Getting close to nature at Hampstead Gate Day Nursery

Pre-schoolers from Hampstead Gate Day Nursery in Milton Keynes were delighted to witness the life cycle of a butterfly first hand, thanks to a special live growing and observation kit at the setting, before gathering in the garden to set them free.

At the award-winning setting on Eelbrook Avenue, children were captivated as they watched the caterpillars transform into a chrysalis over the weeks, before emerging as butterflies in their final stages. The group then took to the garden outside, where they released the creatures and even dressed up as them in inspired outfits to mark the occasion.  

Following on from this, children were keen to co-research the different types of butterflies that are native to the UK using books and the smart board, as well as investigating the steps they could take to attract more of them to the garden in the warmer months. 

It is for such activities that Hampstead Gate have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag as part of the international Eco-Schools scheme, the highest accolade is the programme, which is given for exceptional environmental conservation and awareness practices.

Hampstead Gate Day Nursery Team Leader, Ashleigh Smith explained;

“We had a brilliant few weeks watching the caterpillars transform into butterflies and everyone was fascinated to watch this process in person. This was such a rich learning experience for the children, which has also provided them with a deeper understanding of both metamorphosis and the natural world around them.”

Hampstead Gate children release butterflies into wild



Top of the crops at Knowle Green Day Nursery

Knowle Green Veg Patch

There were exciting learning opportunities at every turn for children at Knowle Green Day Nursery in Staines as they took to the garden outside to pick their homegrown crops.

Having grown a successful harvest of tomatoes and peppers in their allotment area, budding young horticulturists from the award-winning setting on Knowle Green were delighted to pick the ripened produce, which was then enjoyed by the group as part of their daily snack.

It is for such activities that Knowle Green have earnt a prestigious ‘Green Flag’ award, the highest accolade in the internationally-recognised Eco-Schools programme, which is awarded for exceptional environmental awareness and conservation practices.

Pre-schoolers take part in a curriculum of sustainable activities all year round, from crafting with natural and recycled materials to making habitats for wildlife, all whilst learning key educational messages, including the importance of nutrition to healthy lifestyles.

Knowle Green Day Nursery Deputy Manager, Chelsea Basley explained;

“The children love tending to their allotment area and this has been such a rewarding process for everyone involved. They have loved tracking the progress of their crops, and these initiatives offer a host of benefits, including aiding concentration, encouraging responsibility and gaining a better insight into where our food comes from.”



Windmill Hill Day Nursery colleagues take on charity Snowdon climb

Windmill Hill Day Nursery team climb Snowdon

A devoted childcare team from Windmill Hill Day Nursery in Swindon have completed a climb up Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, all in the name of charity.

As a result of their efforts, Nursery Manager, Lora Worthington and colleagues Stephanie Haygreen, Shannon Williams and Imogen Webb from the award-winning setting on Windmill Hill Business Park, were delighted to raise a grand total of £771.00 for charity ‘Bliss’, which will now go towards helping support babies who were born premature or sick.

The climb up Snowdon, which sits at 1,085 metres above sea level, is the latest in a series of fundraising initiatives for the Windmill Hill team, whose colleagues have recently spent the night ‘sleeping rough’ under the stars as part of the Childbase Partnership ‘Big Sleep Out’, as well as a sponsored scoot with the children, raffles and more to raise funds for the cause.

Windmill Hill Day Nursery Manager, Lora Worthington explained;

“Climbing Snowdon was a tough but fantastic experience, made all the more worth it by knowing this money will do so much good for families that need it most. We are so grateful for the support we’ve had and the generosity of our nursery parents and colleagues.”

Windmill Hill Day Nursery have adopted Bliss for a year-long fundraising drive.



Celebrating three decades of service to thousands of Bedford children

Lavenders Day Nursery practitioner celebrates 30 years

After 30 years looking after generations of children at the Ofsted-rated Outstanding Lavenders Day Nursery in Bedford, Margaret Sanders says retirement isn’t an option as she would be leaving her heart behind.

In a surprise tribute to the former Deputy Manager of Lavenders in Bushmead Avenue, balloons, and photographs of her career to date adorned the nursery when Margaret arrived for work on the anniversary of her first day.

“I was overwhelmed and will never forget this special day. I love my job and Lavenders is a second home. I can’t imagine being anywhere else – my heart is here and always will be,” said Margaret.

Lavenders Manager, Dizzie Newberry, praised Margaret for her dedicated service to all children.

“Her passion and commitment to excellence in Early Years is evident in her work every single day in nursery. The children love her and parents were afraid that the anniversary celebrations would trigger her retirement,” she said.

Starting at Lavenders after gaining a college Diploma in Childcare and Education (formerly NNEB), Margaret has continued Early Years Care and education training throughout her career and has found her real home in the Preschool Room.

