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I felt the warmth at graduation

By David Shinegold

​In July, I had the privilege and pleasure of joining parents and grandparents at Torah Montessori Nursery for the latest graduation celebration of those children who are leaving to start school in September.

Graduation provided us with an opportunity to see at first hand each child’s aspirations and achievements during their time at the nursery. It was a pleasure because we could see the unequivocal mutual love and respect between staff and the children. The warmth that this generated was clearly felt by everyone in the room.

The importance of nursery education is laying the foundations for a child’s future development and education is being increasingly recognised and is reflected in the Government’s policy to increase the funding available from fifteen to thirty hours. It is also reflected in the increase in standards of care demanded by Ofsted inspectors.

One only needs to see the esteem in which the nursery is held by Brighton and Hove Council to realise what a jewel we have in our community:

  • a quality nursery like no other, where children are genuinely loved and nurtured and their needs come first
  • high ratios of highly inspirational skilled staff with more than 50 years’ experience between them
  • an amazing treasure trove of more than 100 stimulating activities to choose from at any one time
  • beautiful outdoors surrounded by mature tress with plenty of fun opportunities
  • a warm, friendly, family atmosphere were values for life are taught, implemented and celebrated daily to bring out the best in each child. we partner with parents forming incredibly supportive relationships
  • an outstanding Montessori practice which incorporates the Early Years Foundation Stage and Jewish Values. All are welcome. (Brighton & Hove Council Family Service Directory).

In her opening speech Penina Efune compared a child to a precious seed; just as it needs, sunshine, good soil and water, so the children at this nursery have been given, warmth and love (sunshine), a real quality environment to grow (good soil) and a positive identity, knowledge and experiences of their rich Jewish heritage (water).

With that she launched the nursery’s new strap line the Torah Montessori Nursery stands for, Tomorrow Matters Now! By investing our young seeds today, we will produce our future strong trees and pillars of the community.

Much of the children’s work was on display and we were amazed at how much of the world the children has been learning about in their topic Children Like Us, including Somalia, Jamaica and Matariki in New Zealand. It was heartwarming to hear one of the leavers wistfully ask their Mum if he could “put back the calendar so that I can start at Torah Nursery again”.

After all the presentations and some emotional speeches, the children, staff and parents joined in the garden to enjoy a delicious picnic, prepared by Mrs Stark, who has been preparing lunched there for nearly thirty years.

Having been involved in social care and education for fifty years, I can truly appreciate how hard Penina and her staff work to achieve an environment that meets the children’s emotional, physical and educational needs to the highest possible standards. Torah Nursery is one of our community’s valued resources, of which we should all feel justifiably proud. It is therefore no surprise that the latest Ofsted report rates the nursery as Outstanding.