SM

A handy guide to starting their early years story with SM.

We're here to help find the answers  to your questions, whether you're at the beginning of your story with us, or a longstanding part of our family.

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Changes to childcare funding

SM are committed to enabling parents to work in the knowledge that their children are receiving a premium, high-quality early years education.

"Britain is on a lasting path to growth with a revolution in childcare support…" - Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt at the new Budget.

The Government announced significant reforms to childcare in the new Budget. The intention of this scheme is to make it easier for parents with a child under 3 in England to work. The timeline of changes are detailed as follows:

April 2024 - 15 hours available for working parents of 2-year-olds

September 2024 - 15 hours available for working parents of children aged 9 months and over

September 2025 – 30 hours available for every child over the age of 9 months

Sessions & Payment

What happens if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 at nursery?

While the legal requirement to self-isolate has been lifted, we still strongly discourage anyone from attending nursery if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Across our nurseries, we adhere to strict safety procedures to promote hygiene and to minimise spread. Our Covid-19 Safety and Adaptations Policy is available at the nursery and explains our approach to keeping the children, families and our team safe. Where a decision is taken to temporarily close full or part of the nursery due to a COVID-19 related reason, for example a confirmed outbreak or multiple team members needing to isolate, we will apply a 50% refund to parents for any closure days. Where an individual child is required to isolate, but the room or nursery continues to be open to unaffected children and our services will continue to be provided, full fees will remain payable in these circumstances.

Sickness & Medication

What happens on my child’s first day?

We’re very experienced in being there for children on their first day when it’s time to say goodbye. A swift and reassuring goodbye is recommended and most children settle into the day quickly after. We’ll always let you know if that isn’t the case.

If English isn’t your child’s first language, it’s a good idea to leave us a list of words to use when talking to your child. This helps them settle in quickly and feel understood. And of course, you can call us anytime to see how your child is doing.

Your nursery will also give you a list of things to bring on your first day, but if you have any questions about anything, please do get in touch with us.

Admissions & Settling In

How do settling in sessions work?

From the very start of your story with us you’ll be part of the SM family, and just before your child begins their early years learning, we’ll invite them to some settling in sessions.

As they progress through our nursery, your child will have their very own key person and key team throughout every chapter of their story with us. They will meet your child’s individual needs and work with you to ensure your child adapts well to new stages of nursery, whether that’s settling in when they first start or preparing them to leave for school.

We know your child is ready to take that promising first step and begin their story with us when our nursery, team members and your child’s key person become familiar to them, and they start to engage with other children in activities.

Admissions & Settling In

How do I register my child’s place?

Begin your child’s story with us by calling the nursery directly or filling out our enquiry form . We’ll get back to you as soon as you’ve taken this first step.

Come along, say hello - we’re looking forward to meeting you and answering any questions you might have about our wonderful setting. After this, we will send you a few documents including our fee sheet, terms and conditions and a registration form for you to fill out. Once we have received the registration form, and the registration fee has been paid, we’ll confirm your child’s place and the next chapter in their story will start to unfold. For further details our Admissions Policy is available at the nursery.

Admissions & Settling In

What should I do if I have a complaint?

We aim to provide a high-quality service to SM families and we value all feedback so that we constantly improve.

If you have any concerns, however minor, please speak to a member of the nursery team who should be able to resolve this swiftly for you. Most concerns can be resolved quickly through an informal chat with your key person, but for anything needing a different approach, we have a Complaints Procedure in place. Your Nursery Manager is normally the best person to speak to, but our Regional Operations Managers are also happy to discuss anything that needs to be escalated further. Our Complaints Policy is available at the nursery.

Nursery Life

What happens in extreme weather?

During times of extreme weather, we first work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children, team members and visitors. We reserve the right to prevent children from going outside if our team considers it unsafe.

In rare cases, should the weather be too extreme to operate safely, we may close the nursery. In these situations, fees will still apply. Our full Extreme Weather Policy is available at the nursery.

Nursery Life

How do nurseries support with nappy changing, toileting and other intimate care?

Intimate care routines are essential throughout the day to ensure a child’s needs are met. This includes nappy changing, supporting toileting, changing clothes, and if needed specialist medical support and first aid treatment.

We’re always respectful of privacy during intimate care routines, and it will usually be the child’s key person or a member of their key team who will meet their intimate care needs.

Nursery Life

Do I need to provide suncream?

Our aim is to enable children to safely learn and play outside and provide adequate protection from the sun. All our nurseries therefore provide suncream. Parents can also bring their own in if they wish. Our full Sun Protection Policy is available at the nursery.

