The originals of the following testimonials, and many more, may be viewed at The Aunties' Old School Nursery:
“Dear Sandy, Vahik, Ahlexi, Trish and all the Aunties and Uncles, ….. Thank you so much for three and a half years of care, wisdom and love for S (and [mum] at times too!!!). S's development has been something else - and we both strongly believe that the Aunties are a major part of that. We have been blown away by the work that your team does on a daily basis - we simply couldn't fault it. You have something very special going on there - box it up, keep it and treasure it. We hope that many more children experience what S has during their early years.....You should also reflect on what a brilliant team you are and be proud about what you do on a daily basis. From Sandy's surgeries through to constant reassurance to parents who are new to parenthood - you help in so many ways that have such a massive impact on family life. Over the past 18 months, you have dealt with a once in a lifetime event, and you've done that with resilience, humility, and happiness at all times. Well done and congratulations to you all. All our love, G, A and S xx” (September 2021)
"Dear Aunties, We love you!! You have been part of our lives for almost a decade now and we certainly don't intend this to be a goodbye. Thank you for everything! Quite honestly, we can't even begin to put in words how much you mean to us.We just wouldn't be the same family without you! We'll miss you so much but we'll be back for visits and very much staying in touch. Love and huge hugs, P,P,E and S xxxxx" (August 2021)
"To all our wonderful Aunties and Uncles, Thank you for all your love and nurturing over the past 10 years It has been an absolute pleasure to have worked with each and every one of you. You are truly all the most amazing team, and your love of the children is second to none. The boys have been so cared for and have grown into little people with the best imaginations and outlook to the world. Keep up all your amazing work. Thank you again for being my family. Lots of love, L, N P (September 2021)
"Dear Auntie Sandy, Many thanks for your time today discussing [child]. I really appreciated it. Lots to think about including many positive suggestions which I have already started to implement. You really made me reflect and for that I am very grateful.... Thank you" WP (February 2021)
"Good morning Ahlexi, Hope you are doing well ,,, among all the craziness! I stumbled across this ... poetry on the theme of ‘pudding’! It made me think of our first visit to the Aunties and Auntie Sandy giving [child] a squeeze and calling him a little pudding- I just thought it was so sweet and such a loving and warm term of endearment!). I thought I would share ,,, this lovely memory I have of first coming to Aunties...... Thank you for all your been doing to keep everyone well looked after, safe and sane during this time! ...it’s so clear to me that you have the well-being of the children AND the parents firmly at heart and are always going the extra mile (or extra hundred miles at that!)... VP (January 2021)
"Dear Aunties ..... thank you in person for everything you have done this past year. COVID aside, you welcomed our babies into your loving arms and engulfed them in your love, making our transition from London to Oxford so much easier. You have cuddled us all, taught our babies so much and supported us, as keyworkers, through so much I’m beyond words. Through this awful pandemic you have only ever put our children first, uncompromising with your love and dedication and I am beyond words of gratitude. Thank you for all of it. Thank you for loving my babies, for teaching my babies and for supporting us all...... With huge amounts of love, M xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (December 2020)
"Hi Ahlexi .....I trust you all absolutely to make the best decisions for the kids. All our experience of Aunties have shown me that....I can’t recall a single decision you have made over all these years that I’ve felt was off the mark and have always been greatly reassured by your wise and balanced thinking. I’m also greatly reassured by your ability to listen to parents’ opinions but not be swayed by them away from what you think is right. That is real leadership and I value it greatly. I know you consider and examine every decision in depth, not least with this COVID situation, and you have my absolute trust and support.... PR (August 2020)
"Hi Ahlexi......... the way that you, as a business, have behaved since lockdown began, at the risk of sounding old fashioned, it's a really honourable way of doing business. Thank you!! SLN" (May 2020)
"Dear Uncle Ahlexi, Auntie Trish and the entire Aunties' Family, being self employed and running my own business I know how stressful, uncertain, and downright scary life is at the moment. And yet given the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in, the absolutely unwavering love, care and commitment you give to all the children is simply unbelievable. I struggle daily with the stress of what’s next and how do we cope, and to be doing the same and yet able to sing, dance, and have a smile on your face all the time really does deserve a medal. I just wanted to do something as a personal gesture of thanks and appreciation of everything that you do. If there is ever ANYTHING I can do as a volunteer - grounds work, cutting trees, painting etc that would be of help please do just say. Obviously both at Stanton and Wheatley, and out of any hours so as to be in line with social distancing and CRB checks etc. I appreciate it’s not as simple as that but if there is anything I can do, please just say. But for now, I hope you like the picture. It captures what I think everyone feels when they are there - a place of magic, fun and love. Keep smiling, your efforts are not going unnoticed PT (April 2020)
"To all the Aunties, Tonight [our children] stayed up a little later than usual and we stood in our garden and we clapped for YOU. We clapped for YOU, Auntie Trish, Auntie Rebecca, Auntie Sophia, Auntie Jade, Auntie Bianca, Auntie Tania and all of you wonderful ladies who continue to come to work everyday to look after our babies... Who make it possible for us, as keyworkers, to continue as normally as possible and who love and care and protect our babies. We clapped for all the Aunties at home who we miss so much and who we talk about all the time (I personally miss my regular cuddles from Auntie Sue!) who have changed our lives so much and who we cannot imagine life without. We clapped for YOU Auntie Sandy and Uncle Vahik for creating and sharing the most wonderful thing in our lives; we don’t know what we do without you.
And we especially clapped for YOU Uncle Ahlexi for your unbelievable courage, enthusiasm and kindness. For getting up at ridiculous times and sending emails, so that everyone is kept up to date, for always smiling, for putting other people’s families before your own. Something that brings a tear to my eye regularly and something that I will never be able to articulate my gratitude for. Thank you. Love always, LNM (April 2020)
"Dear Vahik, Sandy & Ahlexi, Our family does not fit into the key workers slot..... However, I would like to mention our thanks to you all for your amazing dedication, detail and professionalism in keeping us parents updated the way you have, clearly your very hard work and total commitment that you have been expending and, of course, the way that you have kept the children protected in the lead up to where we are now. I appreciate the huge number of hours through each day that you must all be working to keep on top, and often ahead, the way you have done. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. If there is anything, anything at all, that we can do to help you in helping the families of the key workers, vulnerable persons and others then please do not hesitate to let us know. Anything to accelerate the readiness of the new premises, picking up or dropping off supplies, are the only two tasks I can think of presently, but may be you can think of more. We are here and very much willing to help if you need. Wishing you all much love and support. MMMM " (March 2020)
"Uncle Ahlexi, what can I say..... honestly, you are a true hero! Such a difficult decision you have been forced to make in parting from your pregnant wife and child to protect them and to be able to keep the nursery going for keyworkers..... I wish it was something you had never had to do but it only proves what a great man Vahik and Sandy have raised and what a wonderful dad and husband you are. I admire you so much!.... please know, Uncle Ahlexi, that you and Auntie Trish on the frontline are doing the most amazing job and we're so grateful" MJ (March 2020)
"Dear Aunties and Uncles, What an amazing milestone! You must be so proud of all you have built, children nurtured, and accomplishments made. Happy to be celebrating 30 years with you. Here's to many more :)" Love L,L, JC (November 2019)
"Our daughter..has attended The Aunties since February 2018. S has benefited hugely from the nurturing environment provided by the nurturing environment provided at The Aunties, and the attention to her all-round development has been second to none. There is a palpable sense of teamwork amongst the staff which creates a calm, structured, and happy environment for the children. I feel S is part of a big family and learns enormously through her social interactions with children both younger and older than her, under the attentive guidance of the staff. The Aunties' ethos is one of fariness, kindness, respect, dedication, and fun. It is from this foundation that the children develop a solid sense of self and of community as well as thoughtfulness, teamwork, patience, resilience, discernment, and countless other life skills. Auntie Sandy's Advice Clinic has been of great support when we have come across parenting challenges, and we feel that the nursery setting enhances what we're able to provide our children. Our 8-year old, who herself attended Aunties, loves coming back during school holidays. Both our girls come back home beaming - as well as counting in French, Spanish, and English, and with better table manners:) Through both the formal assessments and the detailed everyday feedback, it is clear the Aunties as a team know exactly what each child's next goal is and their progress in general, and that they have their best interests at heart. The outdoor element is key to the way the nursery is run, and the Aunties use it to the children's full advantage. The Aunties' solid grounding in child development and genuine investment in each child, supports every child as a whole person. The nursery goes above and beyond expectations, and there is nothing I would change about it PK, (Summer 2019)
"After visiting a number of daycare settings prior to returning to work when B turned one, I left each one feeling sad and overwhelmed - until I came to The Aunties. I will never forget welling up speaking to Auntie Sandy in the garden. I was so happy and relieved to have found somewhere that I not only felt would provide as much love and care as I wanted, but would also go beyond that and offer a fun and enriching environment that would benefit B in so many ways. B has been attending The Aunties for either 4 or 5 days a week ever since. In addition to the loving and supportive environment The Aunties offer, I have been amazed by the quality, variety, and teaching methods of the education B has received. He often comes home and surprises us by telling us things he has learnt - much of which we don't know ourselves! We have the most fun when B teaches us different words in different languages and we check with Alexa (technology is the authority in our house) to confirm it is a real word he learned that day..... The evident pride he takes in sharing his knowledge and achievements further demonstrates The Aunties' values...... Before meeting The Aunties we were not aware of the Forest School approach. Having experienced it first hand I can honestly say that I don't know why any daycare setting would do things any other way - from playing outside to eating and sleeping outside, the benefits have been marvelous! B has been poorly much less frequently than any other child we know his age, which we fully attribute to his life outdoors. He is also very aware of hazards ("Hazard Alert!") which he will point out and ask us to deal with so that he can play safely. Yet he is not frightened or nervous of potential hazards and is always willing to try new things. This highlights the trust he has in The Aunties, as do we. As we prepare to leave The Aunties and start a new chapter at school, I feel great sadness to be leaving the family we have all come to be part of over the years. We will all miss our warm morning greetings, fun afternoon catch ups, and feeling part of something truly very special. Not only does B consider his Aunties and Uncles to be his family (extended from an already large group of loving adults), he has so much fun with them, they are his friends. I'm getting emotional so will stop there, but I really could write a book on how wonderful you all are. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for being so very wonderful and for sharing everything you have to offer with us. We are blessed to have found you! JB (Summer 2019)
