Top nursery in Cambridgeshire

Leap and Learn achieves national recognition.

We are very proud to announce that Leap and Learn Northstowe has been named as a “Top 20 Recommended Nursery in the East of England” beating off stiff competition from over a thousand other providers.

Award winning nursery

The top 20 nurseries received an award from the leading day nurseries review site,, with the award based on the nurseries reviews from the children’s families and carers.

Mark Gatland, Chief Executive of Leap and Learn said:

‘We are delighted that Leap and Learn Northstowe has been recognised as one of the best nurseries in the East of England. We’re proud of our brilliant staff who work hard to provide high-quality early education to all of our children. 

‘Parents choose Leap and Learn not only for our quality of childcare, but also for our flexibility and focus on the needs of parents and carers. 

‘It’s great to see parents rate our services so highly, and we would like thank all our families for helping to make us the wonderful nursery that we are so proud to be.”

Funded 2 year old places in Cambridgeshire

More children could be eligible for funded two year old places

Around 8,000 more children will be eligible for funded two year old places under universal credit, according to plans put out for consultation.

The introduction of universal credit, which replaces the current benefit system, means that the Government needs to set similar eligibility criteria for families receiving it, to ensure ‘the early years offer continues to be targeted at those children who can most benefit from it’.

The DfE is seeking views from early years organisations, providers and parents, on the eligibility criteria for the free entitlement for two-year-olds, following the introduction of universal credit.

The consultation proposes setting a net earnings threshold of £15,400, not including any extra income through benefits. It estimates that a typical family earning around £15,400 a year have a total household income of between £24,000 and £32,000 once benefits are taken into account.

The DfE estimates that by applying this eligibility criteria around 8,000 more children would take up the two-year-old places once universal credit is fully rolled out, compared to the number currently receiving it.

The Government intends that this earnings threshold for the two-year-old entitlement comes into effect from 1 April 2018.

Minister for children and families Robert Goodwill said, ‘Expanding access to high-quality early education is essential if we are to give every child the best start in life, which is why we are investing a record amount in childcare – £6 billion by 2020.

‘Our proposals not only ensure that no two-year-old who is already benefiting from the free 15-hour offer loses it, but will give thousands more the chance to benefit, supporting their early development.

‘This is an important issue and it is important that we get this right. We want to hear from families, early years professionals and other experts throughout this consultation so we can identify those children who need our support most.’

The DfE said that as of January 2017 around 160,000 two-year-olds were taking up the offer. Under the proposals, all children who are taking it up already will continue to access it.

A consultation is already underway on proposed changes to the threshold for eligibility for free school meals and the early years pupil premium.

Sector organisations welcomed the news that more children would have access to places, but stressed that the inadequate funding for 30-hour childcare was put nurseries’ sustainability, and the availability of two-year-old places at risk.

PLA chief executive Purnima Tanuku said, ‘Expanding the two-year-old offer to give more children the best start in life is the right thing to do, especially in the light of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report launched yesterday.

‘Teachers are already seeing that children who have benefited from the two year old 15 hours of funded childcare are starting school ready to learn. A play-based approach to high quality early education is the best way to reduce the widening inequality gap.’

Santas Grotto in Cambridge 2017

Visit Santa this Christmas

It may still be October but as the children keep telling us, Christmas is nearly here!

Santa will no doubt be visiting Leap and Learn this Christmas but there are also many other places to visit him in the build up to December 25th.

Image result for xmas grotto

The Guildhall, Peas Hill

Santa has come back to the Visitor Information Centre in Cambridge again to see all the lovely children and find out what they would like for Christmas this year.

Go and see him in his grotto in the heart of Cambridge on Pea’s Hill and be transported into a magical winter wonderland.

The grotto is a treat not just for the children but for the adults as well.

Opening times will be from December 3rd to 24th, Saturdays 11am – 5pm and Sundays 11am – 3pm.

The grotto is closed Monday to Friday until December 19-23 when Santa ramps it up a notch and is open everyday 12-5pm.

The cost will be £6 per child (which includes a toy).

Adults go free!

Thursford Collection

Santa’s Magical Journey

Give your children or grandchildren a day they’ll never forget. Visit Father Christmas in the magical setting of Thursford this Christmas. It will be a treat to cherish for everyone who wants to experience this magical fantasy journey and visit Father Christmas in his very special house. 

Your journey takes you past the penguins and polar bears to see all the giant sized teddy bears ready to load Santa’s sleigh, past the busy elves, hard at work in the toy factory taking in the wonderful wrapping machine. You’ll meet lots of fantasy characters including the snowman family but watch out for the snowballs before you make your way through the magical forest to reach Santa’s House where you meet the man himself and all his gifts for all the children that visit.

