New steps

We have had a very busy summer repairing and improving the nursery’s entrance. This could not have happened without the hard work, dedication and support of the whole Southdown Nursery community. Thankyou to Trustees past and present, parents and staff for running and attending fundraising events, local professionals who have donated their skills and time. A very special thank you to Wilson Memorial Trust and Coop Community Fund.

May 2018 Floating Supper Club

Beautiful weather for our termly floating supper club this week. Six families gathered for an al fresco floating supper club, hosted by one of our Southdown parent trustees.  Thanks for a great evening!



Garden and Play Day October 2017

Saturday the 14th of October dawned bright and clear for the 25 parents, grandparents, kids and teachers who turned out to get South Down Nursery’s garden and buildings ship shape for winter 2017.

The semi-annual Fix-It and Paint Day is a much loved institution at South Downs. Children run and play in the expansive garden, revelling in having their families at nursery with them, friends to play with and snacks galore. Parents and grandparents get an opportunity to meet each other, watch  their children playing with nursery friends, and make the nursery a beautiful place for all our children to learn and grow. Nursery teachers feel the love and appreciation of parents and grandparents for their outstanding care of our children.

Achievements of the Autumn 2017 Fix-It and Paint Day included a full weeding and digup of the flower beds, trimming of bushes throughout, weeding and denettling the mud kitchen and garden edges, a tidy up of the magnificent sensory garden, painting of the children’s garden room, putting up a new basketball hoop, handyperson jobs throughout nursery, installing a new gatepost and cleaning the nursery entryway.

Sensory Garden Tree Planting Ceremony
Particular thanks to B&Q for donating paint and brushes for the garden room, Geoff and Carole Green for donating a beautiful, full-grown Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick tree for the sensory garden, and numerous parent donations including snacks for the morning, a huge bag of bulbs for the flower beds, and paint rollers and trays.

We feel the real value of the Nursery Fix-It Days is the community building and the improved environment for the children, but its undeniable that there is a financial value too. All those lovely parents, grandparents, teachers and children volunteering for 2 hours on the Fix-It morning saved the nursery roughly £600. That means £600 extra pounds that can be invested into resources for the children. Thank you so much for all of it!!




Tractor Rides, Splat the Rat and Baby Lambs at Applesham Farm

120 Southdown Nursery family and friends celebrated a glorious May bank holiday picnicking on Applesham Farm. The generous Applesham farm hosts, parent trustees of Southdown, organised a 45 minute tractor ride for all attendees to take in the beautiful South Downs scenery and sights of this working farm. All generations came and enjoyed the sunshine, the delicious food and drink, splat the rat, throw the wellie, petting the baby lambs and the chance to relax and chat in the shade while the children played.


We raised £510 on the day, with great big thanks to the Co-op Steyning and Waitrose Storrington who donated loads of delicious food, the families who donated cakes and scones, the volunteers who manned the cakes, teas and coffees, BBQ and games and most of all to the owners of Applesham Farm for all the hard work and organising to make our Farm Picnic possible.

Southdown Nursery’s mission is to serve the community of Steyning and Ashurst and our fundraising events are always planned to be inclusive and organised with the fun of the children in mind. Funds from this event will be split and half will go towards a beautiful new wooden climbing frame. The other half will go into our capital reserves/wall fundto secure the future of the nursery for all the children of our community.

We can increase the impact of our fundraising events even more with matching donations from companies. Many large companies will donate matching funds to charities that employees are helping to raise funds for. JLL and Santander have provided nearly a thousand pounds of matching donations in the last 2 years. Why not check and see if your employer offers a matching donation programme?

2017 Healthy Eating Week with Riverford Organic Farmers

We all want our little ones to eat more vegetables, and with concerns about sugar and childhood obesity on the rise, Riverford Organic Farmers are taking action with a new scheme to get children at local schools, nurseries and pre-schools to love the green stuff!

Riverford Horsham is delighted to announce that Southdown Nursery is the first to register in the scheme. They kicked off the partnership – which will also help the Pre-school to raise funds when parents get veg boxes delivered to their homes – with a veg cookery lesson within the school’s Healthy Eating Week.