"A's development has been outstanding on so many fronts since starting at The Aunties. This is partly due to the loving and nurturing environment The Aunties have created which allows children to flourish. It is also an environment which has provided A with countless opportuntiies, from gardening to singing, dancing, and exercising; from tree-painting to child-friendly science experiements and cooking, just to name a few, which have allowed A to have a fabulous time. It can take me up to 45 minutes to leave the premises, as I try to bring her home, she just never seems to want to leave! A's individual needs are also very well met, e.g.The Aunties...helped me tackle issues where A was not....persevering with certain tasks (e.g. putting her shoes on herself (when she clearly could) or when she was not....trying new foods. The Aunties very much helped me work on these issues, which have now been fully addressed. There is a very strong sense that The Aunties know the children on an individual level... A doesn't cease to impress me with all the things she learns at The Aunties, from counting up to 30 in Spanish or speaking Romanian, to explaining that "oil and water don't like to mix", or how many muscles there are in the tongue; it just doesn't stop. She actually teaches me things at times! I also really like the declamation activity......I love that The Aunties seem to think about what would be best for the children, and think outside the box. The Aunties is not just a place to keep children safe (which, of course, they do!), but it very much operates as the perfect balance of (1) a Pre-School, (2) an Outdoors' Setting, and (3) a Family Context - that is hard to beat! I love the fact that they teach other languages...it's just wonderful. A has recently shown me one of the games they play to learn Spanish, which I now have adopted at home.... The fact that The Aunties have such a big focus on the outdoors was a real appeal......The Aunties have brought out the real forest girl in her. For example, A requests to have her meals at home in the garden.....if she wants to go to the park and I point out that it's raining, she says: "It's OK mummy; just put your jacket on, OK?" I cannot begin to describe how much fun A has at The Aunties. A has developed a love of acting and theatrical shows as they often start the day with an informal breakfast show. A also loves the impromptu activities like face-painting or having her hair braided. I often joke that if The Aunties offered a boarding option she would want to be a boarder! A is already at Aunties five full days a week, and that is because she wants to be there, not because she needs to be there. Auntie Sandy's Advice Clinic..... is an absolutely brilliant idea and I'm grateful this service is on offer. The Aunties are able to instil good values in children through a variety of means.... extremely effectively. When someone outside The Aunties asks A if she has a best friend, A responds that 'everyone is best friends'.....It is clear that The Aunties invest a lot in developing friendships/ relationships with the children. A speaks very fondly of certain Aunties and Uncles and recently asked to call Auntie Sandy when we were away on holiday! The feedback I receive is exceptional. It is very detailed. It is clear they know A in the way that I also know her.... I value the time Auntie takes to speak to me about A, whether it be about A's daily activities or raising a particular issue..." AK (Summer 2019)
"....When I first dropped our little 8-month old baby at The Aunties for the first time I was apprehensive, to say the least. I didn't need to be. The warmth and love that each and every one of the Aunties and Uncles.... gives to C (and us) every day has a special place in all of our hearts. I am proud to say that The Aunties itself has become part of our extended family. C, who is now 3 years old, announced in the car after a fun-filled and varied week off that he was excited to be back at nursery and that he "loves The Aunties". The guidance and support given on a daily basis by The Aunties has been invaluable to support C and us, as first-time parents in achieving various milestones, at every stage. From helping us to get C to sleep at night to Auntie Sandy telling us that children aren't naughty they just sometimes have bad days. The Aunties treat the children as individuals, guiding them with values and reasoning to grow and develop into little people. C knows songs in various languages, happily counts all his numbers, and likes to pick out letters from books. He talks about various body parts and even explained that he needed more milk to 'get rehydrated' after he was told he shouldn't have any more! C is, and always has been, very active, enthusiastic and determined. He learned to walk whilst holding onto tree stumps in the garden at the nursery and absolutely loves nature, bugs, and anything outside, including working with the Aunties to make motorbikes out of branches. He has definitely benefited from mixing with both older and younger children and as a result is both confident and sociable with all ages of children and adults alike. The progress C has made has 100 per cent been through The Aunties working together with us to turn our little baby into a (mostly) delightful, well-adjusted, well-mannered, thoughtful, fun-loving little boy who loves learning and loves life in general (CG, Summer 2019)
"Hello you wonderful Human Beings, I do hope that you are all well and that E is thriving. It goes without saying that we miss seeing you a great deal............ L will be thrilled to see you all, I certainly will be! Wonderfully, L has settled in ....... brilliantly and is adoring school, clearly this is a huge relief ..... I don't imagine for a moment that without the love and nurturing that he received from you all at Aunties he would be remotely so confident, feel so safe in a new environment and be so happy, we will never be able to thank you enough for the love and skill that you put into making L the fabulous little boy that he is. The kids that have been to Aunties seem to stick out a mile for their kindness, their confidence and their charm! Sending you all a huge amount of love. RRM xxx" (November 2018)
"To all the Aunties and Uncles, Every single time we've handed .... over to you in the morning, we've handed over our hearts. You held these hearts so gently, and never for a single moment let us down. We can't begin to express what you all mean to us and how much your skill, love, knowledge, and kindness have touched our lives. You are a truly exceptional group of people doing the most crucial of jobs. We feel truly privileged to have walked beside you, and we will miss each and every one of you. RRM (September 2018)
"To all of The Aunties, we wanted to say a massive thank you for all that you have done in taking such great care of .... He has absolutely thrived at The Aunties and he has loved every minute of his time with you. We are so grateful for all the love and support you have given to our whole family. We are so proud of the amazing young boy .... has become and we feel that this is in no small part down to The Aunties. Your staff and settings are second to none and ..... will miss you tremendously.
Sandy and Vahik you really have created something that is unique and wonderful and we feel privileged to have been able to expose our children to such a place, and the fantastic team you have built. We are so confident ..... will thrive and enjoy school so much thanks to the great start he had...... We will stay in touch! Lots of love, C and B T (August 2018)
"To all of The Aunties, an enormous THANK YOU for all the love and learning over the last nearly four years! She has loved every minute of her time at Aunties and talks about you all incessantly! We have no doubt that you've given her the best start, challenging her ..... and constantly supporting her in everything she does. We feel incredibly lucky to be part of The Aunties' family and ..... is going to miss you all so much. You have also been such an amazing support to us as parents, and, on more than a few occasions, have definitely stopped me from tearing my hair out! Lots of love B, R, D H (September 2018)
"Hi all, I just wanted to say thank you for all the effort you’ve put in (as you always do) to keep the little ones cool and happy this week. G has had such a nice few days in the woods which could have been a different story in this weather! Auntie was telling me today about all the things that you have done to keep the children safe and happy in this extreme heat. Thank you for the great job you do in all weathers! LM (July 2018)
"My daughter, now aged eight, spent four happy years at The Aunties. The care she received was excellent, and the ethos of the nursery is unique. She learned a huge amount, to find herself ahead when starting school, and enjoyed a happy and healthy experience playing outside for long periods. This is an outstanding nursery ....." JH (2018)
"Our 14-month old son has been going to The Aunties Nursery.... and the service they provide is outstanding. The Nursery came highly recommended to us by word of mouth, and it has been fantastic to see [our child] receive such attentive service, putting the development and wellbeing of the children first." SD (2018)
".....The unique care by the Aunties' team has helped children to grow and believe that they can achieve anything they put their mind to.....the support and advice the Aunties' team provides to parents is outstanding..... No problem is ever too small for the Aunties' team to help you with...." VF (2018)
"The Aunties'.... forest-based nursery is the only ....outdoors nursery in this area. We bought a house [near the nursery] mainly because my son went to The Aunties' nursery ..... The importance of the well-rounded care and outdoor environmental stimulation the Aunties provide in a safe setting are invaluable. All the staff.....are extremely compassionate and know each child individually. They are able to support first-time parents by guiding them at every stage, which I found lacking in the two other nurseries we explored. The combination of extremely well-trained staff and their commitment to education through outdoor play makes The Aunties unique. The surrounding villages are very lucky to have them, and I personally know of parents who live as far as Burford and Woodstock who send their children to The Aunties because of the care they provide" VG (2018)
"The Aunties provide a unique setting.... My children attend... and I am privileged to witness on a daily basis, the wonderful environment provided for the children, with a very strong emphasis on exploration of the outdoors' environment..... great work...... " RB (2018)
"The Aunties... provide an unrivalled early years' education.... The ethos of the nursery is to provide exceptionally good care in an outdoor environment - and this is something they do outstandingly well. The environment, education, enrichment, and care that the nursery provides are unique and something that we, as well as other parents over the years, value incredibly highly. After visiting a multitude of other child care providers and facilities, it was extremely clear from the onset that Aunties was in a class of its own and stood head and shoulders above other options. As parents, we obviously take great care to ensure our children are given the best start in live and provided with the optimum environment to thrive - without doubt, The Aunties provide this. We strongly believe that an outdoors' environment is a natural one for young children, offering them freedom, stimulation, interest, and developing their curiosity which, in turn, gives them a life-long love of learning. Without exception, the children at Aunties are active, stimulated, motivated, and have a positive attitude to going to nursery each day. The Aunties' Children are.... nurtured in an environment that is hugely beneficial to their mental health and development...... there are clearly numerous health benefits for children who spend so much time outdoors. Put simply, the benefits to a child's emotional, developmental, and environmental development cannot be replicated in a more traditional nursery setting... RM (2018)
"The Aunties' nursery is a huge asset... - and, in fact, was the main reason we bought a house [in the village]..... The unique forest school ethos and great staff retention means the children benefit from a hugely positive, creative atmosphere and continuity of care. Their list of accolades is astounding, with outstanding Ofsteds and Platinum Investors in People, etc - acknowledging great childcare......" SB (2018)
"The Aunties are a beacon.... attracting interest from forest school hotspots like Sweden and Finland.... The Aunties' living legacy is generations of children who have been instilled with love and respect for our earth, loved and cared for in the best setting one could imagine, where the great outdoors and a spirit of adventure, companionship, and resourcefulness underpin their learning..... I would like to share what The Aunties Nursery means to us personally: Last week, when Oxford had its first (sudden!) taste of summer, I picked my 1.5 year old daughter up from The Aunties...... She had started back in February when everyone was having fun in the snow and muddy puddles (Aunties can accommodate all seasons!) - but this was something else! They had set up camp in the dappled shade....and spent all day there, including meals, learning, naps - and, of course, bucketfuls of play!..... My 7 year old, who herself attended Aunties....could hardly contain herself when she saw the setup under the trees. We spotted [my daughter] who was clearly in the thralls of a wondrous experience, keenly exploring, motivated more than ever to abandon her knee-shuffling in favour of her feet, and fiercely curious and enlivened. She greeted us enthusiastically; her eyes came alive; she pointed at the trees above and all around, eager to share.... My 7 year old also benefited greatly from the care and guidance of The Aunties, who are genuinely like an extension of our family, so much do they complement what we as parents are able to offer. Their support has been invaluable and indeed what they did for E was nothing short of a miracle. E was a deeply self-conscious child....unable to speak in most settings, despite having excellent comprehension and a keen awareness... Aunties handled E's difficulty with great grace and skill, encouraging but not pushing, gently coaxing interaction and trust, and always providing a safe, loving environment. I felt that Aunties were on the same page as us, and, together, we celebrated E's incremental progress for the huge milestones they were. Aunties' solid grounding in child development and psychology, their faultless teamwork, and their genuine investment in each child, I believe prevented my child from dipping further into a spectrum at this crucial time in her life. The outdoor setting played a major part..... as it calmed and grounded her overactive nervous system and gave her a sense of belonging and a sense of self. This family business is run and staffed by people who pour their heart and soul into the work of raising their children as if they were their own family. The Aunties' ceaseless quest to maintain their own exacting standards and to make the children central to everything they do is reflected not only by countless top industry awards and Ofsted's repeated awards of 'Outstanding', but most importantly, closer to home: in the faces of the children, the support and praise of the parents, and the low turnover of staff, whose dedication to the children and the skill at their work is truly surprising. The rural setting is key to the way this nursery is run, and supports and enhances Aunties' whole ethos of awareness, kindness, and respect for others. It is from this foundation that the children develop a solid sense of self and of community, as well as thoughtfulness, teamwork, patience, resilience, daring, discernment, risk-taking, and countless other life skills, some of which we seem to have lost over over time due to lifestyle and societal changes...... The Aunties' nursery is a gem..... an inspired setting. Who knows, may be one day our grandchildren will come to Aunties too!" PR (2018)
