Barbour Nursery School is a bright, purpose built and modern building, situated on a spacious south facing site which borders the Lagan Valley Regional Park. A particular feature of the school is its extensive and well secured outdoor play area which, in addition to a wide range of climbing apparatus, includes a vehicle circuit, role play cottage, a sand house, log seating, willow tunnels, wooden train, fruit trees, raised vegetable beds, construction play area and a gardening area. Funding from “The Big Lottery” has provided an additional landscaped “Butterfly Garden” that includes a challenging mini assault course, pond, forest den and wild meadow area. A large indoor multi-purpose play room with safety surfacing is a further tremendous asset of the school as well as a “Family Room”. The school’s vast range of equipment and play materials, both indoors and outdoors, provides stimulating educational opportunities for young children.
The maximum enrolment number is 52 full-time places split into two classes of 26, with the session time being from 9:00am to 1:30pm. The school is staffed by a Principal teacher, one assistant teacher and two nursery assistants in each classroom. The Board of Governors at the school are very conscientious and deeply committed to the provision of high quality nursery education. We aim to integrate children from all religious and cultural backgrounds.
The aim of the Nursery is to work in close partnership with parents to provide a happy, relaxed environment where children feel secure and parents’ input is valued. The curriculum is carefully planned by an experienced, enthusiastic and dedicated staff who gently support and extend every pupil through progressive play and learning to maximise intellectual, social, emotional and physical development to ensure that they may reach their full potential. The Nursery compliments the curriculum through organised trips and regularly welcoming relevant visitors, experts and performers to the school.
The most recent, very successful Department of Education ETI Inspection highlighted the communication with parents and the promotion of language development as particular strengths of the school. Inspectors observed that “the quality of the staff’s involvement with the children is consistently of a very high standard”. In the past few years the school has been awarded the South Eastern Area “Best Kept Small School” prize, the Eco-Schools Green Flag, “Best Nursery School” award as well as the Action Cancer Gold award for our endeavours in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Children are continually involved in planting, growing, harvesting, cooking our produce and recycling within the grounds.
Each child attending the school is viewed as unique, with his/her own particular circumstances, interests and abilities. The staff recognise and respect the vast amount of learning which takes place in the child’s home and seek to build upon and extend these experiences, with much attention being paid to meeting individual needs. There is ongoing communication with parents, both on a daily basis and at information sessions and parent/teacher interviews throughout the year. Parents are welcome in the Nursery school and are encouraged to come into the playroom at the beginning and end of each session and for various activities throughout the year.
At all times staff strive to create a safe, calm and relaxed atmosphere where children feel secure, accepted and loved and where they can grow in confidence, extend their knowledge, deepen their understanding and acquire acceptable attitudes and values.