“Watching the children grow since starting here has been amazing”

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A pay-by-the-hour nursery in Altrincham has seen demand for its flexible childcare increase during lockdown.

Keep Fit Kids, an Ofsted-registered day nursery which was launched by experienced childcare practitioner Hayley Murphy in 2017, is located inside Total Fitness on Denmark Street.

Unusually for a nursery, it also offers a range of extra-curricular activities for children, including science, forest school, yoga, PE, tennis, language and cookery classes – and swimming lessons at the pool just yards away.

We popped in to find out more from Early Years teacher Abigail Heywood.

ALTRINCHAM TODAY: Flexibility has always been a big feature of Keep Fit Kids and that must have become even more important during the pandemic?

ABIGAIL HEYWOOD: It’s almost been even more important than when Hayley first started the nursery. It seems now that we’re in step with modern times with many people having had a change in finances and working patterns as a result of the pandemic. Our flexibility is now even more convenient for parents and families.

Keep Fit Kids Early Years teacher Abigail Heywood

AT: What does flexibility actually entail at Keep Fit Kids?

AH: At most other nurseries you will have a morning session or an afternoon session, but here it’s pay by the hour, so you just choose exactly what times you need. We’re open from 7.30am to 6pm, so you can either choose to have all of that time or you can pick and choose any period of time within that and you just literally pay for however long your child is in. 

AT: What impact has the pandemic had on the Early Years children, so far as you have noticed?

AH: The biggest impact has been on the social side – the children not being able to be around children their own age has definitely led to a lack of confidence with many. It’s quite sad really. But our drive and ambition since they’ve come back is just to build them up and help them discover who they are, and watching the children grow since starting here has been amazing.

AT: Do you have a plan in place to help kids recover and thrive after such a difficult 18 months?

AH: My focus in pre-school is to get them ready for their next big step, which is obviously school, so we focus on developing their social skills, building their confidence, interacting with other children and just making sure they’re happy in their new setting. What we do as well is make sure they’re happy, so any activities come from them. Even the dance to wake them up in the morning, it’s always from them and what they want to do. We work for them and we’re happy to do so.

AT: What advice would you give to parents weighing up childcare options for their child?

AH: I get asked all the time whether it’s worth coming to nursery or not. I’ve worked in schools as well and you really do notice the difference between children that have gone to nursery and children that haven’t. Obviously it’s brilliant for kids that get to spend lots of time at home with their families, but I just think a nursery gives them that opportunity to meet new children their own age and branch out in a new environment. They get a wide range of experiences and it’s things they wouldn’t necessarily do at home.  

Keep Fit Kids Day Care & Creche Ltd, Total Fitness, Denmark Street, Altrincham, WA14 2DE. For more information, call Hayley Murphy on 07928 500 094 or hayley@keepfitkids.co.uk, or Abigail on abigail@keepfitkids.co.uk.

Photos: Karen Herman-Wright

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