We wouldn't be here without our own

Magic Story

Back in 1988 Children 1st began as a single day nursery in Long Eaton. Fast forward over a quarter of a century and we’re now one of the best childcare providers in the UK.

This is

Our History

Our founder, Margaret Mason, is the driving force behind Children 1st. Margaret and her family set up the business in 1988 and her dedication to delivering the very best care and education for children is as strong today as it was then.

As we’ve grown we have developed a team of experienced and skilled managers who are not included in our staffing ratios. These people work at our centres, monitoring and improving standards and training staff to ensure that your child receives the very best care, support and education. We also have a team of administrative staff which means that these experienced childcare experts can devote more time to the care and needs of your child.

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  • 1988

    Our story begins

    Children 1st Day Nurseries is born! We purchased our first nursery on Breedon Street in Long Eaton. This nursery was called ‘The Berries’ and had only 24 registered children at the time.

  • 1991

    The next step

    We take our next step and open our second nursery ‘Briar Lodge’ also located in Long Eaton.

  • 1993

    Long Eaton, Main Street Opens

    Opened Children 1st @ Main Street nursery in Long Eaton. This ever popular nursery is currently rated as “Outstanding in All Areas” by Ofsted

  • 1995

    Children 1st opens in Sheffield

    7 years after we began, we open Children 1st @ Sheffield, our largest nursery to date. Located in Sheffield city centre this diverse nursery is very popular with parents working in the city centre.

  • 1999

    Opened Children 1st @ Newark

  • 1999

    Achieve “Investors in People” status

  • 2000

    Chesterfield Royal Hospital Opens

    Opened Children 1st @ Chesterfield Royal Hospital, our first nursery in Chesterfield. Located within the grounds of the hospital and popular with hospital staff, this nursery is currently rated as “Outstanding in all areas” by Ofsted and as one of the Top 10 day nurseries in the East Midlands by www.daynurseries.co.uk

  • 2001

    Toton opens it's doors

    Back near to where it all began, we open Children 1st @ Toton. This nursery large and spacious nursery is rated as “Outstanding in all Areas” by Ofsted.

  • 2003

    Second Long Eaton Nursery Opens

    Children 1st @ Derby Road opens. Our second nursery in Long Eaton, Children 1st @ Derby Road is also currently rated as “Outstanding in All Areas” by Ofsted.

  • 2003

    We settled into our new home at Briar Lodge

    Breedon Street is closed and converted into a house. Briar Lodge is converted into our new Head Office and Training Academy.

  • 2005

    Children 1st Leicester Opens

    Expanding further across the East Midlands, we opened Children 1st @ Leicester in 2005.

  • 2006

    Chesterfield St Peter & St Paul Opens

    Open Children 1st @ St Peter & St Paul. Located next to St Peter & St Paul school, this nursery was our second in Chesterfield and is currently rated as “Outstanding in All Areas” by Ofsted

  • 2006

    Children 1st @ Clowne is built

    2006 was a busy year for Children 1st as we also opened Children 1st @ Clowne. Located within a purpose built building, this nursery is truly unique and has been shortlisted for the Nursery Management Today Indoor and Outdoor Learning Environment Awards.

  • 2007

    Grantham Opens

    Opened Children 1st @ Grantham. This nursery is currently rated as “Outstanding in all Areas” by Ofsted

  • 2009

    Children 1st @ Shepshed opens

    In 2009 we opened what was to become another of our “Outstanding in All Areas” nurseries. Children 1st @ Shepshed is located within a huge 400 year old building and features an amazing outside space which all children love.

  • 2010

    Opened Children 1st @ Plumtree

  • 2011

    Business of the Year!

    In 2011 we were delighted to be named Business of the Year at the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce's Nottinghamshire's BEST Business Awards.

  • 2012

    Opened Children 1st @ Meir Park, Stoke

    Moving across the Midlands to Stoke, We opened Children 1st @ Meir Park. This was to become another “Outstanding” nursery.

  • 2012

    Acorns Upper Tean Opens

    Staying in Staffordshire, in 2012 we opened Children 1st @ Acorns Upper Tean. Set within beautiful countryside, this nursery is also rated as “Outstanding in All Areas.”

  • 2013

    Award Success

    Double award success at the Nursery Management Today Awards. We scooped Nursery Group of The Year and our Founder Margaret Mason won a special lifetime achievement award.

  • 2013

    New Head Office and Training Academy

    Just before Christmas 2013, Jessica Lee MP for Erewash opened our New Head Office and Training Academy at Mayfield House in Long Eaton. The enhanced training academy has enabled us to expand our partnership with local schools and colleges, Job Centres and Government agencies such as the Skills Funding Agency and to provide an increased number of apprenticeships for young people wanting to work in early years’ education. Please click here to read press coverage about the academy.

  • 2014

    Four Nurseries Open

    2014 has been our busiest year ever with 4 new nurseries opened. We moved East into Lincolnshire and opened Children 1st @ Wragby Road, Children 1st @ The Marina and Children 1st @ Monks Road. We also opened our second nursery in Newark, Children 1st @ Newark Town.

  • 2014

    Award Success

    More award success for Children 1st founder Margaret Mason. Margaret was named as one of the most influential people within early years education at the Nursery Management Today Power 20 Awards. Please click here to read press coverage about Margaret’s success.

“We will deliver the highest quality of learning and care to your child. And, we will ensure they are loved and treasured by people who understand them and who are passionate about their care.”

Our Promise to you

You’re the reason we’ve been

Able to Grow

We’ve been able to grow because parents appreciate the superb standards of care we provide to their children. We thrive on word of mouth recommendations and parents frequently tell their friends and family about the high quality of care and education that we offer.

It’s not just our parents that tell us we’re doing a great job. Ofsted have awarded us an unprecedented 13 ‘outstanding in all areas’ inspections. We’re a Quality Counts Accredited company and Investors in People’s most recent visit confirmed that our ethos and culture – and the way we treat our staff – contribute to the high level of care we provide.

When your child comes to a Children 1st nursery they are also coming to an award-winning centre. We’ve been named Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire’s Business of the Year and UK Nursery Group of the Year 2013.

We’re proud of our

Award winning Nurseries

Highly Commended

Family Business of The Year 2015

Derby Road

Outstanding in all Areas

Award

Nursery Group Winner of the Year

Main Street

Outstanding in all Areas

Commendation

Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce

Toton

Outstanding in all Areas

Award

BEST Business Awards for Nottinghamshire

Chesterfield Royal

Outstanding in all Areas

Award

Lifetime Achievement, Margaret Mason

Grantham

Outstanding in all Areas

Award

Family Business Awards 2014

St Peter & St Paul

Outstanding in all Areas

Winner

Nottinghamshire's Best 2011

Acorns Upper Tean

Outstanding in all Areas

Award

Nursery Award 2014 Finalist

Award

Nursery Award 2014 Finalist

Main Street

Outstanding in all Areas

Derby Road

Outstanding in all Areas

Newark

Outstanding in all Areas

Acorns Upper Tean

Outstanding in all Areas

St Peter & St Paul

Outstanding in all Areas