Love and care from home to home
Alexandra Albery created La Nounou in 2007 in response to her quest for the perfect childcare for her toddler and baby. She visited nurseries and childminding settings (from traditional to Montessori set-ups), which helped her develop a clear vision of what she was after. La Nounou’s uniqueness resides in the fusion of the strengths of childminding settings and nurseries, without their drawbacks.
La Nounou is a home setting. Its size and rooms are immediately familiar to babies and young children, which is extremely reassuring to them and helps them develop a sense of belonging. Furthermore, we operate in a nurturing and “family” like environment where children of mixed ages grow alongside each other and learn how to care for and respect each individual. Younger children are inspired and driven by their slightly older peers and make more progress faster. Older children learn cooperation and develop a caring disposition. At La Nounou, there is always enough interaction to keep little ones entertained and motivated without it becoming too daunting or overwhelming.
At La Nounou, we all go on a learning journey together. Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers will cooperate to make bread, pasta or soup, learn relaxation and yoga, plant seeds and grow vegetables. Everyone will contribute at their own level, working towards a common goal. We believe that effective learning is meaningful, and is based on the children’s reality and personal experiences. Therefore, we have divided all our topics into the four seasons. In Spring for example, we talk about the weather (the rain, sunny spells and rainbows), we explore the world using all our senses, we observe the changes in nature and create art using pastel colours to reflect the hues of blossoms. We go to the farm and meet all the animals and their babies. We talk about growing up… We plant seeds and work on our vegetable patch to have a good crop of home grown fresh produce for the summer. We make spring rolls and seedy bread for our lunch, etc… Everything has a purpose and is anchored in the children’s daily life. We believe that children should have their hands on and use their full body to experience learning and make new knowledge part of themselves. We constantly observe children and those observations constitute formative assessments, which we share with parents on a quarterly basis. We set two targets only for each child and, importantly, one of them is based on their strengths. This gives every child the chance to shine and be “outstanding”. At La Nounou, we strongly believe that this way, each child will grow as a confident learner who will nurture a life-long thirst for knowledge.
We are part of the Forest Childcare Association and spend as much time outdoors as possible all year around. You might spot us as the only ones on the playground in winter. We use our garden to play, work or eat; we go to playgrounds, to the Gunnersbury Nature Triangle for a bit of wilderness and some pond-life watching; we are friends of Kew Gardens and visit them (extremely) frequently. It is one of our favourite places! The freedom we experience there is unparalleled. We grow some of our vegetables and, when we buy others’ from the local Greengrocer’s (everyone loves Alfie), children are involved in recognising and picking the ones in season. Everything is cooked from scratch (even our snack flapjacks), which helps us avoid preservatives and salt and control the amount of sugar we use. Our children also showed us the way forward, more and more of them being either pescatarian or vegetarian. With their inspiration and the professional help of a dietician, we are developing exciting and nutritious vegetarian meals, which will keep not only keep our children healthy but our planet too.
La Nounou want to make a big impression on the world with a small carbon footprint.
We believe that an emotionally, mentally and physically healthy child is a happy child growing into a strong and independent individual.