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Bouquet of the week

It's hard to imagine ever hearing any of the nursery children at Hareleeshill Primary in Larkhall, Lanarkshire, say they don't like school.

They can't wait to get there to find out if the ducklings have hatched, or see how much the bulbs they planted have grown, or find out where the coach will take them today. It's a place charged with an atmosphere of excitement and expectation - an ideal introduction to the world of learning, opened up to them by their teacher, Moira Simpson.

"Moira is the epitome of everything a good nursery teacher should be," says headteacher Elizabeth Murray. "She has a nice, even temperament, a genuine love of children and is ideally suited to the role." Mrs Murray, who retires this year, wanted to pay tribute to Moira's inspirational teaching style and her energetic, unfussy way of getting things done. "She makes my life so much easier. Everything runs like a dream."

In nominating Moira for the Bouquet of the Week, Mrs Murray says: "I know she will say 'Why me?' and I know that every other member of staff will agree that she richly deserves it."

In the six years Moira has been at Hareleeshill the nursery has quadrupled, and now accommodates 85 of the school's 170 pupils. A recent HM inspection commended the quality of education in the nursery; Moira is swift to share the credit with her "excellent, highly motivated" team of nursery nurses.

Before Hareleeshill, Moira spent eight years teaching older primary pupils, but she has a special empathy with three to five-year-olds - "it's in watching their innocent wee personalities develop that I have found my niche".

And she clearly has a place in their lives: if they ever bump into her while out shopping at the weekend, they are amazed to find she exists outside school - "I think they believe I live in a cupboard in the classroom after they go home!" Elsewhere in this week's Friday, modern language teachers will find our cover character Bart Simpson an unlikely aide-de-camp, but the page of teaching ideas in the Subject of the Week section should add a touch of hilarity to the quest for cross-cultural word and phrase recognition.

And if you're looking for the ultimate in relaxation, take a tip from this week's Celebrity Stress Buster, Martin Bashir, and get the vacuum cleaner out. Bouquet of the Week is given in association with Marks amp; Spencer. Names, please, on a postcard - and why - to Sarah Bayliss, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY

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