Why we set up our Nursery – our story

Our story dates back to 1924, when the surrounding area was farmland and open fields. The house originally belonged to Herbert Carden, a former Mayor of Brighton, and remained a family home for over 80 years. It was in early 2004 that we first saw the pretty white house with the blue shutters, and we knew straight away House 5that it would make the perfect setting for our nursery. What attracted us back then was the homely feel, a large secure garden, characterful rooms and proximity to a lovely park right next door. Today over 1200 children have attended our nursery, and we’d like to think what attracted us then has remained true today.

Whilst the house provides a lovely backdrop to our nursery, it’s our staff, many of whom have been with us since the beginning, who really make the difference. Most are qualified in childcare and education to level 3 and above, and over half of the team are parents themselves. Indeed, our management team have seen seven of their own children go through the nursery, so we understand what it feels like here as a parent and practitioner.

It seems a long time ago now, but we can still remember the road to The Wishing Tree being a very long journey, punctuated by many challenges, not the least of which was finding the right premises and staff.  In our wonderful management team who are still with us today, we found childcare professionals who share our passion for high quality and attention to detail. This belief has led to the nursery achieving excellent Ofsted ratings as well as awards every year for high quality practice from Brighton and Hove education authority.

Our aim is quite simply to provide the best outcomes for children and families that we can. The Wishing Tree is the culmination of many “if only” and “one day we’ll do this” conversations with family and friends. It’s also the culmination of much thought about the detail that goes into delivering a successful nursery for children, staff, parents and carers. We’re open Monday to Friday 7.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. all year, so if you would like to find out more, then please have a look around our web site, and if you like what you see, either email us or call 01273 551515.

Our Values

Our approach to childcare is built around the values that we hold ourselves in the management team and how in turn we expect our staffing team to share and promote those values. Children learn and are influenced by watching both adult and peer role models so it is important that we have a value system in which everyone shares. Consequently, we have established a staffing charter which is regularly reviewed and publicised around the nursery, namely:

  • Reflect on your practice and look for ways to improve.
  • Be proud of the fact that we have excellent Ofsted reports.
  • Act with integrity and trust.
  • Create and maintain an environment that parents will recommend to others.
  • Have respect for each other.
  • Everyone matters regardless of gender, race, culture, age, capability, orientation or religion.
  • Parents and carers are our partners in the outcomes for their children.
  • Be safety conscious at all times.
  • Don’t procrastinate, deal with important issues straight away. Consult colleagues and management.
  • Have a positive attitude towards others and your work.
  • Keep your sense of humour even when times are difficult.
  • Think about what you are saying and the consequences to others.
  • Treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.
  • Be sensitive about what you say in front of the children.
  • Always remember you are part of a team.
  • Make time to acknowledge and greet colleagues.
  • Be considerate to other staff.
  • Be respectful of other’s property.
  • There’s always time to chat to colleagues but remember to put the needs of the children first.
  • Be imaginative and proactive in the garden when setting out activities for the children.
  • Look for ways to improve yourself through the training that is available through the nursery and elsewhere.

What makes an outstanding nursery?

Our ultimate aim is to be recognised as a childcare setting with high standards at all times. Our nursery thrives on the good will and recommendation of parents, carers, families and many others who are involved with us on a daily basis. Being an outstanding nursery is not an end in itself, it’s a constant journey and one where we :

  • Encourage the passion and commitment of staff to make a difference.
  • Commit to helping children develop independence, confidence and skills for the future.
  • Recognise the uniqueness of each child.
  • Keep children healthy and safe through shared and high quality practice.
  • Become the catalyst for children making progress and achieving at their own pace.
  • Promote equality and diversity.
  • Make safeguarding an on-going priority.
  • Ensure that parents and families are involved, encouraged and consulted.
  • Involve agencies such as Presens, CEYC, EMAS to develop children.
  • Make sure planning and self-evaluation is effective.
  • Establish an ambitious vision that everyone shares and understands.
  • Promote well qualified staff where professional development is a priority.
  • Maintain a well organised and an excellent range of resources.
  • Develop a positive culture around change.
  • Make the most of the local area such as forest school next door.
  • Start young – babies love to explore.
  • Establish a good mix of planned and free flow activities – allow children to make choices.
  • Give children the time to think and speak.
  • Allow children to do things at their own pace.
  • Give children the skills and confidence to take the lead.
  • Recognise each child’s needs and learning style.
  • Understand what is working well and not so well.
  • Identify gaps in learning.
  • Identify children whose needs may not be met.
  • Always plan for improvement.


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