Diss playschool praised for highly independent toddlers by Ofsted

The Merryfields Playschool team enjoying a bath in the Diss Carnival parade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Merryfields Playschool team enjoying a bath in the Diss Carnival parade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

A Diss playschool has been praised for the 'self care ability' of its toddlers in a new Ofsted report.

Merryfields Playschool on Shelfanger Road was rated good in all areas following an inspection on November 2, and received its first outstanding rating for personal development, behaviour and welfare.

Inspector Kate Oakley complimented the 'enthusiastic' staff for reaching out to the Diss community, including making floats for this year's carnival.

Merryfields Playschool was founded in the early 1980s by Lynda Alborough. It moved from the Corn Hall to Shelfanger Road in 2010, when it registered with Ofsted.

The report also said children demonstrate higher than average levels of independence and self-care ability for their age.

The 14 children currently at Merryfields, aged from two to four years old, serve themselves cereal, and are taught to safely operate a toaster and use a knife.

It added: 'Children's self-esteem flourishes. They listen carefully to rules and boundaries, following them without prompts.

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'Older children help younger children, for instance, they partner up to walk with a younger child when on outings.

'Children learn how to keep themselves safe and how to manage risk.'

Sharon Everett, Merryfield's manager, said: 'It was a really good report, the best one we have had. We are a relatively young team, and it's our first report together, so we are very proud.

'We do what is known as 'in the moment' teaching. As adults we take the lead from the child and facilitate what they are interested in.

'It's absolutely amazing. You can spend 20 minutes putting your wellies on and that's okay because we don't have a plan. Of course when they go to school they need them to be independent and school ready.'

The inspector said to improve the teaching quality, Merryfields should 'enhance supervision arrangements to promote staff's professional development' and 'refine the assessment of children's progress'.

Ms Everett added that due to the adoption of 'in the moment' teaching in March, the online supervision system previously used had been given up for a paper one, meaning full records were not available for the inspector.