FAQs about Joining Ark Start

Discover answers to our most asked questions below.

Getting started

Your first day

How do I enquire about a place at Ark Start?

In order to register your child, please submit an enquiry form on our website. You will then be invited to come and visit the nursery. 

I’ve booked my first visit to a nursery - can I bring someone with me?

Of course! We understand that choosing a nursery is a big decision and welcome other family members or friends.

How do I choose the right nursery for my child?

Choosing the right nursery for your child can be difficult. At Ark Start we try and make this process as easy as possible – once you have registered for the nursery, you can come and visit and meet the team. At that visit, you can ask any questions or share any worries.

We believe that the right nursery for your child is:

  • Somewhere you and they feel happy and secure
  • A place where staff are caring and kind
  • A place where children can learn and grow
How can I prepare my child for starting nursery?

Starting nursery is a big moment in you and your child’s life. At Ark Start, we try and support this process by inviting families to attend stay and plays with their child before they start, conducting a home visit for all families and by putting in place a bespoke settling in process to ensure they feel relaxed and confident coming to nursery.

Find out more about our stay and plays here.

You can help make the transition even smoother and more positive. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Visit the Nursery: Take your child for a visit to the nursery before they start. Familiarize them with the environment, their new teachers, and the other children. This can help reduce anxiety about the new setting.
  2. Talk About It: Have positive conversations about nursery. Explain to your child what nursery is, what they might do there, and how it can be fun. Answer any questions they have.
  3. Read Books: Read books about starting nursery or school – some of these are great: Spot loves Nursery by Eric Hill, The Colour Monster Goes to School by Anna Llenas, Starting School by Janet and Allen Ahlberg and Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School by David Melling. Reading about nursery and school can help your child understand and feel more comfortable about the idea.
  4. Establish a Routine: If possible, establish a daily routine that mirrors what your child will experience at nursery. This can include set times for meals, naps, and play activities.
  5. Separation Practice: Gradually introduce short periods of separation. Leave your child with a trusted family member or friend for a short time, gradually increasing the duration. This can help your child get used to being away from you.
  6. Socialisation: Arrange playdates with other children. This can help your child develop social skills and become more comfortable interacting with other children.
  7. Independence: Encourage your child to do things on their own, such as dressing themselves, using the toilet, and washing their hands. These skills will make them feel more confident at nursery.
  8. Label Emotions: Teach your child about how to name their emotions and express them. Explain that it’s okay to feel excited, nervous, or a mix of emotions about starting nursery.
  9. Positive Goodbyes: When the time comes to start nursery, make goodbyes positive but brief. Assure your child that you will be back to pick them up, or tell them if it’s going to be someone else.
  10. Stay Calm: Children often pick up on their parents’ emotions. Stay positive and calm when discussing nursery and during drop-offs.

Remember, every child is different. Some may take to nursery quickly, while others might need more time to adjust. Be patient, supportive, and understanding as your child navigates this new experience.

Why do you do home visits?

At Ark Start, we believe home visits are an invaluable part of the settling in process by helping us to:

  1. Build Stronger Relationships: Home visits provide an opportunity for teachers and staff to establish stronger connections with children and their families. Meeting in a more relaxed and familiar environment helps us build a sense of trust.
  2. Personalise a child’s experience at nursery: Home visits allow us to better understand your child’s interests, likes and dislikes. We use this information to ensure that the nursery provision is meeting your child’s needs.  
  3. Involving families in nursery: We hope that by coming to your home, we can help you become more involved in your child’s education. We want you to feel comfortable asking us questions and engaging fully in your child’s time at nursery, including attending events and other opportunities.
  4. Reducing Miscommunication: We find that home visits help bridge the gap between school and home, reducing the likelihood of miscommunication and misunderstandings between parents and teachers and making open communication easier when challenging conversations do happen.

Creating a Supportive Community: We believe home visits contribute to the creation of a supportive and inclusive school community. When families and educators work together, it creates a positive environment for children to learn and thrive.

Find out more about why we do home visits here.

How will I know if my child is settling in well?

Your child will be allocated a play partner who will speak to you every day about your child’s day, how well they are settling and what they have been doing.

What do I need to bring to nursery?

We ask families to provide a spare set of clothes, suncream and a sunhat in the summer and wellies for outside play.

How will I be invoiced?

You will be invoiced monthly, in advance. When payments have not been made, the nursery reserves the right to remove any fee-incurring sessions or lunches from future bookings until the debt is cleared.

Is there a registration fee (or deposit)?

No.

Once my days at nursery are confirmed, am I able to swap a day?

Yes, subject to availability. 

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 playworker with happy children dressing up

So much more than childcare