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Stepping Stones Day Nursery

The Stepping Stones Day Nursery, which opened in 1991, is situated within the grounds of our Ardleigh Green site. The nursery aims to provide the highest quality of care for the children while ensuring that their experience is fun-filled and educational, enabling them to develop to the best of their potential.

The nursery caters for children aged from 3 months to 5 years and is open to staff, students and the general public between the hours of 7.45am to 6.15pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays and the Christmas closure, in line with the college.

Staff take pride in providing a very homely setting which ensures the transition from home to nursery is as smooth as possible. They are committed to working with parents so that the children get the most out of their time at the nursery and they are dedicated to providing a safe and stimulating environment for the children to explore all that is on offer. Both the individual care and education (via the Early Years curriculum) is provided in an environment that is supportive and developmental. There is an experienced and qualified Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) whose role is to support children with additional needs and offer guidance to staff and parents.

The nursery received a ‘Good’ grade from the most recent 2018 Ofsted inspection and all nursery staff hold childcare qualifications that exceed the requirements laid down by Ofsted.

The menus for all children are based on healthy options (see below for examples). Breakfast is provided for those children who arrive between 7.45am and 8.30am.  The children have a two-course lunch and afternoon tea, with snacks both morning and afternoon.

Current Fees

£49 per day for children under 2 years of age

£47 per day for children over 2 years of age

There are no half day rates. Students of the college may get help towards the fees and should contact Student Services for advice. Some places offered are government-funded. Please speak to the nursery manager for more information.

All fees are paid monthly in advance by either Direct Debit or childcare vouchers. We are registered with Computershare. If you would like to use these vouchers, please speak to the nursery manager for more information.

The nursery’s Guidebook provides full details, but if you require any other information, please call 01708 462827 or email Nursery Manager Kerrie Taylor

SEND Local Offer

Local Offer for Children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)

How do we know if a child needs extra support?

We have an embedded system to ensure that a key person is allocated to every child. The key person completes regular observations that are then used to inform the child’s planning around their individual needs and interests. The key person also completes assessments on every child to identify any support that may be required. These assessments are shared with the parents who are encouraged to add their comments. We then implement a joint approach.

When a child initially starts at the nursery, we provide settling in sessions where the key person familiarises themselves with the child’s individual needs, interests and abilities. At these sessions, parents can identify any needs the child has with the key person so that these can be catered for. The parents complete an ‘All About Me’ form at the settling in session to identify any concerns.

How will the staff support the child?

The nursery’s Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO) has been trained through the local authority to support the key person, child and their family to make sure that the child’s individual needs are met.

We have robust policies and procedures in place that are reviewed regularly to ensure that our resources and environments are suitable and accessible for all. The SENCO works closely with the key person to differentiate resources, experiences and activities to support the child and to devise a personal plan for each individual child based around their abilities and interests.

The SENCO liaises with other professionals (with the parents' consent) such as Early Years Inclusion Officers, Speech and Language Therapists, and Health Visitors, to gain further advice in supporting each child. The SENCO and the key person work collaboratively to ensure that the targets and strategies are implemented.

The plans and activities are reviewed by the key person, the SENCO and parents regularly to keep them up-to-date and to ensure support provision for all children.

How are parents/carers included in the child’s education and curriculum?

Parents' communication is valued and the key person works together with parents to ensure that every child’s learning is supported.

At the initial settling in sessions the parents/carers work with the key person to settle the child into the nursery. The key person completes the information sheet to understand the child’s individual routines, needs, interests and abilities. Parents are encouraged to complete observations and activities at home, and to keep the key person informed of any new interests so that these can be incorporated into the activities that are planned for the child.

The parents are invited to attend regular meetings to review the child’s progress.

Every child has their own learning journal that parents can view at any time and they are actively encouraged to add their views and comments.

How accessible are the environments?

When the family has English as an additional language, they are encouraged to share some basic words in their home language with the child’s key worker to allow them to communicate with the child.

