WELL-KNOWN Dromore day nursery, Jolly Jesters, is celebrating its 10th birthday.
Now well established, Jolly Jesters has been offering its services to the local community since 2001 and offering free, government pre-school places since 2002.
It has been hailed by parents, the Education Board and Social Services as offering high quality provision and its most recent Department of Education inspection report awarded it the top grade possible - outstanding.
Manager, Hilary Duddy, said, “Research has consistently shown that three and four-year-olds who attend a high-quality pre-school are more successful in school and beyond - both academically and socially.
“We understand that children learn at their own pace and thus treat each child as an individual moving forward step by step.
“The work, which is planned, emphasises process rather than product, fostering a sense of pride and accomplishment.
“Staff teach love for learning by allowing children to experience their own stage of development, and by helping them feel success without pressure.
“Our aim is to promote trust, autonomy, a true sense of happiness and well-being.”
Hilary explained that Jolly Jesters’ pre-school curriculum covered the six areas of learning which focus on discovery and problem-solving through play, rather than ‘teaching’. “It encompassed all aspects of children’s learning and development, keeping the main focus on play and fun,” she said.
“The well-planned and rich variety of activities and experiences encompass essential, basic skills whilst affording plenty of opportunity for varied and direct experiences.
“The staff work hard to facilitate learning within a safe, stimulating environment and the curriculum is child-directed, child-centred, and tailored to the needs of each individual child.
“Staff encourage independence, self-discipline and a positive attitude to learning. The children are encouraged to develop as thinking people who can question and problem-solve, enjoy the aesthetic area of the curriculum, explore social relationships and work to the best of their ability.”
One local parent, Eileen Magowan, said, “Jolly Jesters provide a very high standard of pre-school education. Harry really enjoys his time there.
“The facilities outside and inside are excellent, and the staff are trained to a high standard.”
A popular feature at Jolly Jesters and one reportedly commended by the Education Board, is the extensive outdoor play space .
“Young children especially need the broad experiential base provided in an outdoor context,” said Hilary.
“We have carefully designed our outdoor space to be developmentally appropriate and so meet the needs of the child.
“Under the guidance of our highly qualified and trained staff, children will discover vital building blocks for literacy, science learning, collaboration and emotional well-being, and simply have good fun.”
“The outdoor space is divided into areas with the recent addition of covered areas so that all children can play safely outside all year round.
“With our large pirate ship, tree house, wooden houses and a large wooden train children’s imagination just flourishes.
“Children can expend a lot of energy on the swings, slides, climbing frames and wooden obstacle courses. Additionally, there is no end of fun; exploration and discovery in the two large, covered, sand pits as well as the mud and nature area.”
Another parent, Sara Nelson, said, “Jolly Jesters pre-school is without a doubt a fantastic environment for your children to prepare for school and society in general.
“This is a result of the genuinely warm, caring, and highly qualified staff who dedicate themselves daily to ensure the children learn and develop at their own individual rates in a fun and exciting way.”
Any parents interested in a place for their chidlren at Jolly Jesters in the next school year are asked to contact Hilary or Noel on 028 9269 3869.
(Jolly Jesters’ most recent inspection report is available at www.etini.gov.uk).