The Old School Nursery

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About The Old School Nursery

Name The Old School Nursery
Ofsted Inspections
Address West Street, Shapwick, Blandford, Dorset, DT11 9LB
Phase Childcare on Non-Domestic Premises, Full day care
Gender Mixed
Local Authority Dorset
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this early years setting?

The provision is good

Children are very happy and settled. They respond easily to the calm, nurturing and reassuring approach that staff provide, and form trusting relationships.

Staff have high expectations for children's learning and provide a varied curriculum following their interests. Children develop positive attitudes to learning and make good progress. Older children show pride in their achievements as they begin to draw recognisable shapes and letters.

Babies learn through their senses, expressing great enjoyment as they enthusiastically splash their hands and feet in the water tray. Toddlers begin to use their imaginations and cre...ativity, for example to help staff build a model piano or fire engine. Children become absorbed in activities.

They try hard to tighten the strings on a guitar and say they are using their 'concentrating faces'. Children develop positive friendships and show kindness to others. Older children build a seat of wooden blocks and carefully fit one more block on top, so all their friends can sit together.

Younger children patiently wait to take turns when using the swinging hammock.

What does the early years setting do well and what does it need to do better?

Management and staff work very effectively together as a team. Management gives a proactive approach to using the individual skills of staff, for example with music to enhance children's learning.

Children like to make up songs with staff and develop a good sense of rhythm and control of their movements. They follow the actions to a favourite song and show great excitement and anticipation as they roll their arms 'ever so slowly' and then 'ever so fast'.Children become confident communicators from a young age.

Staff give clear emphasis to listening to 'children's voices', including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Older children begin to use new vocabulary, such as 'outrageous', and talk about a dragon that was 'captured'. Staff encourage children's eye contact and listening skills and understand how babies express themselves through babbling and body movements.

Staff clearly value and welcome children as individuals. Children benefit from the respectful care practices staff use. Staff give clear consideration to their interactions with children to understand how they learn best and help them feel safe in their care.

Staff create a calm, unhurried pace to the day and babies happily snuggle up to them for a cuddle and settle easily.Children enjoy singing number songs, such as 'Five little men in a flying saucer', and become confident in counting. Staff promote children's early mathematical awareness effectively overall.

However, they do not always build on children's growing interest of number and quantity to help them relate this to the written numeral as consistently as possible.Staff promote children's understanding of the world very effectively. For example, children use a microscope to look at a bumble bee more closely.

They decide they cannot see 'the bee's sting', but say, 'The bee is soft and fluffy'. Children learn how to protect their environment and how litter can affect the animals living there. They see how snails hibernate on the 'the old lady lime' tree in the nursery meadow.

Children help to care for 'Turbo', the nursery's giant land snail, and see how he explores and eats different foods.Parents comment very highly about staff and the nursery. They say, 'It's a fantastic setting', and staff provide excellent care and support.

Staff give a very strong emphasis to supporting the whole family. They establish ongoing communication, which promotes positive partnerships. Parents say they feel very involved with their children's learning.

Children enjoy their play and learn well through exploration and investigation. However, at times, staff do not promote all children's participation and social skills consistently well, for example during outdoor play and snack times.Staff promote children's natural physical progression very well.

They give children time to explore and strengthen their movements. Babies gain confidence crawling and develop good core strength to sit independently. They smile happily as they pull themselves up to standing.

Younger children learn how to sit safely in a hammock and gently swing themselves 'to and fro'. Older children are keen to 'have a go' at climbing up and down a rope ladder.Staff support children's behaviour effectively.

Babies are very content, and toddlers play happily alongside their friends. Older children play cooperatively. They help their friends to make a special potion in the mud kitchen area, and suggest adding some herbs.

Children recognise expectations, for example during a focused activity when they politely tell visitors, 'We need to be quiet now'.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.Management promotes staff's understanding of safeguarding effectively.

Management and staff give a proactive approach to engaging with families and safeguarding agencies, and implement preventative strategies to protect children's welfare. Management follows a clear recruitment and ongoing support process to help assess staff suitability. Management and staff maintained regular contact with parents and children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They provided ideas for activities to support children's ongoing learning at home.

What does the setting need to do to improve?

To further improve the quality of the early years provision, the provider should: consider further ways to support children's understanding of linking the written numeral to quantity.make more use of everyday routines to strengthen support for all children's participation and promote all aspects of personal development consistently well.

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