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The problem with ‘free’ childcare

The Early Years Alliance recently published a very informative and interactive guide which perfectly explains the current situation childcare providers are in with regards to Early Years funding and ‘Free’ child places.

It’s a common misconception that the amount the Government gives to childcare providers enables them to offer the places for free. Each county provides a different amount and this amount can vary wildly. There is a wide disparity between Staffordshire and Derbyshire councils for example.

This interactive video explains really clearly what the Governments free childcare offer actually means to providers. Click here to access the interactive video.

Early years providers find themselves in an impossible position. Without adequate government funding, many lose money for every ‘free’ place they offer. This situation has worsened since the national roll-out of the 30-hours offer. We believe the only way that the early entitlement scheme can work in the long term is if it is funded properly.

Nursery visit from Kate Kniveton MP

On Thursday 9th November Nursery visit from Kate Kniveton MP the local member of parliament for Burton and Uttoxeter.

Kate had sent us a letter of congratulations for the recent awards we had won at the Nursery World Awards 2023, and we were delighted to be able to show off everything our nursery has to offer and talk about all things Early Years.

Nursery Guided Tour

We began with a tour of the nursery taking in our Urban Forest School, where Kate saw first hand how we teach children the importance of nature, and the environment. One of our rooms was taking part in an activity around our open fire, learning about fire safety, and cooking on the open fire. We have several highly qualified Forest School practitioners on site and all of our staff are qualified to our Forest School Level 1 which was something we were proud to talk about.

Afterwards we toured the inside of the nursery taking in our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) room where we introduced Tim our STEAM specialist. Kate saw firsthand how passionate we are about all areas of Early Years education and we spoke about how we have well above the national average of male practitioners in our settings (12%). Something we are very proud of.

We visited each room in turn, including our Highly Commended Pre-School, ending in our newly updated Little Bears (2-3 year old) room where Kate saw our vision for the interior of the nursery with our indoor tree, filled with sensory learning experiences. It was here she also met our nursery therapy dog Bobby.

Following our tour we retired to our staff room to spend time talking about the challenges we are currently facing in the Early years sector.  We covered the affects of COVID on staff,  children and families, recruitment, and the changes to childcare funding and wraparound care coming in to affect next year. Owner Abby Litting was joined by Director of Nursery Operations Louise Monange, Nursery Manager Charlotte Draycott, Deputy Manager Rachael Emery, HR Manager Shona Sweet and Marketing Manager Helen White.

After the nursery visit from Kate Kniveton MP, we received some wonderful feedback:

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with you. The children are a delight. Their enthusiasm to engage was a testament to the dedication of your passionate, professional staff.
To watch the children learn as they played was inspirational. The early years of a child’s life form the foundations of the adult, and with the support and encouragement of the staff and the imaginative programme at Beeches Park, the children are helped to travel seamlessly to the next stage of their educational journey. Beeches Park Day Nursery is certainly a very happy establishment. Well done, everyone, and keep up the great work.

Nursery guide to infectious diseases

Winter is once again quickly approaching and the instances of cold and flu, among other seasonal childhood infections is slowly on the rise. We have put together this guide for infectious diseases and an easy reference for you to follow to determine yourself if your child should be kept away from nursery.  We have referenced both Derbyshire and Staffordshire NHS as well as Early Years information to make this as comprehensive as possible.

As always if you are in doubt please do contact the nursery directly.

Nursery Group Guide to Infectious Diseases and Illness

Finalists in the Nursery World Awards 2023

We are excited to announce we are finalists in the Nursery World Awards 2023.  In three exciting categories:

  • Nursery Social Media (Helen White)
  • Operations Director (Louise Monange)
  • Pre-School of the Year

We are so proud to be recognised for our teacher-led Pre-School, Danielle and her team work incredibly hard to guide our our cohorts to become ‘school ready’ and every year we are so proud to see the children as they mature into Reception Class pupils.

The awards will take place 30th September 2023 in London.

Michelle Kennedy Memorial 5k

Join us. Raise Money. Have fun!

On Saturday 7th October 2023, we will be hosting a family 5k at Beeches Park Day Nursery.