Santa’s Magical Journey is open:
25th & 26th November 2017
02nd, 03rd, 09th,10th & 16th – 23rd December 2017.

Adults £10.50
• Children £16.50 includes a present

Your visit also includes seasonal children’s entertainment and a 4D film.

All tickets must be pre-booked, with journey times every 15 minutes.

Bookings can be made online at or by telephone 01328 878477.

Blackthorpe Barn, Bury St Edmunds

This perfect miniature grotto promises to be a superb Santa experience.

Santa isn’t giving too much away at this stage but he has revealed that all children will receive a gift (if they’ve been good).

Recommended for children aged 0-9. Must be accompanied by an adult.

Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham Estate, Bury St Edmunds. Weekends from November 25, £6 per child.

Also open December 19-22.

Scotsdales Garden Centre, Great Shelford

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It’s that time of the year again when all the believers are whisked off to the wonderful world of Father Christmas in his snowy Scotsdales grotto.

Usually it is only Father Christmas’ Elves who are allowed on the Elf Express but for a limited time only we’re all invited to jump aboard!

With the help of the Christmas Elves and Rudolph, riders are transported to a magical winter wonderland for a chance to meet and have their photo taken with Father Christmas himself.

Scotsdales Garden Centre, Cambridge Road, Great Shelford.

Father Christmas is there from November 19. £10 per child, £4 per adult.

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Bury Lane Farm Shop, A10

Father Christmas is setting up his grotto on the Garden Shop as usual.

And don’t miss this year’s Reindeer Event focusing on the beautiful Cairngorm Reindeer, their wellbeing, the conservation surrounding them and informing children that reindeer are not just for Christmas!

With many reindeer being kept in unsuitable conditions throughout the year, Bury Lane believes that the Cairngorm Reindeer should be celebrated as the only free ranging herd of Reindeer in the UK and would like to focus on educating visitors on the importance of this, especially during the festive season.

Please be advised that this is a Countryside Restoration Trust event, supported by Bury Lane Farm Shop.

Therefore, if you would like to discuss this further, please contact The CRT direct on 01223 262999 or via email at

Frosts Garden Centre, Brampton

This is a unique grotto experience like no other.

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Enter Santa’s magical wonderland, sing with his bashful elves and then make some reindeer food ready to sprinkle on Christmas Eve.

The adventure continues into Santa’s living room where you will listen to an enchanted story read by Santa himself.

It’s the ultimate Santa experience for the whole family to enjoy! Your experience will last around 30 minutes.

Frosts Garden Centre, Buckden Road, Brampton.

Child Ticket – 6 Months and Over £13.99 each

Adult Ticket – £4.99 each

6 X 8 Photo – £7.50 each |4 x 6 Photo Glitter Frame – £11.99 each

Wicken Fen, Lode Lane

Don’t miss Father Christmas at the Fen. Follow the Christmas trail to find Santa and tell him what you would like for Christmas.

Then visit the elves busy in the workshop, and make Christmas crafts to take home.

Remember to wrap up warm because the Christmas trail can be chilly and no dogs allowed.

Wicken Fen, Lode Lane, Ely. Follow the Christmas trail from December 3.

Also check out the Christmas elves and decorations workshops.

Child ticket, £9.

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Shepreth Wildlife Park, Shepreth

Starting on December 2 at 11am, Santa will be parking his sleigh at Shepreth Wildlife Park.

He’ll be meeting the children and giving out presents.

Bookings can be made on the day, but please note the cost of a child will also include the usual admission rate of £9.99. This will make the cost of a child to visit the park and Grotto £14.99 on the day.

All funds raised go to the SWCC Hedgehog Hospital.



The best buggies on a budget

The 10 best buggies for under £100

If you want an easy-to-use, smart pushchair that’s affordable, or just an extra set of wheels to keep at the grandparents, these models are the perfect solution for you.

Buggies can cost well over £500 these days, but there are still plenty that are available at lower prices and offer good comfort and manoeuvrability.


Childcare in Northstowe


We are extremely proud to announce that Leap and Learn have been named as the preferred childcare provider to The Pathfinder School in Northstowe.

In September 2017 we will be opening a brand new 52 space nursery in the heart of the new Northstowe community.

Providing care for children from 4 months to 5 years old, as well as breakfast and after school clubs, this is an exciting opportunity to build on the great work that is already done by our team in Bar Hill.

