Case Study: Shenley Fields Daycare and Nursery School

Helping young children to feel empowered

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At this nursery children know their voice can make a difference.

Sallyanne Bromley​, Senior Nursery Manager and RRSA Lead at Shenley Fields Daycare and Nursery, discusses how children are valued, included and respected in this setting. 

A children’s steering group at the centre of decision-making

At Shenley Fields Daycare and Nursery School being a Rights Respecting School supports the children to feel more valued and respected, and more confident in expressing their thoughts, feelings and ideas.

The children’s steering group is at the centre of the decision-making process and all of the children in the school are consulted.  They even have their own lanyards they wear to meetings. The groups planning format has been developed to reflect how children learn about their rights and how children’s rights are embedded. The planning shows the rights respecting activities and articles that are being focused on. The steering group meets weekly and the children from the steering group feedback to their peers at family group times.

The staff at Shenley Fields have developed our own age-appropriate questionnaire (adapted from the original UNICEF questionnaire) for the children at Shenley Fields (age 3 months to 4 years). The questions have been simplified so children are able to understand what they are being asked and are able to give us feedback in their own words. This helps us to measure the impact of teaching and learning of children’s rights at nursery.

Our adult steering group includes parents, a nursery school governor and staff members and they meet once a term. The adult steering group also meets with our Little Acorns steering group to share ideas and make decisions together.

The power to change things through voice

At Shenley Fields Article 12 is embedded in our practice. The children are listened to and they know that they have the power to change things with their thoughts, ideas, opinions and voices. The teaching and learning of children’s rights is embedded in our practice and this makes the children at Shenley Fields feel valued and supported and they enjoy their time at nursery.

Shenley Fields entered the Votes For Schools Students Voice Awards. The children and families campaigned because they are not able to access an NHS dental practice. The children received a Special Mention Certificate. This congratulated the children on “Never being too young to use your voice”. Shenley Fields were the youngest children to ever enter the Students Voice Awards.

Helping children feel empowered

The principles and articles have become inextricably linked and embedded over time to our ethos, policies, curriculum planning, language, agenda items in meetings and in our forward planning for the continuing development of the school.

It’s important for children to feel empowered. It has taken time for us to develop our children’s steering group and to get it right with such young children. The children know that their voices are heard and that they can make a difference.

They feel important when they put on their steering group lanyards and go to the designated area for their steering group meetings. The children produce an agenda for their meetings and record their ideas and reflect on their right respecting learning in large floor books. The children that form the steering group feedback from the meetings to all their peers during family group times, supported by their key person.

School context: At Shenley Fields Daycare and Nursery School there are 172 children on roll aged 3 months to 4 years. 17% of children are eligible for Pupil Premium and free school meals. There are 4 children that have have an EHCP and 25% of the cohort are on the SEND register. 17% of the children have EAL and there are 11 different languages spoken. The nursery is graded by OFSTED as Outstanding .

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