The Day Nursery group was established with the purchase of its first nursery, Ringwood Day Nursery in August 2004. The building was previously an independent school called Avonlea for many years and between September and December that year we completely transformed the building from a school into a day nursery. New children’s toilets, French doors providing free access into the garden, new central heating system, new flooring and complete re-decoration throughout.
The nursery opened its doors in January 2005 with 4 children with owner Neil Dowden, Sue McBrearty (who retired at the end of 2015 after 11 wonderful years) and her deputy at the time Rachel Hanham. The nursery has gone from strength to strength with over 650 children passing through our doors and now employing a team of 20 staff. We celebrated our 10th Anniversary in January 2015 and in May of the same year received the ultimate accolade from Ofsted being awarded “Outstanding in all areas”
In September 2009 we located a fantastic opportunity to set up another nursery in Redhill, Bournemouth. It was a single storey building previously used as a Methodist church, with lots of natural light and large outdoor space. In just 8 weeks we transformed the building into a 44 place outstanding nursery setting and opened our doors as Redhill Day Nursery in January 2010 with Rachel Hanham, the deputy at Ringwood, taking up the manager’s role. The nursery worked closely with the local schools and community and became full in a short space of time. Celebrating our 5th Anniversary in January 2015 with Katie Crutcher as the manager, we have seen over 350 children come through our doors and being very popular many parents having to book well in advance to ensure a place for their child. Katie has since moved to our Ringwood Nursery to take over from Sue after her retirement. In February 2020 we welcomed Becky Wilson as the new manager of Redhill Day Nursery, Becky is well known to Neil and Rachel having previously worked at our Ringwood setting for a number of years until moving onto to a more senior role at a setting in Poole. It’s exciting to welcome Becky back to the Day Nursery Group family.
By 2010 our reputation of providing high quality childcare had grown and we were approached by a large London based nursery chain to enquire if we were interested in purchasing a nursery setting they owned in Verwood. On visiting the setting it was everything we believed in, a homely feel, great natural light and a huge outdoor area for the children to play and explore. We completed the purchase and opened our doors in the newly renamed Verwood Day Nursery in October 2010, with Rachel Hanham coming from Redhill to manage the setting. Our reputation has gone from strength to strength with the recognition of an ‘Outstanding’ grading from Ofsted being awarded to us in March 2013.
The Day Nursery Group (Ringwood Day Nursery, Redhill Day Nursery and Verwood Day Nursery) all follow the same policies and procedures and share the same ethos and beliefs with ‘Care for all, fun for all and learning for all’ at the heart of everything we do. With owner Neil Dowden involved in the settings daily, keeping us motivated and inspired to ensure we continue to provide the highest quality provisions for families and children in Hampshire and Dorset. We employ adults who are professional and knowledgeable but most of all enthusiastic about children.
All of the settings provide food of a high standard, supporting our belief that a good diet is essential for happy and healthy children. Each nursery has a vegetable garden where the children can really begin to have an understanding of where their food comes from. All our settings are inspected annually by Environmental Health and our chefs take great pride in the meals they provide for the children and our staff. All three settings have achieved the ultimate recognition of 5 stars following their recent inspections and our chefs pride themselves in the meals they provide each day.
Our partnership with others is of a high priority across the board. Close links have been established with local first schools and other settings within all of the communities that we operate within and most important of all is the relationships we form with parents/carers of all of the children who attend our settings. We acknowledge that parents are the first educators of their children and so strive to involve them in everything we do.
The nurseries themselves have a close relationship with each other and we believe in sharing the expertise of our staff teams. With monthly managers meetings and the sharing of staff skills between settings, we work closely together to reflect on our practices and develop continuous plans for quality improvement and development.
Neil Dowden owner says ”We are very proud of our nurseries and believe that everything we do provides each child an enjoyable and fulfilling experience in the most formative years of their lives but most of all they get to do it by simply having fun”!