"Our son attends The Aunties' nursery. Having moved here from London, we found it difficult to find excellent nurseries on par with London standards .... The Aunties was the only nursery that met our standards and more. Their unique identity of not only a forestry nursery but also a family-run and -owned business, is something to be cherished. It's really important for children to be a close to nature as possible, and the Aunties' nursery encourages this in spades....." CB (2018)
"We feel very strongly about the unique ethos The Aunties has, which includes lots of outdoor play in a natural environment ...so important for the health and well-being of all children.... The care The Aunties provide to our children, to us as parents, and to their staff, is outstanding. We are real people and not numbers. They take the time; and continuously strive, to improve on the already exceptional service they provide. Our daughter's development and learning has been wonderful to witness and she thrives, like her Aunties' playmates, within this unique environment, connecting with the natural environment.... We simply cannot imagine life without The Aunties, really. It is one of a kind and has a reputation to behold....." TJ (2018)
"Having visited a number of nurseries, we knew immediately that we had found an exceptional places for our daughter, and four years later, our son, to spend their pre-school years. As a parent, I was immediately comfortable with leaving our children in The Aunties' care. They offer complete family support, and their focus on individual care, with an emphasis on the outdoors, is wonderful, and provides a unique experience ..." JW (2018)
"I attended the Aunties' nursery when it first opened in 1989 - and a better start to life I could not imagine. The exceptional care of The Aunties and the unique opportunity to spend so much of my formative years in an environment that promoted respect, curiosity, the outdoors, and, most importantly, love and kindness, was, I believe, the best possible start in life....." JM (2018)
The Aunties' have an outstanding track record of child development and care from...amazing people, the love of a family-run business and importantly the environment provided. We knew from spending a short there that our son would flourish, be cherished, whilst growing with the freedom of outdoor play..... the children experience nature safely, and sleep healthier, whilst developing the skills and knowledge they simply would not gain at a normal non-forest nursery. The Aunties' nursery is unique!" C (2018)
"Our Aunties' Nursery is the best choice that we have ever made. We have been trying to find a nursery like that everywhere. All the outdoor activities and fun that they have outside has been missing in most of the nurseries all over the world.... The most important thing that is so good about this nursery is that parents are in charge of what our children are eating..... The Aunties have become our family; they treat our children like our own. This nursery is amazing!" KPH (2018)
"... As an employee of the Nursery, I've been able to witness firsthand this unique organization entirely focussed on a learning programme to teach children to be well-rounded, kind, responsible, and environmentally-conscious little people who are deeply connected to the natural environment...... I've had the opportunity to continue with my formal education ..... and received world-class in-house training constantly in psychology, first aid, safeguarding, relationships, values - which I can say, without doubt, has made me a better person..... As part of the culture and values.... we are treated like family....." (SM)
"Dear Vahik, Sandy, and Ahlexi, I would just like to add my heartfelt thanks.... The Aunties have been a huge part of our children's and our lives for so many years. We know that the loving kindness and dedication which you and your team have shown [all our children] and your care and desire to encourage all aspects of their development has had a lasting impact on them, and one which will help them greatly in the years ahead. And, of course, who could forget the support and care that you gave us when life was very bumpy for quite some time. Your faith and patience was humbling. You should know that there is a lot of room in our hearts and we shall carry you with us, always. With much love and the greatest respect, KB (2018)
"I have known the owners of The Aunties since 1989, when my daughter started to attend as a baby. I knew from my first meeting....what has been reported by OFSTED, Investors in People, and various organizations over the years, that this is an exceptional facility. As a parent, they offer everything that you could wish for your own child - and more. Their emphasis on the individual, personal attention to each child, and passion about outdoor education make The Aunties unique....... wonderful for those who attended as pupils to look forward to sending their own children to this amazing place!" VM (2018)
"Dear Vahik, Sandy, and Ahlexi,...We will be sad to say goodbye as you have been such an enormous part of our lives for more than 15 years!......I am so thankful to have met you all and for our family to be part of the 'Aunties' Family'. It is so important to make a difference in this world, and I know our children have had a fantastic grounding with your wonderful ethos of kindness and love, and, of course, curiosity and interest in people and the world around us. Lots of love", CKB (April 2018)
".... as always, we appreciate your integrity and clarity of purpose. Thank you", PK (February 2018)
"....The Aunties offer inspirational and fundamental outdoor learning opportunities for the children in their care in a way that is unique to them. Not only do experiences such as they have produce positive outcomes for self-esteem and confidence, they also promote understanding and respect for our local environment. In an age where there is concern over children's disconnection from nature, this type of education is essential and often hard to find..... I have no doubt of the many benefits for the children that attend The Aunties in having such rich opportunities to be outside on a regular basis.....There is much current research into the positive effects of the natural world on health and well-being, and, with the current focus on mental health, settings such as this will offer not only short-term learning for the children, but long-term positive outcomes for their health.
In 2016, the RSPB ran a study....into correlations between children's connection to nature and education, wellbeing, and action to save wildlife. They state: "The results of this pioneering research confirm the benefits on health, wellbeing, and even educational attainment of raising children, the future custodians of nature, with a sense of responsiblity for, and kinship with, the natural world"..... A further study from the University of Plymouth found "many and varied benefits to children of living in the natural environment, not just from an educational perspective, but also in terms of their behaviour, social skills, health and wellbeing, resilience, confidence, and sense of place". The Aunties have always been highlighted as a leader in this field, offering exemplary practice - and this is supported by their recent connection with Professor Anders Szczepanski, Sweden, a recognized world expert in outdoor play for children. To gain the support of such a high profile expert demonstrates the regard in which their practice is held..... I know the Enjily family are passionate about what they do...." KC (2018)
"Dear lovely Aunties and Uncles, Thank you so much for all your hard work, love, and nappy changes..... We've loved our first year as part of the Aunties' family, and know W has too. Congratulations as well on a monumental year - what a wonderful achievement for you all, receiving the Platinum Employer of the Year award from Investors in People - W really is in safe hands.... See you in 2018 for more madness and mayhem! Lots of love, S,A,W,E"(December 2017)
"Hi guys, A massive congratulations to you all for such a prestigious award and it is a testament to the amazing effort and hard work you put into the Aunties' nursery. We are very blessed to have finally found a place that we feel comfortable to leave our little girl during our long working hours and know she is in the best hands possible. Lots of love, V,M,A"(November 2017)
"Sooooooooooooooo proud!! Huge congratulations to all of you, just amazing and so deserved! I am just pleased to be connected to you all with our little F attending your amazing nursery and being nurtured and loved by all you beauties! ??x" S,T,F (November 2017)
"Dear all, This achievement [Platinum Employer of the Year] is very well deserved. The Aunties' Nursery is brimming with amazing, dedicated, wonderful people who make my little girl’s journey through her early years not only fun and loving but special and magical. You guys are simply the best!" MP (November 2017)
"Sending L to Aunties was simply the best decision we have ever made as parents. It's impossible to express how much your love, professionalism, compassion, knowledge and attitude towards both L and ourselves mean to us. Our hearts will forever be Auntie-shaped. R,R, L xxxxx" (November 2017)
"Dear Sandy, Thank you so much for this detail and impressive school-leaver's report. It was a delight to read it. We are all well. And we are very grateful for the start E. had with you. She is definitely ahead of things when it comes to learning, and we are so pleased we made the decision to hold her back a year. Her reading has taken off and she and H. have their own reading sessions with the teachers because they are so advanced! And that, plainly in E's case, is down to all the work you did with her. At parents' consultation, her teacher said they always love getting children who have been to The Aunties. It is obviously because you ground them so well in so many aspects of life.... Lots of love to you all" FP (October 2017)
"To ALL The Aunties... A small card to say a Big Thank You! for looking after A for the last two years. She's loved coming to see you; she's learnt so much and made such good friends... It's very hard to imagine life where we don't come to collect her every...afternoon from her woodland playground, wearing her red [outdoor] suit. So, a BIG thank you for the care, love, and concern you have shown (not to mention sheer hard work!). You leave a big gap in our lives. S,D,A" (September 2017)
"Dearest Aunties, Thank you so much for the wonderful and warm welcome you gave us today after eleven years! It put a smile on all our faces all day! I can't thank you enough for the beautiful start you gave the girls in their life, instilling the confidence, compassion and openess to the world around them. You are legendary and we will definitely come again, hopefully with other alumni! From the bottom of our hearts, a huge thank you. With much love, as ever, C, L, A ((((-: " (August 2017)
"Dear Vahik and Sandy, A very sad day for me as I need to confirm that E’s last day with the Aunties... Words can’t express the amazing trip we have had with you all for the last four years and what a truly wonderful time it has been for E (and myself!). I really don’t know how I will cope without my weekly hug from Auntie Trish ( I shall be popping in for one though!). Thank you so much for all the care and love you have shown E since she started with you....she will really cherish the time she has spent at the Nursery. Much love SMEV (July 2017)
"Dearest Auntie Sandy, Uncles Vahik and Ahlexi and all the wonderful Aunties and Uncles at Nursery. Thank you for the most wonderful year in your magical woods. Thank you for all the love and support you have given H. Thank you for giving H. an amazing start of her adventure. With much love and thanks from us all, HMT and J" (July 2017)
"To all the Aunties and Uncles! Thank you for all of the love, care, and guidance you have provided for L and our family. We are very sad to be leaving you ..... Auntie Trish, We just wanted to send a quick note to say a HUGE thank you for all you have done for L. As parents working in educational settings, we understand how important relationships are. The love, care, and guidance you provide, along with your attention to detail and the way you speak about L really highlight why he enjoys his time with you so much and the bond you created. We are very sad to be leaving and will remember the time he spent with you fondly. Thank you for EVERYTHING! KCL and SWB (July 2017)"
"Dear Aunties, Here is a picture of B and E. We still talk about the best nursery on the earth: The Aunties! Hope you are all well. Lots of love E,P,B,E" (May 2017 - received from a family who left two years previously to return to Europe)
"I remember floaty dresses and wellies (together!), the big woods, laughter, love and cuddles, sliding down the hills, singing the train song, such fun - it was magical. I didn't want to come back in case it didn't compare with my childhood memories, but it's even better looking through the eyes of an adult; I can't believe it's still so wonderful!" (returning 17 year old)
"Good morning lovely Aunties and Uncles, Firstly, congratulations again on such an outstanding OFSTED report. It made us very proud to have [our child] at such a unique and, frankly, incredible place. We see the results of how you look after him, love him and nurture his amazingness in his behaviour, confidence and joyfulness every day. Thank you so much......" RM (April 2017)
"Dear Sandy ....The Aunties is an extraordinary place. We feel so lucky!" (April 2017)
"Dear Vahik, Sandy, and Ahlexi, ......The Aunties’ Nurseries demonstrates strength in the management, operational and regulatory spheres, as well as being robust.... I have also been impressed with your innovative strategy planning......" RW (April 2017)
"The Aunties season children's lives with love and fresh air" SE (March 2017)
"If Carlsberg did nurseries, The Aunties would definitely be it!!" LS (March 2017)
"Dearest Sandy,. Just a brief note to firstly say the most enormous thank you for all your time and expertise yesterday. We truly appreciated your spending so long answering our questions and introducing us to life with "The Aunties". We cannot tell you how thoroughly impressed we were with absolutely everything..... As we drove away yesterday .... we both felt excited for [our child], let alone ourselves, and felt so lucky to have stumbled upon an environment we adored so much!! ...Thank you so much for making us so happy! ..... Sending much love and our very kindest wishes, KMAW (February 2017)
"Dearest Auntie Sandy .... The Aunties fill the world with love!" NN (February 2017)
"The Aunties hold a unique philosophy that is bred into the children and families that are lucky enough to make the decision to send there precious little ones there. The Aunties' belief in spending as much time outdoors and in nature sets a precedent for life and feeds into enhancing family life. This
follows on into the community where the children grow up together holding a unique love of nature and robust temperament that has grown due to the Aunties' approach.