“This is without doubt my favourite posting. To say it is rewarding is an understatement when you are witness to enormous strides forward being achieved by children in their last year at nursery,” said Margaret.

“To see a child who couldn’t hold a pencil on their first day in Preschool writing their names before leaving for school is very emotional. I am also teaching the children of children I taught years ago and that is very special,” said Margaret who is mother to another graduate of the nursery, her 21-year-old daughter.   

Lavenders Day Nursery is part of the award-winning, employee owned Childbase Partnership which will celebrate Margaret at a Long Service Dinner in November.



Childbase Partnership wins top customer service award

Childbase Partnership win Nursery World Award

Pictured L-R: Awards host and children’s TV presenter, Emma-Louise Amanshia, Melissa Parisi, Quality Manager at Green Park Day Nursery, Katie Rose, Childbase Partnership Marketing Executive and awards judge.

‘Going above and beyond’ in supporting parents with children in the company’s 44-day nurseries in the South of England, has won Childbase Partnership a prestigious award in the Nursery World Annual Awards 2022.

Already rated ‘World Class’ and a top UK workplace for over 13 years, the Newport Pagnell-based, employee-owned Childbase Partnership picked up the ‘Working with Parents’ trophy at a gala event in London.

Particular praise was given to the company’s exclusive parent portal giving parents access to ‘out of hours’ expert support, resources, and on-line events designed to address a range of issues arising from the Covid-19 lockdowns impacting children’s communication and language, physical, social and emotional development.

Childbase Partnership Operations Director, Louise Hill, said:

We couldn’t be more delighted with this recognition. Strong, collaborative parent partnerships are vital to our efforts to successfully meet the needs of every child in our care and ensure they not only thrive but reach their full potential.”


Louise Hill

Since its launch in 2021, all sessions offered via the parent portal are fully booked each month with over 1,500 parents so far accessing webinars and workshops with an external specialist teacher and educational therapist.

These sessions provide training and strategies on, for example, managing behaviour, Autistic Spectrum Disorder and former and current front line emergency responders provide  First Aid training.

The library has over 21 original books, to view on-line or download, detailing the approach in nursery and offering guidance on milestone events like the introduction of a new sibling, bereavement, and moving house as well as behaviour related to toilet training, biting, fussy eating, and sleep routines.  

Bespoke story books, illustrated by a nursery practitioner, and fun events and activities promote environmental awareness.  

“The Childbase@home website is a fantastic perk, so much information available at the click of a button,” is just one of the many parent reviews of the site.

Recruitment – childbase (

Childbase Partnership Home – childbase



Paying tribute to the Queen at Hampstead Gate Day Nursery

Hampstead Gate children pay tribute to the Queen

Children from Hampstead Gate Day Nursery in Milton Keynes have been celebrating the Queen’s extraordinary life and service with a series of tributes and activities at the setting.

From making picture collages and reading themed books to co-researching the new King, there were learning opportunities at every turn for children at the award-winning setting on Eelbrook Avenue, as they learnt more about the Royal Family and British history.

Following an interest in Paddington amongst the group, pre-schoolers were also delighted to discuss Her Majesty’s special Jubilee visit from the beloved bear, before making their very own marmalade sandwiches for their afternoon snack by way of tribute.

Hampstead Gate Day Nursery Team Leader, Ashleigh Smith explained;

“We were all deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, especially after the wonderful Jubilee celebrations we enjoyed over the summer at nursery. We are sensitively handling the children’s questions and are now focusing on celebrating her amazing life through painting, crafting and discussion.”



Celebrating the life of the Queen at Seabrook Day Nursery

Seabrook children pay tribute to the Queen

Children from Seabrook Day Nursery in Luton have been celebrating the Queen’s extraordinary life and service with a series of tributes and activities at the setting.

At the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ Day Nursery on Lewsey Road, children showcased their creativity by making picture collages and drawing their interpretations of Her Majesty, as well as looking at iconic photographs and moments in history from her 70-year reign.

As part of the learning experience, pre-schoolers also baked their very own scones for a special afternoon tea in the Queen’s honour, where they discussed the Jubilee festivities over the summer, which included a garden party at the setting with families in attendance.

Seabrook Day Nursery Manager, Becky Smith explained;

“We were all deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, especially after the wonderful Jubilee celebrations over the summer at nursery. We are sensitively handling the children’s questions and are now focusing on celebrating her amazing life through painting, crafting and discussion.”



Gnomes given a home at Grasshoppers Day Nursery

Children from Grasshoppers Day Nursery in St Albans have been practicing their writing and communication skills, all with the help of some special gnomes in the garden outside.

