The very first Seahorse Graduation, Summer 1998
In 1997, Julia Wolfe opened the very first Seahorse Nursery setting in the ground floor of her family home in Southfields, South West London. Over the next 24 years, Julia and the team would deliver the Seahorse pedagogy of ‘Loving, Educational and Fun’ to hundreds of preschool aged children and make a real impact within the community.
The journey began over a quarter of a century ago, when Julia decided to pursue a change in career and left her roles as a British Army Captain and Motor Car Racing Marketing Manager, and retrained in Early Years. As a new mother at this time, Julia gained experience and expertise working at other nurseries in the area, but after surviving a battle with breast cancer, she made the decision to open up her very own nursery.
Over the following decades, Julia and the team worked to develop Seahorse Nursery within the community, but since the begin we have always valued three main aspects. The first was to curate a really loving environment where all children feel confident to take on new challenges everyday, and comfortable to express a range of emotions, where their wellbeing is top priority. The second is education, Seahorse Nursery has always followed a specialised curriculum, developed around INKY SWOT sessions for the children and a key focus on mathematics, literacy, language development, phonics and the 7 key areas outlined in the EYFS. Lastly, nursery has to be fun! The children all take part in a range of exciting activities everyday, go on trips around the local community, and fun is built into every part of the nursery day.
This original Seahorse Nursery in Southdean Gardens is where many of our staff began their Seahorse careers, and was an amazing nursery for children and practitioners a like to grow and develop. We were thrilled to be officially recognised by Ofsted as an ‘Outstanding Nursery’.
“Early Years is all about human connections and making sure each individual child’s needs are met. Our team are incredibly welcoming and ensure a home from home environment. At Seahorse we are particularly passionate about connecting with the community and spending lots of time outdoors.”
Harriet Wolfe, Principal of Seahorse Nursery
In 2012, Harriet, Julia’s daughter, joined the Seahorse family full time after also pursuing a career change. She received her Early Years Teachers Status and has since worked with Julia to grow the Seahorse community throughout Southfields and Wimbledon Park. First came Seahorse Day Nursery Southfields, which was originally located within Albemarle School, where we also received an Ofsted Outstanding rating. In 2020, we relocated just over the road to the Jasmine Building within Linden Lodge School. With this move came a range of opportunities for the team and children including an onsite woodland walk for forest school sessions and use of the soft play and sensory room!
After the success of the Southfields Day Nursery, Wimbledon Park Day Nursery opened its doors in 2018, which is our biggest setting yet. We were over the moon to be able to welcome 25 new members of staff to the Seahorse team and more than 60 new families too. Our Wimbledon Park site has really integrated and bonded with the surrounding community on Arthur Road, so we were delighted to be able to open a second location just next door in the Spring of 2021. Wimbledon Park 2 is the latest Seahorse Nursery location, and along with the other nurseries, it’s proximity to Wimbledon Park mean that forest school sessions occur throughout the week, which is something the children love!
In 2019, we were delighted when Julia won the national Nursery Management Today Award for Personality of the Year, we were so glad to see Julia’s hard work and dedication to the Early Years sector, which she has been extremely passionate about for over a quarter of a century recognised by a national body. We were ecstatic when the following year in 2020, Carly, our manager at our first day nursery setting and now manager of our Wimbledon Park locations, was also recognised by Nursery Management Today, winning the national Operations/Area Manager of the Year Award.
The success of our latest day nursery locations has been amazing to see, and this lead Harriet and Julia to make the decision to close the doors of the original Seahorse Nursery after an amazing 24 years, and revert the nursery back into the family home it had once been. It was emotional to say goodbye to the first ever Seahorse setting, but Seahorse Nursery is still very much a family affair!
We are so incredibly proud of every single team member who has helped to make Seahorse the amazing nursery that it has become over the last 24 years, and we are also excited to see what the future holds for us at Seahorse. As a family led, independent local nursery group we are very proud to be able to continue delivering our specialist pedagogy of loving, educational and fun to the children of Wimbledon Park and Southfields.