Therapy dog to join team at a Portishead nursery

Therapy dog to join team at a Portishead nursery

Children at The Nursery choosing names for the new puppy

Press release from The Nursery, Portishead.

Nursery owner Jackie Hardie has announced to parents that a therapy dog will be introduced to the nursery after months of research and consultation.

Jackie said: “Making a close connection with a dog can provide many benefits for children. As well as enjoying quality time with a loving companion, studies show that dogs are especially helpful to children when it comes to making emotional connections. Children who struggle to relate to their peers or unfamiliar adults can often forge a special relationship with a dog. A therapy dog can also have a calming effect on children, not to mention providing lots of fun and quality time with a loving companion at nursery.”

Jackie spent month seeking professional help to ensure they chose the right dog for the job to help enhance the lives of children at The Nursery and eventually found a litter of highly recommended miniature Labradoodles. She visited the puppies at their home, more than 100 miles away in Cornwall and chose the nursery dog which will arrive in Portishead on August 21st when it is eight weeks old.  The children will have to wait a while, however, before she joins them at The Nursery.

Jackie added: “Our gorgeous little puppy will need to be vaccinated and will then start intensive training to ensure she is ready to start her very important role as a therapy dog before she’s brought to nursery to meet everyone. She will be undertaking professional therapy dog training with a highly qualified trainer in order to help her qualify.”

Before all this happens however, the children have been asked to come up with a name for the dog and are placing their ideas in a suggestion box at the nursery ahead of her arrival.


Dulwich parents fight to save special needs nursery

Dulwich parents fight to save special needs nursery

Cherry Tree Children’s Centre in Dulwich is set to close due to lack of funds, not long after its chief executive was awarded a £36,000 pay rise and £12,000 in back pay.

Parents of the children attending the special needs nursery, which is due to close next month, decided to fight the closure in the highest court.

They have already raised thousands of pounds for the judicial review of the decision, threatening the loss of 67 childcare spaces, as well as 20 jobs.

The chief executive of The Great North Wood Education Trust and headteacher of Rosendale Primary School, Kate Atkins, ordered the children’s centre and the nursery to close down within months of getting a pay rise.

One of the parents said to London News Online: “We find the most shocking part being the 18 months’ backdated, increased pay – from March 2017 to October 2018 – at a time when The Trust knows it has to save money and is cutting back on services in The Trust itself.”

The minutes say of its savings: “These included the loss of Music Trax, the gardener and artist in residence, and reductions in speech and language provision and IT support. Free adult meals would also be terminated.”

The Great North Wood Education Trust took over the Cherry Tree Children’s Centre from Lambeth council in 2017.

Parents received the shocking news on April 5th, just after The Trust’s main site shut down for the Easter holidays, and were informed that they would have to wait for another three weeks before having an official meeting regarding the closure.

One of the mothers said: “The manner in which The Trust has conducted itself is absolutely appalling.

“Some of the children have special education needs, and there’s been no proper assessment as to how they will be impacted.”

Another parent added: “How the chief executive, Kate Atkins, can justify taking £12k in a back-pay agreement, as well as increasing her salary to £90k per annum, when it appears The Trust can’t even keep a heavily-subsidised, oversubscribed nursery open.

“Closing Cherry Tree makes absolutely no sense at all. We’ve asked lots of questions of The Trust and the figures we received, after making FOI requests, make little sense. There should be no way a successful children’s centre and nursery can be transferred to a multi-academy trust in a way that puts it on the road to closure.”

Cherry Tree Action Group (CTAG), a group of more than 60 parents, want to establish a not-for-profit, local co-operative and take over the management of the centre if The Trust continues with the closure. But even this would not start until the spring of next year.

A spokesperson for CTAG said: “This situation should never have happened. If the council and The Trust had sat down and dealt with this properly six to eight months ago, our children would still have a nursery to go to.

“A way must be found to keep Cherry Tree open until new management is phased in. Otherwise, Cherry Tree is unlikely to reopen as it exists today; or indeed, possibly ever again.”

CTAG has asked the council to momentarily restore its employee pension subsidy, so that The Trust can extend its tenure and ensure a smooth transfer; and to ask for all the furniture to be left at the centre.

Parents say the town hall should have informed them about the closure of the nursery.

They also argue that there were no provisions in the employee pension handover, which blew a hole in the balance sheet of The Trust.

A spokesperson for the Lambeth council, said: “Cherry Tree is currently a school-run childcare facility and is not funded by Lambeth council.

“Since converting to academy status, Rosendale School, which runs Cherry Tree, has faced significant financial pressure and can no longer afford to continue running childcare at the site.

