Mr Willow"The Bear Chef" and his dedicated team at Willow Cottage Nurseries, Oxford have gained a Leading Aspect in Education Award for their cutting-edge performance and practice within early year’s education.
“The Leading Aspect Award is a recognition and celebration of leading edge performance and practice within education which is being disseminated out into the wider community ... The LAA recognises passionate attempts by professionals to make a real difference to the service they provide ... This is an award which recognises the values that permeate learning opportunities and enables learning communities to celebrate success ... The LAA provides independent accreditation against national standards. "
Ruth Salway - Head Teacher of Willow Cottage Nurseries says "Gaining our Leading Aspect Award has been marvellous and an achievement by all of the staff at Willow Cottage. A healthy enjoyment of food is promoted through all aspects of the Nursery day from the food served by the chefs, the mealtime ethos adopted by our Nursery practitioners, and also the way that they embed our philosophy in the fun activities planned for the children to engage in on a daily basis. I am proud to be part of such an inspirational and committed team."
David Cameron - Prime Minister says “Congratulations to Willow Cottage Nursery for achieving this new level of excellence. I know how much hard work has been put in by everyone for the benefit of the children, their families and the wider community. Developing a healthy attitude to food at an early age makes a real difference in later life. Well done and keep up the good work!” David Cameron
Many thanks to David Cameron for his support over the years in our quest to make healthy food and fun food education matter for young children. David pictured left is helping the children to make some of Mr. Willow's Low Sugar Blueberry and Raspberry Muffins .....a recipe he has designed especially for young children to make with ease.
Helen Evans - Quality Workforce Development Officer,Children, Education and Families Directorate,Oxforshire County Council says -
Dear Valerie and Willow Cottage Staff, Many congratulations on your success in achieving the Leading Aspect award. As you know it is a framework that has been developed to recognise and celebrate leading practice.
By being accepted by the awarding body you have proved that you meet the eight sections that make up the award
- Commitment to quality for all involved
- Leadership and management
- Teaching and learning
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Outcomes / Impact
- External benefits
- Sharing good practice and disseminating innovation
This is a brilliant accomplishment that all of you should be proud to share with parents and other professionals. The fact that the Leading Aspect is a national award means that you can submit a case study to the website and that will be seen by people from all around the country. Your good practice has been influencing the local community and now you have another chance to show how Willow Cottage staff are constantly striving to provide a high standard of care in an enjoyable learning environment. I enjoyed working with you on this venture and found the staff responsive to new ideas and willing to ‘go that extra mile’ for the children. Well done to all of you!
Mr. Willows Children's Books, Recipe Books and other Fun Food Resources for Parents, Carers and Nurseries are available via the nursery food matters website www.nurseryfood.com
"There is excellent practice going on everywhere... and often in the most unexpected places. This award gives encouragement and formal recognition to the dedicated people involved."Professor Tim Brighouse
Willow Cottage Nurseries – Owls Leat, Eynsham setting- Ofsted report 15-06-2010
“They have an extremely positive approach to food and excellent awareness of healthy eating. Fun food activities, such as shelling peas, helping to plant and grow their own fruit and vegetables to eat and participation in the children’s food festival helps children to gain excellent awareness of healthy eating and an extremely positive approach towards food.”
Willow Cottage Nurseries – Oxley’s Farm, Farmoor setting- Ofsted report 10-05-2011
“Children gain and excellent understanding of healthy eating. They are highly involved in food preparation, such as collecting eggs from the nursery’s chickens and gathering apples from the garden. With the professional support of the nursery’s chef they make fruit salads or bread rolls for their tea and they taste and trial new recipes for the nursery’s menu. They benefit greatly from the nursery’s exceptional commitment to sourcing local, organic produce and to freely sharing their nutritious recipes with parents.”
Willow Cottage Nurseries are lead by the Directors, Mr and Mrs Grady and a team of four Managers, Julie Debanks (Area manager), Ruth Salway (Head Teacher), Maria Ragoussi (Quality/Systems Manager) and Beryl Green (Administration Manager).
Parents and staff are involved in developing food policies and practices through consultation at meetings, newsletters and feedback questionnaires.
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