What are the ingredients needed to create a truly outstanding early years setting?

New Froebel Trust book explores the role of maintained nursery schools in leading innovative approaches to early years education.

Growing a Nursery School from Seed: The First 75 Years
By Stephanie Harding and Felicity Thomas

This new book looks back at the history of early years education in England and tells the story of Earlham Nursery School, a maintained nursery school in Norwich.

The book reveals the crucial role maintained nursery schools play in system leadership, including the development of the early years workforce.

Froebelian traditions are reflected in the authors' extensive experience and their story reveals how visionary leadership with a strong ethos are some of the key qualities needed to create an outstanding early years setting.

The book is available from the Froebel Trust as a free PDF download.

In Growing a Nursery School from Seed, Stephanie Harding and Felicity Thomas tell the inspiring story of Earlham Nursery School, the development of a magical school garden and reveal how they shaped a creative Early Years curriculum. Felicity Thomas and Stephanie Harding are experienced educators and headteachers who led Earlham Nursery School for 20 years; they are passionate about a Froebelian approach to early education and the importance of nursery schools in the education system.

“Despite their dwindling numbers, we have consistently seen evidence of the significance of maintained nursery schools as leading centres of high quality early childhood education and practice development. This important book offers a close-up and personal account of the passion and commitment that nursery school leaders dedicate to their everyday work to make the ordinary extraordinary for young children and their families.”
Dr Sacha Powell, Chief Executive Officer, Froebel Trust

The authors demonstrate in Growing a Nursery School from Seed a pragmatic understanding of how history and traditions of early years education can support current practice and transform the curriculum.

“Froebel’s ideas have both consciously and unconsciously influenced how I see the world and its learning potential both for children but as importantly for the adults who play and work with them.”
Stephanie Harding
“The key things that kept me focused in my teaching career, which on reflection came from my Froebel training were, keeping the child at the centre of everything we do. The awe and wonder to be found in nature and our place as human beings in this incredible universe.”
Felicity Thomas

This is not just another book about a nursery school – it is a challenge to educators and families to really go back to basics and be brave and innovative.

The book is available from the Froebel Trust as a free PDF download.

To celebrate the launch of this new book, authors Stephanie Harding and Felicity Thomas are hosting an online webinar to discuss the history of early years education in England and sharing their experience of creating an innovative curriculum in an early years setting. Join the live webinar on Thursday 19 November 2020 at 4pm. This webinar is free to attend and aimed at early years practitioners, teachers, educators, headteachers, families, researchers and all those interested in finding about more about a Froebelian approach to early education.

Praise received for Growing a Nursery School from Seed
“Anyone involved in early education and implementing change will find this book useful, particularly headteachers of maintained nursery schools and leaders of other early childhood settings. The juxtaposition of theory with real life practice is excellent. The authors start with the practice and relate it to theory, which is refreshing, and connections throughout to the past are both fascinating and thought provoking.”
Sally Cave, Headteacher, Guildford Nursery School and Children’s Centre
“The format of the book is its strength: the narrative/story approach, interspersed with history, reflections and also practical ideas that a current practitioner could take away and use. It is a timely reminder of the rich history of nursery schools and their continuing importance. The authors demonstrate what is possible through hard work and passion, and they show that change doesn’t happen overnight, but through a ‘slow cook’ approach.”
Dr Lucy Parker, Deputy Headteacher, Ludwick Nursery School