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Two New Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries Set To Open

Less than one month into 2015 and we are already looking forward to two new Monkey Puzzle day nurseries opening!

The two new locations are Shefford in Bedfordshire and Tatsfield, Surrey. The news follows the recent opening of new franchises in Irthlingborough, Bromley and Solihull.

This great news confirms we are on track to expand our national nursery network to over 40 by the end of 2015.

The Shefford Monkey Puzzle will be owned and run by Caroline Matthieson and with the building secured and work already underway, Caroline hopes to be opening the doors to the public in 8 weeks time. Recruitment is also underway and our tried and tested training schedule in place.

Over in Tatsfield owner Sharene Menteath has also secured the lease on the building and cannot wait to get started on creating a safe, creative, learning environment for the local area. Tatsfield Monkey Puzzle will be opening Spring 2015.

Congratulations to Caroline and Sharine and welcome to the Monkey Puzzle family!

If you are interested in owning and operating your own Monkey Puzzle day nursery franchise, get started by registering for our franchise information pack.

You can also see if there is a Monkey Puzzle day nursery on your doorstep by checking out our locations page.

2014 – A Year To Celebrate!

Phew! What a year it has been for Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries!

Our nationwide network continued to grow with new nurseries opening in Weybridge, Kingston, Southport and our first ever opening north of the border in Glasgow. January 2015 will see the opening of three further nurseries in Irthlingborough, Bromley and Solihull.

The growth maintains our position as the UK’s largest nursery franchise operator, a title we are proud to own.

Possibly the best achievement of the year was the success of those newer nurseries that undertook their first ever Ofsted reports.

All achieved a “good” Ofsted rating with two achieving an almost unheard of “outstanding” rating!  So huge congratulations to the owners, management and staff and special thanks to High Wycombe and Highbury Park for their “outstanding” achievement.

The network’s charity fund raising also had another successful year raising much needed funds for their individual charities.

I suppose the HIGHlight was the intrepid exploits of the staff at Wilmslow, where the team scaled the heights of Mount Snowdon to raise close to a £1000 for their charity Millie’s Trust. Even the high winds and showers couldn’t dampen their spirits and well done to deputy manager, Katie, for reaching the summit first in a commendable 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Finally, Monkey Puzzle Southport was trying it’s best to imitate Noah’s Ark as they welcomed their FOURTH set of twins since their opening in July.

So, from everyone at Monkey Puzzle, we would like to wish you all a very happy new year and a most wonderful 2015!

Good Things Come In Threes! More “Good” Ratings From Ofsted.

As we enter the last few weeks of 2014 and get ready to expand our day nursery network in 2015, I thought it time to to celebrate three more positive Ofsted reports.

First to get their results was Monkey Puzzle Twickenham, who retained their “Good” rating following their 3 yearly inspection. Well done to Zafira and her hard working team, we are all very proud of you.

Find out why they are so good by reading the full Ofsted report here.

After Twickenham it was the turn of Monkey Puzzle Southport. This was their first ever inspection and to achieve a “Good” rating first time round is a huge testimony to Jayne and her team, following a few tweaks we are very confident that they will be “Outstanding” after their next one!

Read the full report here.

Last, but not least, are Monkey Puzzle in West Kensington. One of our core nurseries, they also achieved a “Good” rating following a dedicated effort from all the team.

Read the full report here.

So lots of “Good” news across the network for Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries, and get ready for January 2015 when we will be unveiling the new additions to the Monkey Puzzle family!

Watch this space…

2013 – another Great Year For Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries.

Well time certainly does fly! It seems like only yesterday that I was reminiscing about our achievements in 2012 and here I am writing about the highlights of 2013…and what year it has been!

Over the year we added 4 brand new day nurseries to our national network, Didsbury in the the north west, High Wycombe, Highbury and Bexleyheath in the south. Plenty of hard work was necessary but because of the effort, all opened on time and continue to grow with 2014 looking very promising.

