Stoneygate Nursery school officially opened in 1932 and was one of only 100 nursery schools in the country. Attending to the health and well-being of children during severe economic depression was a priority. Children from the surrounding terraced streets were provided with breakfast, dinner and tea and dosed with malt and cod liver oil. At this time many children suffered from rickets, TB, whooping cough or scarlet fever. The nursery was heated by open fires, children slept on canvas beds and many were provided with footwear from the ‘Poor Children’s Clog Fund’.
In 1940 ‘Wartime Nurseries’ were established throughout the country to enable women to take war work to support their families, their country and British troops from the home front. Many Preston women were recruited to work in local industry and munitions factories and Stoneygate day nursery opened from 6.30am until 9pm six days a week.
During the war, nursery nursing was essential to the British war effort and made a ‘reserved occupation’ Women recruited to the ‘Childcare reserve’ trained at Stoneygate and opened and managed day and night nurseries across Preston. Stoneygate often remained open when the other nurseries were closed, ensuring that there was always nursery provision for the families that needed it, even opening through Preston Holiday week and on Boxing day.
Stoneygate school logbooks record many social changes in Preston, such as cotton mill closures and the building of council estates and their effects upon local families. Throughout its history, Stoneygate has continued to play an important role in the health and education of local children and the development and training of highly qualified practitioners.
In 2003 Stoneygate became an Early Excellence Centre and alongside quality nursery school provision once again began to offer day care provision through Avenham Community Pre-school.
In 2006 Stoneygate became a Children’s Centre and in addition to ‘outstanding’ Nursery School provision continues to offer day-care in partnership with Caritas Care and works in partnership with local health and social care agencies to deliver a wide range of family support and outreach services to local children and their families.
In 2012 the governing body federated Stoneygate with Appletree Nursery School in Lancaster. This has enabled us to maintain high standards and improve the quality of teaching and learning at both schools through the sharing of best practice.