Learning with Laughter
Laughter is a sound that permeates Bertie's;
it is the heart beat of the nursery. What better place then for young children as a spoonful of laughter undoubtedly helps health, wellbeing and learning.
… the research evidence is everywhere.For example Rana Esseily (2015) conducted her research on babies as young as 18 months old. She found laughter enhances ‘attention, motivation, perception,memory and learning’.
At Bertie’s we strive to create a community that surrounds the young children with care, kindness and support. We do all we can to develop a partnership with families that together provides young children with consistency, confidence and comfort. We disregard negativity and instead unstintingly promote self-esteem and self-belief.
The staff at Bertie’s are very carefully selected. They must exude pleasure, even joy at looking after young children. They must laugh and enjoy their work. Within the idyllic setting their primary aim is however, to ensure all the children are happy, very happy. Inevitably this means keeping families well informed. Inevitably this means listening and acting upon regular feedback from families.
It is wonderful to hear children laughing; it is infectious, compelling, enchanting. Laughter fills our corridors … and our children learn and feel better as a result.
'Tell the truth, sing with passion,work with laughter, love with heart - cause that's all that matters in the end.' Kris Kristofferson
Babies (From 6 months to about 12 months)
At Bertie’s we call our babies Mini Movers and we take a maximum of nine babies.
Each of the three Care Workers looks after a maximum of three babies. Most importantly they fully appreciate the extraordinary trust families place in them to look after their treasured children and they delight in sharing special moments with each baby and laughing together in joyous fun. These moments are essentially recorded and shared with parents through our parent portal.
Each baby is nurtured with regard to an individual Care Plan agreed and regularly reviewed with parents. The warm,comfortable room is home from home. Beautifully, sensitively equipped and displayed it entices babies to relax but simultaneously to be curious and inquisitive. Sensory activities abound, giggles reverberate whilst some gently sleep in ignorance in the lovely cot room. Fresh air vital to their growth, the young children are taken on regular walks in the parkland and they often spend time in the play area.
Under Twos (From 12 months to about 24 months)
Our Mini Movers have now become Under Twos or Twinkle Toes.
Each Key Carer continues to support 3 key children in Twinkle Toes and they play an integral part in guiding and supporting each young child’s development in the Early Years Curriculum.
Verbal communication is increasingly encouraged, physical challenges are extended. Curiosity is constantly stimulated and praise is used in abundance. Activities are planned around each child's interests ensuring they experience the full range of developmental skills and attitudes.
Importantly the foundation interpersonal attitudes of care, kindness and respect are also gently laid.
Drawing, building, dressing up, waterplay, …..but story time is the great favourite, the Key Carers taking turns to read and act out stories, each child being encouraged to partake. The extensive outdoor leaning area is used every day and the young children are introduced to amongst other things the neighbouring farm, country walks and cooking.
Over Twos (From 24 months to rising 3s)
Our Twinkle Toes have now become Over Twos or Tweenies.
Each Key Carer supports the close development of 4 children in our Tweenies Room.
At this stage of development a delicate balance between adult led and child initiated learning is carefully established.The young children are encouraged to be creative in their play but simultaneously they are introduced to new activities, new experiences that extend their interest and curiosity.
Confidence continues to be built through reassurance and positive reinforcement. Good manners are expected. Every child’s success is celebrated, indeed each child in Tweenie's celebrates their third birthday with friends and Key Carers; songs, dancing and birthday cake, made especially for them by our lovely chef, are in abundance. A real sense of camaraderie and community is built through sharing and thoughtful consideration of others.
The double doors of Tweenie's open straight out to the stunning, extensive playground area, part of which is undercover and sheltered from the elements. This beautiful area is surrounded by lovely woodland and fields, indeed there can be few nurseries from which deer, fox and hare are regularly sighted. More rarely the elephants, giraffes and rhinos of Noah’s Ark Farm Zoo can also be seen. Forest School, cooking and farm walks are all a regular part of the week.
Pre-School (For the rising 4s)
Our Pre-School children are known as Jumping Beans and to ensure their energy and curiosity are suitably directed qualified teachers look after the children in this room. In preparation for moving to the more formal environment of school and the Reception Classes, they complete the Early Years Profile which started in the Mini Movers Room. The aim is to make sure each child is equipped to learn as they enter school.
At this stage each child's communication skills are being honed, for example they are encouraged to carefully listen and to share in turn thoughts and views. Phonics sessions using in part the smart board are gently introduced. Games, songs and activities are inadvertently used to reinforce sounds in a fun, interactive manner. Care, kindness and respect remain essential qualities of the children, good manners are consolidated to become the unaffected norm. Perseverance is praised, resilience is commended and disappointment approved. Essentially laughter remains the stable diet of each day.