After an interactive talk about where vegetables come from and why it’s important to eat lots of different types, the children had fun exploring tastes and textures, and a rainbow of colours of fruit and veg. They enthusiastically tried some more unusual varieties – Romanesco went down particularly well.

Lucy Smith, Head at Southdown, said “Here at Southdown Nursery we decided to hold a Healthy Eating Week, following our recent Outstanding Ofsted report’s recommendation to support and encourage families with  healthy packed lunches. We invited parents to come and participate in the activities during this special week too. To round it off with Riverford’s veg lesson was spot on for getting the children, and their families, to get totally immersed in fruit and vegetables. They all had a lot of fun smelling, tasting and preparing the vegetables – and eating them!”

Liz Sowden, Riverford Horsham’s veg lady, said “One of the best things you can do for your children is involve them in preparing family meals. This needs a little time and may be a bit messier than your usual cooking, but it’s important as what you teach them now will build firm foundations for their future attitudes towards healthy eating. Let them wash, chop, grate and touch fruit and vegetables, and talk about where they come from. A veg box is an ideal way to do this, and we also have loads of hints and tips to help parents encourage children to eat well and get them involved in the kitchen in fun and safe ways.”

The Riverford Veg for Schools scheme is open to all schools, pre-schools and nurseries. Find out more at or call Liz Sowden on 01403 337 778


March 2018 Fix It and Paint Day

Saturday March 24th 2018

A great big thanks to the 35 family

and friends who picked up tools and gardened, painted, repaired and refelted a shed roof on a bright but cool Saturday in March. We have a lovely new spot of colour at the nursery gate from donated plants, a shiny white porch roof with paint from B&Q, the sensory garden trimmed and enhanced with an evergreen, the garden edges weeded for prickly, spiky things, donated woodchips spread to keep the play area paths usable in wet and muddy weather, and a general all-around tidy up of the garden. It all looks fantastic.



Fix-it and Play Days are organised by the Southdown trustees to be effective, inclusive and with the fun of the children in mind – the events are always kept to 2 hours with lots of snacks and drinks and jobs to suit all ages and skillsets. Parents get a chance to talk to each other and see their children playing in the nursery grounds. And we all get to see how our efforts make the grounds and rooms an attractive, interesting place for the children to learn and grow.


‘Outstanding’ nursery raises record at 2017 Summer Fayre

July 2017

The good news for Southdown Nursery and Forest School continued this week after its summer fair raised a record-breaking £1,069.

Already basking in the glow of an Ofsted’s ‘Outstanding’ report, the Steyning pre-chool saw 150 adults and children relax in the sunshine last Saturday. Face-painting, ‘splat the rat’, cakes sales, bar and barbeque all added to the total.

The ‘Buy-a-brick’ initiative, to replace the sagging garden wall on Jarvis Lane, secured  £105 for an urgent project that will cost an estimated £40,000.

Two years ago South Downs was on the verge of closing with few pupils and little cash. Now parents are queuing up to get in with four new pupils asking to join at the fair.

Its reputation has soared under the management of headteacher Lucy Smith and her deputies.

“There have been enormous improvements under the new manager,”  Ofsted said, and that she provided “inspirational leadership for the dedicated and experienced staff team.”

It added: “The staff team has excellent teaching skills,” Ofsted said. “The nursery is highly organised so that children have continuous support and guidance.

Southdown uses its ¼ acre to develop its Forest School activities, led by former primary school teacher Amanda Walton.

“Staff are, without exception, consistently skilled at encouraging children to think, problem solve and achieve their goals,” Ofsted reported. “All children make exceptional progress from their individual starting points.”

Ms Smith said: “It was a really lovely day, the sun shone and the atmosphere was really relaxed. We’re delighted to have raised so much money and I’m incredibly proud of my staff and our achievements.

“I’d also like thank Coop for contributing buns and strawberries as well as many other locals businesses who generously gave raffle prizes.”