The Elmscot Group

The Elmscot Group of Day Nurseries, Nursery Schools and out-of-school Clubs, based in Altrincham, Cheshire, offers parents a choice of four exceptional Day Nurseries: Broussa, Elmscot, Hale and Woodlands, as well as eight Kids Collective Clubs based at local primary and preparatory schools. All Nurseries offer self-contained Nursery Schools, each led by qualified Early Years Teachers and post-graduate Early Years Professionals overseeing Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) education.

The Elmscot Group was established in 2001 by two local working mums, Stephanie Molnar and Dee McKenzie, a biologist and accountant respectively, who were struggling to find a homely nursery offering outstanding childcare, nutrition and education for their own children. Stephanie and Dee continue to run the organisation with their 190 colleagues, and are responsible for the care and early years education over 1600 local children.

Elmscot Broussa

Of the Group’s 12 settings, eight have been found ‘Outstanding’ in every area by OFSTED (including Elmscot, Hale and Woodlands Day Nurseries), with the remaining settings being ‘Outstanding’ in many areas with overall ratings of ‘Good’. This is an exceptionally high standard, one of the highest in the country and not matched by any other regional provider. The organisation has won national recognition for its achievements, winning several national educational sector awards for exceptional learning environments, staff development and child nutrition. In addition, National Day Nursery Association Awards, Trafford ‘Healthy Setting Awards’, quality assurance schemes such as the NDNA Quality Counts Award and Preschool Learning Alliance Award (at the highest levels), Trafford’s Inclusion Awards and we are members of ROSPA.

On acquiring Broussa (a Nursery established in 1962) in 2015, Stephanie Molnar stated: “We are naturally delighted to welcome Broussa families to the Elmscot Group. We share an ethos of exceptional education provision and a commitment to supporting families with outstanding childcare. We intend to build on Broussa’s long educational history and invest in its future.”

Elmscot Hale

Dee McKenzie added: “The teams at Broussa, Elmscot, Hale, Woodlands and Kids Collective work very hard to meet the needs of parents and lead the way in best practice, working closely with educational and childcare experts to develop and implement new strategies. Consequently, places at Elmscot Group nurseries have always been very much in demand and the acquisition of Broussa will ease the pressure on our current waiting lists, improving flexibility for parents and offering exciting career opportunities for early years practitioners.”

Kids Collective out-of-school Clubs are also part of the Elmscot Group and offers the opportunity of continuity of care for children leaving an Elmscot Group nursery to attend a local primary school. Kids Collective cares for children aged 3-11 years, offering Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs at eight local Primary Schools during term-time and three Holiday Clubs, located at Altrincham Preparatory School, Cloverlea Primary School and Bollin Primary School for the school holidays.

Elmscot Woodlands

Mission Statement

The Elmscot Group : Nurturing Inquisitive Minds

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At the Elmscot Group we ensure that each individual child reaches outstanding personal development, learning and outcomes and that they all thrive and achieve their full potential. We achieve this exceptional quality by providing nurturing, safe, welcoming and enabling learning environments both indoors and out, complemented by rich and stimulating learning experiences designed to capture children’s imagination and curiosity. This promotes children’s happiness, confidence and self-esteem, with a focus on teaching children the skills they need to be well prepared for future learning.

We prioritise the health, nutrition and wellbeing of children.

We provide inclusive practice led by inspirational early years teachers and qualified professionals, dedicated to working in partnership with parents, outside agencies and other settings.

We are always mindful of the scale of our responsibility to the children, parents, carers and staff who form our small community. We are simply passionate about doing what we do, well.

A Healthy Choice & Sample Menu

 Soil Association Food For Life Award

This quality assurance programme is employed by all nurseries and shows we are providing tasty, nutritious meals in an environment that creates great social skills. We  sow the seeds of good food habits for life through practical cooking and growing activities and food-based learning – both for children and their parents and carers.

The award has been developed using expert learning from the Soil Association’s flagship schools award programme – which has shown through independent evaluation to make a positive contribution to pupil health and wellbeing.

