Mrs Hooper - Associate Principal INSPIRE
As the Associate Principal for the Inspire Learning Partnership, one of my responsibilities is for the Teaching, Learning and Assessment within the Blackfield Nursery.
Having researched modern approaches to outstanding Early Years Practice, I discovered the Curiosity Approach, which puts a contemporary twist on Reggio, Steiner, Te Whāriki and Montessori. To this end, we have gradually reduced the plastic toys within the setting and so, with the exception of a few items e.g.: Lego, we are a completely natural, nurturing and sensory environment. All of the learning is inspired by books and provocations to imaginative, creative and thoughtful play. We enable children to develop the nine schemas through the resourcing provided such that children’s fascinations are fully explored in helping them to make progress, to appreciate themselves and the world they are interacting with. In planning the curriculum, monitoring levels of engagement, joy and challenge I am able to make changes to the environment, structure and provision and provide support for our outstanding, highly committed and thoughtful practitioners who are constantly responding to our journey as individuals and as a team in becoming experts in the Curiosity Approach together.
I have lived in Blackfield for 25 years, have taught many parents of the children we now have in the Trust and am as passionate about learning now as I was nearly 40 years ago when I qualified as a teacher. I spend my time researching, reading and reflecting on how to grow our youngest INSPIRE children through fostering their emotional wellbeing such that their inner joy, peace, vitality and self-confidence enable them to thrive; nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see and hear what a success they have made of their lives. I also love to travel to different or unusual places…to swim in the sea…spend time with family... and to eat cake and chocolate with friends!
Rachel - Manager - Level 5 Practitioner
As a highly trained nursery Manager, I feel ‘arbejdsglaede’ is really important in unifying our Blackfield team on our curiosity journey. Together, we work as a unit, passionate about child development and living the INSPIRE values at our heart. We model manners at every opportunity, show patience, gratitude and thankfulness in our work and when interacting with each other. Our aim is to inspire and be inspired, becoming a team of curious practitioners who light up the lives of our wonderful children. In my spare time I like to walk to the beach, exploring the natural environment around and find little treasures and loose parts to bring back to nursery for the children to explore. Through provocations the children use these various resources to expand their play. We are advocates for calm, using earthly tones to accentuate learning; this impacts positively on mood, emotional wellbeing and behaviours for learning. The Blackfield Nursery is a special place where the children are at the centre of everything.
Nikki - Administrator - Level 3 Practitioner
In my role as the Blackfield Nursery Administrator, I manage the waiting lists, create invoices and ensure all Health and Safety and Risk Assessments documents are completed and up to date.
Since we have undertaken the Curiosity Approach Accreditation we have needed many different Risk Assessments which enable us to follow the Curiosity Ethos whilst maintaining the children’s safety. Recently, we decided to replace much of our plastic cutlery with 'the real thing' and our plates and cups with actual crockery, so that if children have an accident, we can show them how to manage their own safety.
I enjoy walking in our local area with my dog and when we are out at the local beach, we often collect stones and shells which I bring back to the setting so the children can extend their learning through imagination using natural materials and open ended resources. I have enjoyed collecting these natural and often curious items which have enhanced our provision and inspired imaginative play. By visiting Charity Shops and asking friends and relatives for any pre-loved items, we have acquired many beautiful materials for the children to interact with eg; wooden crates, shiny pots and wicker baskets allowing the children to transport or contain objects within the setting.
I am passionate about our Blackfield Nursery and the incredible team in which we all work.
Vicki - Deputy Supervisor - Level 3 Practitioner
In my role as an experienced Deputy Supervisor of Blackfield Nursery, I oversee the nursery room and our wonderful outdoor learning space, ensuring that the environment is in a constant changing state of awe and wonder. By provoking curiosity and providing magical pockets of learning throughout, children are encouraged to explore and stay and play. At home I am a keen gardener and enjoy maintaining my pond, which is home to many different insects; each year I am lucky enough to have a family of frogs visit. I always look forward to sharing my experiences with the children, and will bring in curiosities eg: frog spawn, for the children to look at and discuss the lifecycle changes. Whilst out shopping, I often look for unusual and curious objects that I can bring into the setting to stretch thinking and let us into the mind of the child. I give consideration to my questions, using open ended ones that require thinking time and am skilled at remaining patient when awaiting a response! The natural resources offer so many more opportunities for creativity. They help bring the outside inside and this extends my own love of gardening to the indoor environment, providing opportunities to feel, smell and touch the different textures of the natural world.
