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- 2 – 3 Year Olds
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The Village Montessori Nursery has humble beginnings.
We were ‘conceived’ over coffee one day in the summer of 1983 by two friends, Mel and Di, who had
children, about 2.5, and who had been looking around at local playgroups, and had decided that they
could do better themselves!
We were ‘born’ in January 1984 in an end-of-terrace property in Waldridge Village near Chester-le-
Street. It had been converted into a ‘Miner’s Reading Room’ – a place for miners who worked in the
pit nearby to read newspapers, hold union meetings etc, and was also where the Parish council met.
We were called ‘Waldridge Parish Playgroup’ back then.
Our tables and chairs were those in the Rooms already, and our resources were donated items from
ourselves and friends, and the proceeds of a jumble sale – about £80 I think!
We ‘advertised’ with hand delivered notes through the Village doors and opened with only 6 children
at first – our 2 and 4 others. To begin with, we only opened 2 mornings a week, but word soon
spreads when children are happy and families feel welcome and by 1990 we were open 5 mornings,
had paid for much renovation work on the Rooms, and were really well thought of by Durham
County Council, who inspected settings in the days before Ofsted. Mel had moved to London, but Di
was ably assisted by volunteer mothers, one of whom – Carol – is still with us now, and another one –
Hilary -retired Christmas 2018!
By 1998 I had completed my degree and earned my Montessori Diploma. We had re-registered with
Ofsted and were now called ‘The Village Montessori Nursery School’, and we were open 5 mornings
and 4 afternoons.
A chance phone call as we were doing a deep clean during the October half term led Carol and I to
visit a failing nursery in Birtley that was up for sale………………and, oh my goodness, what sad little
faces greeted us, what regimental practice and poor unfeeling management!
So to cut a long story short I persuaded my late husband to remortgage our home to buy our Birtley
Nursery, and with help from my son who was at the time doing his ‘A’ level business, began a
tortuous journey into the realms of trying to run a business rather than a voluntary setting – neither
easy nor enjoyable!
But to see shining enthusiastic small faces every day as you walk in to nursery, to watch babies grow
into confident little people with minds of their own, to hear “Di, Di can you read me this” or such
priceless gems as “ know what Di – him took that off me so I told him Di says not to take things off
others ….so I took it back!” or my all-time favourite.. “I know why I haven’t got a boy baby Di, just a
girl like me – it’s cos I live in a bungalow!” That’s pure joy