We have been impressed by the Aunties, especially Sandy who runs the nursery, treating each child and family as individual and unique. They are a family and we have been cared for and
considered as part of one. The hours of commitment and dedication that go into treating families and children with such care and consideration is phenomenal. We've had many long conversations discussing in depth every step of my children's development and have found this support invaluable.
The Aunties have managed to exceed our expectations on numerous occasions (which is incredibly hard to do!). As a result I asked Sandy if she would be interested in setting up a school with me. Unfortunately she declined as the nursery would have suffered. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the Aunties and will miss them when we have to leave" (ATL February 2017)
Observations from baby signing experts "Little Signers Club", which organization The Aunties "have been working alongside for many years now.
Little Signers Club is constantly developing its training provision for Early Years practitioners; on such occasions where we have new material that requires evaluating, The Aunties have been kind enough to allow us access to their highly-trained team. Their continuing feedback – and enthusiasm for our work - has proved invaluable. It ensures that our training is able to support the EYFS correctly as well as guarantee that our training is providing the right level of accessibility and information to inform the practice of other Early Years professionals throughout the UK.
Last year, as a result of our continual re-evaluation and joint working practices with The Aunties, Little Signers Club was awarded Best Infant Sign Language Training Company (UK) in the 2016 Consultancy Awards. We also provide workshops for Childcare Expo (Coventry 2016 / London 2017) which have previously been ‘approved’ by the Aunties and which have been very popular at the Show. Over the years, Sandy has kindly reviewed other material for Little Signers Club which has gone on to be published internationally.
In my experience, The Aunties at The Aunties' Old School Nursery are an outstanding example of dedicated staff who have a deep understanding of how the nurture of young children provides ‘peak’ learning experiences for all concerned (Maslow / Bloom). I am always welcomed with enthusiasm and interest; their dedication to the support of children, in any way that is required, is inspirational. It is my privilege to be able to work alongside them...." Shelley Ensor, Founder, Little Signers Club (UK / UAE) (February 2017)
"Dear Uncle Vahik....... The Aunties is the warmest, loveliest nursery with the best staff I have come across with any of my kids and J has been so happy with you; thank you!...." KC (January 2017)
"I have a strange sense of déjà vu as .....we are on the move again – this time just a bit closer to London as...the commute ........ means that [dad] is not seeing [the children] as much as we would like, so we are moving to hopefully get a bit more of a balance.... We leave Aunties with a very heavy heart.....We are so appreciative of all the care you have given [the children] and know that they have both been extremely happy with you and all the Aunties. As we have tried nurseries as far away as Australia, I think that I have strong evidence that you are simply the best nursery in the world!!! Thank you again, Lots of love, TM" (November 2016)
Dear Auntie Sue [Supervising Auntie - here since 1989!] and all the Aunties, I can't begin to express the support you have been in my life... from those early days of parental anxiety to the ongoing...journey and all its challenges, you have never failed to see me, or support me in my grief and in my triumphs. Thank you for everything, Sue; you and all the Aunties have seen us through an incredibly challenging time in our lives, and as we move into new new challenges in a new arena.- I will miss the support and the hugs that I knew I would always receive from you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart MH (October 2016)
Auntie Marie [Supervising Auntie] and all the Aunties, Words cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for you being in F's life. These last eighteen months.... you have been the sensitive soul he needed to make him feel safe enough to start to spread his wings and grow as he has done in the last year. Your intuitive nature and attention to his needs, always knowing how to support him without invalidating his emotions or experiences. You are our Mary Poppins! And we will never foget your love or kindness.
I am so grateful that we had the pleasure of Aunties in our lives for this short, but important time of healing and growth. You are exceptional at how you care for children ... and there are many children who need... you in their lives. May you always be well, blessed and receiving of all the love that you give out to others, With our heartfelt love and thanks MFH (October 2016)
"Dear Sandy and Vahik, A very HUGE thank you for such a lovely party! The children had such a wonderful time, and I loved the Aunties inspirational performance! If you ever have enough of the nursery game you could always take to the stage!
I wanted to let you know that R. has settled really well into school...and is enjoying learning and playing with his friends. It would be wonderful if he could come back to you for some days in the Half Term holidays. Is this something you would consider? .... Let me know what you think. All our love. C" (September 2016)
"Dear Vahik and Sandy .... I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love and care you have given to all my children over the last fourteen years. They are all blossoming into wonderful characters which is due, in no small part, to their wonderful time at the Aunties. They all talk so fondly of their time with you, and it has been a great topic of conversation around our dinner table "what was your favourite day at the Aunties?" I know R. will really miss you. I am sure he will be back in the school holidays for a "bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck"!
I am also going to miss you - I can't imagine life without the woods, tog suits, "down at the station" (which we sing at home as we climb the stairs to bed) and all the other lovely songs we've learnt over the years. I do hope we will keep in touch and share some great Early Years practise as time goes on. I realise this email is longer than I intended; what I really wanted to say is simply "thank you". Love C" (Summer 2016)
"... Can I....just take the opportunity to say how wonderful the settling in process is at Aunties. A had two weeks of settles and just did his first couple of days there this week, and has been so happy and comfortable there! I have also felt so supported by Sandy and the lovely Aunties about my feelings upon returning to work and leaving A! What a wonderful place! We are feeling so lucky that A is attending Aunties! Thank you again D and A" (Spring 2016)
"Dear Auntie Sandy and Uncle Vahik, ..... I honestly can’t thank you enough for all you have done for F. I, and J, who have all had the very best possible start with the Aunties - and we all continue to benefit from the love and care that you have given them (and us!). Thank you for being part of our extended family! With love and best wishes, J (Spring 2016)
"Dear Auntie Sandy and Uncle Vahik, We have been absolutely thrilled with our son’s care at the Aunties’ nursery since he started there at the age of 8 months. He is now 26 months and his excellent development so far is linked very closely to the time he spends at nursery.
Led by the experienced, insightful and loving Sandy, all of the Aunties show great care and affection towards the children. They always seem to have a fresh outlook with new ideas to entertain the children ranging from all sorts of play, craft-work, cooking, dressing-up and of course playing outside (wrapped-up nice and warm!) in the great outdoor space they have.
We had heard great things about the Aunties' Nursery before our son started there and it was in fact one of the reasons we moved to the area. We were not disappointed. The settling in process was supportive and nurturing and ensured that his start at The Aunties went smoothly.
Over the past 18 months we have been impressed and very happy with all aspects of his life and care at the nursery. The Aunties listen intently to any questions we have and are able to offer advice to us when we need it. We would not hesitate to recommend the Aunties nursery ...". (January 2016)
"Dear Sandy and Vahik,.... I just wanted to reiterate my heartfelt appreciation for the dedication, hard work and wisdom with which I see you running this nursery. We are both so grateful for the work you and all your staff do to create such a special, nurturing, safe, fun, and loving environment and we are equally grateful for your efforts to stay this way! Business is often seen as structures and statistics, but I think what makes your business so successful..... is that you keep the 'human' in the picture, and for me that is worth more than the little extra money we are paying for it. That is why I chose your nursery. Thank you again for having the courage to stick with your own vision of what works, from which E, and we as her parents benefit enormously. The experience of seeing E bound off excitedly to see her tribe is so precioous and we are very glad to have found you! Love P,P,E."
"To Sandy and Vahik, thank you both for everything...You must be so very proud of the Nursery you have created. Your team are amazing, and we feel privileged to have our girls cared for by your Aunties. Thank you. (December 2015)
"Dear Vahik and Sandy... we have been really impressed and very happy with Aunties and all your staff who are a real asset and wonderful influence on the children." (WW December 2015)
"Dear Auntie Trish, thank you so much for everything... You have a truly lovely, bubbly, funny, happy personality and every day I go to work with a smile having dropped the girls off. I feel truly blessed that our girls are looked after by you and your team of Aunties. Thank you for the amazing job you do - you are amazing! Thank you. (December 2015)
"Dear Sandy and Vahik... a very, very Big Thank You for looking after our little treasure so well over the past two years. We quickly knew we could count on your highly professional support and approachable and caring personalities, which were always so important to us. You should proud of the wonderful, nuturing environment that you have created...through your hard work.
You manage an outstanding team.
Also a special Thank You for your accurate guidance and undoubtedly sound advice during the tougher times, "polite tantrums" and all... (around a friendly cup of tea....!).
Finally, a special Merci for your constant, strong support towards our choice of bilinguial upbringing for our child. Like our daughter, our gratefulness mustn't be underestimated. With our love and best wishes M M M Q" (July 2015)
"A conversation the other weekend at home:
"Daddy, when I go to the big school, what will I do at the weekends?"
"...... the usual things, like we do at the moment ..."
"...... may be I can go to The Aunties; then ...."
