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A Surrey-based day nursery which encourages babies to wash their hands before meals and helps children to prepare their own snacks has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in its first inspection, just two years after opening.

Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery Tatsfield celebrating their ‘outstanding’ award
Jane Martin, manager of Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery Tatsfield, believes the key to the nursery’s success is the focus on making children independent learners. She said: “Where I think we stand out is the emphasis we put on each child’s independence. From a very young age they are doing lots of things for themselves, such as babies washing their hands before meals.”

The nursery, which opened in 2015 and provides childcare for children aged from three months to pre-school age, received the highest rating possible in all areas following the inspection on 17 August.

Inspectors were particularly impressed with the nursery’s ‘inspirational leadership’, the staff’s commitment at helping children to become independent learners and for their ‘exceptional support’ for children who have Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Described as an ‘inspirational leader’, Ms Martin, added: “We are delighted as it’s quite unusual to get an outstanding on your first inspection so it makes it a double success. We worked very hard to put everything in place to a very high standard and from day one it was always an ambition of ours to get outstanding.

“Monkey Puzzle Tatsfield is really quite a special place. We offer all round excellent childcare delivered by passionate staff who are prepared to go the extra mile for our children. We have high expectations of what our children can achieve and give them the support they need to reach their goals.”

At the nursery, each child is assigned a key person who is responsible for supporting the child’s development.

This was highlighted in the Ofsted report, with inspectors praising the unique ways the nursery helps children to learn perseverance and make ‘exceptional progress’ from their developmental starting points.

The report says, ‘Staff provide a challenging and stimulating environment, and they consistently encourage children to lead their own play and learning. Children are extremely independent and enjoy a range of responsibilities. For example, they show extreme confidence in preparing their own snacks and enthusiastically wash up after snack from a very young age.’

Inspectors also commented on the staff’s ‘excellent relationship’ with parents, for involving them in the children’s learning and for valuing their preferences and suggestions.

One parent who works in the ‘field of children’, found it particularly difficult to choose the ‘perfect setting’ for her three-year-old son, but revealed in a review on that ‘she couldn’t be happier’ and particularly likes the nursery’s focus on independence and self-help skills.

Another review written by a parent reads, ‘My son started Monkey Puzzle just after he turned one and remained there for 1 1/2 years. They have an exceptionally nurturing environment. All of the staff are incredibly warm and my son bonded well with a number of them. Sadly my son is moving on, but we will always have fond memories.’