Within Spateston Early Learning and Childcare Centre we value the opportunities and experiences we provide for our children. The learning and teaching that they take part in are influenced by a philosophy based on the work of Friedrich Froebel, an educational pioneer from the nineteenth century. Family and community were of central importance to Froebel, a value that we share within our service where “family and community are at the heart of education”.

Passion to Increase Children’s Opportunities

We believe that children learn best when they have the freedom and opportunity to follow their natural curiosity, where their creative talents are nurtured, and staff can support and encourage deeper, meaningful experiences. We have a real passion to increase the opportunity we give children to develop, learn and flourish. We recognise that creativity occurs spontaneously, however our practitioner’s endeavour to promote it by ensuring they are aware and have knowledge of children’s interests.

Our children engage in play that enables them to link and organise learning, which allows them to transfer these skills into their lives. Research shows that mature play turns into mature work, which helps our children to develop skills for later life. Our high-quality team of practitioners help children to embrace this and have a sound understanding of child development to tailor how they deliver the learning for individual children’s needs. We strive to build on the role families play engaging them in their child’s learning journey.

Research shows that mature play turns into mature work

We know that children who are deeply engaged in real play are truly learning. Children need time, space and people who encourage play so that it can flourish and develop with depth. Play is a powerful tool that we use to observe the learning children have been developing; it takes children to their highest forms of learning. It is a resource, which remains deep inside the developing child encouraging creativity, problem-solving and imagination. These are all skills that lend themselves to the development of future learning. It was Froebel who took the natural play of children and gave it educational status. We want our children to be creative, caring citizens who have dreams and ambitions, and a spark within them, and are able to collaborate and make decisions for themselves.  As adults, we need to keep children in their world of wonder for as long as possible, not take them away from it before they are ready.  If we do not understand the value of real play then we are potentially inhibiting the next generation of would-be dreamers, explorers, doers and makers. Play is at the heart of all we do.

The Froebelian Environment

Our Froebelian environment reflects on the view of children as active, creative, social learners. Froebelian environments may look very different across different early years settings but they are underpinned by the same guiding principles. All zones within our centre naturally flow into one another and play an equal part in a child’s development. They provide opportunities for indoor and outdoor experiences allowing children space to further extend their high-quality learning opportunities. Our centre clearly identifies outdoor learning as being equal to indoor learning.

Head of Centre:

Judith Thomas

Depute Head of Centre:

Adelle O’Neill

Senior Early Learning & Childcare Officers:

Kerry King

Gillian Gillespie

Early Years Graduate:

Zoe Docherty

Early Learning & Childcare Officers:

Georgia Knox

Sylvia Facciani

Karolina Nikolin Wasik

Kirsty MacFarlane

Stacey Milton

Bethany Cochrane

Cheryl McCulley

Melissa Barr

Nicole Edmiston

Early Learning & Childcare Officers:

Nicola Jaconelli

Shannon Corcoran

Abbie Docherty

Lauren Robertson

Jane Inglis

Megan Porter

Lauren Coyle

Kara Carson

Hannah Magennis

Lianne Grieves

Support Workers:

Tracy Ashcroft

Danielle McIntosh

Steven Rush

Cerys Caldwell

Clerical Officers:

Rachel MacColl

Meals Assistant:

Lynn Adam

Gillian McGroarty


Anne Walker