(It made us smile; it said a lot!)" (July 2015)
"Dear Vahik and Sandy..... we have been thoroughly impressed with the excellent care you have provided for T over the past two years, and have been delighted with the way he has blossomed under your thoughtful, respectful, and loving guidance. We very much appreciated your flexibility in organizing his move from Wheatley to Stanton, which was a great success, and we are very grateful for him having had such a wonderful start in life. There are so many ways in which you have helped make his time at the Aunties both fun and educational, and I am sure we will share some of these at his review meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
As an Attachment Therapist, J has been in awe of the way you manage to provide such a secure base for so many little ones. We will all miss the Aunties and will continue to recommend it to our friends and colleagues until you are flooded with the offspring of psychiatrists! ..... warmest thanks, J and JD (May 2015)"
Dear Aunties ... What can I say after all these years of loving, stimulating and supportive care? .... and that's justthe boys .... I learned lots, too. Thankyou very much from the bottom of my heart" .... "you opened our minds" (AH 2015)
"Dear Sandy.... Thank you so much ...... for the careful care and consideration that you and the Aunties have of the children's well-being and development at such an important time in their lives. I was very taken with the tender caring philosophy and the variety of opportunities for learning, indoors and outdoors, that are available to the children who spend time at your nursery." (April)
"Dear Vahik and Sandy .... We are really loving having her in your nursery and already noticing how it is helping her take the next steps in her development and how confident and independent she is becoming. So I just wanted to thank you both for the love and care you so obviously put into the nursery and for your sensitivity and understanding of the children's emotional needs (and the parents'!). Best wishes P"vailable to the children who spend time at your nursery ...... C and DH" (April)
"Aunty Sandy, Uncle Vahik, and all All the Amazing Aunties, It is with a heavy heart that we say 'Goodbye' to the most incredible nursery. You took H in when we really needed childcare and have not looked back. H has thrived thanks to the constant input of each and everyone at the Aunties. He loves nursery days - and the things he has learned amaze us. Every aspect of the Aunties is grounded in excellence and the hard work of you all means we have a happy, inquisitive, thoughtful, caring and sensitive little boy. You really can take credit for such important parts of his development. Every morning we are greeted with such warmth, it really sets us up the for the day. There is always sound advice and support wehen we have needed it. There is so much to thank you for - too much to properly express. You all have a special place in our hearts and we will miss you all beyond measure (especially Aunty Trish!). Thank you loads and loads and tons and trillions!!! You're the bestest! With all our love, E,S,M and H"
"Hi Sandy.... Your new logo is gorgeous; very apt as my first thoughts of 'Aunties' Nursery' has always been children in their tog suits enjoying and exploring the great outdoors! Well done to whoever designed it!" [Sandy and Vahik!] AB (March 2014)
"Dear Sandy and all the Aunties, Thank you all so much for looking after H for the past four years. She has had such a wonderful time and will have so many lovely memories of her time with you, not forgetting her instructing us: "Hands in laps" and "Elbows of the table, darling" during meal times! I can't quite believe our time with The Aunties has come to an end (sniff, sniff). Thank you once again, Lots of love, K,N,H and E". (August 2014)
"Hi Vahik, It was an absolute pleasure meeting you all on Saturday. You and Sandy have an amazing group of staff and your nursery was beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed the training and am glad that you found it useful. And the curry was superb!" Children's Support Worker, OSCB Trainer
"Dear lovely Aunties, I cant believe our last day has come round. A has had the most wonderful time with you all. Thank you for all the care and love you've shown both our lovely girls and us. Thank you for everything you've taught them and for preparing them so well for big school. It's been a fantastic six years and we're so grateful for the brilliant start in life you've given them. We will miss you very much but we will always remember "a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, the Aunties love us!" With love and thanks, A, P, S and ER" (August 2014)
"Dear All the Aunties and Uncles! Thank you so much for all your wonderful care, love, nurturing, learning and fun times you have given C. over the last three years. I cannot believe our small and crawling 12 month old is now four and a half and off to school; where has the time gone? We are very sad to leave you all and will miss you so much, but are eternally grateful for the wondereful start you have given her. With lots of love and thanks A,A, C and J"
"What I love about The Aunties: playing games, dressing up, cuddles with Aunties, playing in the woods, singing, dancing, Aunty doing my hair, being a baby monitor, facepainting" (August 2014)
"Dearest Aunties, Sandy and Vahik, We can't thank you all enough for the fantastic care you have provided for A and O. We are always greeted with smiles, enthusiasm and loads of energy, which is always a great start to the day. We want to say an extra special 'thank you' to Aunty Sue for helping A through a very difficult situation ... her insight and experience along with her warm, encouraging way really helped us all! We will always be grateful. Thank you all for all your care, cuddles and laughter...We will always remember you and have lovely memories of our time with you. Thank you again for being so lovely and for enriching the lives of A and O. You might say you were just doing your job, but we think it fair to thank you sooooo much for the really excellent care you gave to A and O. You don't have a magic wand, but a hard working team that goes 'above and beyond' in a world that is increasingly "I'm all right, Jack". Your dedication and professionalism deserve this pat on the back. Dearest Aunties, we will never forget you. Thank you! All our love and hugs, F, M, A and O" (August 2014)
"To all of the Aunties (and Uncles!), Thank you so much for such a wonderful party on Saturday. It was a very typical example of Aunties' care and attention and sense of fun. Congratulations on reaching 25 years! We hope that many, many children to come will be able to benefit from your care, as B and L have. Thank you! Love from B, J, B and L xxx" (July 2014)
"Dear Aunty Sandy, Uncle Vahik and all the Amazing Aunties, A huge 'Thank You' for inviting us to join you in celebrating 25 years of fabulous care. In true 'Aunties'' style the whole event was superb - good food, entertainment, company and even weather (eventually!). It was lovely to see everyone having such fun and, as always, you had the children at the heart of the event. M and H have not stopped talking about it and H even has his balloons tied on to his bedside table. It was a joy to be part of it and we wish you every success for the future. With all our love, E, S, M and H" (July 2014)
"To Aunty Sandy, Uncle Vahik and all the Aunties, Congratulations on your 25th anniversary, and thank you for offering a service that is one in a million.....have a wonderful day celebrating your success, having given generations of little people the very best start in life over the past 25 years. We are so lucky to be part of your very special and extended family. With much love, TD and J J and N xxxxx" (July 2014)
"Dear Sandy, Vahik and all the Aunties (and Uncles!), Thank you so much for a wonderful afternoon on Saturday. It was lovely to be part of The Aunties' Silver Jubilee celebrations; we all had a fantastic time! A. had great fun on the bouncy castle and he polished off a white bap from the hog roast - plus popcorn! It was really nice to see all The Aunties 'off duty' and to have a chat with them and .....to have time to speak to some of the other parents too. Congratulations on this milestone and thank you again for a great day. Love E, F, A and L xxx" (July 2014)
"Dear Vahik and Sandy, Congratulations on celebrating your 25th Anniversary of The Aunties! You have achieved so much, and we are just beginning! Love and best wishes, R, S and SB" (July 2014)
"Only The Aunties could carry off a garden party in torrential rain with such style and aplomb!"
"It's an amazing party... you can tell by the state of him: you can't actually see where the mud ends and the chocolate begins!"
"To Aunty Sandy, Uncle Vahik, Aunty Sue, Aunty Trish and all the other Aunties, Thank you so much for all you have done for I. over the past year. As we all know, I. is a complex little character and you have done so much for her confidence, her happiness and her progression. She has come on so much and endlessly chats about life at the Aunties and all her friends there. Her time with you has sadly come to an end ... We all take with us as a family the happiest memories of Aunties. You have all cherished both W and I, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the wonderful start in life you have given them. we will all miss you.... Much love to you all, M, A, W, I xxxx" (July 2014)
"To our dear Aunties, Thank you so much for your loving care.....We really couldn't have asked for more when we were looking for a nursery for our son. You have been a great source of advice on everything from J's eating habits to his eczema. Aunty Sandy even correctly diagnosed hand, foot and mouth after the doctor had dismissed it the day before! The details that you notice and the dedication you show really are amazing; thank you! We wanted to particularly thank Aunty Trish - J LOVES Aunty Trish! Also thank you to Aunty Sandy and Aunty Sue for being a shoulder to cry on (literally!) over the last few months. All our love, J, J, S. F (June 2014)
"Dear Mrs Enjily, I read with interest and pleasure your outstanding Ofsted report and would like to send my congratulations to you and your staa. You must be delighted that all the hard work and dedication you and your staff have shown has resulted in this excellent inspection report. To achieve outstanding is a testament to the work you all carry out on a daily basis.
I noted the following details in your report that are particularly impressive:
- The quality of teaching is exceptional because the staff have an in-depth knowledge of how children learn. Staff complete comprehensive assessments and plan effectively for individual children to ensure they make outstanding progress in their learning.
- Staff willingly review each other's practice so staff confidently feedback honestly to each other.
- The staff plan for the children to spend most of the day in the fresh air to boost thier physical health.
You and your staff must feel immense pride and satisfaction in knowing that you have given the children in your care the best possible start in live. I contraulate you all........ Director for Education, Children and Families, Oxfordshire County Council (April 2014)
"To Sandy, Vahik and all the wonderful Aunties, ...... we first visited Aunties on the off-chance that we'd found nursery for our precious little boy. We didn't find a nursery that day - we found a magical, wonderful home-from-home filled with a loving family. We couldn't quite believe our good fortune...... What remained consistent was the huge amounts of care, attention and love shown to all the children, and we certainly think this is what helped T to grow and develop into the caring, sharing and loving little boy of whom we are so very proud.
It's a huge wrench leaving Aunties, although I'm sure we'll never really 'leave' as you feel like part of our family. We can't thank you enough for all your help and support, being there for whenever we needed, but most of all for loving T....
Aunties is such a special place, not just for the children, but for the parents too, and it will always hold a special place in our hearts. We'll pop back from time to time to say hello and get our "fix". Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and we wish you every continued success. All our love, P,C and T." (March 2014)
"It's as if each Aunty is a one-to-one nanny!" (March 2014)
"Dear Sandy....thank you so much for helping the NES [National Eczema Society] with this important article. I really feel your input will bring the article to life and the nursery angle is very important (although I fully appreciate that The Aunies' Old School Nursery is Gold standard!)...." Education in Dermatology
"Hi Sandy, Hi Vahik, ..... My jaw dropped to the floor yesterday, I have never known such honesty and business fairness - truly amazing! ... Thank you - it's been lovely working with you - it really has." D.H. (January 2014)
"Dear Sandy and Vahik, ......We will be very sad to see L leave the Aunties. She has flourished in your care, as J did before her, and we will always hold you all dear to our hearts. Your nursery is a very special place, and we feel very fortunate that a very important part of our children's lives has been spent with you.......a sincere thank you for all you have done for us over the past six years" MAK
"Dear Sandy and Vahik ..... I thought it might be useful and timely to provide you some feedback. From the moment C and I first visited Aunties when looking for a nursery for T, we knew we'd found the perfect place. Our initial visit provided us a view of a friendly welcome, a clean and safe environment and caring staff. It just appeared such a happy environment hiand the children clearly enjoyed being there. Despite Aunties being a 20-minute drive in the wrong direction and other, less costly options available closer to home, our decision to choose Aunties was a very easy one.
To our delight and amazement even our initial expectations were surpassed once T started actually attending Aunties. What we found was all the things we expected, but more incredibly seeing the love and care bestowed upon the children really did make us realise we had found somewhere truly special.
The efficiency, care and love with which Aunties is run, is truly incredible. No matter who greets us at the front door, there is always, without exception a happy, welcoming greeting. The drop-off and pick up procedures are clearly defined, easy to follow and fully overviewed by the Auntie on 'Door duty'. As we'd expect, the handling of any medicine is done with upmost care and attention. The facilities are first-class with a fantastic garden with plenty of areas to discover, providing a never-ending canvas for their imagination.
Feedback of T's' day from how well he'd eaten, what activities he'd undertaken and praise for things he'd done well, are very important to us and are always provided. The proof of the work you do with him through play, singing, reading, writing and numbers far exceeds what we ever expected. In fact his development in all these areas was plain to see when we recently introduced him to a local pre-school for some additional mornings. They were amazed at what he could do and what he had learnt, much of this thanks to Aunties. With the benefit of clearly defined and published activities at Aunties, we can follow the same themes with T at home which of course aides further development.
To us, the true measure of the nursery is demonstrated in the way in which T loves attending Aunties, enjoying the varied, fun and enlightening days he spends in your care. We never cease to be amazed at the developmental changes we have seen during his time at Aunties, seeing first-hand when we drop him off and collect him how he interacts with the other children, forming friendships and the genuine love he has for all the Aunties... In our eyes, it really is a very magical place, and we are so very lucky to have found you and that it you are in easy reach of our home. Moreover, we too, in addition to T, have been made to feel a part of the Aunties 'family', with help, guidance and support provided to us whenever we needed it or asked for it.
In summary, Aunties has proved and continues to prove to be an absolutely amazing nursery and thank you for looking after our precious little boy so well and helping us provide him with a perfect start to his life. With our warmest regards and enormous thanks for being 'Aunties'.." C & P H (November 2013)
"Dear Sandy, Following the recent review of M, K and S, I would just like to feedback what a positive and insightful experience it was. Whilst your observations of our children mirrored how they are at home, you were able to provide another perspective on the underlying factors that impact on their development and manifest in their behaviours, which was very helpful. I do believe that your ability to do this is very much enhanced by the fact that all members of staff engage with, observe and assess the children, rather than one member of staff under a traditional key worker system. This gives the children an opportunity to interact with staff who will differ in their approaches and personalities, whereby they can show different sides of their own little personalities and gel in different ways with staff. I do not think they would benefit from the same richness of experience under a different system. Our continued thanks for taking such excellent and genuine care of our little ones. As you know, my recent unhappy experience of a preschool provider has only served to highlight what outstanding levels of care, support and education you provide. Best wishes, LP" (June 2013)
"Dear Vahik and Sandy, ... We have been so thrilled with C's time at the Aunties - and if we're honest, our only regret to leave Oxford is that C will miss out on many more great years with you...and all the lovely Aunties...but your great ethos at the Aunties has had a lasting impact on him, which we're sure will follow him for many years - particularly his love of the outdoors - he makes us take him out come rain or shine - and is fascinated by all things he sees outside, which we just love! Thank you so much for being so brilliant and helping us when "new" parents learn how to cope with nursery life - it was much harder on us than on C, but I guess you knew that before we even arrived! But now it's as much a wrench to have to take him away from the Aunties as it was to leave him in the first place!! Thank you for everything. B and V" (March 2013).
