25 Jan Looking Back
One of Burnley’s Longest Standing Nurseries
We are 28!
As we enter our 28th year of Le Monde Petit nursery our building is receiving yet another renovation to move with the changing requirements of the business, and it has been making us think about how many things have changed since 1990 when Peter bought this former snooker hall to transform it into our fantastic children’s nursery.
Reminiscing is always fun – even more so when you can get first hand accounts from staff who were there at the beginning about how different nursery life was back in the 1990s. I’ve had a rummage in the nursery loft and found some photographic evidence from the old days to back up their evidence. Standby for an onslaught of curly perms and bushy eyebrows…..
The changes in demand of nursery care has been the largest driving factor for the many refurbishments which have happened in Le Monde Petit – we have had rooms made smaller, bigger, divided, re-opened and extended. So what has affected these changes?
Government Changes to Childcare
Childcare policy in the UK has developed rapidly since the 1990s. Prior to 1990 government intervention in the provision of childcare was extremely limited. Responsibility for children’s care was essentially seen as a private matter for parents to fund and make choices for their children. The introduction of several small scale measures in the early 1990s marked the beginning of a shift towards government involvement, which was accelerated by the launch of the National Childcare Strategy in 1998. This strategy aimed to deliver quality, affordable and accessible childcare in every neighbourhood.
From 1998 all four year olds in England were entitled to a free place in a maintained school reception class from the September following their fourth birthday. In 2004 this was extended to all three year olds, with the coalition government of 2010-2015 supporting the provision of free nursery care and the launch of a free nursery scheme for disadvantaged two year olds. Recognising that good-quality education and care in their earliest years can help children succeed at school and later in life, the current government has been seeking to increase the number of children entitled to free childcare and the number of funded hours they receive with the launch of the 30 hour scheme for working families.
Over the last twenty years childcare provision in the UK has been transformed. In 1990 most of the 300,000 childcare places available in England were provided by childminders. By 2010 the number of places had tripled – and the vast majority were in nurseries, whereas the number of places offered by childminders remained steady.
Further Back in Time
A description of one of the early nursery schools available for children aged between two and five years old goes as follows: “The emphasis was on physical care. The children were fed, washed, rested and loved. The food was simple and plentiful – buttered rusks, dripping, toast, hash stew and milk puddings. The nurse and doctor visited regularly. Cod liver oil was administered and children monitored for impetigo, rickets, poor eyesight etc. School became a haven especially if children were from families living in only one room, although the schools were very careful not to usurp the home. Outdoor play was robust and skilful as many of the children had played in the streets from a very young age. The imaginative play – particularly domestic play – was very real. The children were independent, practical, capable and resilient, many having to be so from a very young age, especially if they came from a large family.” Today nurseries look very different but we still take inspiration from the old days of offering homely surroundings with care and passion for the development and wellbeing of the child in our care.
Some Recent Refurbs
For our 25th anniversary we buried a time capsule in the garden for the children of 2040 to open and find out what life was like in the 2015 version of Le Monde Petit nursery. We included photos and descriptions of our lives and the children contributed by drawing pictures and telling us what they wanted to be when they grew up. It will be so exciting for the future LMP families to open the capsule when the time comes. Who knows what the future will bring but we will always move with the times and ensure that our nursery is the best environment we can provide for each and every one of the children that pass through our doors.