Kelly - Deputy Supervisor - Level 3 Practitioner
As a highly skilled practitioner, I am inspired by how the curiosity approach has developed independent thinking, language, communication and problem solving. In my role as a keyperson at Blackfield Nursery, I build strong and trusting relationships whereby the children experience a feeling a connection, warmth and mutual respect. I am always present when working with our children, and build up from their basic safety needs to developing a sense of belonging which raises self-esteem. I have helped develop the nursery environment to reflect a home from home experience, using cosy, calming and tranquil spaces where children find inner peace and confidence. I enjoy renovating my own home, and being able to extend this passion into the nursery environment, has been very rewarding. The neutral colours and natural materials help the children to engage in deep learning where they can delight in nature in a way that is so different to the modern day plastic world.
Karen - SENCO/Level 3 Practitioner
In my role as the qualified and expert SENCo for Blackfield Nursery, I plan learning and encourage and assess the children that need more additional support by helping them to develop in all areas, especially their communication and language skills. Through the daily Makaton rhymes to the interventions we run that promote speaking, sound formation and word building, books and language are at the heart of the setting. By promoting curiosity at every learning zone within the environment and using sensory approaches to exploring our world, children are able to successfully engage in their own learning journey. When I take them on weekly forest walks they begin to recognise the changing seasons and aromas evoke memories of the previous year, like freshly cut grass and the arrival of autumn. Outside of the Blackfield Nursery, I like being outdoors with my family, camping in my VW Van, exploring different parts of the country and being with nature on both cliff top and forest walks.
Christine - Level 3 Practitioner
Kelly - Level 3 Practitioner
I love gardening and being outdoors. Through the Curiosity Approach I have been able to help develop our outdoor environment in the Blackfield Nursery to reflect natural resources encouraging the children to play and learn in the garden. As an accomplished practitioner, I recognise that being outdoors is so important for children as they are bundles of energy that need a release and in the process, receive a good dose of Vitamin D from the sunshine. We have become weather warriors, dressed appropriately for the seasons and continually exploring, questioning and wondering. Using open ended resources and a little imagination they are able to create many different worlds to explore. For children who need extra support, it is very important to develop their senses. We are lucky enough to have a herb garden, where the children can cultivate, nurture and gather the plants, learning about how they grow and what they need. This sensory approach to learning by using our hands to explore texture, our eyes to discriminate colour, our ears to hear the wind and natural world and our nose to provoke fragrant memory extends and embeds their learning.
Kirsty - Level 3 Practitioner
As part of my role as a highly experienced Early Years Practitioner at the Blackfield Nursery, I really enjoy going on treasure hunts, finding new and curious things that the children will also enjoy exploring. I have brought in many wonderful curious items that have been donated to nursery by my family who have been excited by the Curiosity Buzz as I have describe the impact it has had on the children and how their learning is full of wonderous joy and discovery. The items I have brought in have allowed the children to learn about the the earth from things they have never seen before and to use their imaginations to create new worlds. I have brought in many loose parts (duely risk assessed by Nikki) that can be used in multiple ways with no pre designed outcome. Children combine them, line them up, join them together, spin them, transport them in baskets etc; all of this develops opportunities for creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, counting and sorting. I teach children how to think and not what to think.
Kayleigh - Apprentice Level 3 Practitioner
As a flourishing, apprentice practitioner, I have thrived in the Blackfield Nursery and am constantly learning through the Curiosity Approach about the best ways to enable and enhance all children’s learning. I am a very active person, who enjoys running and personal fitness. My interest in physical and mental wellbeing has given me the opportunity to help the children explore many different ways to extend their physical development within the incredibly diverse environment that we are surrounded by. From building with wooden crates, to developing core strength on the climbing wall to the peace of reflection, I offer children unhurried and plentiful experiences; this all helps them to build a healthy mind, body and spirit. I enjoy taking the children on welly walks where we talk about the natural surroundings, whilst collecting an abundance of natural objects that they can use to create anything that their imagination can conjure.
Tracey - Level 3 Practitioner
As a skilled and reflective nursery practitioner at the Blackfield Nursery, I enjoy bringing in new and exciting (natural) resources to enhance the children’s curiosity and imagination. The natural resources within the setting offer the children a mixture of textures and stimulus that will enrich their learning and encourage independent thinking. For many of our children the world is a giant playground, full of wonderful things to help them discover and explore. I ensure that our children enjoy the process of learning over the product; they are taught to be flexible in their thinking when using open ended, aesthetic and unique resources. The children are at the centre of everything, filling their hearts and minds with a sense of incredible awe and wonder. Our setting reflects beauty and our children are aware of this, respond to and are drawn to it. Presenting learning in such a way that children can help but engage with it is critical; getting the learning environment right helps us to embed deeper thinking, communication and social skills.
Rachel - Level 3 Practitioner