Nursery celebrates 25 years of outstanding child care

Stepping Stones Nursery loves a party, like this gathering to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks16000745-7
Stepping Stones Nursery loves a party, like this gathering to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks16000745-7

A nursery that was opened to help teachers, but soon started serving the wider community, has celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Stepping Stones Nursery, on The Regis School campus in Bognor Regis, invited children and staff, past and present, to a big party to celebrate on Thursday.

Guests included Bognor mayor Phil Woodall, Bersted Parish Council chairman Brian Knight, original staff and those who had been children at the nursery when it first opened in 1992.

Two friendship benches, one for each garden, were donated to the nursery by Arena Sports Centre, with an anniversary message carved by Paul Bignell, and each child was given a piggy bank with a penny inside to start them off.

Ken Pritchard, former chairman of the management group, said the nursery started with 27 children in a refurbished mobile classroom. Now, there are more than 200 children on the books.

He explained: “It was actually part of a project whereby the nursery was set up at a school campus so that teachers would carry on teaching.

“It went immediately way, way beyond that. It now helps to look after and serve Bognor Regis and the wider area and it does a brilliant job.

“What has always struck me is the quality of the work that is going on with the children.”

He said the nursery had been graded outstanding by Ofsted at every inspection.

“That is not easy to maintain over that period of time,” he added.

“I have personally seen that this talented staff loves the children so much and the love being with the children. The children do enjoy themselves so much and I do thank that is very important.

“As it has grown, you would expect it to become more formal and organised. That has not happened. The very loving, close family feel of the nursery has remained constant.”

John Morrison, new chairman of the management group, presented a book filled with memories to manager Lorraine Mellers and a second for the nursery.

Lorraine, who has been the manager since the nursery started, said: “There have been many changes over the years, except me. I remain passionate about the job and committed to all the children.”

The children were entertained by magician Silly Scott, music was provided by The Salvation Army Band and catering provider Zebedee handed out refreshments.