"My son started at Little Graces just before his first birthday, shortly before my return to work. He wasn't crawling and spent hours every day crying because he was so frustrated with his immobility, so naturally I was incredibly anxious about the transition to nursery. The "settling in" process certainly helped to put my mind at rest. I was amazed at how quickly he adapted to his nursery routine, he was obviously fascinated with the other children in his room and grew very attached to his key worker.
My son has been at Little Graces for a year now and I can't sing the praises of Little Graces enough. He gets so excited as we drive up to the building every morning, he starts shouting the names of the ladies who work in his room and smiles broadly when I tell him that he will see the room's guinea pig -"Patch". He loves being outside and Graces have a fantastic outdoor space. We love that the children get so much fresh air and exercise in the garden all year round. My son has always loved his food and we are quite jealous of the menu that he is enjoying at nursery! But the best thing about Graces is definitely the staff. They are genuinely devoted to the children and develop such deep bonds with them. They are approachable and easy to talk to if you have any concerns and getting your child through those early milestones feels like a team effort between "Home" and "Nursery". I couldn't imagine him anywhere else and would recommend Graces to anyone."
Yin and Trevor
"My daughter joined Grace's shortly after turning 1 and she is now nearly 4. The wonderful team at Grace's are out of this world. The love and care that they provide to the children is outstanding and is all the reassurance I need while I am at work. I know my daughter is in a secure and stimulating environment surrounded by a wonderful team of people. In fact, she is having so much fun, it is quite a task to get her to leave in the evenings! It will be very sad for us to leave Grace's end of this summer when my daughter starts school."
"We are delighted with our daughter’s progress since she joined Grace’s. She is always doing new and exciting activities and we find it difficult to get her to leave at the end of the day. The facilities are first class and all the staff are professional, energetic and caring. We can’t imagine a better, more inspirational place to send our daughter, and would happily recommend Grace’s to anyone."
"We have been coming to Graces Day Nursery for a number of years now and feel part of the family. We have two daughters (one has since left for school) and they are very different to say the least. We feel that the nursery has provided a positive environment which encourages each and every personality and their individual needs. The nursery has given our eldest daughter a fantastic advantage at school whilst allowing our youngest to strive and build on her own personality and key achievements. Every member of staff is always welcoming and friendly. The nursery really is a home from home and I recommend Grace’s to EVERYONE."
"I love Graces and believe that you have and continue being such a loving and caring team that has, without doubt, been such an important part of our daughter's life, learning and development! She loves attending to nursery. Graces has helped her in building her confidence, and social skills, surrounded by other children and very positive and motivational staff."
"We really can't rate Grace's highly enough, our son started here in August 2014 when he was 3 after previously attending a different nursery. The staff are wonderful, really warm & welcoming, they helped him to settle in brilliantly and they keep me up to date every day with what he's been up to and how he's getting on. All the adults in the nursery, including the support staff, are engaged with the children, greeting them by name, chatting to them & saying goodbye when they leave. They include the parents in plenty of activities, with things like Christmas parties and there really is a community feel to the nursery.
The setting itself is fantastic; the rooms are all large and bright with plenty of resources that the children can access at all times. The outside area is lovely and includes things like a mud kitchen, climbing frame and pet rabbits. They're out there in all weathers dressed in wellies and rain suits.Our son is always talking about the vegetables they've grown and the puddles he's jumped in. They also have access to a forest area where they can explore a more natural environment and an indoor soft play room so they can burn off energy when the weather is really awful. We were looking for a nursery environment that was also homely & welcoming and Grace's ticks all the boxes."
"Thank you all for looking after my son so well. From his first day in the Seedlings room he was nurtured and cared for wonderfully by your kind, friendly, fun, flexible and patient staff.. At first I was reluctant to leave him with strangers but the attitude of the Little Graces staff was excellent and this meant my initial fears were quickly forgotten and I quickly became comfortable leaving him in the care of your great team. Keep up the exemplary work!"
Nick and Nicole
"Our twins started at Little Grace's when they were one and a half and then settled into Grace's when they were two. We decided to move them to Little Grace's from a more local nursery to us because of the nursery's outstanding Ofsted rating, other reviews, our own visit and because of the beautiful spacious surroundings including the large outdoor garden. We could see immediately how much happier they were at Grace's and there were less heart-breaking goodbyes of a morning.
