New Early Years team take up positions at Belmont Grosvenor School

An ‘outstanding’ North Yorkshire children’s nursery has appointed a new team at the top to build on its success and take the setting forward into an exciting new chapter promoting awe and wonder in early childhood.

Magic Tree Nursery, part of independent Harrogate prep school Belmont Grosvenor, has appointed a new Head and Deputy Head of Early Years to lead the nursery towards an inspiring new ‘Curiosity Approach’ to early-years learning and development.

And once the nursery, in the village of Birstwith, near Harrogate, has received its formal accreditation, it will become one of only a handful of settings in the area to be part of the internationally-acclaimed ‘Curiosity Approach’ child-led learning programme, which aims to ignite a child’s natural curiosity to explore the world around them.

Mother-of-two Mrs Hayley Thompson, 37, and Miss Sarah Birt, 27, have been appointed Early Years Manager and Early Years Deputy Manager at Magic Tree Nursery, part of Belmont Grosvenor School.

Both are excited about the nursery’s new direction and vision, which promotes a ‘no toys’ approach to childhood learning and aims to create children who are ‘thinkers’ and ‘doers’ instead of passive learners who simply follow the direction of an adult.

The new early years approach at BGS aligns perfectly with school’s ethos of being down-to-earth and nurturing, an environment where children are challenged to make outstanding progress in a magical countryside setting and build strong foundations to thrive.

“Since joining Magic Tree Nursery, part of Belmont Grosvenor School, I have been made to feel so welcome. Both the nursery and school is set in 20-acres of beautiful grounds just a few miles from the centre of Harrogate and the facilities are second-to-none, with our own swimming pool, outdoor paddock and Forest School area,” said Mrs Thompson, who is originally from Saltburn but has lived in Harrogate for the past six years.

“These support a child’s natural desire for exploration which is fundamental to the ‘Curiosity Approach’,” she said.

“I love driving to work each day to be greeted by happy children and their families in our beautiful nursery, and to be surrounded and supported by a wonderful, highly-qualified team of staff. I feel extremely lucky,” she added.

Harrogate-born Miss Sarah Birt, who joined BGS over the summer from her role as Pre-Reception co-ordinator at Gateways School, is looking forward to helping shape Magic Tree Nursery’s new direction and seeing, and supporting, the benefits it will bring to the children.

“The ‘Curiosity Approach’ is based on child-led learning. Therefore children make their own choices, and figure things out for themselves, which lead to enhanced confidence, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Children are going back to basics and using their imagination to work out what items are rather than being presented with a clearly identifiable toy,” said Miss Birt.

“A big part of this ethos is making the nursery feel like home. It’s about creating a place of safety and somewhere that children want to be,” she added.

Over the summer, thanks to the hard work of the entire team, the Early Years department at Belmont Grosvenor School has been transformed, with all the rooms from the ‘Seedlings’ baby room to the Reception class, the first year of formal schooling, undergoing a major refresh in line with the ‘Curiosity Approach’, of neutral tones to create a peaceful, tranquil environment which does not distract away from a child’s learning.

Belmont Grosvenor School, and Magic Tree Nursery, is based at Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith, and welcomes boys and girls from three months to 11 years.

Mr Nathan Sadler, Headmaster at Belmont Grosvenor School, said the appointment of Mrs Thompson and Miss Birt marked the start of a new chapter for the school’s Magic Tree Nursery.

“Magic Tree Nursery is an integral part of Belmont Grosvenor School and extends the nurturing family environment of BGS to babies from just three-months-old.

“We are delighted to have appointed Mrs Thompson and Miss Birt who have joined our outstanding team of staff at BGS. There have already been a number of changes in our early years department over the summer, and we are excited about the future as we help build strong foundations for our children to thrive in an ever-changing world,” he said.

An OPEN DAY is happening at Belmont Grosvenor School and Magic Tree Nursery on Thursday 28th September. Everyone is welcome to come and visit, meet the team and talk about how our school and nursery could benefit your child.

To make an appointment, please visit the website or call: 01423 771029 to speak to one of the team.