Day Nursery enjoys success in spite of challenging climate
Tucked away on Kent Science Park, Woodstock House Day Nursery provides a unique childcare offering to not only parents working at businesses onsite, but also the wider Sittingbourne community.
After a year of renovation to make the house child-friendly and to maximise space, the nursery opened in November 2019 before having to close in March 2020 in line with government lockdown advice. Since reopening in June, Woodstock House Day Nursery has become and continues to be a safe and secure place with growing numbers of staff and children.
The nursery was set up by Directors David Murray and Claire Charlton, who has a strong background in childcare from her work in numerous nurseries and as an advisor to local authorities. Combined with her experiences as a mother, she knew the possibilities for what childcare could and should be.
Claire Charlton, Nursery Director at Woodstock House Day Nursery, explains how she started the nursery: “Kent Science Park was keen to have a childcare provision onsite and as soon as we pulled up outside Woodstock House, I immediately fell in love with the building – it exceeded all expectations. It needed renovating, but and as a hard working farming family we weren’t daunted by the task. I instantly saw the potential and how lovely it would be as a nursery. It felt special and magical, in fact, my daughter described it as ‘like a fairytale’ when she first visited, so I knew I’d made the right decision.
“Kent Science Park has a great community feel to it and Emily and the team at The Hub have been extremely supportive throughout. We feel extremely safe as everything is contained so no one can get in or out without going through security. It’s also been lovely to explore the site, especially the Japanese garden and the tortoises and bearded dragon at Lawley Fine Jewellers, which the children love.”
The nursery has been designed with a free flow layout to allow age groups to interact with each other and to give it a homely feel. The children have an important role in creating the space, making pegs with their own photos on, out of cardboard and twigs collected from the garden.
Based close to the countryside, Claire and her team want to bring in as much nature to the nursery as possible, encouraging the children to care for the world around them. The nursery’s garden is home to a range of wildlife including dragonflies, hedgehogs and rabbits, as well as a bug hotel, water garden and soon, a vegetable patch. The staff also use natural resources wherever possible, including eco-friendly wet wipes to cut down on waste.
Woodstock House Day Nursery has links with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which are also based at Kent Science Park, and the nearby Woodstock Residential Care Home. The children and residents have shared letters with one another, with one child even making a green pasta necklace to match the resident’s favourite colour and food.
Claire concludes: “The pandemic has understandably posed some challenges for us, but enquiries are now coming in thick and fast, largely through recommendations, which is really positive. Our entire team is really passionate about what we do and we’re looking forward to continuing to provide high quality of childcare in the future.”