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A Trilogy of Poems about working in Nursery for the first time

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

So, I was trained as a Key Stage 2 teacher (7 to11) at Edge Hill University over thirty years ago: in those days you had to choose between being trained as a #teacher of what we used to call - Juniors or Infants.

Since then, I have taught Year 6 a trillion times and every other Keys Stage 2 age too. However, until last week, I had never taught #EYFS (for the uninitiated, that stands for Early Years, Foundation Stage).

I'd always been too scared if I'm honest.

Well today, I started my second week of teaching #Nursery and beyond the early morning screams, cries, giggles and questions, when the Nursery dust settles, I am constantly blinded by the magic moments that bubble-float in every second.

Nursery is like Oz: they're both Worlds of Imagination where things come and go so quickly.

To be at the helm of this new Ship of Wonder is a total joy and privilege. I'm sailing uncharted waters once more, just like I did as a child. It feels kind of special.

At 51, I had forgotten what it was really like to be three or four years old.

But now, every single day, I am given a precious and rare gift: through the glassy-eyed, post-toddlers of 2022, I am allowed to revisit the glassy-eyed, post-toddler bundle of hope I once was in 1974.

Little did I know, I could rediscover a ghost bridge that spans almost 50 years; a bridge that's still strong as stone.

Life is a circle, that's for sure...

I once learned: if I'm brave and want to find pastures new, I have to face the troll, be wise and cross the bridge.

I now teach: if you're brave and want to find pastures new, you have to face the troll, be wise and cross the bridge.

Here's to Nursery...

I'm 3 again!

The 'Nursery Learning Curve Trilogy' of poems about Nursery life go something like this ...

Empty Cardboard Box

Get busy!

It’s Friday afternoon

and the best toy

this Friday afternoon

happened to be a box

I’d just taken

the new drying rack

out of

Three year olds

quickly made

a disorderly queue

and nearly learned

to take it in turns

They clambered inside

the empty box

and filled it with wonder

without even trying

There were no instructions saying:

This is how to play,


This is how to learn,”


This is how to show grown ups

what living in the moment

Is all about.

But that gaggle of giggling

three year olds

hid themselves

inside the box

and pulled down the

cardboard flaps

above their

sparking brains


we delivered each child

in turn

as a secret parcel

to our next door neighbours

in Reception

and everyone realised:

The parcel

that no one ordered


or paid for

was the best gift

they would receive

all day

all week

all year

Mark Bird

We Became Unicorns

This morning

ten tiny humans

woke up

and came to school

for the first time

This morning

one old teacher

woke up

and worked in Nursery

for the first time

This morning

twenty two hands

reached out

and tangled their fingers

for the first time

This morning

the almighty Universe

magicked trepidation

into trust

for the first time

This morning

we all put pointy shells

on our foreheads

and became a blessing of unicorns

for the first time

This morning

we grew unicorn wings

and agreed we would fly

beyond the sun

for the first time

This morning

our maiden unicorn flight

will go down in history

as what we did on our first day at school

for all time

Mark Bird

Things Happen So Fast Around Here

(First day of Nursery)

I had only known you

for a few hundred seconds

of life

when you found a cuddly dog

in a box of tattered toys

in a cupboard

you weren’t supposed to go into

You took my old hand

and led me to rescue her

Her name is Carla,” you said

which was also the name

of your nursery classmate

that you’d just made

play dough doughnuts with

You threaded beads onto

two pipe cleaners

One was a collar for Carla the dog

One was a bracelet for Carla the girl

You gave Carla the girl her bracelet

She didn’t smile as she fried a plastic egg

but she must have liked it

Because you and new friend Carla

made a string lead for Carla the dog

and took her for a walk

to the sand tray

while holding hands

Brandon, Kaysha and Koa noticed you both

and dropped their dinosaurs

a long way from their builder-tray home

and said, “Can we make Carla Dog a bed?”

All five of you found a cardboard box

that had just been emptied of glue sticks

and sat in a circle on the carpet

making multicoloured blankets

out of tissue paper

You let Carla put Carla to bed

while the rest of you

shared a bag of raisins

Best friends for minutes

Before all five of you

stumbled and tumbled off

in different directions

to create new worlds

Mark Bird

A line of lego figures
Working in Nursery and the EYFS

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