“Childcare services are scheduled to end at the end of August 2019, to allow parents to make alternative arrangements.

“Lambeth council has worked with Rosendale School on trying to maintain this provision and will now look at alternative uses for the building in the future, including the possibility of a new childcare provider taking over the site.”

Ms Atkins declined to comment on the subject.

Story by: London News Online


Darlington College students fix nursery’s play area

Darlington College students fix nursery’s play area

Level 2 carpentry and joinery students from Darlington College have joined forces to refurbish the outdoor play areas at Rooftops Nursery as part of a project supporting their community.

Richmond Rooftops Nursery, who follow the Montessori ethos, will be able to boost their outdoor activities with children, and provide Forest School and nature activities, thanks to the work done to the play area.

Hannah Hurley, the owner of the nursery, said to the Teesdale Mercury: “Investing in our outdoor areas enhances children’s life skills and independence. We are launching our Forest School on July 29.

“Having the apprentices has been invaluable to contributing to the improvements outside.”

Andrew Wears, a Darlington College tutor, said that suitable work was found for the college students to give them the taste of real work: “They have done a good job, and it has been an excellent experience for them working with a real client.”

One of the students, Thomas Norton, said: “I spent three days there cleaning up the existing woodwork and replacing what couldn’t be repaired. The boat playhouse needed refurbishing, and I was pleased with how it all looked in the end.”

Story by: Teesdale Mercury


50th anniversary for Rudgwick Pre-school

50th anniversary for Rudgwick Pre-school

Rudgwick Pre-School celebrated 50 years of running last month. The setting was set up by three women to give children an early years education and help them make friends for life.

On the day of the occasion, the pre-school was joined by not only children and their parents, but two of the founders – Joan and Rita – as well as local MP, Jeremy Quin, all of whom celebrated in style with cake, face painting and a bouncy castle.

Jeremy Quin said to the West Sussex County Times: “Pre-school years are so important for all children. It was a huge pleasure to congratulate the ‘outstanding’ Rudgwick Pre-School on 50 years of service to the children of Rudgwick and the surrounding area.

“So nice to see current and former pupils and staff and two of the founders all there to help celebrate its continuing success.”

The pre-school is a registered charity and is run by a committee of parents and early years practitioners. The team have faced a lot of difficulties over the years, but have maintained their ethos of giving the children the best start in life.

Claire Brown, the pre-school’s current supervisor, is the daughter of one of the founders. She said: “Our dedicated staff strive to offer our children a great variety of activities, and we have won awards and gained accreditation in areas that include being friendly to the environment (Schools’ Eco Award: Silver), Forest School (Forest Childcare), communication (Communication Friendly Early Years Setting), school gardening (Royal Horticultural Society) and sun safety (Sun Safe Nursery).

“Our team of early years practitioners undergo constant training to support SEN children; to introduce and educate on healthy eating; and to support children through difficult times.”

Story by: West Sussex County Times


Nursery World Awards success for New Beginnings Nursery

Nursery World Awards success for New Beginnings Nursery

New Beginnings Nursery has been shortlisted in the Nursery World Awards’ ‘online and social media’ category.

The small nursery chain, which has three settings in Essex, was informed of this exciting news after the eminent panel of judges from across the whole of the early years sector spent a day of debate, discussion and deliberation to decide which of the many entries for the Nursery World Awards 2019 should go through to the shortlist.

Speaking from her setting Romford, New Beginnings’ Managing Director Joanna Wilkinson said; “We are absolutely thrilled to be short-listed in these prestigious awards! New Beginnings’ vision, values and ethos of ‘Watch us Grow’ is clearly evident when people are browsing through the website and the hard work has paid off. Working in partnership with Parenta, this redesign has allowed us to be able to give our existing and potential families more of an insight into the wonderful experiences children are having with us. Families are able to gain a greater understanding of our teaching and learning practices; and using mainly our own photographs throughout the website, they can clearly see how much fun the children are having and how much they are enjoying their time at New Beginnings.”

“Our busy admin team receives so many new enquiries for all three of our settings but we are unable to fulfil the high demand for show-rounds.  However, those families who may not get the chance to view the nursery can now get a real appreciation of what we do by viewing our fabulous new website and completing our online waiting-list form – it’s been a game-changer!”

Testimonials from existing and prospective customers include:

“I found your website inviting and professional. The level of detail and images were great”

“Easy to navigate, sufficient information given”

“Very easy to navigate and user friendly”

The winners of the Nursery World Awards will be announced at an award ceremony on 28th September.


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