Didsbury, along with Bedford, Ealing and Wickham all had their first Ofsted inspections each receiving a GOOD rating, with only minor points preventing them from achieving the ultimate OUTSTANDING award. Each nursery immediately began addressing these minor issues and are more than hopeful that following their next inspection their “outstanding” goal will have been achieved.

Three other day nurseries were reinspected all achieving the same same GOOD rating! Well done to all owners, management and staff of the seven nurseries for their hard work which resulted in these fine results.

Looking forward to early 2014, three further Monkey Puzzle day nurseries are due to open. The locations are in Weybridge, Southport and our first ever Scottish Day Nursery in Glasgow! So good luck to all involved and please try to find the time to celebrate and enjoy Christmas and the New Year!

With the continuing growth there have been two new additions to Monkey Puzzle Towers Head Office. Julie Firth has joined us from Ofsted in the role of Operations Development Manager and she is joined by Lucy Hood in Business Development. Both come to us with strong CV’s and will be a major asset in our future growth.

Finally as with every year all our day nurseries we raised a significant amount of money for various charities, with the recent Children in Need Appeal being particularly successful. Well done to all the children, their parents and staff for such a wonderful effort.

So it’s a Merry Christmas from all at Monkey Puzzle and here’s to a even more successful New Year!

Is Active Play Crucial To Childhood Development?

I think we all know it is, but how crucial exactly? Well an independent group of leading experts in development and nutrition has gone as far as to issue a set of tips which will help nursery staff and parents encourage young kids to take part in physical activity.

The Infant and Toddler Forum (ITF) have formulated an activity worksheet outlining ways that physical activity and play can easily be integrated into everyday life.

The Government is concerned with the increase in childhood inactivity calling it a time bomb waiting to go off. Latest figures following a study by Oxford University, show that only 32% of boys and 24% of girls between the ages of 2 and 15 are getting the recommended minimum of exercise.

This sedentary lifestyle staring at some sort of screen, being driven or pushed everything is having a detrimental effect on the nations children. Without a change of course the likelihood of later health problems as a result of being overweight or obese will continue to rise and will also impact on a child’s cognitive development.

Government guidelines recommend that under 5’s that can walk, need at least 3 hours a day activity. The problem is, however, that parents are not aware and the message is not being communicated well enough.

This may come as a challenge to busy parents, so it is important for them to plan their daily schedules to include as much activity as possible for their toddlers. Activities such as walking, riding a bike or scooter, dancing, playing catch anything that this increase their exercise.

For preschool toddlers attending day nurseries, they currently achieve two to two and a half hours per day in some form of physical activity, so the parents would only have to add an extra half an hour to reach the recommended daily target.

The factsheet can be downloaded for free from the Infant And Toddler Forum home page.

New Tax Free Childcare System Explained

The extension of tax free childcare provision has been in the news a lot recently, but for many parents understanding the requirements to qualify can be confusing. So with that in mind lets take a look at this important sector and begin to simplify the process.

So what is it?

The tax far childcare scheme is ostensibly a money back scheme whereby working parents can get a 20% rebate of the cost of their childcare up to a maximum of £1,200 per child. The scheme will be put into operation in Autumn 2015.

Who qualifies?

Their is one key requirement here – both parents MUST be working or, in the case of single parent families, the single parent MUST be working. We could go into the fairness of the scheme, but that subject requires a blog post of its own…

Initially the scheme will be available to children under the age of five, but the Government has already indicated that it will be extended to those children under twelve.

The scheme will also be available to those on maternity/paternity leave as long as they are eligible before taking the leave.

What Are The Financial Restrictions?

Incredibly, both parents can earn up to £150,00 EACH, so a household that has a joint annual income of £299,999.99 are eligible.

What’s The Difference From The Current Childcare Vouchers System?

Under the current Childcare Voucher System parents can opt to exchange £243 of their gross monthly salary for vouchers (covering all forms of childcare up to the age of sixteen) this amount is exempt from tax and National Insurance contributions. This translates to a saving of up to £933 for those in the basic rate tax bracket, £623 for those in the higher bracket and £606 for those earning over £150,000.

