About Busy Bees
Busy Bees was opened in 1994 and operates from the side building of the Baptist Church in Sherwood Avenue, St Albans. We have a Preschool for 2 to 3 year olds and a Nursery for our older 3 and 4 year olds. Busy Bees offers 3 hour, morning sessions 5 days a week, during term time. In addition we operate a lunch club every day from 12.15-1.00pm and an early 8.45am start. We are open until 3.00pm on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
We regard Busy Bees as a partnership with the home environment and want parents and carers to feel welcome and involved in their children’s learning. We use the foyer for information about our curriculum and other issues/news that we feel might be of interest. We value the opinions of our families and carers and there is a comments/suggestions box in the foyer. We regularly use questionnaires to gather views on the experiences on offer and invite families and carers to a variety of workshops, information evenings (including a new child information evening), social events, including tea/coffee mornings, celebrations, concerts and visiting pantomimes!
The new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum emphasises the important role of parents and a useful handout has been written for parents and carers.
Please click below to download the EYFS parents guide.
At Busy Bees all our children have ‘Busy Boxes’. These are cereal/ soap powder boxes which are covered with paper and given string handles. The children bring their Busy Boxes to every session and they are kept on a table by the entrance door, allowing the children to access them independently. The boxes have the children’s names on them and families and carers are encouraged to help their children decorate them with photos of themselves, parents, siblings, pets, favourite toys etc. The boxes act as a strong link between home and our setting. Children use them to store their comforters, nappies, change of clothes, pictures they have made, letters and frequently, items from their favourite areas at Busy Bees!
Please click below to download our prospectus:
In May 2010, July 2015 and January 2020 we achieved an outstanding grade from Ofsted for all aspects of our provision. Please click the link below to our Ofsted reports.
We want the children at Busy Bees to feel safe, secure and happy so that they can enjoy learning. We ensure that all our children feel included, valued and supported and help them to play together cooperatively and form special attachments. We support their growing independence by offering a combination of adult led and child initiated activities, both indoors and outdoors, that encourage the children to find out, to explore and to want to have a go. Being able to take part in rich and stimulating experiences promotes positive attitudes. Children develop self confidence, they learn skills of concentration and perseverance. We want our Busy Bees children to feel excited and participate in activities that foster lively, imaginative minds, helping them to think creatively and critically, to show initiative, to discover their own ways of doing things and to develop a ‘can do’ attitude.
At Busy Bees, we value on-going training and are reflective practitioners. We continually strive to improve on our previous best. Busy Bees took part in the first round of the Effective Early Learning Project which is a national project aimed at improving the quality of learning in Early Years settings and both our Preschool and Nursery were amongst the first settings in Hertfordshire to receive Quality Standards Awards. In 2003, we won a £5000 BT Education Award for a Project on Creative Computing which enabled us to purchase a range of ICT equipment and access appropriate training. We also took part in the National Artswork Project and had our large scale weaving on display at the Children’s Gallery in London. In 2007, we received an award for Childcare Team of the Year in recognition of our “outstanding contribution to the early years and childcare profession in Hertfordshire.” We became an approved Cache training centre in 2010 and are able to deliver early years training and qualifications from Level 2 through to Level 5.
Busy Bees staff are well trained, experienced educators. Caroline Upton (Owner) has a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and has achieved the DfE post graduate qualification of Early Years Professional Status. (EYPS). Jane Sykes (Manager) has a first class honours degree in Early Childhood Studies and is an EYP. Carol Jakubowski (Deputy Manager) is the setting’s SENCo and has also achieved EYPS.
All staff are qualified to Level 3 and continually access new training and participate in new initiatives. We are part of the Every Child a Talker Project (ECAT). This programme is designed to raise children’s achievement in language development and staff are trained in the use of Makaton sign language and use Makaton throughout the setting to promote the development of speech and language. We are currently supporting the Speech and Language Therapy Department at University College London (UCL) with new research. All the staff have received ‘Step On’ training which is a positive approach to behaviour management and Busy Bees is an accredited Steps setting. Staff are trained in the read, write inc phonics programme and have undertaken training in mindfulness through the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP). A mindfulness approach is used in the setting to encourage children’s cognitive development through focussed attention and to support their self and social awareness and the acquisition of emotional intelligence.
Staff are trained first aiders. All staff have had an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and have signed up for the ongoing update service. All staff and volunteers are aware of our safeguarding procedures and receive regular training and updates.
We operate a key person system which means that each child has a special adult to relate to. Staff use observations and assessments of the children to build on existing knowledge, skills and experiences and compile informative achievement books for their key children.
“Children thrive because they are cared for by exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced staff.” Ofsted 2010
“Teaching is exceptional because very well-qualified staff fully understand how the children learn and expertly build on their enthusiasm for learning.” Ofsted 2015