Forest school reputation grows with record rating
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