Our very own Tiggy-Winkles Day Nursery in Orford received highly commended in the recent Warrington Guardian Education Awards, in association with Warrington Borough Council. Over 200 nominations were received from children and educators across six categories. Children, teachers, support staff, early years educators, headteachers and lecturers were honoured at a special virtual awards event hosted by Granada TV presenter Elaine Willcox on Thursday, March 17.

One happy parent wrote in their nomination: ‘I believe my son would be nowhere near the level he is without this amazing team of caring professionals.’

We continue to achieve our vision of providing high quality early years education.

Read this article in Nursery World about our inspiring nurseries who have just joined the Storal Learning community

One of our managing directors believes that ‘with the added contribution of our shared learnings, creative ideas and best practice across our sites, we will continuously enhance the quality of our nursery provision.’

A big welcome to the Farley nurseries in Hampshire joining the Storal Learning community.

Congratulations to the nominees and winners of this year’s Storal Awards!
It was a difficult choice with so many glowing nominations from colleagues, managers and parents but these 4 really stood out.

Thank you to everyone who tuned in to the virtual Awards Show, from their nurseries with their team and from their sofas at home.

Where it all began…

Our saying has always been that we pride ourselves on being a home from home setting and a little Tiggy’s family. We decide that we wanted to bring this to life even more and start a journey to making our environment match what we believed in. We had always been a bright and colourful nursery to make us stand out from the crowd, which we both loved and embraced. However, we felt that maybe if our surroundings reflected a more homely feel then this would enhance wellbeing in both staff and children and make the environment an even better space in which to learn and enjoy which in hand would provide the best possible outcomes for the children.

Once we had discussed the possibilities, we started to get very excited about what we could achieve and wanted the staff to input their ideas and by creating mood boards. We began to have a clear vision.

Staff Training Day

Wellbeing is very important to us as a setting and we feel that having Hygge embedded in our day to day life would help all the staff team to feel valued and supported.

We introduced a wellbeing champion to help support staff and have a go to person if they were struggling or just having a down day, this encouraged staff to talk to someone if they needed it. The wellbeing champion is there for the staff team with tips on how to manage their wellbeing as well as little treats to let the staff know they are valued.

Wellbeing Treats

We often treated the staff with little gestures such as breakfast, pamper bags, homemade cakes and our favourite hot drinks.

Hygge Training Sessions   

Sooo relaxing!

As part of each Inset day we carried out a hygge session for the staff so they could get an insight into what Hygge is and how we wanted to embrace it in the setting. We thought ‘my perfect Hygge day’ was a good starting point with the staff as it gave them chance to think about what they enjoy doing and what helps them to feel Hygge! It was so nice to see how each one differed. There were lots of discussions about what day to day things can sometimes be stressful and how these could be overcome. The training session really helped them to think about how looking after their own well-being and taking out a little time to do something that helps them to relax, could have a positive impact on them as a person and the setting as a whole.

Parent Involvement

We invited the parents to look at our progress with regular Facebook photos and updates on our newsletters to let them see what our plans involved and the improvements we had started to make. Although some of the parents were unsure at first as they liked and were familiar with the brightness of the setting, they started to understand the journey we wanted to take and knew that we had thought about ensuring we get the right balance and making sure the children were at the centre of any decision we were going to make. They were then as excited as we were to make that next step.

Educating the staff team

As the staff were so used to incorporating bright and bold into the environment and experiences they offered we needed to support and educate the team with making these changes. Not everyone likes change and can struggle to embrace it so we made sure we guided those who may struggle and ensured it was a positive experience for everyone!

Time to Implement

The staff’s input was key to making the rooms warm, inviting and cosy. We asked them to think about a wish list for their rooms incorporating what we had discussed, such as the colour scheme and the restructuring of the rooms. Everyone was very excited about the journey we were taking and wanted to ensure the rooms were welcoming for the children. We worked really hard over several weekends to get the impact we wanted, staff’s enthusiasm was shining through and they couldn’t wait to welcome the children into the room and see how the changes we made inspired the children’s awe and wonder.

The Before pictures:

 

The result…

After all the hard work, the environments look and feel amazing. We are so pleased with what we have achieved and the reactions we received from the children made it all worthwhile. The investigation and curiosity that is taking place inspired the staff to feel so confident in extending play and made the experiences on offer so inviting. It was as if the whole setting had a buzz about it and everyone was so enthusiastic.