Healthy Setting Award

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Elmscot and Woodlands were the first Day Nurseries in the area to achieve the new ‘Healthy Setting Award’ in 2010, and School’s Out were the first settings in Trafford to receive the new ‘Healthy Club’ Award. These awards are based on the national Healthy School’s Award. Hale Day Nursery received the award in 2012. This award is reassessed annually.

Food Hygiene Rating

All nurseries have achieved the highest Level 5 rating in routine unannounced inspections.

Nutritious and Educational Menus

Our menus are renowned and we have often been called upon to advise and support other childcare providers: in 2002, Elmscot gained an ‘Outstanding’ from Ofsted for our food provision. Woodlands was further recognised in 2009 as one of the best three providers of nursery food in the country, in the national Nursery World Awards. In 2013, Woodlands’ Chef won the national Nursery Management Today ‘Chef of the Year’ Award. In 2015, Elmscot Day Nursery won Nursery World’s Best Nursery Food UK Award.
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Our menus run over a multi-week cycle which allows tremendous variety to reflect the diverse society in which we live, and are regularly reviewed by a qualified dietician. We have a strict food purchasing policy, ensuring we meet FSA guidelines, reducing salt, saturated fat and sugar levels in the ingredients we use, and utilising wholemeal/higher fibre alternatives. Meat is purchased from Taylor & Son’s of Sale, a member of the Butcher’s Quality Guild, where produce is of exceptional quality and sausages are low salt and home-made especially for us.

All individual dietary requirements can be met.

Physical Development

This is a specific area of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage national curriculum, and consequently is a major focus for our curriculum planning. To enhance our own provision at nursery, we also offer specialist weekly exercise and movement sessions by Stretch ‘n’ Grow (please see more details under ‘Curriculum and Activities’). At Kids Collective, we ensure there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities planned offering physical exercise; in fact, physical play is one of five main areas of daily planning provision for every session.

At each nursery and at most Kids Collective Clubs, there are outdoor canopies and awnings to protect children from extreme weather and encourage maximum use of the outdoor play areas. Each nursery has a set of triple buggies, so trips out in the fresh air are not just limited to older children.

Kids Collective works closely with the Trafford Childcare Development Team to ensure that Clubs deliver best practice. We also work in partnership with the school and other community agencies to support children with special needs.

Quality and Awards

OFSTED Outstanding


Of the 12 settings comprising the Elmscot Group, eight of them have been found ‘outstanding’ in every area by Ofsted, the rest found ‘Good, with areas of Outstanding Practice’. Elmscot, Hale and Woodlands Day Nurseries have Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ status, achieved by fewer than 9% of school and private nurseries nationwide, confirming us as some of the best settings in England.

The inspector at Hale in 2016 recognised that “all aspects of teaching are outstanding. Highly qualified and experienced staff use their excellent skills and knowledge well. They meticulously plan rich and varied activities to support the individual needs and interests of each child.” The report further comments on our strong partnerships with our families, external agencies and the local community, and especially highlights our strong focus on preparing the children for school and ensuring that all children make excellent progress in their development. At Elmscot in 2015, Ofsted reported “practitioners are highly skilled and sensitive in helping children to form secure emotional attachments. As a result, children’s emotional well-being is very well met. Children are developing independence and their behaviour is exceptional.The quality of teaching is consistently of a very high quality. Educational programmes are challenging, inspirational and focused to meet the individual needs and interests of all children. As a result, children are provided with rich, varied and imaginative learning experiences.” Woodland’s inspector found that: “The excellent facilities, wide ranging resources and experienced staff provide and maintain exceptional provision for all the children.” Ofsted went on to say “expert teaching ensures children learn and develop to the best of their ability, and general welfare requirements are very well managed. Children benefit tremendously from having a superb outside play area. Children arrive excited and eager to experience the wide range of activities in all the rooms. Behaviour is exemplary; children’s self-esteem is optimised.”

Parental, Staff & Child Quality Surveys

The quality of the childcare we offer is our utmost priority and everything we do, we do with quality in mind. Parent’s views are encouraged and regularly sought via online & paper surveys, parent meetings and news e-bulletins.

