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We are delighted to announce that Natalie Jones, Manager and the team at Kidzrus Swinton Forest School and Nursery have been shortlisted for the prestigious National NMT Awards in the Parent Engagement Category. What an honour and the best and biggest event in the early years calendar, it’s such a privilege to be selected as finalist and one which we are extremely proud to promote.  We work tirelessly with our lovely parents and have amazing partnerships for the well-being of all our children.  

The winners are to be announced at a gala dinner at The Platinum Suite, Excel Centre, London on Saturday, 25 November, and we are hopeful that our name goes on the trophy!

So, what exactly have Natalie and her inspirational team been up to and why have they been shortlisted?

We are of the view that parents are the mainstay of our community and advocate close and positive engagement from initial inquiry onwards.   Natalie advocates open door management and incorporates parental opinion and suggestions into our Quality Improvement Programme and implements suggestions to strengthen daily practice via ‘You Said – We did!’ such as Parental First Aid, Get Up & Grow and a Clothes and Toy Swap Bonanza.

Through Natalie’s inspirational leadership we have extended monthly sessions to support parenting and children’s development, health, and wellbeing; recent examples being Weaning, Safe Sleeps, Oral Health, Brilliant Babies, Behaviour Management and Storytelling, and each session has received favourable feedback.

Our parents have a strong presence within the setting and support our curriculum by reading to children, playing music, and singing, participating in arts and crafts activities, talking about their varied job roles, and playing the role of Santa.

We have been pleased to organise parental social events via Kidzrus Back to Business with social networking, stay and play as well as Cheese n Chatter allowing parents to network and promote their own unique merchandise whilst getting to know each other.  Through these sessions our children have been able to form strong relationships with each other extending out of the setting, and frequently share social time together on play dates and life enriching family multi-cultural and faith events and celebrations.

At Kidzrus we recognise that parents are our children’s first teacher, informing us of their diverse and ever-changing needs and interests, fascinations, and dispositions to learn.  Our highly qualifies and experienced team members use that information in planning an innovative curriculum focused on individuals that affords them opportunity to progress quicker.  We work closely together to reinforce positive and independent routines that incorporate behaviour strategies working towards school transitions such as healthy eating, personal hygiene, and toileting and alongside this we have devised a range of home learning packs that extend learning in all areas to meet their ever-changing needs and interests.

Natalie and her team adopt a fully integrated, whole setting approach to ensure consistency in delivery of learning opportunities as well as access to information, support and facilities for our parents and carers.  They are aware that some find it difficult to engage or participate due to external commitments and have made great efforts to reverse trend.  They have successfully planned and delivered Dad and Significant Male sessions outside making use of our amazing Forest School facilities to give an insight into their children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing.  This has allowed Dads n Co to form male focused friendships and relationships with each other via ‘hands on’ activities.  They have arranged inter-generational sessions that allow extended family members to become aware of our work as we see them as being vital members with many positive skills and attributes and we offer them a very warm welcome.

Natalie and the Swinton Forest School and Nursery team offer ‘every child – every chance’ to enjoy innovative and exciting learning opportunities and experiences, using our outstanding forest school and nursery facilities to reach their true potential.  We aim to continually review and refresh our provision and can only do that with parental input and engagement; so we constantly request that you share with us what makes your child tick, what their interests and fascinations are, what you have been up to at weekend and on holiday.  We are also aware that babies don’t come with an instruction manual, and often you as parents need some support and guidance.  Please keep us informed of any challenges that you are facing as we can proffer information, guidance and support sessions that may give you just what you are looking for.  We have lots of exciting things planned for our children, parents, and families soon, so please keep an eye out for announcements on our communication portals and social media.

We’ll keep you posted on the awards evening and wish all the finalist the very best of luck.

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