There is a ramp at both entrances to the nursery, allowing easy access, and all rooms are designed so that a child in a wheelchair or using a frame can easily manoeuvre around and get from room to room. A garden is accessible through wide doors and there is a slope leading from the building into the garden.

Helping with transitions

Transitions are an important time for any child and the key person makes sure that they are well planned and supported. When a child first starts at the nursery the key person works with the parent to devise appropriate times for the child to settle in at their own pace.

When a child transitions to another room during their time at the nursery, the key person works with the new key person to relay and hand over relevant information for that child.

The child will have a range of settling in sessions in the next room to support a successful transition. The new key person ensures that the child’s interests and needs are catered for and that the child is well adjusted to their new room and to new peers.

When a child is ready to transition to school, the teacher will be invited in to meet the key person and to make sure that all relevant transition supporting documents are completed and relayed to the school, ensuring a smooth transition takes place for the child.

For further information please contact nursery manager Kerrie Taylor on 01708 462827 or






7.45- 8.30



Free play with keyworker time and planned activities


Free play with keyworker time and planned activities


Tea time

Snack, story and song time


Free play


Free play


Snack time


Lunch time


Free play


Sleep time for younger children and quiet time for older children


Home time

Lunch Menus


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4


Macaroni Cheese

Mediterranean Vegetables with Tomato Sauce and Couscous
 Ice Cream

Tuna & Sweetcorn Pasta

Fish Cakes, Smiley Faces and Baked Beans
 Fruit and Cream


Salmon & Vegetable Risotto

Shepherd's Pie and Side of Veg
 Jelly and Fruit

Mediterranean Lamb and Couscous
 Ice Cream and Wafer

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry with Rice


Pasta Bolognese

Salmon Pasta with Brocolli
 Crumble and Ice Cream

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
 Bananas and Custard

Beef Lasagne and Salad


Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice
 Fruit Jelly

Sausages, Jacket Potato and Spaghetti
 Swiss Roll

Sausage Hot Pot
 Swiss Roll

Roast Pork with Roast Potatoes, Cabbage and Carrots


Fish Cakes, Jacket Potato and Baked Beans
 Carrot Cake

Beef Lasagne and Salad

Turkey Bolognese

Cheese and Bacon Pasta and Vegtable Sticks
 Ice Cream and Wafer

Teatime Menus


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4


Fish Fingers with Bread and Butter

Spaghetti and Toast

Breadsticks with Carrots and Cucumber

Rice Cakes with Cheese Spread, Tomatoes and Cucumber


Cheese Ravioli

Chicken Dippers with Bread and Butter

Mushroom Soup with Crispbreads

Sausages with Bread and Butter


Cheese or Ham wraps, with Tomatoes and Cucumber

Beans and Toast


Vegetable Soup with Crispbreads


Cheese and Onion or Sausage Rolls and Spaghetti

Tomato Soup with Crispbreads

Muffin Pizzas

Beans and Toast



Cheese or Ham wraps, with Tomatoes and Cucumber


Cheese or Beef Ravioli


There are currently four playrooms at the nursery. All of them offer fun activities throughout the day and partnership working with parents. The children have access to an outside play area with artificial grass, allowing access to the garden in all weathers.

Little Bears

Ratio: 1 adult for every 3 babies
 We can accommodate up to 9 babies per day. The age range is from 3 months to 18 months. In Little Bears we work with the child’s routine, but when they move into Rainbow Room, they adapt into the nursery routine. Parents are asked to provide nappies, wipes, cream and any comforters.

Rainbow Room

Ratio: 1 adult for every 3 children under 2 years old, or 1 adult for every 4 children over 2 years old
 We can accommodate 13 children per day. The age range is from 18 months to 2 and a half years.

Robin Room

Ratio: 1 adult for every 4 children
 We can accommodate 7 children per day. The age range is 2 and a half years to 3 and a half years.

Busy Bees Room

Ratio: 1 adult for every 8 children
 We can accommodate 14 children per day. The age range is 3 and a half years to 5 years.