decorating them with nutshells and leaves.

Spring and summer weather must be great, but how do you take classes in the winter?

Children concentrate better and co-operate more outdoors. This may be because the outdoor environment makes them calmer and there are fewer distractions, but it could also be that the children involve themselves in meeting challenges they set themselves. By taking children out into nature we foster active learning, independence and resilience.

Appropriate clothing is the very simple answer. It is essential to the children’s wellbeing and learning that they are warm and dry.

Providing learning within the whole of the EYFS outdoors in winter requires teachers who know it well and can discover and take opportunities as they present themselves. As with most things in life, it is about being well-organised and creative.

We have a cosy indoor space where we complement our outdoor provision with things that only can be done without mittens in the winter, such as meditation before lunch time.  The children have their lunch in small groups with an adult at each table.  Good manners are always encouraged.

Is this the answer to problems of obesity in the UK?

The children get hungry from the fresh air, the running and climbing, they are more likely to eat at lunchtime. If given healthy food options the problem is solved! We support banning advertising directed at children, and other ways to protect children’s health through regulations.  Our food choices encourage fruit and vegetables and no sugary foods.

Inspection findings

Effectiveness of leadership is outstanding

Leadership is inspirational and focused on making sure children’s learning and
development is at the heart of everything the kindergarten does. The manager has very high expectations for all children.

Developing good relationships with families is given high priority by the manager and team. As a result, parents are actively involved in children’s learning.

Quality of teaching and assessment is outstanding

Staff have an excellent knowledge of how children learn and develop and they make accurate observations of children’s learning. Developing children’s communication, language and social skills to a high level is prioritised.

Personal development, behaviour and welfare are outstanding

Staff have genuine and caring relationships with children and their families. As a result all children are happy and settled at the setting.

The children display a sense of pride in their environment.

Children’s positive behaviour is carefully supported by staff and appropriate strategies are in place to ensure children are kind and respectful to each other.

Outcomes for children are outstanding

Children thrive in the inclusive atmosphere of this setting. The importance placed on children’s wellbeing and learning ensures that all children are making the best possible progress in their learning and development.