Little Bear's, which currently runs two nurseries in Wanstead, East London, has been awarded the tender to run the nursery and is now preparing for a ‘soft’ launch in August, ready for when people start to move in to their new homes in force in September.
East Village boasts a total 2,818 new, sustainable homes which are designed to create an integrated community. With shops, restaurants and more than ten hectares of new parks and open spaces, the development is attracting many families looking for affordable housing.
Seonaidh O’Neill, who owns Little Bear's with her husband Lee, says they approached the tender with the attitude that they would ‘have a go’ and they were surprised and delighted when they won.
‘We were thinking that the nursery would be picked up by one of the larger chains,’ she says. ‘It was quite an involved and competitive tender and there were a lot of legal considerations to cover. It is a very exciting proposition to be in at the start of what promises to be a vibrant community.’
Little Bear's will share a building with the Chobham Academy, which is owned by the Harris Federation and offers education from the age of three to 19 years. Registered for 80 children, Little Bear's will operate independently, but complement Chobham, to offer a range of childcare options.
‘It is a funky building, very modern and with a wonderful outlook,’ says Ms O’Neill. ‘There are circular windows and free flow to the garden which has already been landscaped,’ she says.
Little Bear's first nursery in Wanstead, was graded outstanding by Ofsted in 2011. It was praised for its ‘relaxed and friendly’ environment where children flourish. The nurseries have also excelled in working with parents, with both operating a ‘breakfast together’ scheme, where they can eat with their children in the morning and talk to staff at the same time.
‘The nursery in East Village will follow the same methodology as our other nurseries,’ says Ms O’Neill. ‘At the moment we are interviewing for key positions and we will scale up our number of staff gradually as the nursery fills up. The manager of my first nursery will be taking over the Olympic site and we will ensure it reaches the same high standards.’
She adds, ‘We are really thrilled to be opening in this new quarter of London and offering our nursery service to families who will be moving into the new homes.'