A gentle, mostly flat, loop from nursery through Stretton village and back along Derby Road, raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

We run in memory of our colleague Michelle.

Michelle was a valued member of staff who worked in our Little Bears room with the 2-3 year olds. Always smiling and full of fun, Michelle quickly became a firm favourite with the children after joining us in September 2021.

Michelle Kennedy memorial Family 5k

Who, where, what, when?

Staff from Beeches Park will be joined by our sister setting The Old Forge Day Nursery, as many staff there had worked with Michelle, as well as families and children from our nursery. We have a special appearance from George the Bear (who will be running!)

The event will start at Beeches Park with an anticlockwise loop of Stretton ending back at the nursery.

You are welcome to run, walk, skip, cycle anything you can think of to complete your 5k. Buggies and prams are very welcome, this isn’t a race!

The event starts at 10am. We have plenty of parking space on site and a safe store for belongings. Refreshments will be provided after but you are encouraged to bring your own water bottle.

The important bit!

SPONSOR US!  Great Ormond Street was very special to Michelle so we want to raise LOTS!  We have a Just Giving page to donate online, and we will have buckets on the day for cash. You can donate here:

We look forward to seeing everyone on the day!


The Big Help Out 2023

On Tuesday 9th May we were thrilled to welcome a team of volunteers from Cosy to the nursery.

As part of their charity work for the year they had chosen our nursery to come and help out for the day.  We were thrilled, they worked so hard in what turned out to be quite damp conditions!

  • New planters with flowers along the fence in the over 2s garden
  • New privacy screening in the under 2s garden
  • Freshly sanded gates for both gardens
  • Beautifully jet-washed ‘grass’ area
  • Cleaned and tidy greenhouse and garden

What a difference they have made. Thank you Cosy for all your help.

A team member from Cosy Direct helps children from the Little Bears room to water the new freshly panted flower tubs, as they watch on in awe.


Award Nominated – FSB Service Award

We are delighted to announce we have been short-listed for a Federation of Small Businesses (, Service Excellence Award.

Providing an exemplary service to our parents is at the heart of what we do and to be recognised by the FSB for this is so exciting.

The awards are announced in March, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

An introduction to Urban Forest School

The staff had a great team building evening at the end of January where we introduced our new Urban Forest School to them.

Forest School learning is an exciting concept and one which our staff are passionate about. For some of the team it was a new experience, for others it was the first time they had put their skills to practice in a more urban environment. There were lots of exciting activities to take part in, led by Rachael, Natalie and Shaun – who came over from The Forge to help us. We tried new activities such as taking leaf prints, mud printing and painting, nature playdough, and obstacle building we also enjoyed cooking on the open fire, with delicious camp fire pizza and hot chocolate to keep us warm! Taking place at night added a new dimension, with headtorches on and the fire lit for extra light.

Afterward we had a quiz to see what we had learned. There were lots of positive remarks about the evening, with the staff excited to start and introduce what they had learned to the children.

We have already started rolling out Urban Forest School with some mud painting, obstacle building and planting, which you can read all about on our Facebook page.  We have also started extending some of our room cooking outside and making yummy snacks on the open fire, which everyone is loving.

Garden update

Lottie, Rachael and Helen have been busy working on the main garden, ready for Spring.

We’re working hard so that when the better weather comes we can really make the most of our huge garden area with some great new activities for all the children.

Some exciting changes include:

  • Newly planted climbers along the fence
    These will provide some colour, shade and screening for us in the garden, as well as some beautiful smells. We’ve also planted a Blackberry climber – yummy Blackberry & Apple Crumble later this year!
  • The start of our Forest School area
    We’ve taken delivery of some stumps to sit on and have installed the start of our firepit. We’re looking forward to using from now on
  • Some exciting Forest School loose parts to play with, lots of stacking, and building opportunities
  • We’ve re-planted some of our Queens Canopy Trees into bigger pots
  • The greenhouse has had some care and attention and is ready to get sowing some veggies
    We still reserve some water bottles in the staff room so any on-going repairs can be done – plus it’s great recycling!
  • We’ll be installing our new water butt to collect rainwater to water the plants with, as well as an irrigation system

Lots more exciting changes to come, and we’re only 2 weeks into the new year!