Making friends Down Under

Our Clever Thinkers have struck up a long distance friendship with a school in Brisbane and were thrilled to recently receive their first letter.

The little ones, our pre-school children ages three and four, made the link with the school as one of our staff has a goddaughter who is a Kindy teacher over there.

We thought it would be great fun for the children to become pen pals and were so excited when the first letter back arrived in the post.

Our Brisbane friends sent us some pictures showing their favourite activities, their lovely classroom and what they love to do in their nursery.

Clever Clogs Bowburn Assistant Manager Jane White said: “In the letter we received there were also some very important news,

“Stick Man had arrived in Australia!

“We think he has got onto an aeroplane to go and see our new friends and they have seen him playing in their playground.

“We’re so happy to have heard from him and we hope he plans on making a return very soon. He’s been all over the place but Australia is definitely the furthest so far.

“We have sent our friends another letter in response to theirs, with the children telling us what they would like to include on it. One child said “I went to see fireworks the other day, did they see any” and another child said

“I think Stick Man has got an aeroplane or helicopter to go on holiday with our friends”.
“We can’t wait to hear back from our new friends Down Under in their next reply.”

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas from staff and children at Belmont

Christmas is just around the corner and our children and staff at Clever Clogs Belmont are well and truly in the festive spirit.

Since the start of December – the official Countdown to Christmas – we’ve been holding lots of fun activities for our little ones and the fun doesn’t stop until we do on December 22.
Here’s some of the festive fun you can expect between now and then:
• Stay and Play – our parents will be joining their children for a fun session of Christmas activities including a party tea, Christmas songs and a visit from Santa and his Elves
• Treasure Island – the annual pantomime is taking place at Belmont with children from both nurseries enjoying it.
• Nativity play
• Christmas Jumper Day and Christmas lunch
• Christmas crafts – we’ll be doing lots of festive craft activities over the coming weeks
• Christmas decoration exploration for our Little Hedgehogs – our babies have been exploring some of the different decorations and baubles, feeling the different materials and textures as part of their sensory development
• Christmas tree decoration – we let our Little Owls decorate the Christmas tree with Christmas songs playing along which we all had a dance to

Clever Clogs Belmont Assistant Manager Dawn Sweeney said: “Christmas is our favourite time of the year and the staff are really looking forward to making this year extra special for our little ones.

“The festive fun officially started on December 1st and every day between now and then we’ll be doing fun activities with the children.

“There’ll be lots of fun to be had right up until our last day on December 22 when the staff will be hanging up their Santa suits for a well-earned break before returning on January 2.”

A perfect 10

Clever Clogs Day Nursery in Belmont has received a perfect 10 out of 10 from parents, with their reviews once again resulting in the setting being named as one of the top 20 nurseries in the North-East of England.

This is the second consecutive year the nursery has achieved this award from Day Nurseries, which is based purely on ratings and comments posted by parents over a 12-month qualifying period. All the reviews submitted in this period were maximum ones, giving Clever Clogs Belmont an overall review score of 10 out of 10.

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Top 20

The Clever Clogs nursery group is the only one in the North East to be named among the top 20 recommended providers in the UK.

We have been included in the top 20 small nursery groups for 2023 by the UK’s leading nursery review website,

This is based on ratings and comments posted by parents at our three settings – Clever Clogs Belmont, Clever Clogs Bowburn and Little Ladybirds Day Nursery in Stockton – over a 12-month qualifying period.

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Outstanding by Ofsted

Clever Clogs Bowburn has been rated outstanding by Ofsted for the second consecutive time, with the inspector highlighting our “caring and nurturing environment” and “excellent staff role models”, among the many positive comments.

The nursery has ben described as outstanding in all the areas looked at during the inspection, namely overall effectiveness, the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management.

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One ambition in life

Clever Clogs Bowburn Assistant Manager Jane White only had one ambition in life when it came to her career and that was to work in childcare.

She even went further than most and did a Degree in Childhood Studies to give her an even greater understanding of early years learning and development.

Jane has worked in childcare for 16 years, most of these in settings in North Yorkshire where she has lived most of her life.

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Keep it in the family

Grace Whittle’s mum worked in childcare and her dad coaching youth football teams, so she says she was always destined to ‘keep it in the family’ and follow the same career herself.

Aged 24 and with a Level 3 qualification in childcare, Grace joined Clever Clogs Belmont in February 2023 and is working in Little Badgers, our room for children aged 2-3.

“This is my favourite age group to work with because at this stage you start to have real conversations with the children and they can tell you how they feel and what they would like to do,” she says.

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No hesitation

Beth Knott did her student placement at Clever Clogs and enjoyed it so much that when the chance of joining permanently on an Apprenticeship came up, there was no hesitation in saying yes!

Beth, 16, says she has wanted to work with children as long as she remembers.

“I loved playing teachers when I was young and I have a younger brother with autism, so there was nothing else I wanted to do,” she says.

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The perfect referral

For many parents who had babies during one of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, choosing a nursery for their children was a daunting experience, but in Nicole Johnston’s case she already had the perfect referral.

That’s because Nicole’s daughter Lily attended Clever Clogs Bowburn so when she had her second child Lachlan during the pandemic, she had no hesitation in registering him at the nursery.

Nicole explains: “I needed childcare for Lachlan when I had to go back to work and despite having several closer day nurseries I opted for Clever Clogs as my daughter went here a couple of years prior, so I knew how good it was.

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Contact us

To request a brochure, or for any further information, call, email or fill in the message form and we’ll get back to you.

Belmont Nursery

Tel: 0191 384 3610

Address: New Ferens Park, Durham, DH1 1GG

Nursery Manager: Sharon Lewis

Bowburn Nursery

Tel: 0191 377 9192

Address: Durham Road, Durham, DH6 5AT

Nursery Manager: Sharon Lewis