Latest News

June 14th 2017

60 seconds with Mrs J Cornwell, Nursery Nurse

For this issue of '60 seconds with', we catch up with Mrs Cornwell, Nursery Nurse and Forest School leader.

Mrs Cornwell is part of our London nursery school, find out more about her role.

Can you tell us about your role at Blackheath High?

I am the Nursery Nurse and the Forest School leader. As Nursery Nurse, I help children in all areas of the Curriculum and write up learning blogs that give information to parents on what their daughters have been doing during their school day. I help children with their social and emotional development, supporting them with writing and number work. I also help the teachers with planning. There is a team of us and we follow a theme or topic and each have input into what goes on in the day.  

Tell us about Forest School.

Forest School is about enabling children to become independent learners and taking risks in the outdoor environment. It is something that I have been extremely passionate about. We take the children outside and explore and enjoy nature. We do activities such as mini beast hunting (catching bugs and looking at them) and making mud pies, which are fun but are also about learning. For example, counting how many sticks we put in the mud pie or using the sticks to measure how tall we are. On one occasion, we watched a bee collecting nectar from a Daffodil which was a topic of conversation for a very long time! We encourage the girls to appreciate nature, to take risks and ask themselves ‘How should we do it next time?’

Children who may not be as loud as others in class come alive when they go outside. They feel safe, all their inhibitions disappear and they want to explore. I have been leading Forest School for 10 years and every session is different. I introduce a topic or activity and the children take it off into a different direction. I feed them ideas but this is their space, their learning.

Through Forest School, we are giving children back the freedom to go and explore. We are there to support them but it’s about independent learning so we stand back until we are invited to be part of that learning. When they invite you to be a part of it, it really is an amazing experience.

What do you like most about your job?

The children. I love working in the nursery and in Early Years. I have a great rapport with them and feel that I understand them. The Early Years Foundation Stage is where it all begins. We build up the confidence of the girls to become the resilient, confident young ladies that they are now.

I have seen quite a few girls go through the school and the older ones still come over and have a chat. It is lovely bumping into them. I know it sounds like a bit of a cliché but we really are one big happy family.

Have you always wanted to work with children?

Yes, I have a real love for little people and their world - they are very interesting! They have got such inquisitive minds and can express themselves in the most delightful way. Everything is about the ‘here and now’, time means nothing to them.

What makes working here at Blackheath High so rewarding and enjoyable?

Being part of a dynamic team. When you have a good leadership team, a fantastic department, great parents and amazing children, it all comes together.

When I first walked through door and had look around Blackheath High, I immediately knew that this was where I wanted to be. The school has a real homely feel. I’ve been here for 18 years now and I love every single minute of my job.

You are obviously very busy working inside school, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love reading. At the moment, I am reading a series of crime mystery books. I also go to church every Sunday and help out quite a lot. I have also recently joined the National Trust and every weekend, I am rediscovering things.

What are you most proud of?

Getting my BA Honours in Early Years - going to my graduation with all my friends and throwing my hat up in the air! 

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