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Pilling Park Nursery

About Pilling Park Nursery

Its location within Pilling Park Community Centre puts this nursery at the heart of a busy local community in a setting which backs onto a park, with woodland beyond. Strong links have been established with the nearby Lionwood Infant & Nursery School, to ensure that children are well prepared when the time comes for their transition to school life.

The team, Katherine Gaskin (Manager) and Sasha Dyker, take full advantage of the nursery’s parkside location, taking the children out on nature trails and woodland walks to support the children's understanding and knowledge of the world around them. There are also plans to set up a forest school in the future.



Parkside Location
The nursery adjoins Pilling Park, with woodland beyond

Inspired by the positive outcomes seen at sister nursery Little People’s Montessori in Norwich, Pilling uses some of its methods as a base for learning. Katherine says:

“We have adopted a ‘work cycle’ for more focused learning, using a ‘dip-in, dip-out’ approach to enable children to choose the activities they would like to engage in, so that we encourage independent decision making. Although principally child-led, we support the children's learning with some adult-led activities, such as cooking, modelling or mark making. Seasonal themes and cultural celebrations are used to introduce the children to the cycles of nature, other countries and different ways of life, whilst also helping to develop their core literacy and numeracy skills.”



Hedgehog Room
Hedgehog Room

Activities are linked to termly themes or special calendar events. For example theme-based activities in the room are supported by time exploring the woods outside to search for leaves and acorns to make firework collages in the Autumn.

During a recent cooking session the children made biscuits and jam tarts for their parents at the Halloween Stay & Play. A fruit bowl is laid out at 10.00am for the children to help themselves when they feel hungry. They are encouraged to pour their own drinks and to peel and cut up their own fruit, as seen in the book The Hungry Caterpillar.



Autumn/Winter Themes
Recent Nursery Themes

Practioner-led activities tend to have an educational emphasis, such as science experiments or painting from nature - such as real daffodils. Other new activities this term have included building with blocks, a music wall and creating alphabet logs.

This year the nursery was invited to take part in the Magic Acorns’ ‘Near and Far’ project. Magic Acorns (formerly Acorn East) is a network of specialists in Early Years arts, who bring together artists, educators and young children in collaborative creative processes and installations. The Near and Far project follows several years of pioneering work in early years arts and music across GYCT’s nurseries and Sure Start Children’s Centres, researching and recording the impact of music and arts on children’s early development and offering creative training opportunities for Early Years Practitioners. The project at Pilling Park culminated in a magical arts and music installation involving artists, staff and children, at Norwich Castle Museum.



Magic Acorns at Norwich Castle
Magic Acorns Installation at Norwich Castle

The nursery currently has 19 places for children aged 2 to 5 years in its main Hedgehog Room, but this will increase to 20 places with the opening of an additional small nurture room. Opening hours are 9am to 12 noon, Monday to Friday during term time, but this will increase to include an afternoon 1-4pm session as soon as the nursery starts to fill up.

If you would like to find out more about Pilling Park Nursery please contact Katherine Gaskin, Nursery Manager:
T: 01603 304955 E: katherine-gaskin@gyctrust.co.uk


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