Nursery Life

Will my child be taken on outings?

As part of our curriculum, children may be taken on planned outings out of the nursery. Outings can help children develop in many ways, including independence, exploration/investigative skills, risk-taking and self-esteem. The nursery will ensure that all outings are beneficial to the children, enhancing their learning experiences whilst also ensuring their safety and well-being. Outings will be made accessible to children with learning difficulties and disabilities.

All trips are risk assessed and consent is obtained from parents on the registration form for local trips and via permission slips for less routine outings.

Nursery Life

Can I still bring my baby to nursery if they are teething?

Our educators are experienced with teething babies and the symptoms associated with this stage of development. Please feel free to bring in teething powder/gel and complete a medication form with your child’s key person or nursery manager.

Sickness & Medication

Can you cater to my child's allergies or dietary requirements?

At SM, we take an individualised approach to care for each one of our children. This includes adapting spaces, activities and meals wherever possible, to suit a child’s individual needs. Our nursery cook and your child’s key carers can make adjustments to accommodate allergies and dietary requirements including preparing alternative meals and snacks. Prior to your child starting, please let us know in writing of any specific requirements that your child has. Please also keep us up to date about any changes to these requirements on an ongoing basis.

Mealtimes & Dietary Requirements

My child is a fussy eater, what if they don't like what is on the menu?

Our on-site cooks are experienced with the changing tastes of children and will prepare an alternative for children with specific dietary requirements, as well as adapting meals for those who won’t eat what is being served.

Even if a child doesn’t like something we will still continue to offer this to them, as research shows that children’s taste buds evolve through their early years and it can take several attempts to eat something before a child finds it to be palatable. We ensure that children are offered balanced, nutritious meals during their time with us and do not go home hungry.

Mealtimes & Dietary Requirements

When are nursery fees due and how can I pay?

All fees are paid in advance and must clear in our bank account by the 1st of the month. We only accept payment via Direct Debit, Childcare Vouchers or the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. You should complete a direct debit mandate when you register with us. Please review our Terms and Conditions for full details.

Sessions & Payment

Do you offer funded sessions?

We are pleased to offer Early Years funding for eligible 2-year-olds (15 Hours Two-Year-Old Entitlement) and for 3-4-year-olds (either 15 Hours Universal Entitlement or 30 Hours Extended Entitlement), subject to availability. For further information on how we offer funding, please speak to your Nursery Manager.

You can find out more information on the eligibility criteria for funding and how to apply at .

Sessions & Payment

Do you run preschool classes?

Yes, our preschool runs alongside the normal nursery day, and sessions combine child and adult-led activities providing opportunities for children to explore topics of interest to them whilst preparing them for formal education. In preschool sessions, we introduce children to the exciting world of numbers, letters, phonics and science. To learn more about our preschool classes please speak to your nursery manager.

Sessions & Payment

How can I change my child's sessions?

Parents can increase or decrease their child’s sessions subject to availability. We require at least one month’s written notice is required to reduce sessions. Please review our Terms and Conditions for full details.

Sessions & Payment

What if I am unable to collect my child from nursery?

If you are running late or unable to collect your child, please call the nursery as soon as possible to let us know. If you do not think you will make it before the nursery closes, please ask an authorised person to collect your child. The nursery is informed of who holds parental responsibility, or other individuals who are authorised to drop off and collect from nursery (e.g. grandparents), within the child’s registration form.

We understand that occasionally it might not be possible for a registered authoriser person to collect their child from nursery. In those situations, parents must inform the Nursery Manager as soon as possible.

We ask that you provide us with the name of the person collecting the child, as well as a password. We will not release the child to anyone except to the named person, who will also be asked for the password and photo ID.

This person will be considered an authorised person solely for the day of pick up and not on an ongoing basis. To provide authorisation on an ongoing basis please complete an Authorisation of Collection form and return it to the office. The authorised person must be over the age of 18. Our Arrivals and Departures Policy is available at the nursery.

Absence & Collection

What happens if my child is absent?

We recognise that, from time to time, children may have to miss nursery because of illness or family circumstances. However, we do require parents to inform us of any absences, either in advance or on the same day. If your child is not present in nursery one hour after their session starts, we will contact you to find out where they are.

In rare circumstances, where the absence leads us to be concerned about the safety and/or wellbeing of a child we will liaise with external agencies. Both our Child Absence and Attendance Policy and Uncollected Children Policy are available at the nursery.

