'Outstanding' East Grinstead nursery teaches children and staff sign language

The Ofsted report rated the nursery 'Outstanding'.
The Ofsted report rated the nursery 'Outstanding'.

Children and staff at an East Grinstead nursery have learned sign language so they can communicate with everyone.

Toybox Nursery in Coombe Hill Road, run by Sarah Jacomb, has been teaching children and staff British Sign Language so if there is ever a deaf or hard of hearing child, everyone is equipped to communicate with them.

The nursery has just received its third consecutive outstanding rating from Ofsted.

Sarah said: "The children love it! We have a sign of the week, and have found some words don't have a sign so they make up their own, like 'mermaid'.

"We believed we were doing our best but you want to be told by an outsider, particularly someone as important as Ofsted, that you're doing the right thing for your children.

"We had parents queuing up all day to talk to them, and Ofsted their comments were 'overwhelmingly lovely'.

"They see us as an extended family, and we'll all be sad when the children leave to go to school."

Learning sign language is also useful for children who can't yet talk, or for those whose first language isn't English.

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Not only were Ofsted impressed by that, but they liked the weekly visits Toybox do to Millview Care Home, and the afternoon tea visit from residents to the nursery.

Six to eight children spend a couple of hours with residents and spend playing games, cooking, making jewellery and generally building relationships with each other.

Sarah said: "There's an older man who doesn't really leave his room much or talk to others, but staff have said he's like a different person when he knows the children are coming over - he likes to make paper aeroplanes with them."

Recently the care home has had chicks hatch, and the children have enjoyed seeing the process of them grow.

Sarah said: "The highlight of my time here is definitely the variety of children who walk through the door. It's such an important time in their lives, and we play a big part in that."