External Quality Assurance Schemes

Since 2001, we have used several QA schemes to ensure the quality of our provision. We have been accredited as an Investor In People and achieved NDNA eQuality Counts accreditation, a quality scheme accredited by Investors in Children and run by the National Day Nurseries Association. Woodlands and Elmscot both gained this Award at the highest Level 3. This is exceptional, and assures their place amongst the best Day Nurseries in the country. In 2015, Elmscot Day Nursery was Highly Commended and in 2016 Hale was the Runner Up, both as the NDNA Nursery of the Year UK, as voted by parents. For more information, please see www.ndna.org.uk.

All nurseries have earned the Soil Association’s Food For Life Award.
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Currently, all settings run the Preschool Learning Alliance ‘Reflecting on Quality’ scheme. This provides a framework for supporting the quality improvement process and for celebrating achievement; it is particularly designed to encourage deeper engagement in caring for and educating young children.

External audit is important to us as a sounding board for our ideas, and for confirmation that our provision is of the high standard we expect it to be both as professional practitioners and as parents. It gives parents confidence in the quality of service we provide.

Top Marks for Health & Hygiene

All settings have been awarded the Trafford Healthy Setting Award and were the first in Trafford to achieve this high standard of nutrition and physical well-being, which is reassessed every year.
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All settings have achieved the highest ‘5’ Food Hygiene grading by Trafford Environmental Health.

Equal Opportunities and Inclusion

All nurseries have also achieved the Trafford Inclusion Stamp, recognising our commitment to providing an all inclusive practice within our settings.

Elmscot achieved ICAN Early Talk Accreditation in 2015, the only Day Nursery and Nursery School in Trafford to achieve this. The awarding panel members were very impressed with our practice and systems for supporting children’s speech and language development. Our strengths include:

  • Systems for identifying and supporting Special Educational Needs and Disability. The nursery has close working relationships with a variety of professionals. They can demonstrate that children identified with a SEND make progress.
  • Partnership with parents – there is genuine two-way communication with parents.
  • Children with English as an additional language – staff have a good understanding of how to support children with EAL and see it as a positive attribute.

National Awards: we are amongst the best nationwide

2016: All Elmscot Group nurseries achieve the Soil Association’s Food For Life Award

2016: At the national Nursery Management Today awards in London, Woodlands was a finalist for Best Indoor Learning Award, Rachael Lyons (Elmscot Group Operations Manager) was a finalist for the Best Operational Manager UK and again, the Elmscot Group was a finalist for Best Nursery Group UK.

2016: Elmscot Group was a finalist for Best Nursery Group UK at the national Nursery World Awards 2016

2016: Hale Day Nursery is regional Runner Up for NDNA Nursery of the Year UK and is Highly Commended at NDNA Healthy Nursery of the Year UK

2015: Elmscot Group won in three categories at the Nursery World Awards 2015, also gaining a Highly Commended (2nd place) Award:

  • Early Years Professional/Early Years Teacher of the Year (Winner): Jessica Curbishley, Woodlands Day Nursery (Joy Homersham of Elmscot Day Nursery Highly Commended).
  • Nursery Practitioner of the Year (Winner): Jenna Holloway, Elmscot Day Nursery
  • Nursery Food (Winner): Elmscot Day Nursery

2015: Elmscot Day Nursery is Highly Commended as NDNA Nursery of the Year UK, just missing the top spot!

2014: Elmscot Group named Trafford’s Business of the Year 2014 ( > 50 employees)

2014: Elmscot Group shortlisted as national finalists in six categories at the Nursery World Awards, gaining a Highly Commended (2nd place) Award in 3 of them:

  • Enabling Environments (Highly Commended): Elmscot Day Nursery.
  • EYP/EYT of the Year (Highly Commended): Nicola Saunders, Hale Day Nursery
  • Website of the Year (Highly Commended): Elmscot Group
  • Practitioner of the Year (Finalist): Hannah Reeves, School’s Out Group Manager
  • Nursery Food (Finalist): Hale Day Nursery
  • Working with Parents (Finalist): Elmscot Group Parent Workshops

