1.2.23 Martin Smith, Vice Chair of Governors

This visit was part of our Governor Monitoring week, where I was lucky enough to spend a morning at Nottingham Nursery School observing Panda class, in the Forest School, and looking at some of the teaching and learning in other areas of the Nursery.

When I arrived at the Forest School the children were already dressed and exploring the woodland area and observing the natural environment. A number had decided to try running down a small bank in the story telling area, this was a challenge for some and showed the value of this type of activity in terms of developing physical literacy. The children challenged themselves within their own comfort zones and built up the level of complexity. To see young people being ‘allowed’ to develop physical skills and begin to ‘push’ themselves is really encouraging.

The whole group then moved to the fire circle. They were closely supervised as they approached and reminded how to walk around the fire circle and find a log to sit on. The group are still fairly new to the outdoor area and are learning the correct behaviours when around the fire circle. Most knew what was expected and with gentle reminders others made their way to a seat as we would expect. The group then sat remarkably patiently as they all took turns cooking some toast that was then buttered and covered in jam. This activity built upon previous experiences and all the children understood about ‘taking turns’ and waiting for their turn. I don’t think a year 7 class would have been as patient!

Once everyone had cooked and eaten toast the children moved onto the ditch where they used various bridges to cross the ditch. This is an excellent activity in terms of building physical confidence and coordination. The children were very much allowed to choose their own level of challenge but grew in confidence both with and without adult support. Again, excellent skill development that adds to the overall picture of child development.

The group then headed back indoors.

I had a follow up chat with Uzma about developing the woodland area and we discussed the possibility of introducing some basic orienteering. We also discussed how we would run the next NST Outdoor Learning network, which is taking place at the Nursery.

We then went indoors and had a quick look around all of the classrooms. We focused on some of the art and design work including colour mixing and outdoor art and the links to Nottingham Contemporary. Other artwork was linked to story-telling and with some great examples of collage work and mark making. In addition, there was also evidence of science activities focusing on magnetism. Outside each class were displays for parents highlighting current work and encouraging rhymes and singing, with leaflets to take away.

While in the classes, all the pupils I observed were engaged in activities or had one-to-one support. The learning was active supporting by signing where appropriate.

It would be useful to spend some more focused time, in the future, on indoor learning and how the children are actively assessed.

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