Quality, Committed Childcare

Our Approach

At Stepping Stones, we aim to give your loved ones the best possible start in life, whilst caring for them in a home from home environment.

Stepping Stones' Story

Stepping Stones was opened in December 2000 by Gary Holmes and his wife Claire, after a successful 6 years the nursery had an extension and increased from 63 places to 73.

In 2010 Stepping Stones bought the Arboretum Nursery School and nearly doubled the nurseries capacity from 73 places to 144. This saw the Pre-School section of the nursery move across the car park to the newly bought building.

In 2017 Stepping Stones extended on site again increasing capacity from 144 places to 217. Adding two purpose built Pre-School rooms, an additional room for toddlers, a meeting room and three new offices.

Food and Nutrition

Nutritionally, traceable, balanced meals are freshly prepared daily on the premises using locally sourced ingredients by our full time qualified Chef and kitchen assistant, who have both been working at Stepping Stones for over ten years.

The menus are displayed each week in every room and outside our purpose-built kitchen. The menus rotate over a four-week period to give variety and are changed termly.

All ingredients used to prepare daily meals contain low sugar and salt. We cater for special diets e.g. (culture, religion, vegetarians and allergies.)

Meals are also adapted for babies and young children. Mealtimes are supervised, the children eat together with the staff in their age based rooms. As with every aspect of your Child’s care this provides an opportunity for social interaction between children and staff allowing stimulating questions to be asked, we believe meal times are an ideal time for teaching and learning.



Breakfast – between 8.00am – 9.15am
Lunch – 11.30am
Tea – 3.30pm
Water and milk are provided throughout the day and available for older children to access themselves at all times.

Mealtimes are also a time to:

Promote healthy eating.

Raise awareness of cultural foods, promoting understanding and diversity.

Improve children’s eating experiences and their social skills.

Encourage children to sample new foods with a variety of tastes and textures.

Talk about meals and food everyone has at home.


Food hygiene ratingAssured food standardsCertified sustainable seafood


We realise that the safety of your child is of the utmost importance whilst they are in our care.
Here are a few key safety features of Stepping Stones:

• All staff are qualified Nursery Nurses (or working towards)
• All staff are Enhanced DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) checked.
• All staff qualified in First Aid/Food Hygiene/Safeguarding
• Fingerprint biometric door entry system.
• We require passwords and descriptions if someone is to collect a child that has not had their fingerprint taken.
• Office situated next to the front door, allowing the management team to monitor who is arriving/leaving.
• OFSTED approved Policies and Procedures in place.
• Risk Assessments carried out for all duties, trips and activities.
• Fire Safety.
• No mobile phones are allowed to be used on the premises by anyone.
• No photographs to be taken on site.
• Medicine and Accident records maintained.

• Cleaning rotas and Hazard checklists are carried out daily or when used.
• PAT testing (Portable appliance Testing).
• Building all on one level for easy access.
• Secure outdoor play areas with high fences and special all weather shock absorbing safety surfaces.
• Off road car park for dropping off and picking up.
• Non Slip lino flooring in all creative play areas.
• Slow closing doors.
• All doors protected by Fingershield. System.
• All doors have high handles.
• Safety gates.
• Radiator guards.
• Professional, deep cushioned, no roll nappy changing mats.
• Maintenance and decoration when required, is carried out on the premises to keep standards high.

Biometric Security

Stepping Stones were one of the first nurseries in the city to install a biometric entry system. This system works by recording 38 individual points on a set finger and when visiting or leaving the nursery it checks at random for 6 points on your finger in its database, (this happens in less then a second) when matched the door is released and the time in or out is logged on our server.

This system allows excellent security and the possibility of multiple members of the family to collect your child without the need for security cards, key fobs or any other item that could be lost, found or lent to someone. There is also the added bonus that you will never forget to bring your finger with you, and hopefully never lose it!

Access times into the nursery at peak times are also very smooth as someone does not have to manually buzz parents and carers into the nursery.


All our rooms currently have two tablets and a computer each, in the modern world we live in we have found that these enhance the way the children at the nursery develop, they are used at structured times throughout the day.

At Stepping Stones we believe in all types of education. Whereas real play develops all sorts of social skills within children, a touch-screen computer/tablet allows a child to interact and learn on a whole new level, we even have some applications that allow the children to learn in small groups with the children taking great joy in showing each other (and the Staff) what they have discovered.

We also use tablets as part of monitoring your child’s progress at Stepping Stones, with the help of a company called Connect Childcare our registers are fully digitalised, your child’s learning journey is fully available online and you can even login and see what they have had for dinner!

Tablets and Computers can be used to support many aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage:

Curiosity and problem-solving skills

Planning and organisation skills

Creativity and innovation

Skills in using tools, equipment, software and materials

Critical thinking through exploration and discovery

Searching and retrieving information

Making connections between specialist skills