2014: Elmscot Group shortlisted as national finalists in three categories at the Nursery Management Today Awards:
Nursery Team of the Year (Woodlands), Nursery Apprentice Award (Chelsea Thomas, Elmscot) and Nursery Website of the Year

2013: Elmscot Group shortlisted in top five nationwide for Nursery World’s ‘Best Nursery Chain UK’ Award

2013: Elmscot staff member Jess Berry wins Nursery World Award for best ‘Newcomer of the Year’

2013: Woodlands shortlisted in top six nationwide for Nursery World’s ‘Working with Parents’ Award

2013: Hale staff member Lucy Yarnell shortlisted in top seven nationally for Nursery World’s ‘Best Nursery Practitioner’ Award

2013: Woodlands shortlisted in top five nationally for Nursery Management Today’s ‘Best Outdoor Learning Environment’ Award

2013: Woodlands Chef Helen Krawczyk wins Nursery Management Today’s ‘Best Nursery Chef UK’ Award

2013: Hale Manager Rachael Lyons shortlisted in top five nationally for Nursery Management Today’s ‘Best Nursery Manager’ Award

2013: Hale staff member Amanda Grogan shortlisted in top five for Nursery Management Today’s ‘Best Nursery Nurse’ Award

2012: Nursery World ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award: Top three national Finalist

2012: Hale wins national Nursery Management Today best ‘Nursery Outdoor Learning Environment’ Award 2012

2012: Hale shortlisted for Nursery Management Today ‘Nursery Indoor Learning Environment’ Award

2012: Elmscot shortlisted for Nursery Management Today ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award

2009: Nursery World Awards: Woodlands was a ‘Highly Commended’ top three finalist (Best Nursery Food), recognising our commitment to locally-sourced, fresh nutritious food and our approach to the education of young children in healthy eating

2007: National Clean Air Award

2003: Nursery Management Today Awards: Finalist in two categories (Best New Business and Best Nursery Manager).

2002: HSBC, Sky News and Daily Express Start-up Stars Award: Semi-Finalist.

Safety & Security

Secure Biometric System

It is the primary aim of all of our settings to ensure the safety of all children in our care and all staff members.
Each nursery has a state-of-the art biometric door entry system so only pre-registered adults are able to gain access, and access is automatically monitored and recorded. New parents are registered on the system during settling in.
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CCTV

In addition, each nursery has 24-hour external CCTV monitorring, again which is recorded and can be viewed live inside the nursery office. All doors with access to the outside are kept locked during opening hours. No child is released into the care of someone we don’t recognise or expect to collect the child.

Safeguarding Children

We have a comprehensive policy regarding the safeguarding of children, including levels of supervision and it is mandatory for all staff to attend external training in this area.

Safe Recruitment Practice

Finally, all setting managers are required to undergo formal training in safe recruitment practice to ensure we have a rigorously-checked team in place. This includes an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check reviewed every six weeks.

Activities, Free Forest School & Extra-Curricular Sessions

Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

We follow the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, in the same way as schools who accept children under five. More information about the EYFS can be found on the Foundation Years website.

Each team within each nursery cares for a small group of children of the same age and manages their own planned activities and environment under the guidance of the Early Years Professionals/Teachers. A Key Person is assigned to your child when you settle in, ensuring your child’s achievements are recorded and the activities to encourage your child’s next steps of development within the Early Years Foundation Stage are varied, stimulating, stage-appropriate and well resourced.

Free Extra-curricular Sessions

In addition to the EYFS, we supplement our own professional activities with free-of-charge extra-curricular sessions by a variety of external providers (see examples below). Using external providers ensures these sessions are unaffected by any changes in nursery staffing and additional adults are present to assist children at these special times. These sessions are planned once per week per age group, and we aim to vary days and classes each term so whatever days of the week a child attends nursery, every child will have a chance to try a new experience (please see our newsletter for current classes). Regular providers of extra-curricular sessions include:

  • Drama4Tots
  • Stretch ‘n’ Grow
  • Jittabugs
  • Italian Language Classes
  • Leaps & Bounds
  • Living Eggs (we care for eggs in an incubator and look after the chicks when they hatch)
  • Little SuperStars

Special Events, Visits and Trips

We organise special events to support the planned activities, such as the Really Wild Roadshow (hands-on experience with different small animals, including reptiles and mini-beasts), Dino Dinosaur Oral Health visits and Firefighter visits.

