Award For Designer Helping Children Learn Through Play

The 2015 International Design Awards has recognised an innovative product to help children learn through play.

Elli Gkologkina, a certified architect based in Crete, currently studying as a distance learner at Gloucestershire University on the Postgraduate Professionals in Children’s Play, won the Silver Award for her design, “Many Happy Re-Turns”.

The device made out of corrugated cardboard can be played with, sat on and moved into a variety of positions allowing children to use their developing imagination dictating how it is played with.

“Many Happy Re-Turns” has seven ways in which it can be used to roll, sat on or pushed by toddlers and adults. It can also be used as a chair, a blackboard or a surface for learning to take place.

Elli is part of the Transformable Intelligent Environments Laboratory team behind the exciting product, which has been designed to assist the learning through play approach to early years education.

Wendy Russell, senior lecturer in Play and Playwork at the university, praised Elli and the teams work, “We are delighted that Elli and her colleagues have won this prestigious award. She has an interest in children’s play and so she enrolled on our distance learning postgraduate Professional Studies in Children’s Play programme. This design shows how she has brought together her architectural design skills and her understanding of children’s play. We heartily congratulate her and her colleagues on this award.”

Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries are proactive in promoting learn through play techniques to enhance preschool children’s education and support innovation in this area of learning. So we say…

Well done Elli!

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…

Wilmslow On Top Of The World!

Snowdon Climbers Staff from Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery in Wilmslow are celebrating after their conquering of Mount Snowdon hopes to raise £1000 for their local charity branch of Millie’s Trust.

The day began with a less than favourable weather forecast of high winds and heavy showers, but that was not enough to deter the ten members of staff from the day nursery in Wilmslow from setting off to conquer Mount Snowdon.

They didn’t have to worry though as the weather remained dry all day, although quite gusty at times.

The team led by nursery owner Liz Butterworth’s husband Simon made it to the summit via the Pyg track, with Deputy Manager Katie arriving at the summit first in an impressive time of 2 hours and 15 minutes, shortly followed by the rest of the team.

Commenting on their success, Liz said, “We were a little concerned about the weather forecast, but whatever bad weather was predicted decided to stay away allowing us to successfully scale Snowdon and the views from the top were incredible!”

“We have currently raised £800 for Millie’s trust, but hope to increase that to around £1000 once the fund raising has completed.”

Millie’s Trust was set up 2 year’s ago to raise awareness and offer first aid training to all, following the loss of founders, Joanne and Dan Thompson’s daughter, Millie after a choking incident at the nursery attended in October 2012.

Liz, Simon and the rest of the team we are so proud of you!

If you want more information on the Wilmslow Monkey Puzzle or any of our nationwide sites visit the locations page.

IS This A Record? Fourth Set Of Twins Join Southport!

We have all heard the phrase that things come in threes, but for the staff at Monkey Puzzle in Southport it seems things definitely come in twos!

The Southport nursery has only been open for six months but recently they welcomed their FOURTH set of twins.

Is there something in the water…

Twins Charlie and James, Oscar and Martha, Finley and Natalie and Oliver and Jacob have all enrolled in the past six months and hope to stay with the nursery until their transition into primary school education.

Speaking of the new additions, Monkey Puzzle Southport owner, Jayne Hayes commented, “We still can’t quite believe it! Having one set of twins and being able to watch them develop their own individual personalities is one thing, but four, in such a short space of time, is quite special”.

Jayne continued, “What is it about the Southport sea air? They all at a young age and we are hoping they will be with us until preschool, so there is still time for more twins to join us and then we might just have to start consulting the record books!”

Jayne did want to stress, however, that they do also accept single kids, triplets and quadruplets!

twins join day nursery


Wilmslow Joins Forces With Waterstones.

As we move further into the 21st Century, technology continues to move on a pace, replacing more traditional forms of children’s entertainment and learning. While in essence this is not such a bad thing, it is important to remember and promote those traditional forms that have been with us for centuries.

One such method, of course, is reading.

Although Kindles and iPads have entered the arena, is there any comparison between holding a tablet and a real tactile book?

One of Monkey Puzzle’s Day Nursery network, Wilmslow, are doing just that by joining forces with their local branch of Waterstones bookshop to promote their own “Storytime” event.

A group of the nursery’s children and staff will visit the bookshop where the staff will read from a selection of books. The event will also be open to the general public, so a healthy attendance is expected.

The first “Storytime” event will be at 10am on 7th October and remember you don’t have to attend Monkey Puzzle in Wilmslow, everyone is welcome.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Wilmslow day nursery, take a look here.

Monkey Puzzle Warwick Offers 5% Discount to Hospital & Council Staff

We all know that for over five years now the economy has been turbulent to say the least! But while the last twelve months have shown the economy is getting back to pre-crash levels, the increase in salaries for public sector workers has stalled.

This was drawn to Warwick Monkey Puzzle’s owner Patsy Monahan’s attention after Warwick Hospital’s enforced closure of their in-house nursery.

Many of the children relocated to Monkey Puzzle and Patsy thought that she would offer the discount to help the hospital staff.

The move was then expanded to benefit all employees of the local district council as well.

Commenting on the partnership, Patsy said, “Even though there are signs that our economy continues to recover, salary increases in the public sector have been minimal, barely at the rate of inflation. Any savings on living expenses can make a difference and we wanted to offer those that work at the hospital and the district council a saving on their childcare costs.”

The Warwick day nursery which recently received a “good” rating following an Ofsted inspection can be contacted on 01926 419262 for further details, alternatively you can visit their website.

Woodlesford Monkey Puzzle Raises £592 For Meningitis Now!

It was a busy July day at the Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery in Woodlesford, as staff and children took part in a host of arts and crafts activities which resulted in an impressive £592 being raised for the local branch of the children’s charity Meningitis Now.

The charity aims to eradicate the loss of life from this potentially fatal disease and offer the necessary support to all those affected by it, so they can begin to rebuild their lives.

The day’s theme was “underwater” and the children created artwork denoting sea life, fishes and sea creatures.  The fun day finished with a sponsored obstacle course and picnic tea.

Commenting on the fun the day nursery owner, Karen Redfearn said, “We were so proud of the children and parents that joined in the fun, especially so as they raised a whopping £592 to help Meningitis Now and support all the good work they do for those that have been affected by this awful disease.”

You can find out more about the Woodlesford Day Nursery by visiting their website. I f you are looking for nursery places in Woodlesford you can contact them direct on 01132 887796.

Wilmslow Reaches It’s Peak!

Saturday 11th October will involve an early start for fifteen members of staff at the Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery in Wilmslow.

The intrepid team Liz Butterworth’s husband Simon, will set out to conquer Wales’ highest peak, Mount Snowdon.

The challenging trip aims to raise funds for their nominated charity Millies Trust, a charity that aims to make paediatric first aid training available to everyone.

Millie’s Trust was established following the tragic loss of Millie, the daughter of trustees Joanne & Dan Thompson, following a choking incident at the nursery she attended. To ensure their daughter’s passing was not in vain they are on a nationwide mission to teach potentially life-saving paediatric first aid skills to help prevent similar tragedies.

Owner Liz Butterworth, is proud of her husband and members of staff saying, “For most of the group this will be the first time they will have attempted anything like this. They will be following the Miners’ track as they ascend the mountain and we are all hoping for good weather on the day.”

Liz added, “We believe Millie’s Trust to be a worthy cause that deserves our support. First aid is such an important skill that can literally save lives and all at the nursery admire the courage of Joanne & Dan Thompson for creating the charity following such tragic circumstances.”

The Wilmslow Day Nursery has created a donations page on