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Cheers and laughter spread like a ‘Mexican wave’ through Rowan Tree Day Nursery in Welwyn Garden City, as it was named one of the best early learning centres in the country .
Kelly Griffiths, Manager of the day nursery in Guessens Road, said the announcement, following a surprise Ofsted inspection, was met with tears and group hugging. Only 12 per cent of English Early Years Providers achieve the top ‘Outstanding’ rating.
“The inspector was smiling as she left because as each room got the news, the staff and children erupted with cheering and laughter. I think some of the children thought it was a game but it was a wonderful, fun-filled, moment for us all,” she said adding that the push for further improvement would continue in spite of the top ratings achieved in every category.
The inspector described indoor and outdoor play areas as rich with opportunities for learning and said that ‘very in depth’ staff knowledge of children’s needs and interests had resulted in “exciting activities which children enjoy and which contribute to their rapid progress in learning and development”.
“Children build exceptionally strong relationships and are emotionally prepared for change because arrangements for settling them in and supporting their progression through the nursery and on to school are highly effective,” she said.
But for Kelly Griffiths the best news came with the inspector’s recognition of the proactive partnerships with external agencies, in supporting children with additional physical and learning needs; the ‘exceptionally strong team work and professionalism’ of all staff, and the relationship with parents, who describe the nursery as well run and ‘such a happy place’.
”Parents and staff working together over many years have made this nursery outstanding. That Ofsted has recognised it, is the icing on the cake,” she said, praising her team for their unfailing dedication to the children in their care.