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  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 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.

Miranda
Teacher

Miranda joins us from Summer Fields Prep School in Oxford where she was a Learning Support Assistant for 10 years. She is Montessori trained and in fact did her training with Caroline and also does tutoring in her spare time. Miranda is a mother to three grown up children.

Teresa
Teacher

Teresa has had over 19 years experience working with young children. She has an NNEB (nursery nurse diploma), Montessori Diploma- Nursery Foundation teaching and a Batchelor of Education degree. She has worked in a variety of different schools and worked overseas for a few years as an English governess. She also taught in Early Years learning in Dubai, UAE and Oman gaining valuable experience. She has been at The Willow since January 2019 and is loving being part of the team here!

Eglantine
Teacher

Eglantine started as a Nursery Assistant in 2017 and she has now successfully completed her Level 3 Childcare Training. Previously she studied at the Fine Art School of Paris where she completed her Master’s degree. She has run many workshops for children in art centres and museums in France.

Tess
Teacher

Tess graduated from her PGCE in 2008 and began working as a reception teacher at Eridge House (now Parsons Green Prep) in 2009 before moving to Sydney where she taught at an independent boys school in the Eastern Suburbs. On her return from Australia she worked as a private chef and PA for a family in London before joining The Willow in 2015.

Kate
Nursery Assistant

Kate joined us in 2019 as a Nursery Assistant and helps our youngest children to settle in. She a mother of one.

Malou
Nursery Assistant

Malou has worked at The Willow since 2015. Before this she worked as a full time live-in nanny for a Willow family for 10 years. She has two children of her own. Malou is one of our nursery assistants and a vital part of The Willow team.

Sophia
Nursery Assistant

Sophia is originally from China and tutors local children in Mandarin. She joined us in 2020 as a Nursery Assistant helping with the younger children.

Kirsty Ayling

Office Manager and Registrar

Kirsty joined us in 2020 having been with The Willow as a parent since 2013 as her three children all attended. Previously she worked in television and lived in Australia for a number of years.

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.