The maximum any family can save is £1,866 per child, if both parents’ employers offer their own voucher scheme and they are both basic rate tax payers.

Under the new scheme, parents will be able to claim a maximum of £1,200 per child annually towards their childcare costs. This means that a basic rate tax payer with one child stands to lose out on £660 a year, whereas those basic tax rate taxpayers with more than one child and those in higher tax brackets stand to gain financially as the new scheme will not be means tested as the current voucher system is.

It is important to point out that the basic tax rate payers losses will apply to those who join the scheme AFTER 2015. Anyone currently receiving childcare vouchers will be forced to join the new scheme if it means they will lose out.

So there you have it,  you can agree or disagree with its effectiveness and fairness, but first get to understand it and make sure your up to speed with the changes so that you do not lose out.

Is This The Greenest Day Nursery In London?

One of our newest additions to the Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery nationwide network, will open its doors to the public in September 2013. Situated in the newly renovated Loxfords building in Highbury Park, this historic and elegant property also boasts an environmental breakthrough, incorporating a unique heating and energy system that reduces harmful emissions to a level hardly seen before.

The system is one of the first to be installed in a new development anywhere in London and will provide heat and energy for the nursery, while having a low detrimental impact on the local environment.

Now I could try and offer you, the reader, a chemistry lesson on how the process works, but I feel you would lose interest rapidly and I would get thoroughly confused! So I thought it best for Monkey Puzzle Highbury’s owner, Geoff Kent to explain in layman’s terms.

“This revolutionary method of providing the energy and heat that we need to operate, utilises glycerine waste which is added to standard biofuels, providing our energy needs with very low emissions. It is currently recognised as the greenest fuel solution available”

“The use of glycerine waste which burns more efficiently and produces less emissions, also limits the reliance on growing bio fuels, freeing up land which can then be used for growing food crops.”

The day nursery which is a family affair, being run by husband and wife team, Geoff and Wendy Kent and supported by their son Anthony, has a strong focus on being environmentally friendly. The furniture within the nursery has been sourced from sustainable beech forests in the Baltic states and whenever a decision is to be made by them regarding the nursery, wherever possible they will choose a green alternative.

So keep an eye out for more news and the opening date for London’s “greenest day nursery”, in our humble opinion, the ideal place for your child to begin their educational journey.

For information regarding places and employment opportunities, call Fran at Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries head office on 01442 878887 or get in touvh via our contact page.

New Childcare Ratio Plans To Be Scrapped.

Since the announcement by Children’s Minister, Liz Truss that the Coalition were to increase the ratio of children to carers as long as carers qualifications met new standards, there have been childcare professionals lining up to dismiss the proposals saying care quality would suffer.

So it didn’t come as a surprise yesterday when Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg telephoned leaders in the childcare sector yesterday, telling them the plans were “dead in the water”.

Mr Clegg was later quoted as saying, “When you are talking about something this important to parents, I think it is imperative to be led by the evidence – which is overwhelmingly against changing the rules on ratios.”

Childcare charities were pleased with the U-turn, as were the majority of parents, with Nick Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance saying, “We are absolutely delighted that the Deputy Prime Minister has intervened and listened to the concerns and evidence gathered by the sector, parents and early years experts which dismantled the arguments for taking forward this ill-advised plan”.

He went on to add, “The sector is supportive of the government aims to raise the status and quality of the childcare workforce. But this was not the way to achieve this.”

The proposed changes would have seen ratios for two year olds rise from 4 children per adult carer to 6 and for children under the age of one from 3 children per adult carer to 4.

We are always looking to ways to improve childcare, but believe this must be born out of consultation between Government agencies and childcare professionals and not a unilateral decision.

So in summary Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries welcome the decision and look forward to continuing to offer excellent care to children at a very important stage of their educational development.