"Dear Vahik and Sandy, we'd like to congratulate you and all your staff on your outstanding achievements in obtaining Gold Investors in People, ISO 9001 accreditation, Parliamentary Yearbook nomination and Food Hygiene ‘5’ rating. It’s a testimony to you, Sandy and Vahik and all your wonderful staff that such achievements have been reached. You must be very proud – and so you should be! [We] are so grateful that we literally chanced upon Aunties….. in your care he is growing and developing into a confident, outgoing and considerate little boy….. We are equally proud of The Aunties and tell everyone we meet with children just how good and how lucky we are to have such a wonderful nursery … Thank you for your ongoing support and, most importantly, for looking after our little boy with such diligence and love”. PH (February 2013)
“Dear wonderful Vahik, Sandy and all the Aunties… You have been so absolutely fantastic – we feel so very lucky to have found you. The care, love, nurturing, learning, exploring, discipline and fun that you provide is amazing. Thank you for making our girls feel so cherished and encouraging them to be their kindest and best. With lots of love K P (February 2013)
"Dear Vahik, Sandy, and all the Aunties, Thank you. We will miss you so much - today is a very emotional day. Thank you for every cuddle, every laugh, every song, every conversation and play you have given S and K - all so very precious. Love from J,A, S and K, F. PS see you at half term! Also:
As you all know, we both work in the corporate world of large "successful" big business. I was on a workshop to develop department vision and strategy and did a session where we were asked to talk about other companies' visions as examples ... I wanted to tell you my example":
"I send my children to a small, independent nursery called 'Aunties' and their simple mission is to make every child's life happy. Their whole model, all of their processes, all of their design and all of their recruitment is based round that simple mission and it is never compromised. Sandy no doubt runs a tight ship, but clearly gains all the people who work for her's respect, utter dedication and enthusiasm - because they too buy into this mission. Children's emotional development and happiness is at the heart of her business and that is an inspiring model."
"Dear Sandy, Thank you very much for the kindness and generosity which you showed to me and my family when we most needed it. Your warmth and thoughtfulness really marked a turning point for us all after a horrible few months, and I will always remember the part that you played with your sensitivity, professionalism and love... There really isn't anyone else that I would trust as much with my children, which is the highest compliment that I can pay you." Thank you all and lots of love to you all. L.N.
"To Sandy and all the Aunties, Thank you so much for making the last three years such fun for F. The minute I walked into your nursery I knew that this was the place I wanted him to be. Thank you all for your hard work, passion and commitment. Thank you also for your part in enabling F. to grow into a happy and confident boy. Thank you Sandy for taking the time to understand F. and for supporting us through what has been the most wonderful but also difficult three years. Lots and lots of love, L, T and F.S".
"Dear Auntie Sandy,and all the Aunties, ....Suddenly I find it's three years and a few months later and little 13 month old J is nearly 4 and a half and off to school! How did that happen?! We just wanted to thank you all so much for looking after J over the past 3 and a bit years. I don't know if you remember, Sandy, but when I first met you I burst into tears - I had been back at work for a month and the childminder turned out to not really like children! J came to you and settled happily immediately - I particularly remember the way Auntie Sue asked J if she could pick him up and put him at his ease. I cried again when I left him with you for the firt time - with relief! Thank you Auntie Sandy for your endlessly patient advice - I will miss your wisdom! You have all been a huge part of our lives since 2007 - we will really miss you! Thank you! Lots of love, J,P,S and T.M".
"To All the Aunties, Thank you for all the kindness and loving care you have shown to A. over the last three years. In every respect she has been handled with wisdom, understanding, fun and love. The Aunties' Old School Nursery and its Aunties are a very special place indeed, from the lovely school room bursting with vibrancy to the treasure that is the woods. But at the tip-top of this are the Aunties - you redefine the 'gold standard'. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts". K. S. and A.S.
"To all the Aunties, Congratulations on a first-class nursery. The care, love and stimulation that you have all given to O. has been truly wonderful. This has been reflected by the tremendous progress O. has made in all areas of his development since being with you. Moving O. to your nursery was one of the best decisions we have made. We wish you many more years of success and will carry on highly recommending you to anyone looking for the best nursery education for their child. Love .... R. and M.
"The Aunties are excellent at recognising individual needs. They are very skilled in making a child feel important, valued, and well loved. I have no doubt when leaving my children that they will be treasured and nurtured all day." A. and A.
"I particularly like: the family atmosphere, caring, lovely varied activities, plenty of fresh air, children well taught in foundation skills and beyond, daily feedback." L. and D.
A parent leaving for logistical reasons wanted to provide the following reference: "... an excellent nursery. Having researched other forms of childcare Aunties offer many features which you don't get with other childcare on offer... some of what is offered which I consider to be superior to other childcare offerings includes: (1) a large amount of outdoor play. Many other nursery providers offer outdoor play on a less consistent basis and my view having seen in other nurseries many children contained within a relatively small indoor space for what must be many hours (especially during the winter months) is that being outside is a good thing. My daughter loved it. (2) A daily timetable of activities which are of excellent quality and seem to happen more frequently than at other nurseries where they are a "special" event (or in some cases non-existent). Examples are cooking and baking, which all children regularly particpate in, nature projects which all the children get involved in (birdbox, egg incubator, worms and caterpillar, etc), regular singing (my daughter teaches me songs she has learnt every night at bathtime!) and listening to Classic FM every morning and book reading/ storytime (which is particularly important for language skills). Some of these things do obviously take place with other childcare providers but at Aunties these types of things seem to be more ingrained in the culture. (3) Staff who appear to be more involved and personal in their care than at some other childcare providers. there is nothing more reassuring to a parent than to leave a child with a carer where they feel there is a personal bond being build or in existence with their child. Hearing both the carers and the other children at the nursery 'calling out' my daugher's name as she walks into nursery in the morning and hearing her mention the names of some of her new child 'friends' ... are some of the nicest feelings, that your child is more part of a family during the long hours of a working day. I would not hesitate to recommend Aunties" J.B. (October 2010)
"Dear Aunties, thank you so much for looking after S. You are all so kind and loving and she has been so happy with you. If only more children (and their parents!) were lucky enough to spend time with you, how different life might be. The Aunties' Old School Nursery is a very special place and we will miss it very much. With special thanks and love ... L. and S.
"To all the Aunties, Thank you so much for being wonderful and kind and understanding. Lots of love, A.and D.
"Dear Sandy, thank you for all the love and devotion you put into The Aunties' Old School Nursery to make it the special place that it is. We have really grown to appreciate and wonder at the joy you have created around you. Thanks for the time and the understanding you give to us as parents - I will really miss our little chats. ... With thanks and love for everything. A. and F.
"To the Aunties, Thank you for all your encouragement, guidance, inspiration and patience. Thank you also for the great care and dedication you put into your nursery... M. and C.
"To all my Aunties, Thank you for all your hard work and for loving me so much and for all the exciting things we have done together. Thank you very much from your little "prince". " G.
"Aunties, Thank you for nurturing, caring, guiding and sustaining J. He has greatly enjoyed his time with you and we appreciate your support. Love and best wishes, S. and R.
"... I wax lyrical about The Aunties' Old School Nursery at every opportunity and will continue to do so; don't ever change. I love the way you cuddle the children and that you love each and every one as if they were your own. If only I could take you all with me! ... Once again, thank you is just not a big enough word for how we feel about what you have done for us; we are so grateful". A. and A.
"Thank you Aunties for absolutely everything! Thank you for providing M. and J. with a great start to their education, for all the fun times they had. Thank you for all your love and your cuddles. Thank you for being ''Super Aunties'' and we will miss you. All our love ...... J. and D.
"Dear Wonderful Aunties, We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the love and care you have given to A. over the last four years. Your nursery is the most fantastic, happy and nurturing environment for any child. A. has been so blessed to have had your guidance, affection and support, giving her so many qualities which will stand by her for the rest of her life. We cannot possibly say goodbye but will see you soon as we will visit frequently. We wish you all the very best and may The Aunties' Old School Nursery and your work continue to flourish. All our love " P. and J.
"To all the Aunties, We have so much to thank you all for, it''s difficult to know where to start! Just over two years ago a tiny toddler arrived at The Aunties' Old School Nursery - the bright, happy, confident child we all know now owes so much to your efforts, expertise and, most of all, the love you have shown her over that time. We are great believers in pre-school education and we both feel that our G. has had the best possible pre-school care and a wonderful start in life as a result. She is a very lucky little girl, and will always be grateful. C. and I.
"Our dearest Aunties, Well, what can we say? Each of you is so special and you have lavished love, affection and kindness on us every day for years. We feel so fortunate to have had you in our lives surrounding our boys with so much love as in an extended family. Your dedication to the children and your commitment to maintaining exceptional standards in your nursery are amazing. Thank you for giving our boys such a brilliant head start; your educational techniques are wondrous to behold (how do you make digraphs such fun for 3 and 4 year olds?)! We could go on and on, but basically we know we could not have been part of a better nursery!!! We are going to miss you all so very, very much. You''re dear friends and we''ll never forget you. Lots of love..." V. and S.
Words by a 5 year old child: "Dearest Aunties, Have a nice day. Goodbye Sweet Aunties. Lots of love, A"
"I cannot express the extent of our gratitude for the wonderful loving care you have given in the last two years. The flexible approach in accommodating our changing needs has been much appreciated. S. is a very special little girl thanks to your loving and spiritual guidance.... I have been searching high and low for a suitable nursery for F. and the lack of success to date underpins what we have always felt. The Aunties' Old School Nursery is unique - both in size and setting but more importantly in the attitude of the proprietor. Any children at your school become an extension of your family. Thank you." P . C.
"Our heartfelt thanks to our extended family, the Aunties. Has it really been two and a half years since we gingerly handed over that senstitive, sweet little bundle? ... We will miss you all, but will never forget two of E's very best years. All our love ...! P. and M.
"Dearest lovely Aunties, How much we will miss you all. You have been so wonderful to us all. L. has blossomed and learnt so much and enjoyed every moment with you. She''s so lucky to have had you as her friends.... We''ll be back ... W. and C.
"To Aunties. I love you lots. Love V." "Dear Aunties, I loved my time at nursery, I wish I could go again. Love S." "I think the children''s messages say it all. Love L. and P.
"What can I say? Thank you all so much for your kindness (to us and to the children): for caring; for calling H. "princess" (it always makes her smile); for teaching J. table manners!!; for giving me total peace of mind: and for giving our children five wonderful years of memories that will stay with them forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! We will miss you! With all our fondest love, M. and M.
"I particularly love your professional staff, expertise, good personalities, good environment for learning, displays, resources, location, access to different learning materials, forward thinking management." C.B.
