On Thursday last week I travelled to London for some important training based on the new Ofsted Requirements that are coming in to force later this year.
As I purchased 2 pre packed sandwiches and 2 coffees at the conference and handed over a £20.00 note, I was shocked when the lady said that will be £24.00 please.... Wow! I know £24.00 for a tastless sandwich of ham and salad, and then this got me thinking about value for money in terms of what we get for our hard earned cash these days.
Over the years I am always humbled to hear from perspective parents doing the rounds of visits looking into a nursery place just how lovely our nursery environment is for children and that everyone can see that we really care about our spaces and want them to beautiful to play in, work in and visit.
Whether it be our cosy Nest, engaging Bumble Bees room or inspiring Ladybirds pre school.
One thing comes up time and time again and that is how calming and lovely our nursery is compared to others they have viewed. Gone are the bright colours and plastic furniture and loud patterns and decorations and instead they are introduced to a nursery with calm colours schemes, child inspired decorations and natural materials and wooden furniture.
Having a calming environment does not come by chance as many may believe. I have always been heavily influenced by Reggio inspired practice both in the way we plan experiences for your children or the environment and take a great deal of inspiration from them.
I feel that the choices about the environment we create, link directly to the play and learning in individual rooms at The Old School House.
So when I am choosing paint colours for the nursery – I think about calming colours that are just hints of colour in the background to enable the children to make the colour and decoration through their concepts and designs.
I also consider if I am providing a lovely environment for our staff to work in and for our parents to be proud of when they say “ My child attends The Old School House Nursery”.
I invest time, research and money into all of our environment projects and believe very strongly that just because we are creating spaces for children they cannot be beautiful. The environment we learn in is as important as what we learn!
When I embarked upon our base room paint colour choices some 3 years ago I wanted to create a space for children which included lots of light, mirrors, plants and other natural materials and photos (that are meaningful to the children).
The same principle applied to our bathroom project recently. I really wanted the children to be involved in the decoration and the project journey which is why we asked them to decorate a tile for the wall . I cannot tell you how important it is to me to make a space beautiful and meaningful to everyone who enters our building.
Of course, I am immensely proud when I hear those comments on show around’s about the children’s behaviour, how professional our team are, how everyone looks the part and how wonderful the nursery building and environment is, it means we got it right and it is visible for all to see!
All of this takes hard work, means working out of nursery hours, long days and weekends too. It takes time, determination, and money to create and maintain, but it is without a doubt worth it.
Each month we invest huge amounts of money back into our nursery to make it a lovely setting . Its rare to come across excellent quality and great value for money alongside each other these days - my trip to London certainly opened my eyes to that!
At OSHN I believe we offer excellent value for money and I hope you all agree? Our fees in relation to my £24.00 sandwiches and coffee at the conference are not bad at all in comparison !