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!

Introducing … the First Steps Hub

6th April 2018

What’s the First Steps Hub you may ask?
We are the first point of contact for all enquiries, we book in nursery visits, handle new admissions, provide on-going support and advice to our families, prepare invoices, process Free Entitlement claims and liaise with nursery suppliers. We are also responsible for all parent communication, including newsletters, announcements, questionnaires, reminders and correspondence, and play a key role in all internal and external marketing and events, including nursery advertising, the management of our website and social media platforms.

And who works in the Hub?
There are five of us in the First Steps Hub: Lucy Oldham, Sam Stokes, Lucy Averill, Cheryl Wright and Sheryl Madeley. Whilst we are based at our Chichester setting, we support all of our nurseries so you will often find us out and about at one of them.

Why ‘First Steps Hub’?
Three of our team previously formed what was known as ‘Central Admissions’ but, recognising that they were responsible for far more than just admissions, and having recently expanded the team to offer a full complement of support, we are now the hub of First Steps Childcare. We are an approachable, friendly team that anyone can come to for information, advice and support.

For regular updates, news, pictures and nursery announcements please keep an eye on our Families Page on the First Steps website and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Meet Sheryl ….

Sheryl, we’d love to know a bit more about you and your role at First Steps. How long have you worked here?
“I’ve worked at First Steps for 3 years this July. The time has passed very quickly as there’s been a lot to learn about the industry which is a new area for me”.

What do you most enjoy about our job?
“The variety – with three nurseries to help look after there’s plenty to keep me busy and our in tray is never empty!”

What’s the best thing about working with First Steps?
“Being able to get some helpful tips for my 4 ½ year old, who was only a toddler when I first started working here!”

And what do you enjoy when you’re not busy working?
“Walking along the beach – despite living so close to it, it still doesn’t happen often enough!”

Tell us something we don’t know about you!
“I once roller-bladed an entire fun run (just over 8km) – so much more fun than running! In my humble opinion the words fun and run should not be seen in the same sentence!”

Summer or Winter Olympics?
“Winter – all that snow looks a lot more fun. I only wish it was on more often than four years.”

Name one thing on your bucket list
“To fly in a helicopter and land on a glacier.”

And Lucy Oldham … (pictured with 3 members of her family!)

We see your name on lots of things – what’s your role at First Steps?
“I am the Marketing and Business Development Manager and head up the First Steps Hub. You’ll see my name on lots of things as I write our monthly newsletters, blogs, post regular Facebook and Twitter updates and work closely with Sue, our Senior Childcare Manager and our Nursery Managers, on all parent communication. “

What part of your job do you enjoy most?
“I love the variation and diverse nature of my job – every day is different. I have 2 young children myself so I am passionate about childcare and education. Watching the children thriving at our nurseries under the care of our fantastic staff and seeing the feedback we get from our families is incredibly rewarding. I also really enjoy the events we hold – our recent Open Morning during Lambing Live at Brinsbury was great fun and it was so good to see everyone enjoying themselves.”

Why did you choose to work at First Steps?
“I have worked in PR, marketing and sponsorship for over 20 years, working for big, international businesses and household brands, as well as handling the publicity for some high profile individuals including Olympic Champions. This most recent role for me was something very different but it combines two things I am extremely passionate about.”

What are you currently working on?
“I am currently working on the launch of First Steps Village in Brinsbury and Chichester – it’s a big and really exciting project so it’s keeping us all very busy!”

How would your children describe you?
“Haha! I have a 7 year old boy and a 5 year old girl. My son would probably say ‘You’re sometimes a bit shouty’ and that I look strict in my new reading glasses but would also say he loves my food, that I’m an excellent cook (I’m not!), that I read the best stories and I always win family games. My daughter would say I’m the best at putting tights on (note – my competition – her Daddy – is not the strongest!), making cupcakes and cookies and that I give good cuddles. They would also both say that our family dog, Jemima, loves me the most and that I take A LOT of photographs of everyone!”

And something we wouldn’t know about you …
“This one always impresses my little boy … I was a black belt in the Korean martial art Tae Kwon Do when I was a teenager and regularly competed in sparring and breaking competitions so have a stash of trophies and medals hidden away somewhere! Just don’t ask me to perform a reverse turning kick these days!!”

If you have any questions, need any advice or support, please contact First Steps Hub – we are all always happy to help:

Email: firststepshub@chichester.ac.uk
Tel: 01243 530427
Facebook: First Steps Childcare
Twitter: @FirstStepsTweet
Website: www.firststepschildcare.co.uk