Reflection

This journey has taught us so much and will help and support us in new ventures in the future. We overcome challenges such as the struggles with change and making sure we got it right for everyone.

We believe that the balance we have achieved incorporating areas of colour, light and investigation with the added abundance of natural resources has helped us to create the warm and welcoming environment that all the children, parents and staff can thrive in and fulfil their full potential even more than before.

 

 

We are HEALTHIER TOGETHER!

We have just received our Healthier Together award from Warrington Borough Council.

This is the 5th year running that we have held this award and it signifies our commitment to ensuring we provide a healthy, nutritious and balanced menu for all of our children, and that we meet the guidelines of Public Health England.

Nominations are now open for the Storal Awards 2021!

Staff and parents are invited to nominate individuals who stand out an deserve to be recognised. Last year was a great success with hundreds of nominations received, and we cant wait to celebrate this year’s nominees and winners.

A reminder of the categories:

The Extra Mile Award

  • Nominated by colleagues and managers

The Storal Sprouts Award

  • Nominated by colleagues and managers

The Parent Partnership Award

  • Nominated by parents and carers at the nursery

The Shining Star Award

  • Nominated by colleagues and managers

 

Ready to submit a nomination? View the award criteria and complete our online nomination form here. If you’d like to submit more than one nomination, you can send them in an email directly to awards@storal-learning.co.uk. Nominations close Monday 31st May 2021.

Dear Parents,

As we come to the end of what can only be described as a most extraordinary year, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our families for your support and cooperation, and to reflect upon the incredible work that has happened across Storal Learning in 2020.

We appreciate just how quickly and considerately you complied with all new operating procedures that came with COVID-19. It hasn’t always been easy – especially with Government guidance often arriving very late in the day and leaving us with more open questions than answers; but our dedicated nursery leadership teams have worked tirelessly to minimise any disruption and to keep parents and staff informed and updated throughout. Special thanks to our Area Managers and to our Central Support team for the many late evening and weekend Zoom calls as we tried to get ahead of each new announcement.

Over the coming days and weeks, we anticipate having to adapt at short notice to further announcements, but we draw continued strength and hope from your kindness and support, from the rapid progress being made with the vaccine roll-out, and above all, from the inspirational positivity of our children. Seeing the joy on their faces as they reunited with their friends and educators at nursery, after the first lockdown, was incredibly heart-warming and we will continue to do our utmost to provide them with consistency of care and the nurturing learning environments they deserve.

For now, we would like to share with you just a few highlights that we’re especially proud of during 2020.

Continued focus on Wellbeing

Parents who have been with us for over a year may recall that in 2019, we signed the ‘Time to Change Pledge’ – a commitment to change the way that we, as an organisation, think and act about mental health. With the profound changes that took place this year, never has a focus on mental health been more important. Since many of our staff teams were home-bound during the first lockdown, we quickly came up with the idea of creating a Staff Wellbeing pack that included information on how to practice self-care and provided opportunities to keep their brains active and learning.

As children started to return to nursery from June onwards, their wellbeing during these confusing and unsettling times took priority and we were so proud of how resilient and confident the children were across the board. Our Employee Wellbeing Champions at each site continued to do incredible work in supporting staff wellbeing, taking part in Early Years Wellbeing week and Christmas schemes to boost staff morale and to say a big ‘thank you’ for all that their colleagues do.

Curriculum enhancements and Staff Development

At the beginning of the year, we created the role of Childcare Development Manager to adopt a research-based approach to enhance the curriculum and pedagogical practices across Storal Learning. We were thrilled to offer the position to Hannah T, who was previously Area Manager for our South East nurseries.

During the summer, we successfully introduced an accelerated version of our ‘Rising Stars’ school readiness programme to support as many children as possible as they prepared for school in September under unusual circumstances. It has been wonderful to see an increase in confidence, focus and concentration, which evidences the impact this programme has on our children as they take this big step. We are excited that 2021 brings with it two new programmes – ‘Incredible Babies’, targeted at children under two and due to be rolled out in early 2021, and ‘Terrific Twos’, currently being trialled at a few nurseries and due to be rolled out closer to Easter. Not only do these programmes give staff additional tools in which to support your child’s development, but they also provide opportunities to focus on the particular needs of the children in a way that goes above and beyond our already high-quality everyday practice.

