I never meant to start a nursery! Apple Trees happened by accident, an amazing accident and one that has grown so much.
Let Me Introduce Myself
For those of you that don’t know me my name is Samantha, Sam for short, I am mummy to Harry 11 and Albie 6 and the owner of Apple Trees Child Care. When I had Harry I was a photographer and trying to build a photography business but I had one problem…..childcare! I looked around and nothing seemed to be the right fit. There didn’t seem to be a local, homely, childcare environment so I set about creating my own.
Where It All Started
My sister was working as a childcare practitioner at the time and was hating the commute every day. We had just purchased the house next door to where we were living so one day I said ‘why not move in there register as a childminder and you can look after Harry.’ It really was that simple. We just did it.
In my first week back at work two further people had enquired about childcare. In the first month six had. Keeping it as a family affair I offered my mum and my auntie a job so that Jessica could look after the children with Harry. At full ratios it didn’t stop there. In the next month we had a further four enquiries. We were not advertising, it was all word of mouth. But we could already see that I was not the only one that couldn’t find adequate childcare locally.
Why We Are Different
I thoroughly believe that the reason that Apple Trees has been so successful is down to the foundations and beliefs it was built upon. It was not created to be a money making machine. It was born out of a need to have my son receive exceptional care as close to what I would give him. The carers had to be hand picked to provide not only great learning opportunities but love. The main objective was that Harry was in a safe and secure setting, with people thatwould give him a cuddle when he needed it, would provide variety and fun and make him a happy little chap. Every child is an individual and not a number.
I decided to invest in the building, to convert rooms to make them a children’s dream and I did so thinking about what the children would enjoy, what would interest them, what would help them grow and develop and what would make them want to be there. I can’t count how many times I was told by my partner to stop spending so much money and that the house was amazing and the kids loved it. But there is always room for improvement and as we grew so did my ideas.
Not content with our back garden I decided to dig up part of the drive and add another garden space at the front of the property. It would make no more money for us at all. It did not allow us to have any more children but it gave the children we did have extra outdoor space and that would make them happier and help them thrive so it was something that had to be done. At the time I was working from my studio next door to the nursery and I can’t tell you how happy it made me in the summer months when we had our door open and I could hear the children laughing and enjoying the garden. No Mum wants to be away from their children but when you know that your child is having such a lovely time it certainly helps! From day one that was my vision for all the parents that would use Apple Trees.
As the years rolled by we added an outdoor classroom, a mud kitchen, a vegetable patch, we moved walls to make the spaces better, converted a garage and added a cabin. Our most recent addition of a sensory room has proved even further that it’s about the children. A sensory area helps children with additional needs to thrive as well as providing a varied learning environment for all children in our care.
It was a tough decision but 3 years ago I decided that I would close the photography business. Ihad a couple of reasons for my decision. One was that with trying to run 2 businesses I was working 75 hours a week and just keeping my head above water. The second was that with the photography it was always unsociable hours, working evenings, weekends and school holidays. With 2 children now, I wanted to spend more time with them so I took the decision to close the photography business and get my weekends back. That way I could put all my efforts into Apple Trees and make it even more successful.
Im So Proud Of What We Have Achieved
Since then I have not looked back. With the help of the wonderful team of staff around me we continue to build year on year. One thing I never knew before was just how rewarding and emotional this industry is. It’s not a job but a vocation. Seeing the children grow and learn and then waving them off to school is heart warming and although we are sad to see them leave we are excited about the adventure that awaits them. It’s not always been easy and boy have we made mistakes but we have learned from them and I am so proud of what we have achieved.
So there it is, that’s how Apple Trees was born. If you are considering who will look after your little one as you return to work or are looking for an excellent preschool then why not get in touch and come for a viewing. We would love to meet you and your little one and show you what we have to offer.
Until next time,