Bearhugs Nurseries Ltd

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Supporting your 'cubs' on the road to success

A little about us...

Bearhugs is owned and managed by Sonia Elton and Samantha Hoyes, the company was founded in July 2011 at Horncastle College and has gone from strength to strength.


Sam has a 1st class degree in Early Childhood Studies, BA (Hons), Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) and is currently working on her Masters degree.

Sonia is a former accident and emergency nurse (Queens Medical, Nottingham) and later went on to do a BA (Hons) in design. Sonia has run her own businesses for the last 17 years.

Sam runs the childcare side of Bearhugs and Sonia the business side; however they work together closely on most aspects of the business each day.


They make a dynamic team, as they have a shared passion to provide the highest levels of education and care. With endless motivation and enthusiasm they strive to make constant improvements to the settings, employing the best possible staff, and involving parents every step of the way.


Sam and Sonia both believe in implementing innovative new ideas, they practise an open door policy, available to listen to parents, carers and staff as much as possible. They both get involved with activities and meal times within the nursery on a regular basis, and have a very ‘hands on’ approach.


PAPI is their unique Pro Active Parent Inclusion plan, the plan is used on a daily basis, for example parents are invited to be involved in the recruitment of new staff, either at interview level, or perhaps observing candidates interacting with the children.

Parents are included in the menu planning, changes nursery policies and procedures, and general ideas and events.

Newsletter are sent out so working parents are kept up to date, parents evening, open days and forums are just some of the events that take place.


Both Sam and Sonia are keen to promote a professional status amongst their staff, their recruitment process is rigorous, involving applications, interviews, running an activity and working a trial day. If all this is completed the candidates will then be triple referenced and an enhanced DBS police check carried out before a position is offered on a six month trial basis!

All of the staff at Bearhugs are qualified, 80% are parents themselves and the average age of the staff is 34 years old, we feel that this offers a good balance in age, life experience and qualifications and provides a strong dynamic workforce. All staff are encouraged to learn, update and take on new training. Many are undergraduates, and those that opt out of the university route are encouraged to specialise in other areas, for example baby massage, music, art/crafts and dance.


The ethos at Bearhugs is to provide a small homely environment, so that every child feels safe and secure in order to reach their full potential.


Red Coats Boston College Butlins Award