These are the key characteristics of St Edward's, an innovative and caring nursery school on the edge of Selly Park, in Birmingham. You will find us in a former Victorian school, next to the church which shares our name.
We have used the framework of this beautiful old building to create a bright and spacious environment that is full of character and all on one level, with separate zones and rooms for babies, aged from three months; toddlers, aged 2-3 years, and pre-schoolers (3-5 years).
We also have a large hall, complete with a giant mirror, spotlights and mini kitchen, used for dance, drama, sport and celebrations.
Indoors, each section is purpose designed to be a safe, vibrant environment that meet the needs of the children and allows for their safe exploration and play, with age related toys, games, puzzles and crafts stored in a way to encourage independent learning.
Bathrooms and changing areas are open and bright with child-sized toilets and basins fixed at a level to encourage success and independence.
Each child has a named key worker and has an individual learning profile. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff observe the children and track their progress within the EYFS framework, using iPads and iPods to record and evidence learning.
This enables us to build up a record of each child's learning experiences and their next steps, which we can share with parents electronically.
Every area at St Edward's has its own direct access to a fantastic garden and outdoor environment that has been designed especially for young children.
Humps and bumps, tunnels and slides and a giant sand pit encourage exploration and independent learning.
Our own mud kitchen provides an area for the children to improve their cooking skills, while the ever changing pebble pit and growing area keeps young children engaged.
We've even got our own mark-making shed, packed with easy-to-reach tools to create amazing artworks and writing.
Every week our pre-school children visit our own amazing Forest School. Find out all about our Forest School here.
At our launch Ofsted inspection, we were given an overall rating of GOOD.
Inspectors said of St Edward's:
* The quality of teaching is consistently good. Staff accurately assess children and plan for their individual learning needs. Consequently, children are making good progress.
* Children settle quickly and are emotionally secure because there is an effective key person approach and staff build positive relationships with both parents and children.
* Children's progress is maximised because parents are fully involved in their child's learning and children who speak English as an additional language are well supported.
* Children are kept safe from harm because staff have a good knowledge of safeguarding and clear policies and procedures are consistently followed.
* The provider and management team have a clear vision and are passionate about staff's work with children. As a result, the staff team work extremely well together to ensure that children receive a good quality learning experience.
We interact with parents at every drop off and collection time, sharing the day's experiences.
We also host regular family workshops. This year's have included a Chinese New Year event, when parents and children worked together to create Chinese lanterns and symbols, dance with a Chinese dragon, sing a Chinese song and cook and eat Chinese food. We take time to discover more about our families' experiences and talents, then persuade them to share this with our staff and children - this was one of those occasions!
We send out a monthly newsletter to all parents, have a thriving facebook community and this website, where we post information about events and news. We also let them know about changes implemented or actions pending in response to their comments.
We also have an elected parent representative, who is a direct link between management and parents. This has been well received by parents, who value the importance we give to the parent voice.
We host three parent evenings a year, when we discuss each child's progress and achievements, and share our observations and future plans.