"Many thanks for looking after our son so well. He has thoroughly enjoyed himself and learnt a great deal during his four years with you. His only complaint is that he can''t go every day!!! With best wishes and thanks C.J.
"Many thanks for providing a loving environment for our daughter to learn in". D.M.
"We can''t thank you enough for the excellent start you have given N; his sister has so many fond memories of nursery and we know N. will too." S.G.
"We would like to thank you and the other Aunties for the excellent care that you have provided for T. and K. ... I have been very impressed by the happy, stimulating, family atmosphere that you create, and the emphasis on fun while also providing a learning environment." L.P.
"... C. continues to enoy his time with the Aunties. Thank you very much for taking such special care of him." C.C.
"It has always be a slight anachronism to drive out of Oxford to go to nursery, but the loving care which the girls have benefited from has made it completely worthwhile." W. and N.B.
"E. has spent his most formative years in an environment which quite simply could not have been bettered.... A formal thank you from us both for not only caring for our child in a way that completely alleviated our anxieties, but also for helping us develop his personality in a manner which has always met with our absolute approval. Thank you too for your personal warmth in making all members of our family feel so welcome at every arrival and departure.... E''s departure will bring to an end the regular "socio-foodie" consultations with political undertones. It won''t be quite the same at the school gates ... Once again, thank you all for everything. We will miss the contact. P. and M.N.
"... thank you for your loving care of H; he is deleriously happy with you." E. H-C.
A parent's experience of The Aunties
We have been very happy with our experience of the Aunties in Wheatley. Our son has been there for two years now, since he was 12 months old. We are watching him grow-up into a thoughtful, caring and independent-minded little boy. He constantly surprises us with what he knows and we are excited to see how he develops in these pre-school years, especially since his recent tonsillectomy.
To try to capture why we feel so confident with the Aunties:
Regular contact with the senior members of staff (particularly Sandy, whenever requested) is a very valuable resource - parenting advice and tips are combined wth a genuine sense that the Aunties know your child as a specific and individual person, with their own character, strengths and foibles
- This confidence is carried through by the careful recruitment of the Aunties themselves, all young women who do their job with professionalism, love and enthusiasm - the degree to which always surprises me! It is, after all, a long day with a lot of other peoples' young children ...
- The support of The Aunties with respect to my child's ENT difficulties has been invaluable - it gave me the confidence to push for the right care from the GP and the NHS. We have therefore had his tonsils out already and can now concentrate on his pre-school development, unencumbered by difficult breathing
- I observe that all the staff - senior and junior Aunties - treat each other with respect and care, which is absolutely the sort of role modelling I appreciate. (Incidentally, I have never seen an Aunty smoke near the building. A small point, but I have seen this at other places ...)
- We specifically chose The Aunties' Old School Nursery because of its size (small) as well as its ethos. The size means that my child is surrounded by children of all ages, hence (I believe) his easy acceptance of his new baby sister because he is used to babies. He also did not have to suffer the very real trauma of moving rooms at a certain age, as in larger nurseries, because there are no distinctions.
- To me, The Aunties' Old School Nursery appears to 'glide' along, with the children doing all sorts of different activities each day and with one-on-one time as well (for parents and children!). It is clear that this does not just happen; it is the result of careful planning and strong leadership, which benefits the children and staff alike. S.T. (January 2013)
"Dearest Aunties, Thank you so much for all of the kind and loving care that you provided to E over the time she was with you. We feel incredibly lucky that she had the opportunity to attend such a wonderful nursery where each individual is made to feel so valued, important and loved. We wanted to let you know that E is enjoying our new home...She is settling into her new nursery although it isn't the same. In fact, she calls the staff at the nursery "the pretend Aunties"!.....The Aunties' Old School Nursery is such a special place and E and I already miss it! Thank you so much! K D and E S (April 2013)
"Dear Vahik and Sandy, .... E has just done 7 hours at nursery on her second day, and could have stayed longer; what a star! She even had a nap! We are really loving having her in your nursery and are already noticing how it is helping her take the next steps in her development and how confident and independent she is becoming. So, I just wanted to thank you both for the love and care you so obviously put into the nursery and for your sensitivity and understanding of the children's emotional needs (and the parents!). PK (March 2013)
"To all the Aunties at The Aunties' Old School Nursery, Thank you all for helping S. settle in so well. We feel very lucky to have found such a lovely nursery! ... with love from J, J, and S".
"Thank you so much for all you do for C. He is so settled and happy at nursery and we have no doubt that this is all down to your hard work, and all the good training you give to the girls. Thanks also for all the support you offer us in coping with everyday life with our fantastic son. We didn''t need Ofsted to say the nursery is outstanding - we always knew! With love and appreciation, S, P, C"
"Dear Sandy and all The Aunties, I am so grateful for all the love and hard work that you have put in to make O. the confident and happy boy he has turned out to be. We''ll all miss you in our daily lives, but do not fear: - We''ll be back! Lot''s of love. C. xx"
"Thank you so much for helping me bring up O. You have taught him, loved him and supported him. You have given me the gift of being able to develop myself at a time when it could have been impossible. I couldn''t have hoped for anything more. Thank you for loving him. A. xxx"
"Dear Aunties, What a BIG THANK YOU we have to say to you. Thank you for giving T. such a secure, loving (and firm - when needed!) environment in which to blossom and grow in confidence. And thank you for all the invaluable parenting advice thrown in when times have been tough and exhausting. You gave us the confidence to keep going and low and behold things are getting easier. You are UNIQUE! We will miss you ALL. Much love K. and R.
"Sandy, you are a joy to work with and you deserve the accolades you have achieved" Children, Education and Families Directorate
"Dear Sandy..... holistic development, emotional intelligence, and building self-esteem in and through a natural environment is central to The Aunties.... Oxfordshire Forest School Service
Dear Sandy and team, What a long time it has been since our memorable first call to you about a place for I. Both I. and T. have had an amazing time in your care and my words really cannot express our family''s gratitude. Our children are so much better people for having known you and been cared for by you, and for that we will always be in your debt. Needless to say we will miss you and speak of you often. Lots of love, C. and I. J.
To The Aunties, Thank you for such a fabulous party! Nanny and popa enjoyed it too! I love being part of the nursery. I have lots of friends and I always know I am loved! M.B. xx
"... I have taken great interest in the growth and development of the nursery. From a small and modest start it has developed into an outstanding example of what Nursery Education should be. This was recognised in the recent Ofsted inspection when the nursery received an excellent grade in all categories. From the outset the warm and caring relationship with children was apparent , as was the respect for each child as an individual, having emotional, social, physical and educational needs to be nurtured. This relationship is summed up in their other name "The Aunties". This is not sloppy idealism but a family that cares for each other, where older children care for those who are younger, where sharing is important, as is the need for children to have the space and time to develop their own ideas...
Structured learning is there when the individual child is ready to progress at his or her own pace, but as in a family, you also do things together in small or large groups. Every opportunity is taken to exploit the natural surroundings of the site as a play area, and as a place for exploring the natural world. Sandy has a talent for producing an internal classroom with the collective art of the children as interesting as the outside world. Sandy also has the ability to enthuse parents, and her staff, who are trained to be as caring, encouraging and aware of each child's individual needs as she is. I have no doubt that what she has achieved Mrs Enjily can replicate wherever she goes ...". P.H. (Long-standing educator)
Dear Sandy, Thank you for all your love and support. L. has flourished whilst at The Aunties and will take all that she has learnt with her. My first experience 'going it alone' with my precious little girl was made so much easier by you and I will cherish the memories and recollect so many of your wise words of advice. Your guidance, compassion and care I will always remember and truly appreciate. I wish you all the best for the future. Thank you again. With much love, L. XXX
Dear Aunties, Thank you for five and a half fantastic years. A., B., and T., have thrived with you all and Mum has kept sane!! We wish you every happiness in the future. All our love, L. x, A. x, A. x, B. x, T. x.
To Aunties, Thank you for taking care of me and teaching me so many songs. Love L. xxx
To all the Aunties, Today little B. moves on in her life''s journey. The Aunties' Old School Nursery has been her most special place. Hold her tight in your memories and know that she will shine because each of you gave her your love. Thank you! SSC. xxx
Dear Aunties, You have given both our children such a wonderful loving start to their education - and ours! We are so grateful and happy that we found you Aunties. We''ll miss you and will pop in for a visit. Lots of love. L. O. and A.K. xxx
Dear Aunties, Thank you very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very Much ... and thanks again! I will always love you. Don''t forget me. Love, B. xxx
Dear Aunties, Friends for life ... We mean it. Love A., B., T.W.
Dear Sandy, Thank you so much for giving my three children (C., G. and S.) such a wonderful start in life. You are always so kind, supportive, helpful and loving. I am so grateful to have met you and appreciative of your wonderful work. You truly are a special soul. With love, E.W. xx
My first visit to this new nursery (Wheatley in February 2010) was a joy. Sandy and the staff have the children's needs at heart and provide a very high quality of care and learning opportunities. The environment is well designed both inside and outside. It has a calm, warm and inviting feel. Children play and sleep outside as much as possible and they have equipment that allows them to do this in all weathers. Sandy pays particular attention to training the staff and she requires a high level of commitment from them. The children form good attachments to the staff. Sandy together with her team are reflective about their practice and she discussed some of the many ideas implemented and ones planned for the future. (Early Years' Advisory Teacher, Oxfordshire County Council)
To my Aunties, From this (baby photo) .... to this (smiling photo of a 'big girl') with love and care from my Aunties. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. xxxxxx
To ''The Aunties'', We cannot thank you enough for the love, patience, care and wonderful attention you have give E. over the past year. She has absolutely thrived at the nursery, from the muddy days in the forest to the games, songs and gardening - especially the wendy house! E. has loved it all. E. is so special to us and we are glad you were able to provide a real home from home and we and E. will miss the nursery very much. We wanted to give you a small gift; we hope it will come in useful for next year''s vegetable patch! Thank you so much! Lots of love, K., N., and E.J. xxx P.S. We will be sure to visit you all soon.
Dear Aunties, Thank you so much for all your help and support over the last year. You've helped me to grow into a big boy ready to go to school. Your love and kindness have made nursery such a happy time for me.. I shall treasure many happy memories and the wonderful times I've had. It's been a privilege to be part of the Aunties' family and I'll keep in touch to let you know how I get on in the future. With grateful thanks, love and best wishes from A.L.
All of the Aunties, You are all my heros! Love L.
Aunties, Thank you for your care and dedication over the last five years with both of my children. What you do is not a job, it's a vocation. Many thanks, C, M, C and G.W.
Dear Aunties, Thank you for all your hard work and loving kindess. You're an outstanding example to all of us. X Goodbye! love from I.R. XXX
Aunties, Just a quick note to say a huge "thank you" for looking after M. so fantastically well for the past three years. She has been so lucky to be cared for in such idyllic surroundings, by people as committed as you, who so clearly enjoy what some of us might find incredibly challenging! She really has flourished during her time at...Nursery and - thanks to you - is more than ready to make the exciting move to "big school"! I know she is keen to come and visit in her uniform to tell you all about it - what a shock the concrete jungle of Summertown will be after the woods, fields and farmland of Stanton St John! Have a fabulous summer. Best wishes to all. Bx (July 2010)
To all the wonderful Aunties, We can't believe that C.'s time with you is coming to an end already - this year has gone so quickly. Since he joined last September you've transformed him in so many ways. He's so much more confident and able to play with other children, and his reading and writing have amazed us! It's quite something when your three year-old has to explain to you what a 'digraph' is... We've been amazed and delighted with the way you've looked after C, and also with the support and advice you've given us too. Neither we nor C. will ever forget the Aunties! Love, A., P., and C. (July 2010)
Dear Aunty Sandy...We are really sad O. is leaving as he has really enjoyed Aunties and always looks forward to his days with you. You have all been very kind and supportive throughout his time with you and especially at the beginning when we settled him in and Mum had to leave! We feel O. has flourished from his time spent with you. We always recommend Aunties to friends...You have created a lovely small, independent family environment, which is not easy to find...Aunties will always hold happy memories for us all. P. and S.G.
