A NURSERY that is expanding at a gallop is converting an old coaching house to meet demand.

The extension of nursery funding to two-year-olds has prompted Rooftops Nursery to develop a derelict building at the rear of its Queen’s Road site in Richmond.

The two-storey development, to be completed in June, will increase the number of babies catered for from six to 12 and toddlers from eight to 12.

Extra staff will also be required swelling the number of people working at the Montessori nursery to 18.

Owner Hannah Hurley said the expansion would allow the babies to be separated from the toddlers, which was better for their learning and development, and would give the staff and children much needed extra space for activities.

She added: “Since the funding was extended to two-year-olds, allowing them free provision for 15 hours a week, we have seen a good uptake and now need to expand.

“We are also hoping to be able to stage holiday club activities in the extra space and offer the area for out of school activities and community use. Our parents group is helping us design the outside area and we are eventually planning to grow our own vegetables to fund further activities for the children.”

Montessori education was founded in the 20th century by scientist Maria Montessori who believed the best way to teach children was to build their independence and confidence and for them to learn by doing. She also believed that the early years, from birth to six, represented the period where children had the greatest capacity to learn.