The Stables Nursery, set in the rural village of Great Chart, Kent, and within the beautiful grounds of Ashford Prep School, provides a nurturing environment in which children aged 3 months to 3 years can flourish and grow.
Underpinned by the ethos of Adventurous Learning and with the aim to inspire excellence, highly trained staff encourage the children to explore the world around them through play, whilst developing invaluable skills and characteristics that they will carry with them through their childhood.
Our Facilities: A Home Away From Home
The Stables Nursery is a purpose-built, modern and homely nursery based on the grounds of Ashford Prep School.
Each room is designed specifically for the developmental needs of each age and phase in a child’s life, and are named after characters from Beatrix Potter’s stories. Her tales tell of children and families engaged in exciting adventures, with their own individual strengths, all working together and supporting each other – values which are central to the ethos of The Stables Nursery.
These rooms are situated around the “Central Hub”, which provides a space where all children and staff can come together to share in exciting activities and mealtimes. As such, children enjoy the benefits of family grouping for much of the day.
The Stables Nursery also enjoys beautiful outdoors space for the children to explore. The play area backs onto a working farm, and so at different times of the year, our children are able to engage with different farm animals, including cows and sheep! Not only this, but children in The Stables are able to venture around the grounds of Ashford Prep School, and staff take children for walks all year around.
Our staff work with total clarity of purpose, modelling excellent early years practice at every turn, and children are cared for as part of a big family in a ‘home-from-home’ environment.
Staff at The Stables Nursery are highly trained professionals (all staff are at least level 3 qualified – except for one trainee), whose primary role is to care for your child and nurture their development whilst working hand-in-hand with you.
Every child has a ‘Key Person’ within the Nursery, who will take time to develop a strong and trusting relationship with your child ensuring their needs are met throughout the day, and that your child is engaged and enjoying their time at The Stables. They will also ensure that children are presented with individually tailored opportunities to progress developmentally. We encourage our parents and key workers to get to know each other well and work in partnership, to ensure that you are happy and content every step of the way.
Francesca Russell – Acting Head of The Stables Nursery
Francesca Russell is Head of Bridge Nursery & Acting Head of 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 settings within our family – The Stables & Bridge 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 also 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.
Language, social, physical and sensory development are at the heart of everything The Stables Nursery children will do. Every activity is meticulously planned to ensure that each child’s individual needs are met, and that their next stages of development are always in mind.
We pay attention to developing our children’s linguist skills, their ability to process and integrate sensory information to make sense of and interact with the world around them and their social and emotional development.
Children are encouraged to explore the vibrant environment around them through play. From the moment they join us as babies until they move on as thriving toddlers, their development is stimulated through a range of engaging tools and activities, including messy play, art, craft, sensory exploration, music, movement and role play
Food and Meal Times
Mealtimes at the Stables are an important part of our day, and children at The Stables Nursery will have the opportunity to develop a healthy understanding of, and relationship with, their food.
Food is an integral part of a child’s development and as such we endeavour to ensure that what we serve is of excellent quality and is appealing to all our children. Our food is all freshly prepared on the Prep School site each day and is, where possibly, locally sourced and organic.
All food is served in ‘The Hub’ which means that all children, regardless of their age or stage of development will eat together family style, closely supervised by staff, and creating a real family feel to the Nursery.
We also promote baby led weaning for our youngest eaters to encourage positive food experiences from the very first steps. As the children grow older, they will have the opportunity to help prepare meals and snacks, as well as grow their own fruits and vegetables, helping them understand the journey of the food from the garden to their plate.
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.