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Impact21st April 2022

Added progress in Early Years thanks to Ark Start

Ark Start nurseries create nurturing environments that emphasise creativity, and independence.

When children come to us from Ark Start… Instantly you can tell the difference.

Reception Class Teacher Ark John Archer Primary Academy

Ark Start was set up by a group of qualified teachers passionate about ensuring that every child has access to an excellent early years education and that families have access to flexible and affordable childcare.

Around half of children nationally aren’t ‘school ready’ by age five. This creates an attainment gap from the start of school which, for many, will never close. Quality nurseries can change this.

A reception class teacher at Ark John Archer Primary Academy, which houses an Ark Start nursery on site, explains the difference that Ark Start is making for their pupils…

“In Reception we have to start where the children are, based on their prior experiences, what they’ve seen and heard. If they haven’t had much exposure to the world around them, they haven’t been going to the library or going to the park, seeing the seasons change, they don’t develop that vocabulary. It makes our job a lot harder.

“When children come to us from Ark Start, I know they’ve had a solid grounding. They know the relationship between adult and child. They know that school is all about learning, sharing your work with your teacher, because they’ve had that time at Ark Start where their moments are cherished and celebrated.

“I know they’ve been watching the stars at night, they’ve been observing changes in the park, they’ve had their parents come to see them in their classrooms. Verbally, they’re so much more confident with sharing their opinions, sharing their needs. Instantly you can tell the difference.

“When children haven’t had that exposure you have to take a few steps back. They come in carrying a lot of emotions, but they don’t have the vocabulary to describe what they’re feeling. We have to work a lot more with sharing, social skills, taking turns. They take a lot longer to settle into school.

“Many of our parents have to deal with multiple problems, such as temporary housing, working multiple jobs or jobs with unsociable hours, lack of consistency and stability in their home life. There’s lots of stress and anxiety at home. Some parents feel quite scared and vulnerable. They also might not have the vocabulary to share with their children or be unsure how to support them. Even just a few mornings a week at nursery makes a huge difference for those children.

“But it’s also about the quality of the nursery – the training side of the Ark Start model is essential. You need such a wide range of skills to be effective in Early Years. I can see they’ve got good, qualified staff there because the children have got all those qualities that we want to instil in children; the curiosity, being open to the world and excited to learn.

“It’s a much more unified approach than I’ve seen at other nurseries. I’ve walked into Ark Start often and it’s so great to see so many staff, it makes it such an exciting place, there are pockets of learning everywhere. You know that they’re using the right language, the right questioning skills, the right way to move the children on, using positive reinforcement, making play a learning experience. I know how valuable the staff in Ark Start are.”