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

‘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.  

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 instill 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.’  

Anujah Srinivasan, Reception Class Teacher, Ark John Archer Primary Academy