First Steps Villages To Launch this May!

25th April 2018

Our team at First Steps Childcare are thrilled to be launching First Steps Village this May – an exciting new play destination for children under 6 in Chichester and the surrounding area.

Following a successful trial of the concept last summer at Chichester College, we are launching our first permanent, self-contained, First Steps Village within our Ofsted Outstanding Nursery on the Chichester College campus on Saturday 12th May. We will then be launching our second First Steps Village on our Brinsbury campus at the annual Brinsbury Show on Sunday 20th May.

Parent feedback following our trial was overwhelmingly positive and so we are delighted to now be able to deliver not just one but two First Steps Villages!

We just wanted to say that we felt the First Steps Village was wonderful! Our boys had a brilliant time exploring. There was so much to interact with which kept a 4 year old and 1 year old very happy for the whole session. I feel that the Chichester area really needs something like this and I know that families, like us, would use it on a regular basis if this was available permanently in the future.”

First Steps Village is a purpose built ‘village’ where young children can have lots of fun exploring, interacting and playing in a safe and stimulating environment. First Steps Village Chichester will feature a vet’s, café, village shop, mechanics workshop, picnic area and outside farm, whilst Brinsbury will also have ‘First Snips’, its very own hair salon. There will be costumes for the children to really get into character, a baby’s corner, changing facilities and self-service kitchen. First Steps Village Chichester is within walking distance of the town centre and there is parking available on both sites.

Launching First Steps Village has been a natural development for our childcare team as imaginative play has long been a key part of our children’s learning experience at nursery. In each of our nurseries, we have a role play area that changes regularly to reflect the children’s interest and support key learning themes. Role-play provides children with the opportunity to explore their imaginations, enabling them to learn about themselves, others and the world around them. Within First Steps Village, children will be able to take on a familiar role to them – such as shopping or visiting the café – or they can try out a new role such as a vet or mechanic.

Positioned as we are on both the Chichester and Brinsbury College campuses, we have always been able to offer our nursery children fantastic learning experiences, from visiting newborn lambs at Brinsbury, to experiencing fun games and obstacle courses in our state of the art sports centre at Chichester. First Steps Village Brinsbury will be adjacent to the Animal Centre where the children already enjoy visiting the fantastic range of animals cared for from rabbits and tortoises to ferrets and ducks! We look forward to collaborating further with college staff and students at First Steps Village, delivering new experiences and further enhancing the children’s learning.

All of our nursery children will enjoy access to First Steps Village with days set aside each week for our team to incorporate role-play into the children’s activities. These days will vary each month to ensure all children, no matter what day they attend nursery, will get to visit at least once a term.

Both First Steps Village Chichester and Brinsbury will be open to the public on a pay as you go basis and we will be running sessions throughout the week, both during the day and after school, on Saturdays and during the school holidays. Each session will last for an hour and a half and refreshments will be included. Entry price will be £6 per child with an accompanying adult receiving free entry. Additional adults will be charged £3. First Steps Village is also available for private hire and we have a party package for anyone looking for a birthday party with a difference!

For further information, to be added to our mailing list, to discuss private hire, find out more about our launch plans or make a booking, please contact us on email: firststepsvillage@chichester.ac.uk or call: 01243 530247 . Please also keep an eye on our Facebook page where both launches will feature as events with further information on timings and how you can book in.

We hope you are as excited as we are and look forward to welcoming you to First Steps Villages in May!

A trip of a lifetime

13th September 2017

Last month two members of our team visited Nakuru in Kenya, home to the school The Big Build Kenya, in partnership with Chichester College, have been building. For Lauren, from our Bersted nursery, and Elora at our Brinsbury nursery, it was an experience of a lifetime.

Thanks to all of our fantastic children, their families, our staff and friends, we have raised a huge amount of money towards this project over the last year and whilst Elora and Lauren were in Kenya they officially opened the new school and the First Steps Classroom on behalf of us all.

We wanted to find out more about their experience …

 

Was the trip what you expected?

Lauren: “As much as you prepare yourself for the trip by attending the college meetings and researching websites, you’ll never know what to expect in Kenya until you are there and actually experiencing it.”

Elora: “The trip was more than I expected, I would do this trip a million times over! We saw some great sights and it was amazing to see the classroom that the money we all raised built. For me the trip was extra special as I was with some amazing people.  I shall hold these memories forever.”

 

 What was the highlight for you?

Lauren: “My highlights were being greeted by the happiest group of children and seeing the excitement when we arrived every day at the project! But there were so many more – finishing the school and classroom ready in time for the opening ceremony,  getting to experience teaching in class, stepping over the equator and going on safari.”

Elora: “The highlight of the trip for me was seeing the children every day at the Walk Centre and how happy they were to be there. It also made me realise what we all have at home and how much we take for granted.”

 

 What did you find hardest?

Lauren: “Going to the rubbish dump was the hardest bit for me, knowing that the majority of the children from The Walk and Prisons Primary lived there was heart breaking. Even then, they were still so happy to show us where they lived though. Although it was raining, we all wore sunglasses to hide our emotions – because to them, it’s their everyday life.”

Elora: “I think I found the toilets one of the hardest things…. boy was I glad to get home and use a toilet properly and not have to remember to take tissue with me or hold my nose!!

“I found the rubbish dump really challenging – the children were so happy to let us in to their homes and show us where they lived, yet they have nothing. Often 7 to 10 people live in a tiny shack they make out of the rubbish around them or whatever they can find. This is why the walk centre is so good for the children as 70% of them live on the dump and when they come to school they get a hot meal every day.”

 

Would you do it again?

Lauren: “Would I do it again? Most definitely, yes!! It’s a totally different way of life and I loved every minute (even though we had stew for lunch and dinner most days!) To be able to step outside the world of normality into a whole new culture and way of life was just an incredible journey! It was a once in a lifetime trip and I have learned so much from it!”

Elora: “YES I definitely would go again!!!!! I think everyone should experience it as I have got memories that I shall cherish forever. I can’t put into words what the experience meant to me and I’m sure everyone will have a difference experience but I am so pleased I had the opportunity to go.”

 

If you could sum up your experience in one line, what would it be?

Lauren: “The most overwhelming, eye-opening, emotional, amazing, funny, stew-filled journey!

Elora: “An amazing experience and one that I shall never forget, there will always be a piece of me there!”