Founded by a former midwife, with a simple but focused goal of providing outstanding childcare in a loving and nurturing environment, Juice is now owned and run by parent, Mike Leary, together with Nursery Manager, Lesley Wilson.
Juice has gone from strength to strength since its doors opened in September 2007, however our goal and ethos steadfastly remains the same. In running the nursery, our overriding principles are:
• For Juice to be a ‘home from home’
• To listen and respond to local parent’s needs
• To ensure the highest possible qualities in staff, and
• To have a focus on health, nutrition and learning through play.
We believe that Juice MUST feel like a home from home. Whilst nurseries are required to work within the guidelines set by the EYFS, it is paramount that we do not forget what a huge responsibility it is to look after another person’s child and it is vital that the children not only feel safe, secure and happy, but that they are excited to come to nursery and that their parents see their attendance as a positive and valuable part of their growing up.
This philosophy has developed in a number of ways, such as:
|•||The introduction of Stretch-n-Grow, Music and French classes for variety|
|•||A focus on outdoor play, with the introduction of our new Mud Kitchen, as well as regular trips to the local parks & town centre|
|•||The introduction of our award-winning, interactive sensory room|
|•||Building strong working relationships with outside disciplines such as speech therapists and physiotherapists to help support children’s needs|
|•||Getting involved in community events, such as Altrincham's 2014 entry to the RHS North West In Bloom competition|
In addition, Juice has become well known for being hugely supportive of children with additional needs, with staff being trained to exceptionally high standards to cope with the additional requirements.
Parents can follow all of their child's milestones via specifically designed software (ORBIT) keeping them connected with us and their children. Read more about ORBIT.
We are very proud of Juice and the work that we do and it is lovely to get so much wonderful feedback, praising the staff and environment that we have created. But don’t worry - we never rest on our laurels. Every day we think of ways to make Juice a better and more rewarding place for everyone and we believe that, should your children become part of Juice, you will fall in love with it too.
We take nutrition very seriously at Juice, whether your child is 4 months or 4 years old. It is well documented that up to the age of 4 is a crucial time for children, both to ensure that they get the important nutrients to help them grow, but also for learning good dietary habits, that will lay the foundations for their future health.
We have a full-time qualified chef who works incredibly hard to produce a variety of interesting and tasty menus throughout the year, which are devised in conjunction with a qualified dietician. The menus are planned to give a varied choice, to be nutritionally balanced as well as allowing the odd treat now and then!
For those children being weaned, all purees are home-made, either from simple foods such as carrots, sweet potato etc for early weaning, right through to a pureed meal for those close to moving on to solid foods.
We focus on high quality produce that is fresh and locally sourced. All our meat is supplied by Taylors of Sale, a highly regarded local butcher, fresh fish comes from our local Altrincham market, as does our fruit and vegetables.
Naturally, specific dietary requests are always taken into account. So, don’t worry, should your child have any specific needs, such as vegetarian, religious or food intolerances, these will be taken into account and tasty, suitable alternatives provided.
Healthy body, healthy mind! This mantra may be as old as the day is long but few would dispute that it is perhaps more relevant now than it has ever been. What you may be less aware of is how important exercise is even for very young children. Not only has it been proven that regular exercise is imperative to improve bone health, muscle strength and flexibility in children, but also that it is important that young children get into the habit of regular physical activity as early as possible, to reinforce positive associations with exercise through to later life.
Children throughout the nursery all enjoy weekly Stretch-n-Grow classes - a world-leading health & fitness programme for young children, closely linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) that we follow here at Juice. Classes are a great blend of exercise, education and, very importantly, fun! Under the guidance of qualified instructors, focusing on a different topic each week, the children learn the importance of exercise and nutrition.
In addition, rain or shine, children have regular access to the Juice Nursery garden, complete with newly installed mud kitchen, and also get out and about, exploring Altrincham Town Centre, including trips to the library and local parks. Keep in eye out for us - we are easily recognisable, with the children in their high-vis yellow vests , or you may see them around town in our Kindervans, Juice 1 and Juice 2!
Children learn through play and here at Juice we make learning fun. Whilst following the EYFS, all our activities encourage the children to reach their developmental milestones. Our plentiful resources and high quality teaching together give the children the foundations needed to make the most of their abilities as they grow up.
Each child has their own individually tailored development plan which focuses on their specific needs and which ensures that everyone progresses and that nobody gets left behind.
At the end of the day, however, whilst everything mentioned above is important, let us not forget that the most important thing is that the children at Juice feel happy, loved and that they have fun! We make sure that all the children and carers at Juice have fun - we all get paint on our hands, splash in the puddles, and enjoy playing with shaving foam, Rice Krispies or anything we can get our hands on that makes a mess!
The children arrive in the morning with an excited smile on their face and go home in the evening happy and tired. We know our aims have been achieved when, in the nicest possible way, once parents have dropped off their most treasured possession, they can forget about them until they collect them at the end of the day!
We believe, and parents continually remind us, that staff are the lifeblood of a truly excellent nursery, and consequently our recruitment and training policies are of the highest standards.
We follow carefully structured recruitment and selection procedures to ensure that new staff members understand our requirements and are equipped to meet them. All new staff are subject to a range of stringent security checks, which include criminal record disclosures, reference and qualification checks. Only then are they accepted at the nursery, and initially only on a three month probationary period to ensure we are entirely satisfied that they are suitable and will fit in with our ethos.
Once on board, we train our staff to the highest possible levels. All staff members have the opportunity to train and qualify to Level 3 (NVQ3 or equivalent) with senior staff being required to hold Level 4. They are also trained to provide inclusive play and learning opportunities, in accordance with EYFS requirements.
All staff members participate in First Aid training courses and have safe guarding certificates with respect to child protection issues - all above normal nursery requirements. In addition to this, we provide specialist training, over and above the norm, to ensure the highest standards of quality within the nursery. These can vary but typically include areas such as:
• Behaviour management
• Early phonics - letters and sounds
• Autism and other specialist education needs
Much of this training is provided by Ann Preston, a highly qualified university lecturer and Early Years consultant, with over 25 years experience working in early years and the published author of over 30 books.
Since becoming a parent, I have increasingly realised the importance of being part of a local community, and how this can add to your general happiness and well being.
Nurseries, like schools, are often where it starts, for parents and children alike, and we make a particular effort to support and be part of our local community here in Altrincham and the surrounding areas.
This is done in a number of ways, including:
|•||Community Events – historically we have organised The Hale & Altrincham Baby & Children's Fair, helping to showcase other small, local businesses|
|•||Charitable events – such as raising money to support The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital ( RMCH ) & The Children's Adventure Farm Trust ( CAFT )|
|•||Local businesses – where possible we always look to source food and items in the nursery from local businesses|
|•||Parent benefits – we have a number of specially agreed benefits negotiated with local businesses for the parents of all the children at Juice|
At the end of the day, we get a lot of fun and satisfaction from everything we do within the community and hope that our parents and children do too. We are always looking for new ideas though, so put your thinking hats on and let us know what else you think we could be doing.