Early in 1987 a playgroup which rented rooms on what was then the Danesford School site was coming to the end of its tenancy. New Life Church (already established in the building) rented the dining hall for Sunday services. New Life Church committed to pray as to whether or not to apply to take on the rooms and begin its own nursery. Two members of the church were already working as professionals in other settings and when the Church were given the go-ahead to set up a nursery based on Christian values, we rolled up our sleeves, got out the paint brushes and were ready to go.
The only equipment left from the original playgroup was the sandpit! Lists were made of everything we needed from pencils and paper to climbing frames and church members were amazing in their generous giving. In early September, New Life Nursery opened on four mornings a week with 16 children at a time and a toddler group on Tuesday afternoons.
Our numbers grew very quickly, parents who had at first seemed sceptical at an overtly Christian nursery realised the benefits of having their children in our care and by January 1988 the Nursery were running five mornings a week with 20 children which soon rose to 24.
In 1991 Danesford School, which had been run by the National Children’s Home as an Approved School for the Home Office, ceased to be. Two rooms which had previously been a classroom and a domestic science room were taken over by New Life Nursery during the Christmas holidays. The building was badly in need of re-decoration – the paint brushes came back out and the children were welcomed in the new nursery rooms in January 1992.
New Life Nursery grew in popularity and we continued to take over of the building! What had been the woodwork room was transformed into a room for under 3’s. This was called Two’s Company which we now know as the Rainbow Room. Twelve additional little people came to this class twice a week which included an afternoon session run in the nursery school.
The Nursery began having special services for the children and parents eg Harvest, a nativity service at Christmas, a re-enactment of the events at Easter time, Sports Day and a leaving service for the children moving onto primary school. All these we still incorporate today.
Countless children have been given a firm foundation on which to build their lives, as well as providing many parents with an introduction to the Christian faith. In 2014, further to an Ofsted Inspection, the little nursery that started all those years ago was rated to be an Outstanding Early Years Provider.
New Life Nursery Group has gone from strength to strength over its 30 year history and promises to continue to do so well into the future.