The Company was started in February 2000 by Liz Norris and Dr Terry Hooper with just one nursery at St Bart’s House. Both Liz and Terry came with a lifetime of experience in education and a passion to provide the kind of childcare that they had wanted for their own children when they were small. Key features were to establish a small, ‘home from home’ environment with lots of personal attention. Early success meant quick expansion, with a second nursery opening at The Firs soon after. This enabled us to begin offering a service of looking after children before and after school, and taking them to and from school, which service later expanded into its own premises in St Bart’s Road. We later bought Smiles nursery in Cliffsend. In July 2018 we decided to expand St Bart's House by converting the former residential part of the building into nursery space, and closed The Firs. We now have 2 nurseries and an Out of School Centre.
Liz and Terry still spend their whole time working to provide a personal, professional service to families, and with managers and staff constantly aim to improve all aspects of that service.
A friendly, happy atmosphere...
Our facilities are first class, yet what is even more important is the atmosphere in which your child will be cared for by friendly, supportive staff. Children in our care mix and make friends with others from a variety of professional and cultural backgrounds. Regular praise and encouragement ensures that they grow steadily in confidence and skill.
Our nurseries are in converted family homes, so groups are small to encourage a family-like situation and close, personal relationships between children and staff. The atmosphere is relaxed, while maintaining high expectations of development and behaviour. Our staff turnover is low, and many of them have been with us for a number of years, some even since we set up more than 15 years ago.
A secure environment...
We pay great attention to the security of children in our care. Our nurseries are in dedicated buildings with their own playgrounds and gardens.
We actively promote the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths or beliefs. These are interpreted for our youngest children as learning right from wrong; learning to take turns and share; and challenging negative views and stereotypes. We do not promote views and theories that are contrary to established scientific or historical evidence and explanations.
Learning through challenge...
The early years of a child's development are crucial in giving the best start to a lifetime love of learning. Creative play and shared fun are central to our approach, so we plan and structure experiences and activities for your children to give them daily opportunities for the progressive development of valuable skills, knowledge and understanding.
We work closely with local schools to ensure the smoothest possible transition from St. Bart's to school. For many children this important change is made even smoother by their attendance at our Out Of School Centre, where they continue to spend time with their friends from nursery.
From the earliest months with us as babies, we provide resources and activities to stimulate the senses while promoting physical development. Sounds, textures and movement are all part of the baby's day with us. As they grow, the activities we offer expand the child's awareness of the world around, and of his or her place in it.
Older children are regularly taken for nature walks, discovery trips, visits to the park to play on the swings, as well as bus and train rides to local beaches, castles, and other places of interest. Smaller children and babies are also taken on such outings, and particularly love feeding the ducks!
Music and dance are essential components of a balanced curriculum, and we provide for these both through our regular programme and Robyn Bailey West BA (Hons) of Musical Dinosaurs, who runs weekly music sessions for all age groups.
A partnership with parents...
We believe that care will be most successful where there is a sense of partnership between parents and the childcare staff. We share with you daily records of your child's progress, with more detailed reports every six months.
You are very welcome to discuss your child's progress with us at any time. Caring for your children is something we take very seriously from the moment they join the St. Bart's community, and it is important that they are happy with us.
A local service...
We are here to provide a service to you and the community and will constantly strive to meet your requirements. We are open from Monday to Friday for 51 weeks per year on average. We accept children from 0-5 years in our nurseries and from 4-11 in our Out Of School Centre. Please ask us if you require out of hours care.
Finally, we are here to give your child a caring, safe and comfortable environment in which to develop and learn.
We would love you to come and see for yourself!