Ipswich nursery rated as 'outstanding' by inspectors

Emma White, who owns Small World Kindergarten in Ipswich, is opening a new nursery at Kersey Mill near Hadleigh.

Emma White has led Small World Kindergarten to an outstanding Ofsted rating for the second time - Credit: Ross Dean

Ipswich nursery Small World Kindergarten has been awarded an "outstanding" rating in all categories by the education regulator Ofsted. 

Owner Emma White's "high expectations" saw her "work tirelessly" throughout the pandemic so children could have the same high educational standards, Ofsted said in its report. 

Sensitive to children cut off from friends and families, the Small World Kindergarten team also organised Covid-19 compliant in-house birthday parties.

"We did have to cut them up their piece of cake and put a candle in it so they could blow," Mrs White. "We couldn't have them blowing all over the cake."

The report, released in May, noted the nursery's sympathy with families during this time. It is the second time Mrs White's work has been rated as outstanding. 

It added: "Children beam with pride as staff acknowledge their achievements such as counting and identifying numbers, reading simple words, and writing their name.

"Staff continue to challenge the most able children. They skilfully question them so they have time to think about the answers and to solve their own problems.

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"All children make substantial and sustained progress throughout their time at the setting."

Mrs White added that the last year has been "difficult" but she is glad to have got better at giving low-sugar, vegetarian opens and fresh food to its one to four-year-olds. 

"There's been a huge increase in vegetarian children, as during lockdown parents had time to check the choices and make new decisions," she said.

Emma White, pictured with her husband and son, is opening a new nursery called 'Woodlands Nursery' at Kersey Mill

Emma White and family - Credit: Rob Sambrook Photography

"We are environmentally friendly. We make all the meals ourselves and have fresh fruit delivered.

"We have biodegradable nappies and everything we have tried to think about before buying it."

It was not all smooth sailing as she hoped to be a full Montessori - a method of education that emphasises independence -  but did not have local teachers trained in this way when she took it over from the former owner in 2014. 

"Now all staff are Montessori teachers," she said. "As when a new nursery opened in Ipswich, the old staff left and I was able to hire some more which was not easy."

She added her staff - a total of 11, including herself and a student - work "one-to-one" and really try to "forward the interest" of the kids. 

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