OFSTED has praised a Basingstoke pre-school for providing children with challenging and interesting opportunities through learning.

During an inspection from the education watchdog, Starlings Pre-School, in Haydn Road, Brighton Hill was ranked as “outstanding” having shown further improvements from their last inspection which was graded as “good”.

The inspection, which was carried out on March 9, found that staff at Starlings provide extremely interesting and challenging experiences that fully support children’s learning, this includes, sensory play that encourages co-ordination and muscle development for strengthening hand movement, to support emergent writing.

In the report, inspector Aileen Finan said: “All children quickly reach their full potential and demonstrate an exceptional range of skills to support their readiness for future learning.

“They are extremely motivated to learn the concepts of ‘growing’’. For example they explore how seeds turn into flowers, but later perish with age or lack of water.

“They are inquisitive as they experiment with ice and natural resources frozen within it, such as limes, lemons, herbs and flowers. Later, children showed high levels of imagination to make ‘soup’ from the ingredients, deciding on suitable utensils for cooking.”

Starlings has been providing early years child care and education for children below school age and over the age of two years since 1994 with the aim to enhance the development of each child within a parent involving, community oriented environment.

Committee chairman at Starlings Tricia Hunt said she was proud of everyone at the pre-school and praised manager Mandy Lawday.

Mrs Hunt said: “All the staff put their hear t and soul into the progression of the children at Starlings.

“They let the children lead all the play times, but everything is centred around education and learning.”