Our Story

The Story Of Woodlands…….so far!

In the year of 1979 a group of ladies from the area of Purfleet decided to get together, they wanted a pre-school for the local children in the area, because they had nowhere to go with their younger children.

The Barrel Store playgroup was created.

The Children’s Act came in. In 1989, after 5 years they were asked to move from the site, because Ofsted would not pass the provision as it required improvements and Thurrock Council would not let them improve the building as it was listed.

The pre-school had to move to Purfleet Primary which was an old porta cabin which was used by the boys as a changing room at the time, it took the ladies 6 weeks to transfer from the Barrel store to the school where they changed their name to Sunnyday’s Pre-school.

In 1997 they found themselves in a homeless position yet again. Mr Jackson the Head teacher of Purfleet Primary at the time suggested that they could use the conservation land, to build relationships so the children could get an easy transition to the school. Once again, the begging bowl’s and fund raising began, these women kept banging loudly on doors to achieve this dream.

Through sheer hard work, determination and negotiations with builders, also the local Beat Officer of Police Mrs A.Campbell (MBE) they set their heart’s on to get the Wooded land that was on a tiny kidney shape island that was left, it was so overgrown with tree’s and waste which the council left in disrepair.

Eventually their dream came true. In September 2000 the doors of Woodlands were finally opened.

After 6 years, in 2006 the early years team of Thurrock Council approached Woodlands, which was now well established in the area, to ask if they could build an extension to the building they were in to create a nursery, as there was no places around to take the children between the ages of 0-2 year olds, and increase the hours which would enable them to go to full day care, it also allowed them to increase the number of opening weeks from 38-51 which catered for the working parents.

Not only do the setting take main stream children but they also take in S.E.N babies & children, and also babies as young as 3 months to 4 years 11 months.

In the year of 2011 the attic room was built where we could go back offering a sessional room. It made spaces for 36 children 18 each morning & 18 each afternoon 5 days a week, 15 hours a week for 38 weeks a year, this enabled us to go back to our original roots, this was funded by Thurrock Council.

In April 2013, the provision was inspected by Ofsted where we received a grading of 'Outstanding.'

In 2016 we decided to form the Butterfly Rooms where young children that have difficult issues could come and speak to Therapists and experienced Councillors, (the first in the area that we know of).

This year 2017, we had to re-plan the structure of our building and we had no choice but to re-open another room called the Little Caterpillar’s, due to the growing demand of the number of S.E.N children that are in the area, (the only unit that they could attend has now closed down) being a charity run organisation we cannot let this happen.

The building is getting too small for the ever increasing number of children in our area and not enough nurseries or pre-school’s around.

We are now open from 7.00am until 7.00pm Monday – Friday for 52 weeks of the year as the need is so great. We even provide breakfast and holiday clubs as the demand is there.