We use some of the many facilities at The Downs Preparatory School (DPS) to prepare the young children for their transition to school. Amongst others the magical Tree house, Pets Corner and the larger Forest School are used to extend each child's experiences. The shrieks of joy and laughter quickly confirm their joy of searching the woods, drinking hot chocolate, collecting the fresh eggs, walking across the rope bridge to the Tree House – the home of the school’s wizard! The children also visit the Reception Classes for songs and story time.
Miss Heather Fulton
Head of Bertie’s
I have always been involved with teaching, right from an early age I was teaching my dolls, using my chalk board and giving out stars to the dolls and in my class. I qualified in New Zealand and taught there for 7 very happy years and then the travel bug hit me and I ventured off to explore London. I continued travelling for a year and met lots of my distant relatives. I was then blessed with teaching in 3 fabulous schools in Dulwich to further my career over the next 29 years, including becoming a school inspector! Bertie’s and the Downs School are my focus now and I feel very lucky to be a part of this Community, to support the development of each child and lead the staff team in continuing Bertie’s successful start.
Miss Claire Corlett
Deputy Head of Bertie’s
I previously worked at The Downs School for a year as a teaching assistant. Before this I was working as a Deputy at a pre-school for 5 years. I love working with children of this age as no two days are the same.You can be sailing a pirate ship, hunting for fairies and building a submarine all in one day. It has been truly wonderful to be part of Bertie’s from the very beginning, and to watch it grow and develop.
Mrs Leslie Grant-Harding
Deputy Head and Mini Movers Room Leader
Along with being newly appointed as one of the Deputy Heads at Bertie’s, I also manage and work with the Mini Movers team in the Baby Room. Having previously worked at the Downs School for 8 years ranging from Reception age to Year 3, I graduated from Bath Spa University with a Foundation Degree in Education Studies (Foundation age to Secondary School level).I am passionate about nurturing children’s independence, skills, creativity,imagination and characteristics of effective learning. I have a great love of art and design, and colour plays a huge part in my everyday life.
Ms Claire Beaumont- Wraith
I joined Bertie’s at the beginning of 2019 and immediately loved how welcoming and friendly everyone is. I will be opening the door each morning and be on hand to help with any questions or queries to do with the administrative side of your child’s life at nursery.
I have worked in the early years and education sector for over ten years. I also have a toddler, so have a great understanding of what daily life is like with a small person. I’m a huge fan of the outdoors – playing with my daughter in the garden, looking after our chickens and going on mini-adventures!
Mrs Louise Dougal
From a young age I wanted to be a teacher but it was after my degree in Education and English when I spent some time working in Children's Centres that I fell in love with early years and subsequently changed my PGCE route (QTS) from general Primary (5-11) to Early Years (3-7).
Since qualifying I have taught in both private nurseries and in a local Primary school and although I gained my Early Years Professional Status which required me to develop my practice and knowledge of 0-5s, Pre-school is my favourite age to teach! I am passionate about developing independence and supporting children's learning through play and I am constantly amazed at seeing the world through their eyes of curiosity and wonder.
As a trained Forest School Leader I believe outdoor learning can make a significant difference to children's self-esteem and wellbeing and absolutely love watching children explore and learn in a natural environment. I am delighted to be part of the Bertie's team as it provides a wonderful setting for children to grow and develop as happy, confident learners.
In my spare time I enjoy reading and spending time with friends and I love making memories with my four children
Miss Zoe Insley
I have always wanted to teach! After completing my undergraduate in Biological Sciences and Education at the University of London. I went to study for my PGCE at Bath Spa University. Since then I have taught Reception up to Year 6 in various London schools, as well as training to become a children’s Yoga instructor.
In my spare time I like to go for dog walks at the beach, practice Yoga and go for dinner with friends.
Mrs Kirsty Chapple
Tweenies Room Leader
I have always enjoyed working with children and I have a wide experience of working in early years. After finishing my A-levels at school, I went and completed my degree in Early Childhood Studies at Plymouth University.I have always lived locally and when I finished my degree moved back to North Somerset to start working as a Deputy Room Leader at a nursery in Portishead. I have also spent time working at a church in Bristol as a Children’s Family and Youth worker.
My love for education in the early years continues to grow and I strive to promote a positive start in every child’s life and foster a ‘can do’ attitude in children in my care.
I am married and in my spare time I enjoy baking, cooking, countryside walks and going out for coffee with friends and family.