Leap and Learn has rapidly gained a reputation for exceptional standards in childcare and market leading education in Early Years. Our overwhelming commitment to providing the best possible levels of service to our children will continue in this new venture and as such we look forward to welcoming many new children into the Leap and Learn family.

For information on places contact Sally Gedny on:
01954 488081

Eat well

Healthy Eating

Starting this week…

Having spent some time looking carefully at how we can promote and support healthy eating in our setting, we are excited to present our new healthy menu for snacks for all our children (nursery and after school club), which will form part of our revised food policy.

The menus are from the voluntary food and drink guidelines for Early Years settings published by the childrens food trust.

It is important to us that we place health and wellbeing at the heart of what we do. And this is just the start………….

Children at Risk with The Blue Whale Challenge

Blue whale challenge risk

The Blue Whale Challenge might sound like just another popular social media trend, but it actually entails very dark and life-threatening challenges that everyone (especially parents) should be aware of.

What is the Blue Whale Challenge?

The Blue Whale Challenge gives kids a series of daily tasks, forming a 50-day dark and twisted game.

There are hundreds of thousands of posts relating to the sick trend on Instagram.

It’s thought a group administrator assigns daily tasks to members which they have to complete.

The horrific tasks include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours, but these gradually get more extreme.

On the 50th day, the controlling manipulators behind the game reportedly instruct the youngsters to commit suicide.

The NSPCC say children should remember not to follow the crowd and not feel pressured into doing anything that makes them feel unsafe.

A spokesperson said: “Children can find it difficult to stand up to peer pressure but they must know it’s perfectly okay to refuse to take part in crazes that make them feel unsafe or scared.

“Parents should talk with their children and emphasise that they can make their own choices and discuss ways of how to say no.

“Reassuring a child that they can still be accepted even if they don’t go along with the crowd will help stop them doing something that could hurt them or make them uncomfortable.”

This isn’t the popular ice bucket challenge or trendy, yet still dangerous, cinnamon challenge – this challenge is a serious call for help. It’s dangerous, deadly and a symptom that a person is contemplating or even planning suicide.

Social media and teen suicide

The challenge has already been linked to 130 teenage deaths in Russia and many more across the world, including one Irish father who recently suffered the death of his son.

After finding his son’s body in a field near his home on May 11, Greg Wilmot searched the internet and believes the Blue Whale Challenge was a large factor in the death of his son.

Stop the bluewhale challenge

Is Blue Whale in the UK?

Essex Police informed a school in Basildon about the Blue Whale challenge and the headteacher wrote to parents about it.

The letter, sent by Woodlands School in Basildon read: “We have discovered a game through the police that we feel you should be aware of.

“It is called The Blue Whale Game and is played via many social media platforms.”

No deaths in Britain have been linked to the game, but police officers have posted online warnings to parents.

Devon and Cornwall Police PCSO Kirsty Down tweeted: “Whoever created this horrible game is sick!

“Parents: Please be aware of this ‘game’ talk to your children about it if concerned.”

Spreading the word through social media

Part of the game is to post each day’s task to social media. But social media has also been a tool to fight against the disturbing game. Since word spread about the Blue Whale Challenge, many people have taken to social media to warn others about the challenge and about suicide in general.

What is Instagram doing to stop the game spreading?


Instagram has started showing users a warning when they search for pictures relating to Blue Whale.

When you search for the term on the network, a notification appears which reads: “Posts with words or tags you’re searching for often encourage behaviour that can cause harm and even lead to death.

“If you’re going through something difficult, we’d like to help.”

But directly underneath the post it gives the option to “see posts anyway”.

There are several shocking pictures of self-harm and even jokes about the sick game once you click through.

Some include pools of blood on the floor, while others appear to show a whale carved onto an arm.

Instagram and the blue whale challenge

Noticing suicidal signs in your own children

One of the biggest parenting challenges is feeling unsure of what your kids are thinking about or going through. The internet and social media opens up new ways for parents to watch out for suicidal signs in their own children.

International internet safety expert Dr Rachel O’Connell said, “Parents should try to encourage conversations about what sites and apps their children access and who they’re connecting with. This dialogue is essential to keeping our kids safe online.”

According to the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, the warning signs of a kid or teen contemplating self harm or suicide include:

  • Expressing hopelessness about the future.
  • Displaying overwhelming distress.
  • Marked changes in behavior, including in social and emotional behaviour.
  • Talking about suicide or self harm (even jokingly).
  • Experiencing stressful situations, such as loss, unwelcome change or personal humiliation.


Teamwork in Action

A trip to Tesco

Tooth Fairy Time

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