Jersey’s oldest nursery is celebrating half-a-century of caring for the island's children today, with a celebration involving bouncy castles, yoga and a 'sign and sing' session split across the nursery and People’s Park.
Based on Westmount Road in St. Helier, Westmount Day Nursery first opened its doors in 1973, making 2023 its 50th birthday year.
The celebratory event on Saturday 18 February will include tours of the nursery, a bouncy castle, character meet and greets, face painting, yoga, sing and sign sessions, goody bags, and much more fun for the whole family.
There will also be a special 50th anniversary plaque unveiled by the President of the Lions Club of Jersey, Peter Tabb, who attended the original presentation of the nursery to the Parish of St Helier when it was donated by the Lions Club in 1973.
Michelle KIberd, current manager of Westmount Day Nursery, said: "We’ve got so much going on – it’s going to be a really fun, exciting, interactive day.
"We will be offering guided tours around the nursery... an ideal opportunity for potential parents to have a look around the facilities, and there will be a marquee in People’s Park with the Giant Bubbleman, yoga, cupcakes – the works!"
On top of the bouncy castles and bubbles, the Jersey Child Care Trust will be running 'sing and sign' sessions.
"This is simple rhymes and songs in Makaton signing for children," explained Michelle. "It can encourage speech and enhance early vocabulary and it really helps them to build self-esteem."
Born and raised in Liverpool, Michelle – who is married with a 22-year-old son – first moved to Jersey in the summer of 1999 and has remained in the island ever since. She began working at Westmount Day Nursery in early 2020, with two decades of previous experience working in child care.
Pictured: Dennis Ryan, then-Constable of St Helier, opening Westmount Day Nursery in 1973.
She said: "I’ve always been really passionate about working with children, It is just really rewarding. When a child first comes to nursery, they’ll only be two or three, and they’ll sometimes be upset and you have to help them to settle.
"But, by time they’re ready to leave, they have been on this amazing journey with you and they’re totally different: confident, filled with self-esteem, chatting away."
She added: "At the end of the day, the thing we have to remember is that every child is different. When children first come to Westmount, they are used to being with their parents and, for some, it’s going to take a few weeks for them to properly settle in, if not longer.
"Obviously there are other children who settle in straight away. It is our mission to work with each individual parent in order to meet the needs of each individual child."
Westmount Day Nursery's 50th Anniversary Open Day takes place today (Saturday 18 February) from 10:00. There will be a free-to-enter marquee at People’s Park and guided tours of the nursery throughout the day.
Pictured top: Michelle Kiberd, the Manager at Westmount Day Nursery.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.