News >> Home Secretary Talks Caterpillars


Home Secretary, Theresa May, left behind the affairs of state on Friday afternoon to chat to Caterpillars in the garden at Mulberry Day Nursery in Maidenhead.

The MP for Maidenhead and Minister for Women and Equalities, was officially opening a new garden designed especially for the babies, or Caterpillars as they are known, who attend Mulberry Day Nursery in Boyn Hill Avenue.

But as Neil Brett, deputy manager at Mulberry, explained observing the strict protocols for child safety and protection at the Nursery while accommodating those required by a visiting Home Secretary was not without its headaches. "There was an interesting conversation over the security intercom with a man claiming to be a policeman and offering to show identification once INSIDE the building! I told him: "I am afraid it doesn't work like that here," said Mr. Brett. The Metropolitan Police Protection Officer bowed to Mr. Brett's determination and security demands were satisfied on both sides 24 hours before the Home Secretary's official opening ceremony.

The new, partially-covered, fully enclosed Caterpillar garden provides a safe environment for play and exploration. The fully decked area is covered with soft matting to help protect tiny hands and knees during crawling, and features like hanging mobiles, planted herbs, play tunnels and a sandpit, offer more opportunities for stimulation and fun.

"I hate wasted space and am constantly looking at ways to more fully utilise the building and its surrounds. I am delighted with the garden and we are all looking forward to warmer weather when even more activities will take place outside" said Mr. Brett. Mulberry Day Nursery is a three-storey property with six main playrooms for individual age groups and currently caters for up to 66 children, up to the age of 5 years, on a daily basis. The baby room, is designed to be like 'a second home' providing places for activity, rest, eating and sleeping for babies up to approximately 14 months old.

Mulberry Day Nursery Manager, Miss Pride Ngwerume said: "During the first year of life, young children's physical development is very rapid as they gain increasing control of their muscles, quickly becoming mobile and able to handle ! and manipulate objects. The new garden gives the babies a chance to explore, use their senses and be physically active while constantly supported by their own key staff member."

The older children, who are known as Ladybirds, Bumblebees, and Butterflies, have their own garden complete with play boat, digging area and climbing features with safety surfaces.

Mulberry Day Nursery, which opened in 2001, is owned by leading UK childcare provider, Childbase, which currently has 40 day care nurseries throughout the South of England. Established in 1989, Childbase is a company privately owned by the employees with four National Training awards to its credit.