Why we started a nursery
We’re so excited to be able to embark on the next stage of our journey by gaining our OFSTED approval to open a new 22-place day nursery on the same site as our soft play in Cheddar, Somerset. The visit was a success. We had no improvement points and the inspector seemed genuinely excited by what we were looking to achieve and the way we are going about it.
Background & Vision
My wife and I set up Ocean Adventurers soft play in July 2019 and we are so grateful for the support we have received and the reviews we got from customers. We were lucky enough to win FSB South West Start Up Business of the Year and the Bristol Life Best New Business 2020 as well as being finalists in a number of other awards.
We went into soft play to change perceptions and improve on things we found in other venues...we ultimately wanted to create a centre that we would enjoy coming to with our two young children. That is exactly the same process we are looking to follow for Little Adventures Nursery.
We want to push the boundaries of what most people expect from a nursery setting. Our facilities speak for themselves. But where we want to really push the boundaries of the nursery sector is split into cleanliness, learning & development and partnership with parents.
In terms of cleanliness, we will use the existing fogging process that we have used since October 2019 in the main soft play. It is completely child-friendly when dry (the chemical leaves behind pure water, oxygen and silver compounds). The silver compounds then provide an anti-microbial barrier on all surfaces so that germs and bacteria can’t grow.
We know that in other nursery settings where the same process has been used, child sick days decreased instantly by over 50%, meaning children can spend more time learning and growing at nursery. We also have an innovative way to check that the barrier is still working effectively each day by using a product called Fresh Check on a random selection of surfaces.
As an indoor play setting, we worked with Public Health England to design the COVID-secure guidelines, so we know how to make a venue COVID-secure.
Learning & Development
We really want to push the boundaries of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (EYFS). We’ve designed our centre to ‘hide’ as much learning and development as possible. We’ve teamed up with Melissa & Doug and Le Toy Van to achieve this.
This means that, for example, we’ve put a significant emphasis on the puppet theatre. Not only does it look good, but the range of over 30 puppets means that children can develop their story-telling, literacy and general communication skills whilst also learning about the world around them by incorporating different characters into the mix. Our giant dolls house (mansion!) also provides learning and development opportunities across a wide range of curriculum areas.
We’ve also invested significantly in our staff to be able to deliver a consistently outstanding experience. Our Deputy Manager is responsible for learning & development and has a level 6 honours degree in early years. For her, it isn’t just something that she has achieved a qualification in, it’s an absolute passion; and we can’t wait to see some more of her creative ideas she has for pushing our ‘learning in disguise’ agenda.
Partnership with Parents
Here’s where I am taking the strategic lead. For me, we have to recognise that parents have to be the primary educator of their children. But this doesn’t mean the structured nursery learning needs to stop once they leave our setting.
We’re using the Famly App to better link the home and nursery settings. This means that we won’t only plan activities in centre and give you full visibility of what we’re going to be doing, but we will also give you opportunities and suggestions for continuing the learning journey of that week at home.
Not only will you have full visibility of the activity plans we’re doing, but we’ll also keep you updated in real time throughout the day on your child’s experience. You will get real time updates on how they have eaten, when nappies have been changed and photos of the day. All in real time.
You can also message the room directly via the app and even set up video call if there’s something you need to inform us about.
We ultimately want an OFSTED-outstanding setting that is award-winning alongside the main soft play. We want children to leave our setting and progress to school as happy, confident, well-rounded individuals that have not only met the EYFS curriculum goals, but have also been supported to be the best they can be. We want to be the best nursery in Somerset that your child can't wait to come back again day in day out.