Explore Play Away

About the Nursery

PlayAway Day Nursery has been owned and managed by Funcare since 2006.

Conveniently located on the Christchurch Stray, on the corner of Claro Road and Devonshire Place, we have a happy atmosphere and varied and challenging outdoor play areas. We pride ourselves on our warm and happy nursery, which is staffed by the nicest people who love children and are highly motivated and qualified. We are proud of our North Yorkshire County Council GOLD award for quality, and of our consistently ‘Good’ awards from OFSTED.

Read what OFSTED had to say about us in our most recent inspection – Read Inspection Report


Baby Rooms: Stability, Cuddles and Warmth (3 months – 2 years)

Our Baby Rooms occupy the first floor of the nursery where the flexibility of different areas allows us to cater for each baby’s individual needs. A smaller quiet room is used for the younger and less mobile babies with stimulating toys and equipment. There is a cot in the room as well as a delightful coracle that babies can crawl in to should they feel like a cosy place to have a rest. The larger room gives more space for movement and finding their feet, for activities such as messy play which enables them to learn through their senses, and soft play apparatus to develop their physical skills. A peaceful and relaxing sleep room is available for those babies who require a quiet area for sleep during the day. In addition we also offer a unique sensory room which provides different lighting effects, music and a range of textures and sounds to engage and stimulate our younger children. Our babies are based in rooms with their key people as we feel making a positive attachment to one person helps with the settling in process. Key people are responsible for meeting their key children’s needs throughout the day. Meal times are very social occasions with key people sitting with the children around little tables and chairs.

We endeavour to work closely with you to ensure that we follow your baby’s own routine with regards to sleep patterns, feeding times, comforters and any special requirements. Each baby has a daily sheet with a description of their routine for that day which you are free to take home with you. Before our babies move down to the toddler section subtle changes are made in the baby room to help ease the transition – for example the older babies start to sleep on mattresses on the floor as they will be sleeping on mattresses once they move into toddlers.

Toddler Rooms: Action, exploring & building relationships (2 – 3 years)

The Toddler Rooms offer a smooth transition from our baby rooms, with children moving on when they are ready, at any stage from 18 months. In these rooms, the children begin to explore a wider range of activities such as dressing up & role play, baking and an introduction to arts and crafts, whilst still giving the children the opportunity to follow their routines for eating and sleeping. The children can select and choose play, in rooms organized to offer choice with areas for different activities such as our comfy reading area. There are many open ended resources such as tubes, wooden objects, metal objects and bags to support a toddler’s investigating and discovery. The rooms are arranged in two areas, which can be joined by gates to allow the children the freedom to flow between the two rooms.

More independence is gradually encouraged for example access to drinks as and when they wish, choosing which room to play in and finding their sleep mats.
The toddler staff team will work closely alongside you and your child when you feel they are ready to start toilet training. With any learning that takes place at nursery we ensure constant conversations are had with our parents to maintain consistency for the children and to make sure we are all working together to reach positive outcomes.

Pre-School Rooms: Early Learning through play and fun (3-4 years)

Our Pre-School Rooms are arranged over three areas, one bright, airy sun room with underfloor heating which offers a base for the pre-school, providing daily access to their own computer, mark making, reading area and free access to an outside decking area, and another smaller room downstairs which offers the same experiences and also has free access to an outside play area. This room is self- contained with two toilets and a nappy changing area. The third area is their dining area which is open plan to our kitchen. This encourages conversations with our cook regarding meals, healthy eating and the various foods on the menu. This area doubles up as our creative area providing daily opportunities for sand and water play, and painting, glueing, collage and mark making. Each morning the children gather together for circle time to share their experiences discuss aspects of their day’s activities and their individual interests.

Activities are planned following each individual child’s needs to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and learning is strongly based through play. As we are a registered pre-school, from the term after a child’s third birthday we can claim Early Years Funding on your behalf. This is available for up to five sessions per week. This means that your child does not have to join a school in order to benefit from their ‘free’ 15 hours. The funding is deducted from fees on a monthly basis. More details are available on request.

Our pre-school children are given every opportunity to make individual choices regarding their learning and development. Our adults are facilitators in their learning and ensure that planning is tailored to each individual child.


All meals are freshly cooked on the premises by our nursery cook who believes children should be introduced to many different types of food and tastes. She ensures there are are a wide variety of textures, tastes and colours introduced into our meals. We pride ourselves on ensuring all snacks and meals are well balanced and nutritious. We serve breakfast from 7am – 8am and then provide a hot two course main meal for lunch and a light tea which also includes a pudding. Our pre-school children have a fruit snack on offer throughout the day to choose when they feel they need a little something extra. Toddlers have free-flow access to their snack during the morning and babies are given light snacks between meals when they need a little extra too.

When your baby is ready to start weaning, we will follow your lead and provide babies with the equivalent baby food, starting with pureed simple foods and building up to a full and varied diet. Should you choose to use ‘baby-led weaning’ we will too.