I have been delivering NVQ Children's Care, Learning and Development Levels 2 and 3 with The Aunties' Old School Nursery members of staff since July 2009, visiting both settings on a regular basis. The settings have an amazing warm and loving atmosphere which shows respect for all staff, parents and children...All the staff are trained to a very high standard with ongoing support by not only management but by using a mentoring system which gives staff a feeling of being really valued. All staff are encouraged and supported to partake in developing themselves to increase and improve their knowledge and understanding of working in childcare; training days are regularly offered in-house and on external courses. Activities and resources offered to the children are varied and well planned and the children have lots of opportunity for freedom of choice in activities they take part in. All the children are in the same room, which gives a lovely family feel, allowing the older children to role model and younger children to learn through the older ones. Health and safety procedures are followed at all times to extremely high standards by all staff. I really enjoy my visits to the nurseries as standards are never compromised. Oxfordshire Adult Learning, Oxfordshire County Council (October 2010)
Dear Sandy...we cannot thank you all enough for the care, support and guidance the Aunties have given us. It is a credit to the Aunties that F. can sit so beautifully with her hands in her lap, tidy her toys away, learn her alphabet and is eager to attend even at weekends...C.F. (December 2010)
Dear Dr. Vahik and Aunty Sandy, .....A. told me one day (when I was picking him up from school: "I miss the Aunties...". It gave me this heartbreaking but heart warming feeling at the same time, as he misses you because he loves you very much.... A's hands got cold burn a couple of weeks ago. That also made me think of you because that never happened while he was looked after by you (or by me!). It makes me appreciate even more now how well looked after he was.... I hope you are OK and I'm looking forward to seeing you soon." L.V. (December 2010)
Over the past two years I have enjoyed an excellent working partnership with the owner/managers of The Aunties' Old School Nursery, Sandy and Vahik Enjily and their staff. My role has been as assessor/trainer delivering Childcare NVQs and as the provider's Department Manager. Both Sandy and Vahik support their staff 100% throughout their training.....'On the Job Training' is effective, relevant and up to date, actively embracing the Early Years' Foundation Stage Statutory Framework and using the Guidance. The Owner-Managers show clear effectiveness in leadership and management, putting the children and staff first as their prime focus of quality assurance and objectives to drive continuous improvements. During the two years I have been visiting the Aunties, I have seen the Wheatley 'branch' come to fruition, the staff becoming qualified and progressing into Foundation Degree study. This has brough about promotion and results in an effective and motivated team.
'The Aunties' offer an ideal environment in the support of training provision; qualified staff demonstrate best practice and are excellent role models... The nursery client group attracts children from multi cultures; this is reflected too in the staff recruitment and the outcome has been a vibrant mix of cultures, characters(!) and nationalities. Amongst the interest, challenge and stimulation, what shines out is: happy children enjoying a calm atmosphere where they feel cherished.
The care is of a family style where brothers and sisters can enjoy...playing and bonding. This is such an important nurturing aspect essential for our future society - completely lost in larger settings where the only practical solution is age separation - also ignoring the development benefits found in younger children observing older children, and older children helping and nurturing younger children..... Aunties is first choice by many families....For both children and staff it is a pleasurable environment for work and play. Haydon Training Business College (January 2011)
'To all the Aunties (and Uncles!), Congratulations on another 'Outstanding' Ofsted report, which is thoroughly deserved. As children and parents of your nursery, we know what a fantastic environment it is, but we're delighted that it has been formally recognized as such. Well done! Love from C, P, M & S. C.' (April 2011)
'Dear Sandy ... We can't thank you enough for all you have done and continue to do for K. and for all the support you have given us too over the last 3+ years. We will keep in touch for your expert advice and wish you and all the Aunties continued success in the years to come. Yours very sincerely and with much love, G, M and K Y' (June 2011)
To Sandy, Sue and all the other wonderful Aunties, Thank you so much for all the wonderful memories you have given S; they will last a lifetime! I know how much love, har work and sheer determination goes into making them and for that R. and I are truly grateful. Thank you for making S's time with you so special. You are all AMAZING!! You're the best. Love A., R., S., and T.J. xxx (July 2011)
To all the Aunties, Thank you for everything you have done to make Max's time at nursery so very special. He has really enjoyed his time with you all and we have been so thrilled with how he has developed. We will miss learning all the lovely new songs you introduce him to, hearing about his latest adventures in the woods and seeing the latest artistic creations. The penguins are fabulous! Thank you very much. See you in the not too distant future with T.2. A. and M.T. (July 2011)
To all my wonderful Aunties, Thank you for everything you have done for me. I have had a wonderful time and learnt so much. I will miss you all and all my lovely friends. Lots and lots of love, M - AOSN Graduate 2011
Dear Aunty Sandy, Aunty Sue and all the other Aunties, Thank you for being at nursery and looking after me. I have had lots of fun, especially playing outside and learning ABCs. Love from C. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (July 2011)
Dear Sandy, Vahik and all the Aunties, Just a little note to say a huge thank you for playing such an important role in L's life and upbringing so far. She was so happy at 'Aunties' and she is asking where you all are! We will stay in touch and promise to send photos. Thank you. Lots of love, V.,P., and LB.xxxxxxxxx
Dear Aunties, We would like to say THANK YOU! Thanks for the great time C. had with you. Thanks for your help, your kindness, your patience, your love - and all the little things we got from all of your during the last two years. You made our start here a lot easier than we thought it would be! We will never forget C's nursery years! Because of your and your amazing work with our daughter, she is now a really German-British girl! See you over the fence! B.,J.,J., and of course C (July 2011)
To all the Aunties, I can hardly believe how brilliant you are. Thank you SO much for everything you have done for M. over the past four years. He has absolutely loved his time at the Aunties, making great friendships, some of which may be life-long. We have enjoyed watching him grow in confidence and hearing all about his 'adventures'. With our love and heart-felt thanks, C. and P.C. (August 2011)
Dear Aunties, This is just a little something to say a HUGE thank you for making me into such a happy person. I have loved being part of the family and look forward to my days with you. I have made good friends with people my own age and even some people mummy's age! My mummy is a happier person too since I been at Aunties. She says it is 'cos she gets her own time without worrying about me too much! She says: "Could Aunties please open a school and university and then we'd be sorted?! Any way, thanks for the hugs, love, kisses, the playing in the woods, the learning, the fun and the wonderful start you've given me. See you next week. Big kisses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx C.O. (Jan 2012)
To the wonderful Aunties, Moving M. from her lovely nursery in London to start afresh in Oxfordshire was a bit of a worry. From day one, you have all been fantastic and have completely and utterly lived up to our hopes. M. loves you all and has been so very happy at The Aunties. Thank you for loving her, cajoling her, inspiring her, playing with her, laughing with her, teaching her and helping her to be her best self. We cannot thank you enough. With MUCH love, K and JP. xxx (September 2011).
To The Aunties, .... what a beautiful place we come to each day ... We wanted to say thank you for the wonderful job that you are doing ... You make us feel warm and secure, loved and happy... this is one very special place to be! Lots of love from S and KF. xxx
Dear Sandy, Vahik and The Aunties, Many, many thanks for your help and support during the recent difficult time. We really appreciated your thoughtfulness and "extra mile" to help. It is lovely to have this 'family' for our boys - who are thriving. Thanks again, with love, JB.
Dear Aunties, This is just a little something to say a HUGE thank you for making me into such a happy person. I have loved being part of the family and look forward to my days with you. I have made good friends with people my own age and even some people mummy's age! My mummy is a happier person too since I've been at The Aunties. She says it is 'cos she gets her own time without worrying about me too much! She says could Aunties please open a school and university and then we'd be sorted?! Any way, thanks for the hugs, love, kisses, the playing in the woods, the learning, the fun and the wonderful start you've given me. Big kisses, C.O. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To all The Aunties, Thank you for everying you have done to make M's time at nursery so very special. He has really enjoyed his time with you all and we have been thrilled with how he has developed. We will miss learning all the lovely new songs you introduce him to, learning about his latest adventures outside,and seeing the latest artistic creations! The penguins are fabulous! Thank you so very much. See you in the not too distant future with no.2! A and MT and Aunties' Graduate xxx
Dear Aunties, On behalf of S we would like to thank you very much for all your love, kindness, patience and support you have provided for S over the last two years. It's clear that she has thrived in the lovely environment, learnt a lot and made some good friends. We know that she will miss you all very much, however, we'll make sure that she comes back to visit you. Lots of love, S and S's mum and dad xxxxxxx
Dear Aunty Sandy, Uncle Vahik and ALL the Aunties, We just wanted to say a huge thank you for looking after the boys so well. They have loved every minute of their time with you and will miss you all. Thank you, Sandy, for all your advice and support. Am still hoping one day we'll be able to let you know that N is going to bed at a normal time! Love G, G, N and F. (August 2012)
Dear Sandy, Thank you for all your love and support. L has flourished whilst at The Aunties and will take all that she has learnt with her. My first experience 'going it alone' with my precious little girl was made so much easier by you, and I will cherish the memories and recollect so many of your wise words and advice. Your guidance, compassion and love I will always remember and truly appreciate. I wish you all the best for the future. Thank you again. With much love, L xxx
Dear Aunty Sandy, Uncle Vahik and all the Aunties, Thank you so much for another year in your nursery. We feel very lucky you are there for us, and for all we receive from you, we love you back... A,L and L xxxxxx
Dear Aunties, Thank you for your caring, affectionate and kind approach and for looking after J and L so well ... R, J, J and L xxxx
Dear Aunty Sandy and Uncle Vahik, We all wanted to say a great big thank you everything you have done for W. We will all miss Aunties! When I finally decided it was time for W to start, you took such care in ensuring that he and I were all right at every stage. I have therefore never since worried about W for a single minute when at The Aunties as we have always known how much you care for him. He has made some lovely little friends ... We will all, as a family, take away important little mantras: "quiet voices inside, loud voices outside", "running outside, walking inside", "down at the station ...!" ...You have all certainly given W a sense of structure and how some things "just are", how important it is to think about others, and general manners and courtesy. It is all so closely allied to our own family beliefs that W being at The Aunties has just worked! We owe a debt of gratitude too to Aunty Sue, Aunty Leanne, Aunty Chelsea, Aunty Ruky, Aunty Nazia and a host of others. And to you both for always listening, always taking time to chat about W and the family, and your love for W. All the very best, M, A, W and I xxxxxxxxxx (August 2012)
Dear All The Aunties, Thank you so very much for all the love and nurturing you have given to J over the last three years. Thank you for helping him to learn (and love), so many of the important things in life ... exploring, singing, sharing, playing, learning, digging, splashing... and for making him feel so loved and cared for. With huge gratitude and love, A and DL (August 2012)
Only an Aunty can give hugs like a mother, keep confidences like a sister, and love like a friend. Thank you xxx