We are a traditional nursery school with a wonderful team of teachers and assistants who believe firmly in instilling confidence, resilience and independence in each and every child.

The children are taught through a combination of traditional teaching and aspects of Montessori that ensure they learn at their own pace and that their introduction to schooling is fun and enjoyable.

The Team

Caroline
Joint Head

Caroline Henson has been a teacher at The Willow since 2001. She is a trained Montessori teacher and worked at Hill House School in Knightsbridge for sixteen years. Caroline teaches the older children and prepares them for their transition to big school by developing their language and number skills. Caroline has three children of her own and is extremely experienced in all areas of teaching at The Willow.

Sarah
Joint Head/SENDCO

Sarah has worked at The Willow since 2014. Since beginning at the school as a teacher she has gradually progressed to joint head and Special Educational Needs Coordinator. She is qualified to NVQ Level 3 and is passionate about continuously looking for new opportunities in learning for the children.   She has two children of her own at secondary school and previously ran her own childcare business.

Lulu
Teacher and RULER Programme Leader

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Teresa
Teacher

Vanya
Teacher

Tess
Teacher

Amandais the Secretary at The Willow and is repsonsible for Registration & Admissions. She has worked at The Willow since 2011 but as an erstwhile Willow parent has plenty of experience from both sides of the fence. Amanda is available throughout the school day in order to answer any queries relating to the school or any aspect of your child’s welfare.

Malou
Teaching Assistant

Eglantine
Teaching Assistant

Bea
Teaching Assistant

Amanda
School Secretary

Learning

We follow the EYFS 7 areas of learning which you can find here, and all our activities throughout the day will be linked to these.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning and the EYFS 7 Areas of Learning

These are interconnected. Describing HOW a child learns not WHAT they learn:

  • The Willow Nursery encourages children to explore their learning environment on their own or with a skillful teacher who is trained to give guidance or intervene.
  •  The children are encouraged to use their imagination to play, investigate and explore surroundings using a vast range of open- ended resources.
  • Seeing the children as active learners we stimulate their learning by tuning into their interests and planning round them which then helps map out ‘next steps’.
  • Guided with open-ended questions where necessary, the children should think and create critically – asking questions and developing their problem solving skills.

EYFS Seven Areas of Learning

Communication and Language

The way your child listens and understands what is being said is key to developing vocabulary and speech. Children do this by listening, watching and imitating, joining in with rhymes, stories and games using sounds and words.

Personal and Social Development

Developing a wide range of social skills will give your child the confidence to manage their feelings and behaviour, make friends, share and take turns. We create a fun, vibrant environment where their personal, social and emotional development thrives.

Physical Development

Developing gross motor skills through activities that improve coordination, control and movement and fine motor skills such as holding a pencil or scissors, using tweezers or moulding clay.

Literacy

Introducing letters through repetitive activities and phonetic schemes as early as possible, your child learns to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.

Mathematics

Learning mathematics through fun by understanding shape, space, measures, numbers and problem and puzzle solving. Learning at their own pace through one-to-one teaching and group projects and regularly assessed.

Expressive Art and Design

Creativity in art, craft, singing, dancing, making music, cooking and imaginative play is hugely important to the children’s day whether it is structured activity or messy play.

Understanding the World

Visiting our local community – the park, the fire station, museums, the dry cleaners – is how your children begin to understand the world around them. We also invite friends and family in to share their stories whether they are florists, bee keepers, soldiers, designers or scuba divers!

Outdoor Learning

We are lucky to have a large outdoor area with wonderful things on offer for the children to play and engage with.

Using the experiences and knowledge of The Willow On The Farm Nursery School in Oxfordshire, we try to encompass elements of Forest School learning into all the children’s activities.

Increasingly our afternoon sessions will be more outdoor based and may involve outings to local parks to search for bugs, explore our trees and examine nature.

The children love being outside and with such a good outdoor space we have used it to create new areas for them to play in.  We have a new mud kitchen for getting hands dirty and playing investigative games, a fabulous ‘boat sand-pit’, flower beds for planting and an undercover area with mirrors and multi-surface boards for understanding about materials.

We believe in the adage that ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing’ and aim for the children to be outdoors as much as possible.