New forest school opens at Boston nursery with the help of double award-winning staff member

Boston Nursery School has celebrating the official opening of its new ‘Jubilee Owl Garden’ forest school area for children.

Nursery practitioner Beth Cooper pictured harvesting some vegetables from the Owl Garden with one of the pupils.
Nursery practitioner Beth Cooper pictured harvesting some vegetables from the Owl Garden with one of the pupils.

Local MP Matt Warman was invited to do the honours this morning (Friday), and unveiled the new plaque at the site.

The redeveloped outdoor area was due to be opened last month, but was postponed following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

The new space features a ‘sensory pathway’, wooden play equipment, vegetable and fruit planters, and a reading area.

Unveiling the plaque. Pictured from left, are Nicky Donley (Executive Headteacher), Matt Warman (MP for Boston and Skegness), Beth Cooper (Lead Practitioner and Nursery Assistant of the Year 2022), and Kathryn Hutton (Head of School, Boston Nursery School).

Kathryn Hutton, head of school, said: “The idea of redeveloping an unused area at the front of the nursery came about from the dark days of the pandemic, when many very young children spent months confined indoors and isolated from the usual social interactions and outdoor experiences babies and young children would normally have.

"Once the children began returning to the nursery, we wanted to provide extra opportunities for these children to make the progress they needed, especially in terms of communication and language skills, and social and emotional development.

“With a collective effort from the whole nursery team and the invaluable support of families and the local community, including a grant from the Laughton Trust, time and construction skills given freely from Boston College students, and plants and gardening equipment donated from Dobbies Garden Centre Boston, this summer saw the children use the area for the first time to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Hence the new space was named the ‘Jubilee Owl Garden’.

Mrs Hutton has commended staff member Beth Cooper, who she says was “the inspirational lead on this project”.

The new Owl Garden outdoor area features a 'sensory pathway', vegetable and fruit planters, a play hut and other wooden equipment. a reading area and 'weaving station'.

Beth has scopped two awards this year – winning ‘Teaching Assistant Award of the Year’ for Lincolnshire in the summer, and last month scooping a national award for ‘Nursery Practitioner of the Year’ at the Nursery World Awards Ceremony 2022, held in London. She was chosen for, amongst other things, her leadership on the Owl Garden project.

"‘We are very proud of Beth and the tireless work she has put in to see this area of nursery come back to life for the benefit of the children at Boston Nursery School,” added Mrs Hutton.

"The children love exploring and learning in a natural environment and the impact on their learning has been clear to see.”

Beth Cooper, of Boston Nursery School, has won two awards this year for her work with nursery children. Photo by David J Prior.
Beth Cooper, of Boston Nursery School, accepts her award for Nursery Practitioner of the Year, at a ceremony in London last month. Photo by Edd Radcliffe.