At Ark Start nurseries, we have built environments that emphasise creativity, and independence.
Our values underpin everything that we do to enable your child to grow, thrive and learn in a happy, stimulating, safe and secure environment. At Ark Start we give your child not only the start they need but the one they deserve.
When we are brave we explore new things and have a go. We do the right thing when no one’s watching.
Aiming high means we make ambitious plans and enjoy achieving what we set out to do. We talk about our thoughts, our feelings and our interests and we know that we can learn from our mistakes and experiences.
It’s fun to learn new things and be creative. No one in our nursery, whether a child or a grown up, ever stops learning.
When we are kind we think about how we feel and pay attention to how other people feel. We make choices that help others and have fun playing together.
At Ark Start we know that what each child learns (our curriculum) and how they learn it (our pedagogy) really matters. Our philosophy has been inspired by great educational thinkers and programmes, including:
And by the world in which we live:
We also believe children should have a joyous early education and that means access to a range of onsite and offsite opportunities and experiences. We make sure that every child who spends their nursery education with us will access our 15 Things:
The Art Start curriculum has been designed by early years specialists and follows the Department for Education’s Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework. It’s structured around storytelling, encouraging children to tell their own stories and listen to others’ stories. Through storytelling, we can develop children’s creativity, their own voice and their listening skills.
Our practice has grown out of our work with Ark schools and our desire that every child should have the best start in life.
Our staff are trained to respond to individual children and their play. To do this, we have created an environment that enables children to explore, learn and play. We know that time is precious and plan it carefully so that children come together to think and find out with their friends and have time to lead their own learning.
At Ark Start, you should notice how adults listen to each child and respond thoughtfully and the care with which the toys, materials and books have been selected. We also ensure children learn outside as much as possible.
We use a six-month developmental milestone tracker to assess children against six-monthly milestones and to record when children demonstrate the characteristics of effective learning. Before beginning any assessment, we ensure that children are well settled and take the time to get to know each other. We also talk to families and observe their wellbeing and involvement in nursery.
In preschool we also use GL’s BPVSIII and the CSBQ assessments to measure progress in vocabulary acquisition and self-regulation. These assessments feel like a nursery activity and take place when a child is settled and happy to join the game and is easily paused or postponed. Access to any of the assessments is available on request.
Learn more about our nurseries, including what a day at nursery looks like for your child, our members of staff and our fees.
Considering a place at an Ark Start nursery? Below you’ll find some of our most commonly asked questions. You can also explore our full FAQs page.
In order to register your child, please submit an enquiry form on our website LINK HERE. You will then be invited to come and visit the nursery.
We are open from 8am – 5pm every day. We are closed for 4 weeks a year and for bank holidays.
Yes, but we strongly encourage children to attend nursery for at least four sessions a week over two days. This is because children find it easier to settle in and benefit from nursery if they attend regularly.
Fees cover everything with the exception of snacks and meals; nappies and wipes; and certain offsite visits – we publish these at the beginning of the year so families can plan.
There is some government support for childcare costs. You can check your entitlements here: https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs. You can also speak to our nursery team, who will help you understand your entitlements.
We think children should experience awe and wonder and strive to create many opportunities for this through the curriculum. Enrichment opportunities include offsite visits, for example to the farm or to the fire station, and onsite experiences such as baking and hatching ducklings and butterflies.