Absence & Collection

What happens if my child is unwell?

Nursery is a fun and on occasion, noisy environment. We recognise, however, that this is not the best environment for an unwell child, who needs special care, comfort and sometimes, medical attention. Therefore, we request that any child who is unwell does not attend the nursery. We ask that if your child is ill and will not be attending nursery, you let us know at least one hour before their session.

If in the opinion of our team, a child is or appears to be unwell, we will contact you and request that you pick up your child as soon as possible.

Our nurseries follow guidelines issued by the Department of Health which state how long a child must remain at home after certain infections.

If your child falls seriously ill while at nursery, we will immediately call the emergency services and then contact you and arrange to meet you at the hospital or nearby walk-in centre if necessary. If we are unable to reach you, the Nursery Manager on duty will assume charge and, if necessary, accompany the child to the hospital along with his/her medical details. We will continue to attempt to contact you. Our Illness Policy is available at the nursery.

Sickness & Medication

What steps should I take with the nursery if my child has a medical condition?

If your child has a medical condition, please mention this on their registration form. Prior to your child’s first day, this can then be discussed in depth with a manager, your child’s key person and relayed to the team members involved in your child’s care. We also ask you to outline in writing the nature of the condition, including triggers, symptoms and any medication used to manage the condition on our medical requirements form available from the office.

Sickness & Medication

What if my child needs medication?

It is our policy that a child is excluded from nursery for the first 24 hours after taking medication prescribed by a doctor in case of any side effects or allergic reactions. They may return to attend their normal sessions once this period has passed without any side effects.

Before we administer prescribed medication, we require a prescribed medication form to be completed and signed which states the medication, duration that the medicine is to be administered for, dosage, reason the child is taking the medication, and the time of day the medication should be administered. Please note the nursery will not make changes to dosages and times on the original parent instruction - if any changes are to be made, a new form should be filled out.

Calpol and Piriton are only administered in an emergency if a parent has given consent on their child’s registration form. If either Calpol or Piriton has had to be administered the parent is obliged to pick up their child from their nursery.

If a child is on long-term medication such as inhalers, a signed and completed permanent medication form will be required from the parents detailing the dosage and times it is to be administered, along with any special instructions. This will be kept in your child’s personal file.

Sickness & Medication
Our Story Icon 2016

1.

Register your interest

Begin your child’s story with us by phoning the nursery or filling out the registration form . We’ll get right back to you as soon as you’ve taken this first step.

Our Story Icon 2016

2.

Visit the nursery

Come along, say hello and experience our special blend of individualised learning and purposeful play. We’re looking forward to meeting you and answering any questions you might have.

Our Story Icon 2016

3.

Complete our registration process

You’ll need to complete some registration forms which detail all the key information about your child and the days and sessions that suit you.

Our Story Icon 2016

4.

Start the next chapter

There is no selection process with us and we offer places on a first-come, first-served basis. We’ll then let you know when their place is confirmed and the next chapter in their story begins.

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SM heart icon

Settling in

We make sure that children are safe, happy and inspired in our nursery. This focus extends to you too. From the very start of your story with us you’ll be part of the SM family, and just before your child begins their early years learning, we’ll invite them to some settling in sessions.

As they progress through our nursery, your child will have their very own key person and key team throughout every chapter of their story with us. They will meet your child’s individual needs and work with you to ensure your child adapts well to new stages of nursery, whether that’s settling in when they first start or preparing them to leave for school.

We know your child is ready to take that promising first step and begin their story with us when our nursery, team members and your child’s key person become familiar to them, and they start to engage with other children in activities.

Begin their story
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What to expect on your child’s first day

We’re very experienced in being there for them when it’s time to say goodbye. A swift and reassuring goodbye is recommended and most children settle into the day quickly after, but we’ll always let you know if that isn’t the case.

If English isn’t your child’s first language, it’s a really good idea to leave us a list of words to use when talking to your child. This helps them settle in quickly and feel understood. And of course, you can call us anytime to see how your child is doing.

Your nursery will also give you a list of things to bring on your first day, but if you have any questions about anything, please do get in touch with us.

Begin their story
Dedicated educators image
Dedicated educators image
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Keeping you updated

We believe that parents who get involved in their child’s early years education truly enhance it, so we work closely with you to develop a meaningful and communicative partnership. This involves letting you know the key parts of your child’s day with us, from activities and daily routines to the food they have eaten.

We will update you on their progress during daily chats, and through our learning journals and discuss their development in more detail with you at parents’ evenings.

Begin their story
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