A Northampton nursery has been celebrating 25 years since it first opened its doors this academic year.
Happy Days Childcare, located in Ecton Brook, thanks the families who have supported them over the quarter-century.
Jane Copeland early years manager, who has been working there since it first opened, said: “It’s been a pleasure.
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“For us, it’s not just about the children, but the families too and making special memories.
“You can’t describe the joy of seeing the children we looked after years ago as grown ups, who bring their own children to Happy Days.”
Jane wants to thank the “brilliant” team - Louise Craddock, Chloe Cole, Imogen Hawkins, Samantha Whittle and Sarah Frost, their special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) who is also celebrating 25 years of work.
“Sarah and I wouldn’t still be here if we didn’t love our jobs and workplace,” said Jane.
To mark the occasion, Happy Days has hosted a leavers assembly, sports day, family brunch, and a day trip to Woburn Safari Park - the first they have held since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Jane said: “It was lovely to see the 100 people on the trip as many families haven’t been able to go anywhere like this for a while.
“It’s hard for us because we wanted to do more to celebrate, but with more illnesses going round, it’s been a struggle.”
Jane described the sports day as the “highlight” of their celebrations, and it was finally held on the last day of term after having to be postponed because of the extremely warm weather.
“The parents got stuck into the three adult races we held, and holding events for all the family to enjoy is what we’re all about,” said Jane.
Reminiscing on her 25 years at Happy Days, Jane said: “I can vividly remember the early days and I’m proud of the community we’ve built since then.
“The pressure’s on with staff shortages in education, but we are rewarded every day by seeing the children and how they flourish and grow as people.
“It’s such a special feeling to know we have helped someone in their early years.”
Building “confidence, resilience and self-awareness” in children is important to the staff members, as they believe “lockdown has had a huge impact on young people”.
Jane said: “We’ve worked hard to overcome the stigma that early years care isn’t professional.
“It’s the forgotten service and we were there every step of the way for the families throughout the pandemic.”
Happy Days has received “tremendous support” from Ecton Brook Primary School since the nursery first opened its doors.
The reason the service was set up was because the primary school’s nursery was shut down – through no fault of their own – and there were no childcare services in the Ecton Brook area. This saw the demand for Happy Days to open, with the support of Ecton Brook Primary School – although the two are not affiliated.
Around 14 years ago, it also evolved to offer a playscheme provision during the holidays to primary school children within the county.