We believe that our children should be able to move on to the older rooms as soon as they are ready rather than it being led merely by their age, otherwise it can lead them to regressing in their behaviour and not being able to reach their full potential of learning and having fun with peers of the same abilities.
However this can make it difficult to guarantee you a place with us further than 3 months ahead of time as we can't predict their readiness beyond this. Due to this uncertainty of securing a place with us sooner we do not charge a registration fee and won't ask for a deposit until we can guarantee you a set start date.
So please have back up options. Other nurseries have rigid rules to only follow the date of births to make their waiting lists easier to handle but we don’t agree with this; especially when a younger sibling is nearly always more advanced than its peers thanks to observing the older sibling at home.
Honestly if a child wasn't ready to be moved, the staff from both rooms would protest and we would never upset a child by moving them by force. Our decisions are always geared by the children. A member of staff from their room would act as the parent did in settling them in to the new room; but quite often this isn’t needed as the child will recognise children who have moved down before them and are familiar with the rooms and staff from walking through there every day to get to the garden.
Quite often they almost settle themselves which is why we may only tell you with short notice as we’re following their lead! Each room has an hour each assigned to the garden in the morning and the afternoon, but in the colder weather we would shorten this where needed but still go out for fresh air
We decided our fee policy was the fairest way to deal with the varied age groups or else you face the potential awkwardness of parents wanting to fast track their child to an older room for financial reasons rather than the child's ability. Hence we will continue to have an under and over 2’s fee structure.
We have two baby rooms, one which accommodates 18 babies, and another that has 12 babies, both with light and airy nappy changing facilities so there are no musty lingering smells!
Pre-toddler/ Toddler rooms:
We have two rooms for this age group with direct access to the garden so they can use it outside of their set times. Transition to these rooms is very easy for the older babies (near toddlers approximately 16 months upwards) as they walk through these rooms each morning and afternoon for their garden time.
St Patrick's Parish Hall:
We hire this hall from the Church so we set up of a Monday morning and pack-away of a late Friday afternoon. There is a large hall for our pre-school children aged roughly from 3-5 years old, and a smaller hall for our older toddlers who have just transitioned there. This is a more planned move as it's a 5 minute walk from the younger site so we will aim to bring two children at a time if we think they need a friend to join them.
Otherwise they can go alone if they are confident enough to as again they would be reunited with their old friends. This site benefits from our playground overseeing the primary school which has helped prepare our older children with their confidence for school readiness as they see these children happily playing.
We are also on the doorstep of Stoneydown Park so we can use it as an extension of our outdoor time as well as lots of trips out to the local market or to Low Hall for Forest school classes.
We have fantastic additional classes included within our fees. Petite Productions has music classes on a Monday for our babies, toddler and preschool room, and again on Wednesday for the older toddlers.
Bongalong has music classes for our toddlers of a Wednesday and our babies of a Friday.
Little Soccer Stars runs a class for all the children at St Patrick's of a Friday.
Vestry ballet holds their classes for all of our toddlers and preschoolers of a Friday too.
These may occasionally be swapped for a language class or yoga etc depending on what the children prefer.