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Day nursery where kids loved diggers rated good by Ofsted

A day nursery has been ranked good in its latest Ofsted inspection.

Apples and Pears Private Day Nursery, which is based on Back Lane, Smallwood, was rated as good across all categories – effectiveness, quality of education, behaviour, personal development and leadership – and good overall.

It was outstanding at its last inspection, but Ofsted has amended its standards since then.
The Ofsted report said children arrived happy to start their day, and at the time of the inspection, asked staff “excitedly” if the diggers were still nearby because they want to see what they were digging up.

They talked about “excavating” and continued to discuss what the digger was doing.
Staff allowed children to learn about what interested them, which helped children to develop curiosity about what was happening in the world around them.

Children explored sensory experiences outside and staff encouraged children to experience different textures, using words such as “squishy”, “crumbly” and “squelch”. This helped children to develop their vocabulary and learn more through different senses.
children had good behaviour and staff helped children to understand their own and others’ feelings through talking with them.

Staff focused on communication and language, including circle time, where older children listened to each other. Staff asked questions such as, “Can you tell everyone what you did yesterday?”, which helped children to feel valued.

Children rode bicycles and “confidently” negotiated obstacles outdoors. Younger children climbed the slide as staff supported them to position themselves safely to go down it, all of which helped children to build confidence in what their bodies can do.

Children’s behaviour was good. Staff modelled positive interactions and expected children to show respect to others.

Older children could go to the bathroom and wash their hands independently, although the report noted that there were times where routines were not organised to allow children to learn to do things for themselves. Staff served and chopped children’s lunches and poured drinks for them and babies were not able to learn to feed themselves at all mealtimes as they did not always have their own spoon or drink ready to access.

“Children do not have consistent opportunities to learn the skills they will need as they grow,” said the report.

It said the manager was mindful of staff workload and had worked hard to reduce paperwork. Staff reported good levels of well-being and enjoyed their time at work.

The management team supported children with special educational needs or disabilities very well, said the report.

Good relationships with external professionals meant children had the support they needed from the start. This included individual practitioners, who were trained to provide support within the nursery.

Parents were “very happy” with the care and education their children received, and said their children were safe and enjoyed their time at the nursery.

The report said that to further improve the quality of the early years provision, the nursery should ensure staff were supported to improve the quality of teaching they provided to young children and spend more time doing this, and help staff to “effectively and consistently” support children to develop independence and self-care skills consistently.

The nursery offers full day care for children aged from birth to three and has 115 places at any one time, with 237 children on the roll.

Apples and Pears Day Nursery employs 35 members of childcare staff. Of these, 18 hold appropriate early years qualifications at level three or above.

It was the first routine inspection of the nursery since the pandemic.

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(Photo: Apples and Pears).

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