Monthly Archives: December 2010

Outstanding Again!

Well done to Howard Road for achieving an Outstanding outcome from their recent Ofsted inspection. Who knows what the inspector will home in on at any given time (there is currently a focus on safeguarding, and signed permission for medical emergencies). It was a rigorous if somewhat brief visit and we are delighted to have been assessed as Outstanding.

Report highlights include –

‘Children are receiving excellent care and education’

 ‘…all children are acknowledged and supported to enable them to achieve to the best of their abilities’

 ‘….the nursery responds to the needs of all its users’

 ‘The nursery is extremely inviting’

 ‘Partnership with parents is excellent.’

 ‘Staff are enthusiastic and confident; their positive attitude and interaction with the children helps them to feel confident which build their self esteem…..staff’s enthusiasm inspires children to join in and participate.’

 ‘Children enjoy themselves at nursery’

 ‘Children feel extremely safe and relaxed in the nursery.’

 ‘Children’s behaviour is excellent.’

Carol Concerts

Can there be anything very much lovelier than young angelic voices joined together to wish everybody Christmas cheer?  I think not! 3 concerts down, 1 to go and a good deal of festive spirit to be had in the Paint Pots run up to the big day. We have had a brass band, a gorgeous nativity scene – the sheep made by the after-school club had to be seen to be believed!

There were tee light lanterns (and nobody was burned!). The children sang beautifully,  parents joined in lustily – well most of them.

We had keyboard accompaniment (yours truly stumbling through a few carols, out in the cold with freezing fingers – well, that’s my excuse for the wrong notes!)

There were home made mince pies, ginger biscuits, child made decorations as gifts for each family, hot chocolate and cakes.

And last but not least – a snow machine! (see picture) mind you, looking at the forecast today, I suspect we might have the real thing for the final event this afternoon!

Each carol concert has truly been a winter wonderland.  Merry Christmas everybody.

The conductor played a carrot!

Preschoolers from all 5 Paint Pots (and their teddies) descended on Central Hall for a musical treat. We came by bus, car or foot. We sat down in the huge main hall and waited – ever so quietly. The Kings Chamber Orchestra walked into the hall from the back, playing their instruments – violins, a viola, cellos and a double bass. The music was beautiful. We galloped our teddies to the music; we conducted 2,3 and 4 beats to the bar with our arms; we closed our eyes and drifted off to sleep to a very dreamy tune (some of the grown ups needed a prod to wake up!) ; we batted balloons; we shouted yee-hah! very loudly and we danced round on tippy toes.

Then the conductor took out a very big knife, a chopping board, a drill and – a carrot! He chopped both ends off the carrot, drilled a hole down the middle, drilled finger holes, stuck a reed in one end and then played this unusual instrument accompanied by the orchestra, 2 mexican hunting horns and a vuvuzela!

We all sat transfixed for a whole hour. We were really good on the way home, pointing out buses, diggers and Christmas lights.

What a fantastic afternoon!


We woke to lots of it this morning – ‘over the ground was a blanket of white’. I had my first staff phone call at 5.55 – Are we open today? Well let’s all have a go and see if we can make it in.

Fast Forward 3 hours and miraculously 4 out of 5 nurseries are staffed. At one, there are the same numbers of staff as children, at another, staff outnumber children! 1 intrepid childcarer managed to get in from the other side of Romsey – it helped that her partner drives a 4 x 4 Jeep. Another member of staff walked in for 2 hours!  Meanwhile 541 schools in Hampshire and the Isel of Wight did not open today. Well done Paint Pots!!

I shovelled snow – lots of it. I stopped to throw snowballs at the window – much to the delight of the screaming children within.       

There were several attempts at snowmen but the snow was very powdery.

Despite the “crisis” conditions, it was a day of everyone pulling together and a day of much fun for all the staff and children. It was wonderful to see some children have their first real experience of snow – nervousness giving way to inquisitiveness and then downright pleasure at jumping in it, throwing it, feeling it, squashing it, running through it.

What a great day!