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We arrange our waiting list in order of date of the application received for each year group. We are flexible about attendance patterns; however we do recommend children start with a minimum of two sessions a week.

We do not take bookings more than nine months in advance of commencement, unless there is no availability until later, or a sibling is already attending The Ark who will continue to do so during the intervening period.

To secure a childcare place we ask parents to pay a deposit of 50% of four weeks’ fees when booking. This deposit is refundable when your child leaves The Ark, but not if you do not take up the place you have booked.

Fees are payable monthly, in advance, and we request one month’s notice for any reduction of hours or cancellation of a childcare place.


You can download a copy of our prospectus here.


You can view our policies here:


You can download a copy of our most recent newsletter here.

Term Dates 2024

Summer Term 2024
Monday 15th April – Tuesday 23rd July 2024

Half term and holiday club Tuesday 28th – 31st May
Summer holiday club: Wednesday 24th July – Friday 23rd August
The Ark Closure week: 26th – 30th August 2024

Autumn Term 2024
Thursday 5th September – Thursday 19th December
inset/holiday club days: Monday 2nd, Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th September
Half term and holiday club: Monday 28th October – Friday 1st November
inset holiday club day: Friday 20th December

Christmas Closure week: Monday 23rd December – Wednesday 1st January 2025
inset/holiday club days: Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd January 2025


(Special Educational Needs and Disability)

Children with Additional Needs

The Ark prides itself on being a fully inclusive nursery. We aim to offer all children who attend The Ark a safe, fun and stimulating environment where they can learn through play and work towards the Early Years Foundation Stage targets. We have two trained SEND Coordinators who attend regular training to keep up to date and staff have training in Promoting Early Interactive Conversation – Dorset, Picture Exchange Communication System, Sign-a-long, and Common Assessment Framework. The Ark works closely with outside agencies and professionals such as Portage, Speech and Language and Physiotherapists, all programmes will be carried out in the setting by a SENDCo or child’s key worker. We fully support children with an Education, Health and Care plan and where required an Individual Plan will be put in place by the SENDCo and child’s key worker.

The Ark is a modern, purpose built setting and is completely accessible for all, with the use of a disability bay for parking. The main entrance is on level ground and there is access via a ramp to the garden.  We have a ground floor toilet, wheelchair accessible toilet and facilities for intimate care for older children with additional needs.  All our rooms have adjustable height tables, making activities accessible for those in wheelchairs. There is a large outside area which is extremely well equipped, again much of which is accessible to children in wheelchairs. Staff in all rooms use Signalong to communicate with children with language difficulties.

The Ark has an Equal Opportunties & Special Needs Policy. You can read the Policies here:


Tapestry is a software package designed for nurseries which builds a very special record of a child’s experiences, development and learning journey through their early years. Using photos, videos, and diary entries, our staff, along with the child’s parents or carers, and the child themselves if they’re ready, ‘weave’ the story of the child and how they are growing and developing. The Tapestry platform enables these memories to be kept as a permanent record of each child’s unique journey. All information held in the platform is stored securely and can be downloaded and shared as required. Parents or carers are able to view their child’s progress, the activities provided for them, and how much fun they’re having, whilst also uploading their own comments and media.

The communication between staff and parents that Tapestry enables, helps build a shared understanding of how every child can reach their full potential. The Tapestry online learning journal is also available as an easy-to-use, secure app, meaning capturing key learning moments, and videoing milestones are even easier.


All of our meals and snacks are prepared onsite by our cook from fresh ingredients where possible. We are able to cater for children with food allergies.
Nutrition Policy

This is an example of a typical weekly menu:


Cereals, porridge, toast with various toppings, orange juice or milk


Fish fingers with new potatoes & mixed vegetables

Spaghetti bolognaise

Cottage pie with swede & broccoli

Roast chicken, roast potatoes, cauliflower & carrots

Macaroni Cheese & green beans


Wraps with Ham or Egg with Carrot & Cucumber Sticks; Apples & Melon

Beans on Toast; Grapes & Banana

Cheese & Tomato Pasta; Malt Loaf

Ploughman’s with Apple, Pickles, Cucumber & Humus

Fish Finger Sandwich; Yoghurt

The Ark Child Okeford Food Hygiene Rating 5

Useful Links

Budget March 2023
The Chancellor announced significant increases in free childcare.  However, the new provision will not be available immediately.
From April 2024, working parents of 2 year olds will be able to access 15 hours free childcare per week.
From September 2024, this will be extended to working parents of 9 months to 2 year olds.
From September 2025, all eligible working parents of children aged 9 months up to 3 years will be able to access 30 free hours per week.
These provisions will apply to 38 weeks a year.
Please see the chart below summarising the changes:
You can apply online for a childcare account to get a code for 30 hours to give to your provider. How you can use 30 hours free childcare. You can get 30 hours of free childcare per week for 38 …

Be the best you can be “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) Welcome. Welcome to St Nicholas CE (VA) Primary School. Thank you for taking the time to visit our website.