The Stables Nursery provides a caring and nurturing environment that supports the individual growth and development of children aged 3 months to 3 years.
Set in rural Kent on Ashford Prep School’s extensive and beautiful grounds, the children in our care can become adventurous learners both indoors and out.
Underpinned by the ethos of Inspiring Minds, the nursery is designed to ensure that each child has the opportunity to learn within their developmental capability. Our intention is to ensure that the nursery provision provides an enriching environment with a team of staff who form secure bonds with the children. This promotes feelings of stability and safety which ultimately enables our children to become confident learners.
A Home Away From Home
The Stables Nursery is a custom-designed building where modern spaces meet the historical, listed qualities of the original structure creating a homely yet forward-focused environment for the children to explore. The children are encouraged to move freely between the Home Rooms, Hub and garden as they would at home with lots of choice and variety of activities.
We encourage our families to provide ‘home comforts’ such as bedding and snuggly toys for nap-time which helps the children to feel secure in surroundings that are more familiar. Equally, we create photo albums for each child with photographs provided from home of favourite and familiar people, places and objects. These albums provide the opportunity to share their families with the staff and the other children, bringing feelings of connectedness.
The Stables Nursery team provides excellent care that is overseen by experienced and passionate leadership. The staff are either well-qualified or working towards qualifications in childcare, supported by the team as a whole. We endeavour to provide an engaging and enriching experience for our children. The impact of our over-arching approach is that our EYFS team are driven to ensure that the provision is of the highest quality, consistently reviewing the environment and activities to inspire excellence.
The wellbeing of the children in our care is our primary focus, ensuring that they thrive and feel safe and secure during their time at Nursery. We believe that children who form positive relationships with their carers and peers will feel confident to explore their interests and fulfil their learning potential.
Every child has a Key Person – a member of staff – who will ensure that their individual needs are met and support their Nursery experience. We invite our families to share news about their home life, particularly recent interests or activities, that can enhance their child’s learning. Additionally, your Key Person will share recent activities or interests that have sparked joy or enthusiasm to build a detailed picture of your child’s unique passions.
Francesca Russell – Head of Nurseries: Bridge and The Stables
Francesca Russell is Head of Bridge Nursery and The Stables Nursery. She studied Nursery Nursing at Tonbridge College and then moved on to nannying in London for a variety of high-profile families.
She moved away from nannying when she had her own children and started a new chapter working in London schools, specifically with nursery and reception year groups. This formed a very important part of her experience in the provision of outstanding care for very young children, where she was able to consider the various building blocks that allow children to flourish and grow upon starting Prep School.
Francesca then moved to Ashford in 1996 where she worked as a SENDCo at a local school. The following year she was recruited by Ashford School (then an all girl’s school) to establish a Nursery for children aged 3 months to 3 years. It very quickly, became a huge success and has continued to grow and flourish, consistently rated ‘Outstanding’.
Outside of work, Francesca enjoys spending time with her family, walking her two dogs, skiing, and paddle boarding.
Sue Yeates – Head of Early Years
Sue Yeates is Head of Early Years at Ashford School and oversees all three nursery settings within our School group: The Stables & Bridge Nurseries for the younger children, and the Prep School Nursery for those children aged three and four.
Sue has extensive experience of working and leading in Early Years as both an Early Years Practitioner and Montessori Teacher. Under her leadership, the School has consistently achieved ‘Outstanding’ in its Early Years settings and she has been very much part of the success of Ashford Prep School at this age group. Sue has been instrumental in the development and design of The Stables and the Prep School Nursery, both of which she and the School are justly proud.
She has worked with many schools within United Learning to support them in the quality of their provision and the development of their staff, showing total commitment to providing the very best start for all children in her care and in the care of others.
We implement our rich learning environment by following the topic ‘The World Around Us’ and carrying out ‘In The Moment’ planning, designed to act responsively to our children’s passions and interests.
This promotes keen observation of our world, the seasonal changes and the variety that life brings whilst respecting our children as confident and capable learners. We believe that children learn best when they are having fun and are well engaged in their activities, thriving in an environment that promotes and nurtures their natural curiosity whilst building on their existing knowledge.
At The Stables we have a qualified music teacher who provides the early foundations of music theory throughout the day. The children’s activities are interwoven with musical input, teaching rhythm and supporting developing listening skills. Some of the music sessions are more structured whereas some of them are ‘In The Moment’ and follow our children’s lead, further embedding an environment that is designed to respect and support their interests.
Food and Meal Times
We consider mealtimes to be an important part of the day and endeavour to provide a healthy, balanced selection of meals that support the growth of our young children. It is important that children learn from an early age how to foster a positive relationship with food which comes from variety and choice.
The catering team at the Ashford Prep School supplies the main meal, lunch, which caters for all dietary needs and preferences. All other meals are produced in-house with a selection of fruits, vegetables and savoury snacks.
Based on the same site as Ashford Prep School (3 years – 11 years), The Stables Nursery provides the perfect opportunity for a seamless transition into the next stages of a child’s education. This close proximity allows children to become familiar with their surroundings and to develop key relationships with the wider Ashford School family. We can begin their transition prior to the move and can organise regular visits to the nursery for short sessions of play, lunch, and other key parts of the day – making sure that they are in an environment in which they already feel comfortable and safe as they make the big steps into the Prep School Nursery.