Why Choose First Steps?

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Four Reasons to Choose First Steps!

1. A caring, inclusive ethos shared by the four First Steps nurseries

At First Steps Children's Nursery our aim is to help your child grow, create and develop in a safe, friendly and caring environment.

Whichever of our four nurseries you are part of, our dedicated and experienced staff encourage your little one to be inquisitive, to problem solve and to develop their imagination – but most importantly to laugh and have fun!

Our children learn to be tolerant, to succeed, to challenge themselves and to sometimes fail - all good skills to promote lifelong learning.


"Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand'' - Ancient Chinese proverb

'Involving the children' is the ethos that underpins all of the learning at our nurseries in Harborne, Selly Oak and Northfield in Birmingham and Compton in Wolverhampton.

Whether they are exploring a treasure basket, making a dragon costume for Chinese New Year or laying the table for lunch, our children are engaged and learning.

Ofsted inspectors described us as having a "wonderful ethos" and praised the "exceptional learning environment" we create for our children.

Each of our four nurseries has a full time manager and deputy, who lead dedicated, knowledgeable and inspirational staff. Together their experience and desire to provide the best for the children in their care creates our unique atmosphere – happy, lively, creative and caring.

Click on your nursery to find out more:

First Steps Children's Nursery (Rathvilly School)

First Steps Children's Nursery (St Edward's)

First Steps Children's Nursery (Stonehouse Farm)

First Steps Children's Nursery (Ashton Court)


2. Brilliant support and outcomes for our children through the Early Years Foundation Stage

We are committed to the principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This is the national guidance for working with children from birth to five. We follow the EYFS to plan, observe, record, and capture the evidence to share with parents in their child's learning journey. You can view the full guidance yourself at Foundation Years website

The EYFS is divided into three prime areas of learning: Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication and Language; and Physical Development. It also features four specific subject areas: Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; and Expressive Arts and Design.

Our aim is to be a facilitator in your child's learning – we provide the play experiences and the children take them as far as they are able. We encourage you to read our Mission Statement to learn more about our underlying ethos. You'll find it under Policies & Safeguarding.

3. Forest School & the Great Outdoors

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Our mission is to encourage children to spend as much time outdoors as possible - never more important than in our current risk averse society, where older children in particular spend much of their day indoors or in coordinated, adult led activities.

The Forest School experience is at the heart of all First Steps nurseries. We take our pre-schoolers off site at least weekly for independent, child led sessions where they are free to explore, dig, climb and create in a wild wood environment. They are supported to build fires and build dens, all under appropriate supervision for their age and ability. The essence of Forest School is freedom.

We bring the experience to life for our younger children within the nursery setting, using the same teaching styles to encourage independence and exploration.

At every one of our nurseries, we have invested in a brilliant outdoor space, full of adventure and opportunities for discovery. Every one of our settings has growing areas where children learn about the food cycle; a mud kitchen for messy creative play, water and sand areas, bike riding zone, places to climb, crawl, dig and dance. Whatever the weather, our children are encouraged to spend time outdoors.

4. We are Family!

Every child, and their family, who enter a First Steps Children's Nursery becomes part of our loyal, loving family. Our staff are valued and happy, and so the atmosphere at our nurseries is happy and vibrant.

First Steps Children's Nursery group is owned and run by Debbi and Andy Gould, both qualified primary teachers. They opened their first nursery at Stonehouse Farm, in Harborne, Birmingham, in 1992, determined to help under fives become confident and independent explorers and learners.

FIRST_STEPS_77.jpgThe Goulds later expanded the First Steps brand to two more premises, in Northfield, Birmingham, and Compton, Wolverhampton. All three are now Ofsted rated "Outstanding".

In 2013 the couple acquired a former Victorian school in Raddlebarn Road, Selly Oak, and carried out extensive work there before opening it as their fourth nursery, St Edward's, in February 2014.

They also run their own apprenticeship scheme for child carers and offer extensive training opportunities for their own staff and those from other nurseries and childcare providers.

Debbi also has Early Years Professional Status, has a BPhil in Special Educational Needs and is a qualified and practising Forest School Leader. She also shares her knowledge with other nursery owners and managers across the West Midlands.

Andy no longer teaches but plays an important role behind the scenes, overseeing finances and project managing new developments. He is also a regular presence at the nurseries, supporting staff and giving a helping hand when necessary!

They are together supported by First Steps Operations Director Kate Reed, who is responsible for overseeing the day to day running of the First Steps Children's Nursery group and leads on a wide range of business and staff development initiatives. Kate is our longest serving staff member and has been part of First Steps from her time as a teenage nursery nurse, working her way up to her current leadership role.

Together the leadership team create a buzzy, friendly atmosphere where staff excel. Many of those in leadership roles have grown into them, developing their skills and qualifications within the First Steps family. We have a high rate of retention - our average length of service is between 8-10 years, while some of our staff have been with us since our first setting opened.

This happy atmosphere permeates every nursery, and helps every child and their family settle in and thrive. Come and see for yourself! Our doors are always open.