FAQs about Education

Discover answers to our most asked questions below.

The curriculum

Who designed your curriculum?

Our curriculum was designed by the Ark Start early years experts with input from across the Ark network and based on child development evidence. We’ve also taken advice from some of the country’s leading experts and been influenced by a number of international approaches including Reggio Emilia, Montessori and Forest School, as well as emerging evidence on child development.

Do you teach languages?

We don’t currently run a language programme.

How much time will my child spend outside?

Every child will spend time outdoors every day. We aim to ensure that, in line with NHS guidance, our children our physically active for at least three hours a day. We also know that outdoor learning provides opportunities for our children that the indoor environment cannot match so we make sure we are outside every day, whatever the weather.

What will my child be learning outside?

We do lots of different activities outside, including physical activities, games, planting, Forest School and learning about the local community.

What are the benefits of nursery education for children?

High quality nurseries are much more than childcare. Attending a nursery with well qualified staff like Ark Start offers numerous benefits to both children and their families. Here are some of the key advantages of a high quality nursery education:

  1. Early Learning and Development: Nurseries provide a structured and nurturing environment where children can engage in age-appropriate activities that stimulate cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development, helping ensure children are ready to start school confidently and happily.
  2. Socialisation: Children in nurseries have the opportunity to interact with their friends, helping them learn to share, cooperate, and communicate. This early exposure to social situations helps children develop strong interpersonal skills and empathy as well as a sense of belonging within a community.
  3. Independence and Confidence: Nurseries encourage children to develop independence as they learn to eat, dress, and go to the toilet on their own in. This fosters a sense of accomplishment and boosts their self-confidence.
  4. Early Literacy and Numeracy Skills: Nurseries introduce children to the foundations of reading, writing, and maths through interactive, engaging and age appropriate activities.
  5. Cultural Capital: Nurseries expose children to a variety of people, experiences and opportunities that they may not access at home, helping them to develop a better understanding of the world around them.
  6. Emotional Regulation: Nursery teachers support children to learn how to express their feelings and manage their emotions and cope with challenges in a supportive environment.
  7. Preparation for School: Attending a nursery can help children adapt to the school environment more smoothly. They become accustomed to routines, following instructions from teachers, and interacting with a larger group of children, making the transition to formal schooling easier.
  8. Parental Involvement: Nurseries with expert teachers can help parents better understand their children’s learning journey and next steps. Many nurseries give parents guidance on which activities at home can best support their child’s development.

Professional Guidance: Trained early childhood educators in nurseries provide age-appropriate guidance and support to children. They understand child development and can identify any potential challenges or developmental delays, ensuring that appropriate support is provided to parents

Extracurricular activities

What extracurricular activities do you offer?

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.

How many trips take place a week and where do they go?

We make sure we go offsite at least once every half term. See calendar of events LINK

Reviews & assessments

Do you test the children?

No. We assess our children regularly to understand what their next steps should be and share this with families regularly. We will also complete a 2 Year Check, and a Before School assessment which ensures a smooth transition from nursery to school.


We are taking part in a research project to understand the impact of a high quality early education on young children. We are undertaking this project in partnership with the Mercers and Education Policy Institute. This means that we share anonymised data with the researchers who then use the data to better understand the characteristics of effective early education as well as the impact. We are excited about this project and its potential to have an impact on the early years sector more widely.

How will I know my child is on track with their learning?

Our staff are trained to understand children’s development and work closely with families to understand where children are in their learning and what their next steps are. We invite parents in every term to discuss their child’s learning and families can ask to meet their child’s play partners at any time.


How often are your parents evenings?

We invite parents in for formal meetings every term but you can speak to your play partner about your child at any time!

Opportunities at Ark Start

Join the Team

Our nurseries are about much more than childcare. Our team works together to ensure that every child has a joyful, engaging and secure nursery experience and leaves us ready to start school happily and confidently. We are driven by our values in everything we do: Aim High, Be Brave, Be Kind and Keep Learning.

Ark Start is at an exciting time in its evolution. We opened two nurseries in South London last year and aim to expand our reach over the coming years. As we expand, we are looking for Early Educators to join our founding team. We are looking for someone with a genuine passion for young children and with the skill, creativity, commitment and energy to deliver excellent provision at Ark Start John Archer.

nursery play worker child development reading

So much more than childcare