Ms Cathy Barnes
Mini Mover Key Carer
With over 23 years’ experience as an NNEB nursery nurse and a background in nursing, over the years I have worked on maternity wards and neonatal intensive care units. I have always returned to a nursery-based environment to build and nurture relationships with the babies in my care. I am passionate about working in partnership with their parents.
Miss Megan Stephans
Nursery key Carer
From a young age I have always wanted to work with children. After completing A-Levels, I went on to do my Level 2 Apprenticeship in Childcare at a local nursery and I am now completing the end of my Level 3 Early Years Educator Course.
I am passionate in supporting children to develop and flourish in their early years. I love being outdoors exploring the countryside, going for walks and spending time with my family.
Miss K Cole
Nursery key Carer
Miss Kate Fairburn
Jumping Beans Room Leader / Key Carer
BA (Hons) Educational Studies and Early Childhood
I have always wanted to work with children since I was little. Having grown up in a big family I have always been surrounded by noise, laughter and happiness, and hope to bring that to Bertie’s. In my free time, I enjoy going on walks and visiting lots of new places. I also like sewing and making my own clothes, being creative and learning about the world around us.
Ms Harriet Glover
Tweenies Key Carer
I am 21 years old and live locally with my parents. I started working in early years at 17 years old in a nursery. A couple of years later I moved to Greece and spent 7 months working in a Kids Club. I then moved to York and continued working in a nursery. I began studying a degree in early years, which I am currently finishing.
I am very sociable and enjoy spending time with my family and friends. In my spare time I enjoy going to the gym with my mum.
Miss Emily Lewis
Twinkle Toes Key Carer
Since gaining my qualifications 8 years ago, I have worked in a range of childcare settings. I have worked abroad as a children’s holiday rep, as well as travelling to Spain to teach 5 year olds English.
As a practitioner, I feel I give my heart to my job and love getting to know my families too; showing I care about all aspects of their life and development.
Mrs Louise Millar
Tweenies Key Carer
I have been married for 14 years this year with two sons who are 12 and 10. From school I went into hairdressing; starting my own mobile hairdressing company at 19 years old. When I had my children, my life revolved around them. I still did hairdressing but enjoyed spending time with my boys at school. I volunteered on school trips and helped with reading in classes. This turned into becoming a lunch-lady, which I loved! Alongside this, I began private home care for the elderly and vulnerable. Knowing I was able to help and support people living at home independently felt great.
In 2015 my family fostered 8 week old twins for 9 months. This was the most rewarding thing I have ever done and cemented the fact I wanted to further my career in childcare. Once we had finished fostering, I did a Level 3 CACHE supporting a teacher in the classroom and started my journey at Bertie’s.
Mrs Jenny Parry
Twinkle Toes Key Carer
BA (Hons)Hellenic and Roman Studies, EDI Level 3 Diploma for Children and Young People’s Workforce. I have a certificate in Sign language and have worked as Nursery Key Worker at Tockington Manor School.
I am married with two grown up children and live locally to the area. I have been working in childcare for 7 and a half years and I am passionate about the Early Years. I am an active member of the National trust and spend weekends exploring the countryside.
Twinkle Toes Room Leader
I have worked in the Early Years Sector for 10 years with children aged 0-11 years. I have predominantly worked in nurseries,but also spent a year working abroad as a Kids Rep.
My favourite part of the day at Bertie’s is creative and tactile play from painting, getting messy with jelly to leading one of our well loved ‘sticky kids’ dancing and singing time.
I am a mother to 2 young boys and I have been in childcare for about 5 years, always based in nursery settings. I enjoy long walks which usually end up in a coffee shop and also camping trips with friends and family. I strive to help babies and young children grow and develop!
Mrs Jo Purnell
I joined Bertie’s in September 2018 having previously been the Catering Manager at Backwell Junior School for five years. I have been in the catering industry for over 30 years and have worked in many different sectors from owning my own business to managing a busy restaurant in Alice Springs and beautiful Queensland Australia where I lived for six years.
As someone who is passionate about food, I love being able to use top quality local produce to provide the Bertie’s lunches for the children and staff.
In my spare time, I love to go walking, read and spend time with friends and family and of course, cook!
I was born in Cornwall but at 8 weeks old I was delivered to The Downs Preparatory School wearing a big green bow as a special birthday surprise. I am quite an excitable chap that adores children. I am told nevertheless that I have to manage my tail more carefully as there is the danger that I will knock little people down.
I have a long pedigree and my Dad was an expert retriever; thankfully however, I have not been sent away to school as it is obvious I like balls much more than pheasants; I also like treats! I am happy around anyone and so if you need a cuddle, I am your dog!