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New pre-school to open in Burghfield St Mary's Church

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A new pre-school, opening as part of The Oaks Childcare CIC, is opening in Burghfield St Mary’s Church.

Mini Oaks Pre-school, previously known as Little Footprints under previous management, will be opening in September to provide term-time daytime childcare for children aged two to four.

The pre-school will be part of The Oaks Childcare Company, an established childcare operation which operates breakfast and after-school clubs in Burghfield and Mortimer.

The pre-school will be located on church grounds where the previous pre-school was. New equipment for children will be moved on-site ready for the September opening.

The new facility will open as a ‘Forest School’, meaning it will be centering on nature, the environment and the outdoors in its child-led play.

Children will be able to partake in forest school sessions, grow fruit and vegetables at a local allotment, and get involved with other outdoor activities.

The preschool will be equipped with high-quality toys and equipment for the young children.

The decision to change management was very “last minute” and the planning and organisation of the club is being arranged in collaboration with Burghfield St Mary’s Church and Reverend Glyn Lautenbach.

Bella Mehta, one of the company’s directors, explained that as a community interest group, the organisation was determined to take over management to save jobs and to keep the facility going for local families.

“It was a really last minute decision, we were very preoccupied with coping with the struggles of the pandemic and opening a new after-school club in Silchester,” said Ms Mehta.

“However, as a community interest group we feel as though keeping a pre-school facility available for the residents of the area would be best.

"The previous pre-school was facing troubles during the pandemic and this would have put people out of jobs and left families without childcare support.”

The team at the new pre-school will be headed by Lily Farmery, who was previously playleader at the childcare firm’s Burghfield St Mary’s School after-school club.

Every child who attended the previous pre-school will be offered a place at Mini Oaks Pre-school and the club is opening up vacancies for new children to attend.

The company is keen to see new faces in the pre-school. Its main aim is to provide a high-quality play-led experience for young children in a light, airy, safe space.

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