Our Nurseries

Explore Our Nurseries

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.

Ark Start John Archer Clapham Junction Nursery inside

Clapham Junction

John Archer

A Day at Nursery

At Ark Start, we cherish every moment as a learning opportunity. We, therefore, plan the nursery day carefully. Every child has a named Play Partner. This person is central to the child’s wellbeing, sense of safety and belonging. The relationship which develops between the Play Partner, the child and the parent provides a secure base to explore from a safe space to return to.

Drop off

We recognise that mornings can be a challenge, and we’re committed to doing everything to ensure a positive and warm start to the day for our families.

You’ll be welcomed by staff in the morning. This is a chance for you to discuss anything important or simply let us know what you got up to at home so that we can extend this into the nursery.

Your child will then either have breakfast or settle down to play. 

Exploration time

During exploration time, children explore the playrooms and play with their friends. We also introduce children to our ‘provocations’ – the opportunity to extend learning linked to our projects.  

‘Time to find out’ sessions

Every day, adults lead ‘time to find out’ sessions. In these sessions the children explore literacy, maths, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. The sessions are there to enhance the children’s thoughts and language and will have a positive impact on their approach to learning through play.


Children have access to fruit and water throughout the day, and we also have dedicated snack times to encourage children to sit together. 

Lunchtime starts at around 11.45am. At lunchtime, children sit down together and eat at tables – we call this ‘family dining’. They will pour their own water and adults will help encourage them to use a knife and fork. We believe mealtimes are an important learning opportunity and an important time for children to develop their social skills.

We know that a healthy, nutritious lunch is an important part of the day, so we make sure that lunch – whether it’s cooked on site or brought in where this isn’t possible – meets the highest standards. We don’t add salt or sugar and we work hard to have a cycle of menus that support children tasting different types of food. 

reading time nursery

Reading and circle time

With their Play Partner. They will read a new, or well-loved story, sing songs, learn new vocabulary and share ideas about the learning they would like to do during play.

Outdoor learning 

Our outdoor spaces are designed just as imaginatively as our indoor spaces and include opportunities for growing and planting, water and mud play and an opportunity to climb, run and jump.

We believe that access to outdoor activities is an important part of children’s learning. We have specially trained forest school practitioners and all children will have access at times throughout the year. At Ark Start Oval, we are lucky to have everyday access to the meadow meaning children access outdoor activities every week, all year round.

sleep day routine nursery london

Sleep and rest

We know that good sleep is essential for children’s development. Our nursery rooms are designed to easily convert into cosy sleeping spaces for those that sleep.

When children first join the nursery we follow their home sleep routines, and then continue to support children to sleep at the time that is right for them. We find that children generally adjust quickly to snuggling up with their friends after lunch. 

Children who no longer require a sleep in the day will continue to play away from the sleep area.

Pick up

At home time, parents are encouraged to come in and chat with their child’s play partner and hear all about their child’s day. You can also always ask to speak to the manager if there’s anything you’d like to discuss in more detail, or arrange a more convenient time.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

How do I enquire about a place at Ark Start?

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. 

What are your opening hours?

We are open from 8am – 5pm every day. We are closed for 4 weeks a year and for bank holidays.

Can my child come to nursery for one day a week?

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.

What do the fees cover?

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.

What funding support can I access?

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.

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.

So Much More Than Childcare