We celebrate many different cultural festivals and support charities such as the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, Francis House Children’s Hospice and Children in Need with our own fundraising activities.

All off-site trips are arranged in advance in consultation with parents and include simple walks to the park, trips to supermarkets and open air markets where children can purchase their own food, trips on buses to the airport and many more.

Baby Massage

We also have staff trained in Baby Massage at each nursery to enable us to offer this service free of charge with parental consent. Please ask for further details.

Current Weekly Extra-curricular Sessions

These sessions are available free of charge to all children who attend nursery when the workshops are scheduled. Further information for each nursery can be found in our current ‘Newsletter’.

 

Free Forest School

Optional Forest School classes are run by We Are Adventurers in partnership with our own staff. They are offered free of charge to preschool children at all Nursery Schools weekly during term time. Each session lasts two hours and takes place in most weathers so children need appropriate clothing (jumpers, waterproofs and wellies). Places on each course are limited to ensure high levels of supervision and in some cases a waiting list may be operational.

Children and staff walk to a designated woodland site near their nursery. Sessions include getting creative with mud, hunting for bears, imaginative play with elves and fairies, making music in the forest and getting to grips with puddles, creepy crawlies and the great outdoors.

Activities focus on inspiring a love of the natural world in each and every child.

Originating in Scandinavia, the Forest school movement centres around the belief that nature and movement is essential to a child’s overall development and wellbeing.

Children benefit emotionally, intellectually and physically and they grow in confidence and build resilience through adventure play, creating a foundation for future learning and growth.

For more information about Forest School, click here.

http://weareadventurers.co.uk/

 

A Whole Team Approach to Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)

All Elmscot Group settings are inclusive and hold Trafford’s Inclusion Friendly Award. All children deserve to be supported in the best possible way to reach their full potential. As a provider of early years childcare and education, Elmscot Group practitioners play a vital role in identifying SEN early on. This means staff training is essential and every setting has its own SEND Coordinator.

Early intervention relies on a number of strategies at the Elmscot Group: good partnership and information sharing with parents can often be a trigger to recognising any developmental delay; on-entry assessments and regular cohort tracking (tracking the progress of a group of similarly aged children in the different areas of learning) highlights to the key person any areas in which children may not be reaching expected levels (or exceeding them), so we can, every early on, provide extra support to bridge any gaps; observation of children is vital to spot emerging patterns of play and behaviours. Our practitioners work with other agencies where appropriate to ensure a targeted and integrated approach to supporting children and families.

All children’s individual needs are catered for and practitioners make adjustments to ensure that all children are able to participate in a wide range of learning opportunities appropriate to their developmental process. The overall aim is to provide every child with the best possible support and opportunities, and prepare them well for the next stage of their education.

To discuss our approach in more detail, please contact us.

Below is an excerpt from a comment we received from a mum of a little boy with severe visual impairment who attends Elmscot Day Nursery:

“Fynnley’s transition to Elmscot’s Oak Room was never a concern to us or his Support Services. From his first day at Elmscot, every adaptation and every care had been made to not only support Fynnley, but to fully include him in nursery life and ensure that every aspect was adjusted to a level that would meet and encourage his understanding of the world around him. Not only this, but his peers were encouraged to embrace the way that he sees the world and I believe the ‘sensory’ way of doing things very much became the normal way of doing things!

It is incredibly touching to see his peers have a clear, almost subconscious understanding and acceptance of Fynnley’s disability and to see them want to participate in his activities. It is clear that it is because of Elmscot’s encouragement in this area that Fynnley’s peers do not see him as any different to themselves. As a parent of a disabled child, acceptance and inclusion from their peers is all you could ever wish for…. The level of support and inclusion shown to my son is more than I can ever thank Elmscot for. They have shown the true meaning of what it is for a disabled child to live life without barriers, and have been everything and more than I could ever have dared to hope for in an early-years setting for my son.”