Welcome from Mrs J Ayrton, Head Teacher
Children are full of wonder. They love magic, mystery and play. As the mother of a two year old myself, I know that the quality of care a child receives in his or her earliest years is key to helping them grow. And I know the most important thing for a parent is to see your child happy and secure.
Our aim at Ark Alpha is to create an inclusive, loving, caring environment, a home from home in which children are educated through fun and play. Our nursery is nurturing, magical and personal, with home-cooked meals made fresh each day by our team.
Our friendly, highly-trained staff focus on teaching through play, capturing and extending magical learning moments. Our children are supported in their own research projects through free-flow play activities with a large amount of time spent outdoors in the bug hotel or courtyard garden.
We try to use our imagination and get children to use theirs. Whether we’re learning through storytelling, creating a magic den or outside counting leaves, we want our children to say ‘wow!’
Our children become confident explorers, with a strong sense of self-worth. We benefit from being able to use school facilities, which means we can offer a wide variety of dance and PE lessons. This also helps children to prepare for reception – they leave us ready and excited, and aren’t daunted by the size and noise of big school.
We’re so lucky with the great space we have, and the community we serve. We hope you’ll arrange a visit to come and see for yourself.
A child-centred approach
Our aim is to provide a home from home for children from aged 0-5. We want our children to experience magical learning moments in our book dens and natural garden.
Our approach centres around child-initiated play and storytelling. Our children are explorers with a strong sense of self-esteem, confident to take their place in reception.
Our approach is nurturing and inclusive, so children feel comfortable, safe secure. We like to see children leave us as confident, happy children who are good at making friends.
We follow the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS), which is set by the Department for Education.
A teacher-led practice
Ark Alpha is a teacher-led nursery. All children are given a keyworker when they join the nursery, and all our staff are highly trained and qualified practitioners.
Our staff team is one of the friendliest families. Many of our staff have trained at the nursery, know the community well and have watched families grow. Some of our teachers have been with us for 10 years or more, and this low turnover rate brings continuity and security to the children in our care.
Our links to Ark Ayrton Primary mean we have high quality learning and development opportunities for children, such as dance and PE classes, as well as access to better facilities.
Our children develop strong links and bonds with people looking after them, and this attachment helps them thrive.
Our preschool rooms are both led by qualified teachers. As well as providing nurturing child centred learning, they work to make sure every child is ready to transition to school smoothly and happily. In preschool, children wear a uniform and have more structured activities with a curriculum that leads them into reception.
Find out more about our rooms here.
Turtles (0 - 20 months) led by Amanda Phillimore
Starfish (21 months - 2 years 8 months) led by Kimberley Todd
Jellyfish (2 years 9 months - 3 years 7 months) led by Gemma Paddon
Sharks (preschool: year before school) led by Lucy Kettley
Room leaders are supported by:
- Anne H Chapman – Headteacher of Ark Ayrton Primary Academy and Ark Alpha Nursery
- Julie Ayrton – Manager of Ark Ayrton Nursery
- Chris Kone – Deputy Manager & Designated Safeguarding Officer
- Jessica Harrison – Early Years Professional & SENCO
Our nursery is an oasis in a big city, with a large natural garden where children can play and explore. Each learning room opens out to a wild courtyard, so children can free flow from inside to outside as much as they wish.
We want to make a difference to the lives of children in our care. Our goal is to make sure children feel loved and secure through every phase of their early years with us. Our staff support parents to continue their child’s learning journey at home, and to build links between home and nursery so children are happy and secure. We provide a nurturing routine, healthy home cooked food for lunch and dinner, nappies and sunscreen for all our children.
We also work to prepare children for school, ensuring they have the physical skills and social skills needed to take part in their reception class activities and aren’t daunted by the big school environment. We work in partnership with other agencies, for example speech and language therapists and occupational health as well as working closely with the teachers in the school itself.
What hours does the nursery operate?
We’re open from 7.30am – 6pm on weekdays, 49 weeks of the year
What age do you accept children from?
We offer flexible, individually focused care for children and families aged 0-5.
Where can you find us?
Our nursery is a hidden gem between two train station: Fratton and Portsmouth, and Southsea. We're opposite the Southsea Fire Station.
What makes us special?
Our nursery is school-based which means we have access to incredible facilities and expertise on hand. Children benefit from dance & PE lessons.
Does the nursery have outdoors facilities?
Yes. Our courtyard gardens mean children can explore outside, an oasis in the heart of the city.
What are the school meals like?
We provide nutritious, home-cooked meals twice a day.
Do you offer support for families?
We offer family support for all issues to do with children and early years.
A day at the nursery
Whether it’s free flow continuous play with their key person, investigating the bug hotel, playing in the courtyard garden or doing yoga, our children’s natural curiosity is lit each day by a range of activities.
Hungry minds need healthy snacks, and we cook meals and from scratch in the nursery kitchen. After a nutritious lunch, older children are ready for dance/yoga or PE, sound based activities, stories and singing throughout the day. We have an open door policy for all parents, who are part of the Ayrton family.