A NURSERY that prides itself on being a home-from-home for children and their parents is celebrating after receiving an outstanding Ofsted rating.

In its latest inspection, Cherry Tree Nursery, in Sedgefield, was described as exceptional and staff were praised for their excellent team work and outstanding levels of commitment.

Leadership was deemed inspirational and the relationship with parents was said to “significantly enhance children’s learning and development because staff promote the importance of the home learning environment.”

Loading article content

Located on North End, the 30-place nursery, which caters for youngsters from babies up to five-years-old, is set in a converted house and manager Zheeta Hitch and her team are proud it retains a homely feel.

As well as enjoying creative play and learning activities indoors, the children regularly visit nearby Hardwick Park and Ceddesfeld Hall to explore the natural world.

The inspector also praised the nursery’s commitment to healthy eating and the fact the children help to grow fruit and vegetables to make soups and smoothies.

In 2009, Cherry Tree Nursery was rated as good and the team are thrilled this has risen to outstanding.

“We cried with happiness when we found out,” said Mrs Hitch, who took over in 2009. “We cried for the children and the parents as much as for ourselves as we are one big team here.”