We are also pleased to have introduced multiple new methods of providing staff training over the last year as part of our commitment to developing and upskilling our teams. Our HR and Childcare teams at Central Support developed a relationship with The Skills Network, which has given us access to a wide list of funded courses, including level 3, 4 and 5 apprenticeships, which many of our staff are already undertaking. In addition, we introduced Flick training, which includes required training programmes for all staff, incorporating priority topics such as Safeguarding and Equality & Diversity, as well as dozens of optional e-learning modules. The feedback has been terrific!

Moreover, we’re proud that we are one of the few nursery groups to have two inset days a year, dedicated to staff training and development, a chance for staff to step away from their day-to-day activities and focus on key learning areas and team development.

Diversity & Inclusion

Racial tension across the globe continued to bring to our attention the importance of open conversations about diversity and inclusion within our society and within our company this year. In June, we published a blog post – ‘Let’s talk about race’ – to address how we, as early years professionals, support the cultural identity of our children and teach them about tolerance and respect for all. We also opened-up the conversation to our staff about their own experiences and how we can better create an inclusive culture. As part of this, we will be introducing a new role focusing on inclusion at each nursery in 2021 and hope that we can continue to learn and grow in this area, ultimately doing our very best for each other and the little lives we are influencing each day.

Awards and Recognition

We are delighted that Storal Learning was recognised by daynurseries.co.uk as a Top 20 Nursery Group for the second year running. The fact that this award is based entirely on parent feedback made us all feel especially proud and grateful.

In June, we hosted our inaugural Storal Awards ceremony over Zoom – a chance to acknowledge and celebrate team members who personify our values and behaviours and act as role models. We received hundreds of submissions from both staff and parents. Congratulations to Amanda, Jodie, Cheryl, Jack and Kerry, our winners on the evening. During the ceremony, we also took time to personally thank our teams of Early Years Heroes across the country. Nursery practitioners were rightly classified as Key Workers during the first lockdown, and every Thursday evening, when we clapped for carers, we also wholeheartedly clapped for our amazing teams.

 

Charity, Generosity and Community initiatives

While the news has a habit of focusing on the worst in society, this period has also showcased the very best in us, with countless small acts of kindness that have melted our hearts and reminded us of the importance of compassion, selflessness and a spirit of generosity. Thank you to Cook, the food retailer where a few of our parents work, for donating a full array of delicious meals for our children and staff at Ickle Pickles to enjoy; to Morrisons for donating enough Easter Eggs to last a lifetime; to the parent at Rocking Horse who donated such a generous quantity of hand sanitizer that we were able to share our supplies with parents and the local care home which the children used to visit before the virus struck. The list goes on and what it so clearly shows is that there is goodness to be found everywhere.

During the October half term, inspired by Marcus Rashford’s campaign, our team at Willow Tree Nursery in Clacton-on-Sea prepared 100 pack lunches a day for children on Free School Meals. We strongly believe that all children deserve to eat healthy, nourishing meals every day and that there is a strong link between nutrition and a child’s development.

Finally, to all our families who would like to give a little something back this Christmas period, we encourage you to donate to our Charity of the Year – Young Minds are the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. A £15 donation supports a Parent Helpline volunteer to provide information and support to parents who are worried about their child’s mental health. A £30 donation will provide training for a Young Activist to have the skills and confidence to talk about mental health and support their peers and local community. We are sure you will agree that this is an ever more important issue. Donations can be made through our dedicated JustGiving page.

 

With that, we wish all our families a safe and Happy Christmas! Although it will be different this year, we hope you and your children are still able to create wonderful memories together.

Please do remember to complete the parent declaration form before nursery re-opens to help us keep nursery safe, and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!

 

Warm Regards,

Ash Grover & Varun Chanrai

Managing Directors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are so proud to be named as one of the Top 20 Large Nursery Groups in the UK by daynurseries.co.uk for the second year in a row! This is based on the ratings of parents and carers on the following areas:

  • Overall Standard
  • Facilities / Outside Space
  • Learning
  • Resources / Equipment / ICT
  • Care
  • Activities
  • Staff
  • Food / Nutrition
  • Management
  • Cleanliness
  • Safeguarding
  • Value for Money

We’d like to thank all of our parents and carers for taking the time to share their feedback and submit a review.

Most importantly, we’d like to thank our Storal Learning staff team. This is truly a reflection of the amazing work you to support local families.

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