Forest school rep­u­ta­tion grows with record rat­ing

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS - Elise Brit­ten Re­porter elise.brit­ten@reach­

A Bath city cen­tre forest preschool has achieved a record­break­ing fourth ‘out­stand­ing’ Of­sted rat­ing in a row.

Wid­combe Acorns has been rated ‘out­stand­ing’ in all key ar­eas in its lat­est re­port.

In fact since 2006, each of its in­spec­tions has judged the preschool to be ‘out­stand­ing’

Re­port­edly Acorns is the only preschool to have achieved this record in our re­gion - with Bath and North East Som­er­set Coun­cil send­ing them a con­grat­u­la­tory card to mark the oc­ca­sion.

Acorns pro­vides day care for children aged from three to five years.

It has rooms within St Mark’s Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, but children are given the choice to stay out­side for morn­ing or af­ter­noon ses­sions.

“Our children love be­ing out­side in all weath­ers ex­plor­ing our fan­tas­tic out­door space, build­ing dens, gar­den­ing and cook­ing on the camp fire,” its web­site says.

The ap­proach has been praised by Of­sted in its glow­ing Jan­uary 2020 re­port.

As well as the “ex­cep­tion­ally strong and car­ing ethos,” in­spec­tors praised the staff at the preschool for the en­gag­ing learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties which see the children in­ter­act­ing with na­ture.

It said: “Staff take children on mo­ti­vat­ing ad­ven­tures out into the nearby wood­land and lo­cal ar­eas to ex­pand children’s un­der­stand­ing of the world fur­ther.

“Children en­joy be­ing ac­tive and de­velop their co­or­di­na­tion skills very ef­fec­tively. They rel­ish the free­dom to ex­plore the forest school area.”

Of­sted also praised man­ager Dena Moore and her staff for their “strong shared vi­sion” and drive for “con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.”

“They fo­cus pre­cisely on clos­ing the gaps in children’s learn­ing to en­sure children have the best start in life,” it said.

Com­ments from par­ents have echoed the praise from Of­sted.

One said: “Dena and the en­tire staff here have cre­ated the most warm, wel­com­ing, nur­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment for our children and I am so in­cred­i­bly grate­ful.

“Ev­ery day is full of rich ac­tiv­ity: wood­work­ing, cook­ing, he­li­copter sto­ries, gym, singing, art... the list of ex­cit­ing things Ruby gets up to at

Acorns is end­less.

“The staff are so kind and warm and on the ball and it’s the only child­care I’ve ever sent one of my children to where I think ev­ery sin­gle per­son who works here is ut­terly ex­cep­tional at what they do.”

An­other par­ent added: “One of my favourite Acorns mo­ments so far has been ar­riv­ing ten min­utes late, only to wit­ness the en­tirety of Acorns disco danc­ing to­gether!

“I am not sur­prised that my daugh­ter is gen­uinely sad when it isn’t an Acorns day.”

Dena Moore, man­ager of Acorns said: “Ev­ery­one at Acorns is ab­so­lutely thrilled to have re­ceived their fourth out­stand­ing rat­ing in a row.

“The small team work so hard to en­sure that each and ev­ery child reaches their full po­ten­tial and has an in­cred­i­ble year full of amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

“We are so happy that the Of­sted in­spec­tor recog­nised how set­tled, happy and en­gaged all of the children are, and how ben­e­fi­cial the forest school ses­sions are to their con­fi­dence and well-be­ing.”

To mark its 46th an­niver­sary and to cel­e­brate this haul of Of­sted ‘wins’ the preschool is invit­ing any­one who has at­tended Acorns over this time to a party at St Marks Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Wid­combe on May 1.

Acorns says it will be “a cel­e­bra­tion to re­mem­ber” with a live band, games, food and a bar.

In­spec­tors praised staff at Wid­combe Acorns for the learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties which see the children in­ter­act­ing with na­ture

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