Supporting your 'cubs' on the road to success
Bearhugs is owned by Sonia Elton who founded the company in 2011, after taking over the small council run creche that her sons, Eddie and Henry attended at the time. This facility was to be closed by the council and Sonia felt that is was such a loss that she invested in it, and kept it open, the nursery was based at the former Horncastle College.
At the time as a working mum, she felt that it was important that when she went off to work she knew her boys would be having a great time enjoying new experiences, learning and socialising in a small homely environment. Sonia was put off by bigger nurseries and sort a smaller place where her sons would be safe and cared for and get plenty of attention, she felt it was important to know each member of staff and that they would know her boys. She wanted to collect them at the end of each day and find out what they had been doing. She wanted to be able to talk to the staff about any worries or concerns she had and have their understanding, feeling that communication was more efficient in a smaller setting.
Bearhugs went from strength to strength, and soon a second setting was opened in Tattershall. Then is 2016 when the council was threatening to sell the college site Sonia invested in the current building, Phoenix Lodge, South Street, Horncastle.
Both nursery buildings were extensively refurbished to comply with commercial standards and designed by Sonia to remain and feel like family homes. Each age group has their own areas and including living spaces with soft furnishings for stories sleeps and cuddles and messy spaces where all sorts of wonderful creations and activities unfold. The buildings were both chosen because of their wonderful outdoor spaces. Plenty of space for exploration, more messy play and letting off steam. As the children get older and move to the next rooms the number increase slightly so that they are becoming used to the next stages they will reach in life, gradually getting ready for school.
Both nurseries are run by senior managers who are supported by a team of qualified staff, apprentices are trained in the settings and often stay on and work their way to higher positions within the nurseries. Sonia has always been keen to employ staff from different background and age ranges, and especially those who are parents themselves. Staff training is high on the agenda and many staff study for degree in early years education whilst working in the setting. Others are trained in many areas including, speech and language, special educational needs, and learning through play. Any staff who have an interest in specialist areas are financially supported and encouraged to train further.
As the company has grown Bearhugs has continued to maintain its home from home environment, nurturing children in a kind, caring place, Sonia’s ethos has remained the same and will continue to do so.