We are very pleased with our decision to take them to Grace's and they have formed close relationships with their key workers and other children in their group. Their daily activities are all focused on the Early Years Foundation stages and we receive without fail a daily report on what they have done and learnt from cooking to reading, painting to singing and making crafts. The staff have supported us and our twins through every milestone in their lives from potty training, learning to eat and feed themselves to reminding them of good manners during these formative years.
The nursery is also good at encouraging and taking on board parent comments. We have recommended the nursery to our friends in the area and their children have since joined. It is a wonderful nursery."
"Our son settled really quickly into his first few days at Graces which rapidly reconciled any concerns I had for leaving him to go back to work. The transition period is well planned, from a home visit and introduction to your child's key person to your own supported visits to nursery to gradually leave your child completely. He loves his key person and has settled well with all the team that care for him.
The most significant and rewarding difference for us has been the increase in our son's confidence and how much he now relates to the other children. The day at Graces is very well structured, combining learning through play with the more formal learning opportunities, such as the children's circle time. This approach has met his learning needs brilliantly and I'm so pleased that we made the decision to select Grace's for him."
"Our son has been at Grace's for about a year and a half and we have been very pleased with the nursery. He has been cared for in both little blooms and now saplings, and during this time he has been very settled and happy and has developed well.
We have always felt that Grace's reaches a very high standard and it feels less like a business and more of a personal service. I am pleased that all the staff from different rooms and the admin side of things know us and our son; it means you get a very friendly welcome every time you come into the building.
Entrusting your child's care to anyone is a very difficult decision but we felt sure Grace's was the best option for us from the outset and that is the highest compliment any parent can make.
We would highly recommend Grace's as a caring, nurturing and enjoyable place for a child to develop; it forms a good foundation which will make the transition to school much smoother when the time comes. "
Jayne and Les
"We have two children at Grace's nursery, our son having been part of Little Grace's for a year and having just moved up to the main Grace's building and our daughter having spent two years at Grace's in the main building. Set in the idyllic surrounds of a popular garden centre with ample parking, we have never once had to concern ourselves with the issue of getting parked, which starts and finishes your day as a parent with one less stress on your plate. Staff welcome the children by name at the door and safeguarding is paramount, with the identity of entrants being flagged on arrival with other staff before access is granted. However, it is not long before staff instantly recognise all parents, even when the relevant children are not in that staff member's class. This is because Grace's has a familiar atmosphere.
There are no words to describe how phenomenally well children are cared for at Graces. It has surpassed all of our expectations. Upon arrival at Grace's our son could barely speak and we thought his speech was developing slowly, but within a few months of being there, his speech came on leaps and bounds and we realised how much time his key worker was spending helping him and the difference being able to communicate more easily was making to his personality and well-being. These people are dedicated to the children. Trusting relationships between the key workers and their key children are immediately apparent and they show them such genuine love and provide a crucially comforting, supportive and nurturing day to day environment. It builds confidence in all of the children and you see how, even for some under-confident or difficult children, the structure, perseverance and positive reinforcement helps them flourish when they otherwise might not.
Leaders and carers within the rooms at Grace's are all exceptional - they have to deal with daily concerns of parents and manage a multitude of high level responsibilities (medicines, skin creams, dietary needs, first aid, toilet training to name a few), yet those we have encountered do this with skill (in many cases skill beyond their years) and show understanding and patience in their roles.
The importance of outdoor life is a core part of the philosophy of Grace's, with children being wrapped up in winter and slathered in sun cream in summer and getting out at every opportunity. Some of our daughter's best days have involved cleaning out rabbit hutches with the staff, helping to grow vegetables in the garden, playing in the enormous sandpit, going on treasure hunts or simply splashing in muddy puddles. Then there are the day trips in the pre-school, which are just some of our own best memories to date of time spent watching our daughter enjoy her childhood. Trips to China Town, Godstone Farm and Westbrook Bay are a selection of what is on offer and they are run fantastically to accommodate children (both those with and without their parents there).
Ultimately, the word that springs to mind with Grace's is "community" - the nursery is a wonderfully close knit community where staff, children and parents are encouraged to gather together regularly, with discussion forums, coffee mornings, parents evenings and Easter, Summer and Christmas festivals, the Saturday Summer BBQ being an annual highlight. The children are also encouraged to interact with the wider community and some children go to care homes delivering food gifts at Harvest festival time.
I remain in gratitude to the Grace's community for all they have done for my children and hope that other parents get to share in the same positive experience we have had."