A child’s formative years can really help to shape them as individuals, and inform their future interests and personality. Therefore choosing the right place for their early years education is vital to ensure they are given the opportunity to learn and grow.
According to a report by Statista, there were approximately 3.78 million children younger than five years old in the United Kingdom in 2020, which was around 5.6 percent of the population in that year. However, with over 72,000 childcare providers in England in 2020 alone- and over 500 of those situated in West Yorkshire- finding a nursery that is the best fit for your child can seem like a daunting task.
Reputation and reviews are a good place to start when beginning your search, as the best indication often comes from honest feedback from parents who have once been in the same position, combined with a nursery’s Ofsted reports and other official qualifications.
One childcare provider that understands the importance of both of these is Kids Planet. With over a decade of experience, and 132 nurseries located across the UK, the group expanded into Yorkshire in 2021, when they acquired Kinder Haven Nurseries, a group of nine nurseries across Bradford and Leeds.
The former Kinder Haven sites that have been welcomed into the family are: Kids Planet Woodside, Kids Planet Clayton, Kids Planet Hall Lane, Kids Planet Wyke, Kids Planet Tong, Kids Planet Dudley Hill, Kids Planet Pudsey, Kids Planet Eccleshill and Kids Planet Horsforth.
Many of the nurseries are situated just off roads between Bradford, Leeds and Halifax, and are therefore ideally located for parents commuting into the city, while still having access to the pretty towns and countryside that West Yorkshire has to offer. Since they have been incorporated into the group, the nurseries have adopted the Kids Planet ethos of the ‘children’s interests being at the heart of everything we do’ with their belief in neutral spaces, open ended resources, and a big emphasis on nature and the environment.
They now also have the technology that the nursery group uses at their disposal, such as the Parents Zone app, which allows parents to stay up-to-date with their children’s progress, including messaging their key worker and receiving pictures and updates throughout the day.
The manager of Kids Planet Woodside Cherelle Webster described her excitement at becoming part of the prestigious nursery group, and explained that as though her team are still bringing the same dedication and enthusiasm they always have, they’ve had the opportunity to explore early years education in a more creative way.
“It’s nice that now we’ve done the full acquisition, we’ve got the resources to be able to go out, so the staff can just take the children out into the community- it’s great we’ve been able to do that,” she said.
“Following the children’s interests is something we also do- one of the kids in the Tots’ room is obsessed with cars so one day we shut the car park and washed all the staff’s cars. We’ve also done a dinosaur hunt in the local park, or gone to visit the library.”
This is a sentiment that the manager of Kids Planet Tong, Sarah Taylor, wholeheartedly agrees with.
“All of our rooms have had a bit of a transformation, it’s unrecognisable really, they’ve undergone a complete refurbishment. We’ve actually had a wall knocked down to make everything more free-flowing, and it’s a really lovely space. We’ve also been able to reopen our baby unit which had stayed shut after Covid,” she explained.
“Because we’ve now got little ones that maybe aren’t as mobile we incorporate lots of sensory activities, lots of malleable play and lots of time with their key worker. It’s all about building the foundation of the necessary skills they need to learn and eventually move on.”
Not only are the teams enjoying the benefits of having new revamped spaces and a greater amount of resources, but this has a positive trickle down effect to both the children and parents who attend the nursery. A happy and creative environment not only makes children eager to attend but also can alleviate parents’ concerns about leaving them for the day.
This satisfaction is reflected in the positive feedback that the sites in West Yorkshire have received- frequently highly rated at five out of five stars, parents often highlight the ‘kind and caring manner’ in which the team conduct themselves, the range of nutritious meals, and the fact that their children seem to have had a ‘new adventure’ every day.
Speaking of her child’s experience at Kids Planet Clayton, one parent said: “Since the start of nursery I have updated information on my child’s development. Not only are the observations a pleasure to read, I am pleased to see the release of a full reflection on my child’s development.
“This is so beneficial as it allows me to acknowledge her development in all areas and shows me areas which need securing. I love the interaction the staff have given to my child, it’s only early days but from the sessions it’s made me feel comfortable knowing my child is in safe hands.”
Another commenting on Kids Planet Woodside said: “The nursery itself is amazing. The facilities are fantastic and all the rooms and corridors are highly decorated. The activities they do with the children are so interactive and intellectual. They even suit the activities to the children.
“My little boy is dinosaur mad and the nursery very recently did an egg hunt with him and the other children. The care and attention from the staff is second to none. My little boy loves all the teachers and the nursery manager is amazing.”
Reviewing Kids Planet Horsforth, a third parent added: “Very happy with the facilities, and it is always very clean. The staff are lovely and attentive to the child’s needs. It’s a very personalised service.
“Daily activities are varied and educational. Both my kids loved it and were excited to attend- they often didn’t want to leave! Both of my kids have allergies and were very well catered for.”
For more information, including the full list of nurseries in your area, visit the Kids Planet website here.