WHEN it opened 40 years ago, Headington’s Kiddies Korner Nursery School operated in a different climate.
Stay-at-home mums were more common and childcare had yet to expand to the major industry of today.
Staff and parents will mark its birthday today with a family fun day at its site in Quarry Village Hall where it opened in 1974.
Its owners have seen major changes in attitudes to childcare over the five decades,.
Founder David Brown originally wanted it to be an extension of an employment agency he planned for the site.
By the time the building went up an economic slump meant demand for workers had fallen and the agency plans were scrapped.
But Mr Brown, 66, said that within 10 years it took up to 48 children, which he said made it the largest private nursery in Oxford.
He said: “We were among the first.
“There were not a lot of hospital nurseries then – they came later – and this was before the time of play schools so there were just not the places to go.”
Wife Rosemarie, who ran the nursery with him, praised staff.
She said: “They are key to the nursery’s longevity because some have been there for many years.
“The work atmosphere is very good and the leadership is excellent. Without that there would not be the nursery.”
They sold the business in 2007 to Tricia Medlicott, a nursery assistant at the business for 25 years.
It now has 48 children on its register and can look after 32 in one day.
Mrs Medlicott said the biggest change had been the introduction of regulations like Ofsted inspections and record keeping.
The 57-year-old said: “When I first started there was no Ofsted and we did not have to keep folders on all the children like we have to now.
“But I think it’s a good thing that we do this because it means you have a better understanding of the children and you get to know their families.
“Years ago the children would come in, you would care for them and wipe their noses but there would not be the written documentation you had to abide by.”
Money raised from today’s tombola, raffle, face painting and children’s activities will go to a £20,000 project for new disabled toilets and to refurbish the hall.
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