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It’s increasingly necessary to plan for nursery even before ‘Elephant Breath’ has been chosen for the walls of the baby’s room, although there’s plenty of choice across the Kent with a mixture of chain, individual, workplace and private school nurseries. Wrap-around care is found mostly at nurseries attached to private preps. It is always advisable for young families to explore their options - we offer advice and guidance in our article Choosing a nursery.

Nurseries in Ashford

There are many nurseries in Ashford serving the growing population and new housing developments, but Ashford School really does provide the two best options. The Stables at Ashford School Prep is very popular with a purpose-built light, airy and inspiring nursery cleverly designed to be in keeping with the historic building it adjoins. The Bridge in the centre of Ashford at Ashford Senior School focuses on age-appropriate provision in a caring and mindful environment. Both have waiting lists and it’s not uncommon for prospective parents to get their viewing in before the baby arrives.

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Nurseries in Canterbury

Woodland nursery at St Edmund’s School, Kent College’s Garden Cottage and Junior King’s all have excellent provision and are popular. With small ratios, homely well-equipped settings and flexible hours they provide the ‘ultimate in childcare’. Waiting lists into double digits so best to get in early. Choochoos Day Nursery and The Acorn’s Day Nursery (adjoined to St Stephen’s Junior School) are outstanding. Woodpeckers in Bridge is very popular as is Bossingham pre-school in rural Canterbury.

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Nurseries in Maidstone

Bright Horizons has a strong foothold in Maidstone with two sites – the Loose location more popular due to smaller size and its on-site farm. Pennies Day Nursery also has two sites with Hocker’s Lane enjoying beautiful surrounding on the edge of the North Downs. At Sutton Valence Prep, Little Lambs ( 2 – 5 years old) is a treat, according to parents. There’s a forest school, good sense of community and expert care all year round. A new build for Little Lambs is hotly anticipated to make the most of its beautiful grounds.

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Nurseries in Rochester

Little Explorers, Phoenix Education Day Nursery and Busy Bees all popular and reliable, parents told us. King’s School Rochester’s Nursery, behind the walled grounds of the main school, is an educational nursery for term-time only. Wrap-around care available in the neighbouring Rookwood House. Gad’s Hill Kindergarten for 3 + offers specialist teaching in music and Spanish and use of the forest school.

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Nurseries in Sevenoaks 

Squiggles (Busy Bees) is quite central as is Bright Horizons. Broughton Cottage in Dunton Green is hugely popular with its Montessori ethos but has waiting lists to match. Riverhead in Otford is also popular. Attached to prep schools are: Sevenoaks Preparatory School’s and St Michael's Preparatory School's small nursery schools with an emphasis on the beginning of an educational journey. A big plus is having use of the preps’ excellent outdoor resources, especially forest schools. Best to get name down at least 12 months in advance. 

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Nurseries in Tunbridge Wells & Tonbridge

Both central and close to the station are the ‘stimulating’ Green Cave Day Nursery, and ‘family feel’ Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery, parents say. Set in 75 acres outside Tunbridge Wells is Kent College, Pembury’s Forest Explorers Nursery very much part of the prep community and with fabulous facilities.

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Nurseries in The Weald

Because of work or travel commitments many parents choose nurseries in Ashford or Maidstone, however there are three great local options: Marlborough House School Nursery, Home Farm Nursery and Junior’s Day Nursery although waiting lists are long (doesn’t hurt to visit while expecting and put name down at birth to guarantee a place), due to the small sizes.

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Nurseries on east Kent coast

Considering the size of this area, it’s not surprising that there are many nurseries in the coastal towns offering good provision. However, Dover College nursery and forest school have a ‘special’ feel. Squirrels at Northbourne Park starts them early with French and parents are advised to secure a place as soon as possible. In Broadstairs, Townsend MontessoriBarbies and Manor House Kindergarden are well-established, experienced and excellent individual providers.

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