The Barn Nursery School was established in 1984 and now operates from a former village school in the village of Wootton St Lawrence. We are a term-time setting and provide outstanding care and education for children from 2 years 6 months to 5 years of age.
Children enjoy fun-filled days at The Barn, learning and developing skills through play and well-planned, purposeful activities and experiences.
We have two large ‘home’ rooms for our Explorers and Discoverers groups. Our youngest children in the Explorers are at the start of their journey to developing early independence. They experience and become involved in play alongside and with others, coming to understand the give and take required for successful friendships and social interaction and the fun this involves. In a friendly, happy atmosphere, children are encouraged to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings and also to listen to and consider their friends. The children’s confidence and self-esteem grow as they become Discoverers. The Discoverers continue to explore and learn actively as they problem solve, design, create, construct, enact, read, imagine, write, climb, run, and pedal, making links and connections. The time passes quickly as the children become equipped and ready to meet the experiences and challenges of the next stage of their journey. Starting school!
Both rooms have a calm and comfortable atmosphere with pictures of interest and children’s art displayed on the walls. The children follow their interests as they move freely between the rooms and the outside space. The well-equipped play and discovery area is used all day in all weathers and we have access to a meadow and wooded area which we use for walks, lunchtime picnics, physical activities and forest activities.
At The Barn we count in ones
Children learn and develop well in enabling, language-rich and inclusive environments, where experiences and opportunities respond to the needs of each individual child. The first five years are particularly important for the brain's organizational development and functioning throughout life, and early experiences directly impact children’s learning skills and social and emotional development.
At The Barn, we aim to give all children the best possible start to their early education through learning and development opportunities that reflect their unique characteristics, fascinations and enthusiasms. Children experience and engage with a wide range of high-quality and exciting activities and provocations that inspire and stimulate their curiosity, promote active learning and encourage critical thinking. Confidence, self-esteem and social skills are nurtured and children learn to regulate their own behaviour and to deal with group dynamics. Our days are filled with fun and laughter as the children. . .
The partnership between The Barn and the children’s families is fundamental in ensuring best outcomes for all children. We understand the importance of feeling valued and respected, and work to keep parents informed, supported, consulted and involved.
Parents enjoy Homelink activities that support the current themes and ideas being explored by the children and provide opportunities for parents to share fun activities with their children. Resources including leaflets and information sacks with games, books and stickers are available for parents to access.
We operate an ‘open-door’ policy. The teachers will always make time to catch up and talk to parents or to arrange another time to meet up for a longer conversation. Parents are always welcome to 'stay and play' and to spend time alongside their children at nursery school. We have special events at the end of the Christmas and summer terms to which parents are invited and parents' evenings during the autumn and spring terms.
There are notice boards in the cloakrooms, giving information to parents about daily activities, snacks and the week’s activities. Our Barn app is a convenient way of keeping up to date with what is happening, dates and events, news items and details of useful links. We use email and when appropriate, text messages, to communicate important and timely information.
Making the Difference
The Barn is owned and managed by Rebecca Wells and Sharon Cooper, both qualified teachers, who together share overall responsibility for the management of the nursery school.
Our teaching staff is highly qualified, experienced and enthusiastic and they make the difference in improving outcomes for children. Teachers role model language and positive social interactions; they use sustained shared thinking in interactions with children; they have a good knowledge of the EYFS and pedagogy and child development; they support children in resolving conflicts and they work together with parents to support children's learning.
We timetable one teacher to every five children so that we are able to meet the individual needs of each child through quality interactions, helping them to make best progress. Our low child-adult ratios facilitate supporting, extending and consolidating the learning opportunities for all children as they have fun exploring, discovering and being curious in a positive, stimulating environment.
THE CHILDREN'S LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
'Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace which is right for each individual child.' Magda Gerber
Our provision for children's learning and development at The Barn is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage framework (EYFS). The EYFS, produced by the Department for Education, is the statutory framework for the early education and care of children from birth until 31 August following their fifth birthday.
There are four themes set out in the EYFS and these inform and shape all areas of our practice at The Barn:
every child is unique, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers; and
children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
The EYFS identifies 7 areas of learning, Prime and Specific, and our curriculum is carefully designed to support the children in making best progress in all areas.
The Prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. The prime areas continue to be fundamental throughout the EYFS:
communication and language
personal, social and emotional development
The Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning:
understanding the world
expressive arts and design
The Barn uses the EYFS practice guidance to plan and provide a play-based curriculum that promotes exciting and fun learning experiences and opportunities that help children experience the awe and wonder of the world in which they live. The play activities are designed to help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development, and we have a balance between child-initiated and adult-led activities. We know that children learn best through exploration, experimentation and discovery, building on their experiences. Our Barn approach draws on all our knowledge and many years of experience! We also take inspiration from methods including Montessori, Reggio and Forest School as well as from our environment, Pinterest and YouTube!