Welcome to the Ark

The Ark Nursery provides children with superb opportunities for their learning and development as well as promoting excellent welfare provision; there are tremendous relationships between staff and children.”
(Ofsted Report, April 2014.)

The Ark is an Ofsted Outstanding Day Nursery and Forest School. We have two nurseries in Stamford in Lincolnshire, both on school sites, and our own Forest School with a privately-owned wood, three-acre meadow and river where our children have a unique opportunity to explore and experience the outdoors.

The Ark Day Nursery combines the latest findings in Early Years practice with the theories of educationalists such as Steiner, Froebel and Montessori that chime with owner and founder Jo’s own experiences of growing up and learning about the outdoors on a farm in Lincolnshire.

Our highly qualified and passionate team are dedicated to helping all our children thrive, enquire and learn in a caring and stimulating environment that gives them the good start they need to progress through their early years.

 Settling in

Our focus at the Ark is on forming relationships with the whole family to build bonds between child, parents and the team. We believe that forming a strong attachment with your child is of paramount importance.

We begin these relationships during your child’s first settling-in sessions.  We hold a minimum of two settling-in visits. We always encourage you to accompany your child for the initial session to give us an opportunity to get to know you and your child together.

Here, we will discuss their routine, their interests and preferences and answer any questions you may have about your child joining The Ark.  The second settling-in session is typically for your child to play with us for an hour, and for them to explore their new environment with their ‘Key Person’, and other members of staff.  We will then discuss if your child would benefit from any additional settling-in sessions. We find that our youngest children particularly benefit from attending a few tasters alone to build bonds with their Key Person before starting their regular sessions.  These settling-in sessions are free of charge, as we believe them vitally important for the wellbeing of child and parents.


[ps2id id=’Relationships’ target=”/]Relationships

We believe that children learn well within trusted relationships.  The Child Development theorist Erik Erikson suggested eight stages of psychosocial development, with the first taking place in a baby’s first year. This first stage is to develop a sense of trust in themselves, other people and the world around them.  If a baby develops this within the first year of life then they will move on to the later stages knowing the world is a good place to be in, that adults will be there to support them and the child will have trust in their own ability to engage adults’ response (through tears, smiles, sounds, etc.). This engagement of adults is called ‘attachment’.  Erikson believed that each stage of psychosocial development lays the foundation for the next stage. Other theorists have also suggested that early attachments are the basis for future relationships and development.

“Children know their needs will be met and are relaxed and confident interacting with Key Persons and all staff, as well as visitors.”

Erikson highlighted the importance of having a primary caregiver in nurseries and our Key Person system mirrors this theory, so that each child’s Key Person builds a close bond with the child and their family.

Your child’s Key Person will get to know you and your child and will be responsible for documenting their learning and for planning exciting, engaging and relevant play experiences, as well as providing lots of cuddles.  They will support your child and endeavour to ‘tune in’ to your child’s individual needs, their interests and learning, and their wellbeing.  All children are unique and we want to celebrate every child’s individuality. Our staff work in paired Key Person groups to ensure continuity of care and reassurance for your child.


Child Development theorist Albert Bandura suggested that children learn from observing others’ behaviours and attitudes and the outcome of these.  Another theorist, Lev Vygotsky, also believed children learn from others, suggesting that children learn from adults or their peers, needing their support initially to practice a skill before they can complete it independently.

We act as children’s play partners and explore together. We also encourage children to work together. For these reasons, relationships form a crucial part of our ethos and it is an area we spend a great deal of time developing.  Our nursery has been praised by our local Education Authority who remarked that “Children know their needs will be met and are relaxed and confident interacting with Key Persons and all staff, as well as visitors.”

 Meet the team


Jo opened the Ark Day Nursery in 2007 in a unique, Scandinavian designed building, and the Ark at St George’s in September 2011.

The development and training of our practitioners is something that we take very seriously at the Ark.

After all, we recognise that those who are going to be entrusted with your loved ones need to be at the top of their game and fully in touch with the latest developments in childcare and Early Years Education.

Three members of our team hold Early Years degrees and two have achieved their Early Years Professional Status.  We ensure that all other permanent members are qualified to a minimum of Level 3.

All staff have undergone paediatric first-aid training and three members of staff are trained in Special Educational Needs.

Recent courses attended include: Fun on the Floor; Developing Emotional Resilience; Beginning with Babies; Forest School and Superhero Play, and Totem Pole.

It goes without saying that all our staff are CRB/DBS checked.