Nursery Class Provides So Much More
Tuesday, 23 January 2018
Mrs Louise Browning is the new teacher for Bolton School’s Nursery Class for 3 and 4 Year Olds. She joined the School in September last year, and has had a wonderful and busy first term getting to know the Nursery Class.
Mrs Browning joined Bolton School following almost twenty-one years of experience, teaching across the primary years from Nursery to Year 6 in schools around Bolton, Wigan and Salford, although the majority of her teaching career has been in EYFS. She has enjoyed the challenges of being part of the senior leadership team at various schools, including Assistant Head, Deputy Head and EYFS Lead roles. However, a love of Early Years teaching brought her back to the classroom.
“Bolton School is an amazing place to work,” Mrs Browning said. “It’s a fabulous experience to work with a small class of 3 and 4 year olds. We are able to individualise learning, specifically moving children on at their own pace, and are also able to nurture their special interests – be it creating, storytelling or a love of dinosaurs. The class has bonded well, which is another benefit of small classes, and they have developed excellent relationships with each other, myself and Mrs Patel.”
Since her arrival, Mrs Browning has put her own stamp on the Nursery Class setting and has created a fabulous learning environment for early years, using her knowledge and many years of expertise. Now that the children have been shown how to use the different areas of the setting, they are able to take advantage of all the learning opportunities on offer.
“At Bolton School’s Nursery Class, we provide so much more than I’ve been able to in other settings,” Mrs Browning added. “For a 3 or 4 year old to have such a wide range of activities and experiences is a privilege not all children have the opportunity to access.”
The children enjoy a mixture of child-led and adult-led activities and learning through play. There are phonics sessions, maths input and independent challenges, and literature- and language-based activities on a termly or half-termly theme. A constant focus on Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) and on communication and language skills helps to give the children effective foundations to underpin their future learning.
In addition to these daily activities, the children take part in a broad variety of exciting weekly sessions. They have swimming lessons with SwimSmart, visit the Woodland Area for activities, learn Spanish, attend Cookery School, have music sessions, and visit a local residential home, Park View, to develop intergenerational links. Diversity is embraced and encouraged, with the many different languages spoken by Nursery Class families represented on welcome signs in the cloak room. Families have also been encouraged by Mrs Browning to share their culture with the Nursery Class: recently all of the children discovered more about the Moon Festival, which one child was celebrating at home.
There are close links with Beech House, Bolton School’s Infant School. The Nursery Class attends assembly and has lunch at Beech House in addition to other activities. Although not guaranteed, the majority of children in the Nursery Class move on to Beech House, and they are well prepared for a seamless transition.
“We have really embraced the family atmosphere and tried to make the Nursery Class like a ‘home away from home’ for the children,” Mrs Browning said. “Ultimately, our children are confident, extremely happy and excited learners.”
Talking about how she would measure her success and the success of the Nursery Class, Mrs Browning of course mentioned the children’s level of learning and development. However, she also said that she would focus on more than just academic progress: their confidence and well-being, their excitement to learn and drive their own learning, their ability to be socially and emotionally resilient, and their ability to communicate effectively are all equally important – and she was pleased to report that the current class is doing well by all these measures.
Mrs Browning is constantly evaluating her practice and the opportunities provided for the children. In particular, she hopes to develop relationships with parents and carers even further in the future, with more ‘stay and play’ sessions. She also hopes to introduce parent workshops on topic such as phonics or early maths and reading skills, where the children can be present and involved.
Mrs Browning said, “It is wonderful to have an impact on the children’s current and future learning at such an important developmental milestone. I am able to provide so much experience and wealth of knowledge from my own vast expertise. It’s a pleasure not a job!”
Beyond Bolton School, Mrs Browning is married with two daughters and has loved art since an early age. She is a regular visitor to the Tate Liverpool. She also likes to be creative in her spare time and has a small crafting business creating bespoke cards and box frames.
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