St Bon’s Early Years, Bishopston: a local dad’s review

Today on Bishopston Mum is a dad’s review of St Bonaventure’s Early Years, a pre-school for children aged 3 – 4 which is located on Egerton Road in Bishopston. St Bon’s Early Years has an Ofsted rating of 1: ‘Outstanding’. 

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As a parent of two grown up children who have been through the education system to university level and as a Senior Lecturer within a university I recognise the importance of ensuring a successful foundation upon which school learning can begin. Our daughter Florence has attended a number of different nursery provisions due to work re-location and I can safely say that St. Bonaventure’s Early Years is by far the best.

The staff demonstrated their experience and caring attitudes from the moment that Florence joined and instantly made Florence and ourselves feel part of their community. We have previously experienced inconsistent communication at other nurseries but St. Bonaventure’s  has been very impressive in this respect with outstanding, consistent, regular, friendly and clear communication via email, newsletters and regular parent meetings.

The environment is light, always clean and well organized and extremely safe. The play area seems to fulfill all of the children’s needs and unusually for an urban school, well away from traffic fumes and noise. A tented roof also allows this space to be used even when it is raining.

Each day is well mapped out and allows freedom to explore different areas of play as well as important basic learning. Each member of staff seems to bring their own personal experiences to this and although Florence really likes her key worker she has friendly with all members of staff.

There is a real emphasis on getting outside with weekly tennis sessions and a small gardening area. Parents are encouraged to go in and spend time sharing there skills and experiences with the children and they have visitors who bring in storytelling experiences through action and drama. This parent engagement and support was most clearly seen in the fantastic turn out for the nativity play.

The simple school uniform has really helped Florence understand the progression from nursery to pre-school to reception class and the fact that the St.Bonaventure’s Junior School Reception class is next to Early Years has removed any fear she may have of starting school. From a parent perspective it is also great to receive clear and easy to understand monthly statements outlining the fees.

Unfortunately, St.Bonaventure’s does not offer a hot lunch but this has not proved to be a problem as Florence can take soup or hot food in a flask if the weather is too cold for sandwiches or salads. This is really the only negative (if it is a negative) I can find with St. Bon’s Early Years, its just received yet another Outstanding Ofsted report and I completely understand why!

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