In order to build literary skills in preparation for their next steps in education and instil confidence for the journey ahead, children from the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ Day Nursery on York Road have been writing to the gnomes about their transition to school, penning any worries or questions they may have, before posting the letters to the garden.

Following the writing session, pre-schoolers were delighted to receive individual replies from the gnomes, re-assuring them of any concerns, as well as the gift of a ‘paint your own garden gnome’ each which they could take home to showcase their creativity.

Grasshoppers Day Nursery Manager, Jenny Pratt explained;

“The gnome writing initiative has been such a success amongst the children and this has been beneficial in so many ways. Not only has this been hugely exciting for the group, but has been a great outlet for them to express their feelings, all whilst practicing their mark making and building fine and gross motor skills in readiness for school.”

Grasshoppers gnomes given home



The Childbase Academy launch – a £1.6 million investment in Apprenticeships

Childbase Partnership Academy Launch

Barista style refreshments on tap and chef-prepared home-cooked meals are just some of the perks for Apprentices taking award-winning training at The Childbase Academy of Excellence.

The official launch of the Academy at the Buckinghamshire headquarters of the employee owned, Childbase Partnership marks the completion of a £1.6 million investment to create inspiring learning environments and upscale wellbeing amenities.

Emma Rooney, Chief Executive Officer at Childbase Partnership, said of the 200 Apprentices from the company’s 44-day nurseries in the South of England currently undertaking studies:

“I want our Apprentices to be ambitious, so nothing is left to chance when it comes to securing the best possible outcomes for them at the beginning of their careers with us.

“Experienced and dedicated trainers and mentors delivering Princess Royal Award-winning training not only make for happy, confident practitioners in nursery but underpins the outstanding quality of our provision.” 

“As employee owners, we are all invested in each other and ensuring that the children in our care receive the best possible start in life. Talented, skilled and ambitious colleagues on clearly defined career paths will get us there,” she added.

The Academy’s modern bright learning environments and ‘chill out’ zones, invested with the latest technology, were officially dedicated by Frances Howell, HSBC Managing Director and Head of Corporate Banking, Midlands Region.

“This is the most imaginative building I‘ve seen in a very long time and a clear demonstration of your commitment to redefine excellence at every opportunity. This remarkable learning and working environment is a credit to you all and I thank you for the honour and privilege of dedicating this centre of excellence,” she said.

Currently, The Childbase Academy is committed to providing L3 Early Years Educators and L2 Early Years Practitioner courses to approximately 150 learners every year. In July a L3 Team Leading Apprentice course was introduced, and by the end of this year a L5 Early Years Lead Practitioner is being launched.

This in addition to the company’s extended learning platform, bespoke curriculum training and two annual Inset Days when nurseries close for whole team training to keep them up to date with the latest Early Years research and practices methods.

Recruitment – childbase (



Top environmental award for Lavenders Day Nursery pre-schoolers

Lavenders Day Nursery children earn Green Flag Distinction

After receiving a prestigious ‘Green Flag’ award in 2020 as part of the international Eco-Schools scheme, children and practitioners from Lavenders Day Nursery in Bedford were delighted to learn they had gained the esteemed accreditation once more, with a distinction.

The accolade, which is the highest achievement in the programme, has been awarded to the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ setting on Bushmead Avenue, following a sustained environmental project which involves children of all ages, from babies using recycled shredder paper for sensory activities, to older children creating bug hotels for insect observations and growing vegetables which are then used in meals by Nursery Chefs.

Activities, which also include crafting with natural and recycled materials, are designed to promote the development of personal, social and emotional life skills as well as introducing the children to basic maths, science and environmental messages.

Following their submission, Lavenders were commended by assessors who praised their passionate eco-committee, consisting of children who drive forward ideas for change, as well as colleagues Karolina Rajkowska, Angie O’Boyle, Rachel Strangwick and Heather Bull.

Delighted Lavenders Quality Manager, Oli Baucutt, said the award was the result of years of continuous dedication by staff and children, working together in the programme, which involves millions of children across 70 countries.  

“We aim to give children the best possible future here at Lavenders and looking after the environment plays a huge part in that. The respect and care the children have for the nature around them is inspiring to see and bodes well for their adult lives”, he explained.


Cedars Day Nursery - Leighton Buzzard

We prioritise the importance of outdoor play at Cedars Day Nursery in Leighton Buzzard. All children at our Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ nursery have access to our large, natural garden area on a daily basis as we recognise the impact that being outdoors has on a child’s social, emotional and physical development. The children enjoy planting vegetables and tasting their produce, served by our dedicated Nursery Chef.

Cedars Day Nursery, Mentmore Rd, Leighton Buzzard LU7 2PA

Tel:  01525 850200