New nursery in Shrewsbury brings pioneering teaching to UK for first time

A new educational establishment aimed at children from birth to five, has opened its doors in Shrewsbury, bringing with it what is believed to be a unique approach to teaching not seen on this scale in the UK before.

Shrewsbury Prepatoria is the brainchild of Jane Astbury, a highly respected Early Years Consultant and Foundation Stage Teacher, who until recently taught at Shrewsbury High Prep School.   Its ethos is grounded in the Italian Reggio Emilia Approach which focuses on the belief that it is during the early years of development that children form who they are as individuals. 

Based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and self-discovery, the approach recognises that for children to become strong citizens, a sense of family and community is needed in their learning environments as well as at home.  Shrewsbury Prepatoria has, therefore, taken the unique decision to care for children in Family Groups where babies and toddlers learn from one another and where children interact together and with adults in small groups.  Children will not move rooms from adult to adult, but instead remain with the same adult for the duration of their time at the Prepatoria.  There will also be a high adult to child ratio with any member of staff only ever looking after one baby at a time, amongst the children in their Family Group.

Explaining why she believes Shrewsbury Prepatoria will have a significant impact on early years education in Shropshire, Jane Astbury comments: “My career has brought me in to contact with nurseries where all too often children, whilst safe and cared for, aren’t given the time and freedom to develop in to the truly unique and wonderful individuals that they are.  We believe the Prepatoria, thanks to its high staff to child ratio and appreciation of the Reggio Emilia Approach, will offer children the support they need to develop in to truly wonderful individuals.

“Of course, parents want the very best for their children as they grow and develop and so for all our children aged three and above (or earlier if appropriate), there will be dedicated time set aside in the School Room where they can be introduced to Phonics and Mathematics, as well as explore all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.”

Joining Jane Astbury at Shrewsbury Prepatoria is Kelly Birch, a fully qualified Nursery Teaching Assistant who worked with Jane at Shrewsbury High Prep School. 

Other aspects that make Shrewsbury Prepatoria unique in the nursery market include; the provision of a dedicated space – the piazza – where parents can meet with one another and with staff, to simply catch up or watch their children at play, and a central kitchen and dining area for children where they are free to observe adults cook, whilst they play in their own replica kitchen. 

Shrewsbury Prepatoria is now open at 7 Park Plaza, off Knights Way, Battlefield, Shrewsbury.  For further information on enrolment and opportunities to visit, visit: www.shrewsburyprepatoria.co.uk or call 01743 362774.

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Pete White Pete White

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