You can see that St Faith’s is in Faye Groombridge’s blood. She really cares about the children in Upper Nursery and it is very obvious that she is a teacher of heart, passion, energy and commitment. Sixteen years in, and with her own children, who were educated at St Faith’s, now grown up, Faye cannot resist the pleasure of building the experience for the children.
The fireworks of November were replaced by Christmas snowmen, stars and reindeer handprints and the children experienced winter and Christmas in all their activities. They saw the glittering ice melt and got to break it; they hid away in the ice cave and took a book or toy in for quiet time, the costumes told of their roles in the Nativity as Joseph, Mary shepherds, kings and angels; they coloured or made Christmas trees with the minty green playdoh; George worked on his letters and sounds with Emma Wakeman, the nursery assistant; they cut and pasted and decorated the table and plates; they made marks on the board. You could see the children’s winter and Christmas language develop as they got involved with this much-loved seasonal world and all the expressive designs and artwork that go with it.
At any time of year, children gather round Faye for their daily chat about days of the week, numbers and sounds; it’s story time; it’s writing and number time. Giving children ‘lovely, happy and positive learning experiences is what it is all about’ claims Faye warmly and it is pretty clear that she and Emma put a great deal of time and effort into that.
As the children grow, literacy and numeracy are more obviously developed through the Phonics and numberwork sessions. They actively learn, choosing their activities and showing their motivation to engage in their learning, sometimes through playing and exploring, sometimes with a more formal structure. The variety keeps them challenged, interested and progressing. Working together helps them to communicate and work out their thoughts and ideas. They have to share and it is not difficult to see them develop personally, emotionally and socially. The teachers gently guide them and the children happily respond. It is the individual nature of their responses that makes this so fascinating.
When Faye goes home, she has her family and dogs to look after too and she will be off horse-riding or walking outdoors if she gets the chance. Emma goes back to her family and works out in the gym to keep fit for her job. She certainly needs to keep her energy up. She really notices that in at St Faith’s, the regular attendance and stability of the children’s lives really supports the work of the team and therefore the children’s development. She appreciates the real sense of community and loyalty and can see the value that the mature and stable team brings to the children. She is very glad that she has moved to St Faith’s!