BLUE IS THE COLOUR – Driving around South-West London one cannot help but catch sight of multiple blue signs for Eveline Day and Nursery Schools (EDNS) . At the last count there were six nurseries, spanning Wimbledon, Rayne’s Park, Tooting and Wandsworth, plus a prep school in Balham High Road. Working parents know that it’s hard to beat the company’s wraparound care from 7.30am to 6.30pm and “outstanding” service 51 weeks of the year for children from three months to 11 years.
It’s all thanks to Maria Keaveney-Jessiman who, as a working mother in the Sixties, had the kernel of the idea for Eveline Day and Nursery Schools. 54 years later she is still an integral part of the management team. Saying that EDNS is a family affair is an understatement. Maria’s sisters, son, daughter and grandchildren all have a part to play, which translates into a safe, secure, warm, caring environment for children. The fact that many staff are long serving – over 20 years in some cases –speaks volumes.
“OUR VISION IS TO DEVELOP A LOVE OF LEARNING AND AN ENTHUSIASM
FOR LIFE AND TO NURTURE ENQUIRING MINDS”
Of course, EDNS isn’t just about the hours of wraparound care. Ofsted has variously rated the nurseries “good” and “outstanding” and the company’s aim is to provide the best care and education by creating a stimulating environment and a close relationship between parents and staff.
“Our vision is to develop a love of learning and an enthusiasm for life and to nurture enquiring minds,” explains Day School Educational Director Eveline Drut, daughter of the founder. “We believe that each child will grow and develop at their own rate. The better the environment, the more the child’s brain is stimulated and the nearer each child will be to attaining their own potential.” Children here – many of whom are international – feel part of a family and can stay in that family environment until the age of 11 at the Eveline Day School, located at Swan House, an impressive white building on Balham High Road which offers places for 120 students. Some 50% of nursery children transfer to the prep school.
With small class sizes and high academic achievement, and a passion for sport, the performing arts and languages, Eveline Day School develops confident children who go on to gain scholarships and entrance to all the top schools, among them Alleyn’s, JAGS, Wimbledon High, Whitgift, Streatham & Clapham, Emanuel and Wilson’s.
There’s a lot on offer at Eveline Day School – recent activities include residential trips, winning the Wandsworth Spelling Bee, year 6 competing in the borough’s debating scheme, interschool matches and musica performances at venues such as The Royal Festival Hall. The latest project for the under-fives is “forest school”. Children don waterproof all-in-ones, are free to explore outdoors and are encouraged to get dirty.
“We focus on children’s strengths and this adds to their confidence and instils independence,” says Eveline Drut. She is a strong believer that music helps develop the mind and all students from the age of seven play an instrument.
During their time at Eveline Day School, children develop a strong sense of awareness and they have noticeably high levels of self esteem. Each child has their own talents; as the school says, “Our aim as educators is to prepare them for their next developmental stage.”