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The Bedford-based nursery, Lavenders is one of the best early learning centres in the country and that’s official. Staff and parents at the nursery in Bushmead Avenue, are celebrating the publication of the latest Ofsted inspection report, in which every aspect of the nursery was deemed “of exceptionally high quality” and therefore “outstanding”. The report’s findings are particularly rewarding for the 36 Lavenders staff as they are currently supporting a number of children with special educational needs, disabilities, and some with English as their second language. Nursery manager, Juliana Di ‘Niro said: “We couldn’t be more delighted because we owe each and every one our children the very best that we can give. This report tells us we are on the right track and that means everything.”Describing her staff as highly skilled and motivated and praising the co-operation of supportive parents, Mrs. Di ‘Niro said the nursery team is constantly looking at ways to vary the programme of activities to ensure that all children participate meaningfully. To this end, staff have, in collaboration with parents, built a basic vocabulary of key words in Hindu, Italian and are now working on the Eastern European languages so all their children are engaged in reading and play activities and fully prepared for mainstream schooling at 5 years of age. Initiatives like this not only result in “highly positive partnerships with parents and carers” but coupled with a “very genuine enthusiasm for work”, staff are supported and inspired to work together to maintain high standards, noted the inspector.
The Ofsted inspector also noted that cooking classes were introduced when the older children showed an interest in learning about processes, and witnessed youngsters “laughing and giggling with staff in the outdoor play” area where scented plants, wind chimes and a vegetable patch provide opportunities for enhanced enjoyment and extended learning.
Lavenders is one of 40 nurseries in the employee-owned company, Childbase, and offers a self contained unit for the under two’s and separate large, brightly decorated rooms for older children. Describing the children’s behaviour as “exemplary“, the inspector noted “All children are highly valued and participate in a wide range of activities that help them to value diversity and understand the cultures and lifestyles of others.” The report also states: “! Children’s self-esteem is promoted as they are fully involved in all areas of this vibrant setting.”
Sue Andrews, regional director at Childbase, which has 10 nurseries currently rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, said she was delighted that the inspector had recognised the very special relationship between Lavenders staff and the children in their care. “I think the Lavenders staff team is definitely the nursery’s biggest asset. It is wonderful to see their sensitivity to each and every child in their care. The child always comes first,” she said.