Our History


Lillian de Lissa Nursery School has been open for 50 years now and we have been reflecting on some of the amazing things that have happened in this time. 

This article was written by Pepita Hannah who is a highly experienced arts education expert and the Associate Director, Partnerships & Investment at Arts Connect.
She is passionate about children, young people, Arts and culture and we feel very proud that she is celebrating our 50 year anniversary with us.
Lillian Daphne de Lissa (1885–1967) was an early childhood educator and educational theorist in Australia and the U.K in the twentieth century. She instigated a child centred programme of teaching and learning which included learning in the outside environment as much as possible.
Creative Childhoods  - Working together to make learning visible

In 2011 were asked to take part in a project run by St Thomas Children's Centre, looking at how reflective practice has played a significant part in the development of our creative ethos. Every staff member was given a chance to talk about how this school has evolved and how creativity has become an essential part of everyday school life.

We asked parent governor and writer Sarah Plant, to research and write about the way Lillian de Lissa Nursery School has developed from the very beginning up to today.

"For at least ten years Birmingham early years educators, artists and parents have been exploring and researching the magic of children's creativity and thinking."
- Cynthia Knight - director of St Thomas Children's Centre

Birmingham Nursery History
This document shows how the nursery schools in Birmingham have been running from 1900-2010.

We feel it is an important record of how Birmingham City Council has always seen nursery schools and high quality educational provision as vitally important to the development of families and children .

In 2011 we were successful in becoming an Early Years Teaching Centre. As part of a consortium with Allens Croft Children’s Centre, St Thomas Children’s Centre, Adderley Children’s Centre and Weoley Castle Nursery School & Children’s Centre we provided high quality training and C.P.D opportunities focussed on a range of pedagogical areas for other early years settings.

This project was led by Pen Green Research Base in partnership with the National College of School Leadership.


In 2016 Louisa Penfold, a P.H.D student from Nottingham University and Tate Galleries, visited our school to observe how the environment can support and encourage child centred learning. She spent time in the nursery school with both the 3-4 year old children and the two year old children. She gave some really positive feedback about the way we work with creative teaching and learning. What follows is a snippet of text from her blog explaining how we work.

“Within an early years education setting, designing for flexibility allows children to encounter educational experiences from diverse levels of knowledge, backgrounds and interests. This, then paves the way for the possibility of collaborative learning, understanding, respect and friendship between people.”

The following links are for a video about creative interaction in our school and for Louisa’s blog called Art. Play. Children. Pedagogy.

We worked with Professor Pat Thomson who is the director of the Centre for Research in Schools and Communities at the University of Nottingham.

As part of the School of Creativity programme she has made us think and discuss in great depth why we feel it is important to respect children and give them a lead in their own learning. At times this has been challenging and has led to many hours of discussion within the staff team, but has gone on to reinforce our school ethos and the issues we feel are essential in the development of very young children.

One of these issues is having a creative ethos and curriculum, which is flexible enough in providing appropriate learning opportunities for each of our children.

This work has led us towards being included in several publications in 2010 and 2011: some we have written, other we have been studied by the researchers working on the piece.

The Routledge International Handbook of Creative Learning
Julian Sefton-Green, Pat Thomson, Ken Jones, Liora Bresler May 2011

EYE – Early Years Education, Creative Provision For E.A.L Children
Lorna Rose 2010

Researching Creative Learning: Methods and Issues
Pat Thomson & Julian Sefton Green(editors) 2010

Nursery Education Plus – A Creative Approach to teaching and learning
Julie Smart  Scholastic  Jan  2011

Turning Pupils Onto Learning: Creative Classrooms in Action (Creative Teaching/Creative Schools)
Lorna Rose & Angela Carlin,  Rob Elkington (Editor) August 2011

Lillian de Lissa Nursery School



B5 7LX

Contact Information

Tel: 0121 675 3421

Office Manager -Eileen Dev:

Email: enquiry@ldelissa.bham.sch.uk

Please ask at reception if you need a paper copy of any information given on this web site.

Birmingham Federation of Maintained Nursery Schools logo