About Elm Cottage

A Short Historical Background


Elm Cottage is a privately owned organisation set up in 1989 by the Director; Yvonne Thomas. Yvonne was a scientist specialising in brain research with four very young children. Unfortunately one of her children,  aged two, underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour. In order to ensure that her child was able to overcome the impact of surgery and maximise potential, she initiated a programme of stimulating activities. To achieve this she enlisted the help of qualified nursery nurses and became a childminder. This successful project led to the opening of the first Elm Cottage nursery in 1989.  The range of activities provided, formed our first nursery curriculum which was then  further developed by the employment of our first qualified nursery teacher (B.Ed.) This provision of a nursery curriculum was years in advance of inspections by Ofsted and requirements to provide a curriculum.  As children started to leave our nursery to start school families required us to extend our services to after school care and so in 1991 we opened our first structured after school club at Didsbury Road Primary School. Further development of two more nurseries and two more out of school clubs in Cheadle Hulme was at the request of the Head teachers at the time.  So you can see that it was not a business plan that led us here but a strong motivation to provide the best caring and learning environment possible for every child, which continues today, thirty years later.


Our Philosophy


At Elm Cottage our aim has always been to provide every child with the best possible start in life and to support them to fulfil their potential. We believe that;

  • A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances.
  • A safe secure and happy childhood is important in its own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.

We provide maximum opportunity for each child to reach their full potential and ensure each child achieves the five “Every Child Matters” outcomes of; Staying Safe, Being Healthy, Enjoying and Achieving, Making a Positive Contribution and Achieving Economic Well- being by:

  • Providing well trained, caring and motivated staff who will create a homely, loving and friendly environment.
  • Ensuring high staff ratios.
  • Delivering the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) to the highest standard possible.
  • Providing individualised learning, development and care that enhances development and recognises that children learn at their own pace.
  • Carrying out ongoing observational assessments that inform planning for each child’s continuing development through play based activities.
  • Recognition of the importance of play, the right of the child to play and to learn through play.
  • Creating an environment that promotes equality of opportunity and carries out anti-discriminatory practice to ensure each child is treated equally and individually.
  • Securing strong relationships with parents/carers and working with them by sharing information and offering support.
  • Working alongside other professionals from agencies and settings and sharing good practice.
  • Maintaining good quality care and adhering to the welfare requirements as stated in EYFS Statutory Requirements (May 2008).
  • Being sensitive to the needs of all children and planning a stimulating environment that is suitable for children’s stages of development.
  • Maintaining a flexible approach that responds quickly to children’s learning and developmental needs.

It is crucial to a child’s future success that their earliest experiences help to build a secure foundation for learning throughout school years and beyond and we hope that this is achieved for each child in our setting.