We can cater for vegetarians and children with special dietary requirements but regretfully not for vegans. We are very skilled at dealing with allergies and intolerances, and can adapt our menus to suit your child’s individual needs and ensure their meals look the same as the others.

Our menu runs on a 3 week rotation and is changed every term. It is updated regularly and copies can be seen on each room’s notice board. Menus are planned with a strong emphasis on healthy eating and to ensure good eating habits are set from an early age. If you have a favourite meal, tell us about it and we will be happy to use it in our menu. We aim to provide the majority of your child’s recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables.

Sample Menu

Moroccan Lamb with cous cous (a firm favourite with all the children)

Apple crumble with custard

Mackerel pate on toast

Fresh fruit

Drinks are provided throughout the day for all children. Babies are provided with formula milk, cows milk or water and older children are provided with milk at snack times and have free access to water all day long.


We feel outdoor play is an important part of the day giving the children the opportunity to be more physically active and have more freedom to explore the world around them. The spacious and enclosed outdoor area includes:

A large hard surface playground outside our pre-school rooms which gives enough space for varied play within the same session such as; climbing frame, slide, cars and bikes, as well as large activities such as parachute games and ring games. We also have a wide selection of outdoor toys to use for enhancing the children’s free-play or role play outside. This play area provides the older children with the space and opportunity for more physical and challenging play. We believe in letting children manage their own risks and challenges in a well-supervised and enclosed area. By doing so the children are able to learn their own capabilities and boundaries and take control in extending these at their own pace. This area also provides free-flow activities to our outside pre-school room.

A deck area which allows free-flow access from our pre-school room allowing the children to make their own choices as to whether they would like to be indoors or out. This can be used for story times, taking indoor activities such as drawing, painting puzzles and toys outside and for picnics during summer. Sand and water play is on offer every day and this area is ideal for planting and growing flowers and vegetables.

The side of the building offers a more natural play area for our Toddler children to experience the outdoors. There is woodchip covering half the area which is enhanced by a willow dome. This provides a fantastic space to search for mini-beasts and dig for worms. Natural trees provide the perfect hidey-holes for ‘explorers’. The other half of the play area is a hard surface area ideal for pushing, pulling, riding and running. The toddler staff team ensures that our little ones get as much fresh air as possible by either taking them outdoors, out on short walks to the train station or fire station, or to the stray.

The front of the building provides a soft, clean astra turf area for our babies. There is a decking area with a canopy and a lovely large tree which provides an expanse of shade in the summer – ideal for a nap when being outside gets a little tiring. A herb garden provides a sensory experience for the babies. There are round tree stumps in the garden that the babies love to crawl over or stack and a variety of push along and ride on toys available for the babies to practice their walking and balancing skills. There is a sandpit on the decking area and water play is always on offer outside. A variety of double buggies means that the babies are often able to go out on walks.

All our children are able to experience all our outdoor areas, and the weather doesn’t stop us as we have outdoor suits for wet, cold and snowy weather.

And we love going to the Stray!

Of course because of our fantastic location, we love using the large expanse of green for fun and games in Spring and Summer, for chasing leaves in Autumn and for Snow fun in the Winter!

Meet the Manager


Kirstie is a qualified Early Years Professional with a level 6 qualification in Young Children’s Learning and Development. Kirstie adores children and has more than twenty years experience of working in nurseries with children aged three months to five years. She loves the great outdoors and spends much of her weekends and holidays walking locally and internationally.  She therefore also loves to take the children outdoors as we explore for mini-beasts, go on a bear hunt, jump in puddles or a walk around the Stray. It is all fantastic fun!


Please click on the link for our fees

PlayAway fee spreadsheet SEPT 2018

Fees are payable in advance, on the 1st of each month preferably by standing order. We are sorry we cannot give refunds for bank holidays, holidays or sickness, and we do ask you to let us know as soon as possible if your child will be absent. Failure to pay on time may result in your child’s place being WITHDRAWN.


Please note that you will be charged a late pick up fee if you arrive after 6pm, which is payable directly to the staff who have stayed after hours.

How to Enrol

What we ask of you:

  • To trust & respect us as professional child carers
  • To keep us informed of any changes to your contact details or your circumstances which may affect your child
  • To keep your child at home if they are poorly or infectious
  • To pay your fees on the first of each month on time and in full, in order to minimise any admin or cash flow difficulties.

We would be delighted if you decide to entrust us with your child. In order to reserve a place, please return an enrolment form to us, together with your £40 registration fee and a deposit of £150 which will be refunded when your child leaves the nursery providing that all terms and conditions have been met.

Please ensure the form has a requested start date and if your baby is not yet born, an expected date of delivery!

Playaway enrolment form 2018

Extra Info & Downloads


Playaway enrolment form 2018

PlayAway Prospectus 2015

Read what OFSTED had to say about us in our most recent inspection – Read Inspection Report

Tax Free Childcare Information (please click on link):


Childcare Vouchers

The government currently allows you to take a portion of your monthly wages from your employer in childcare vouchers in order to save you money when paying childcare fees. Up to £243 per month, per parent, can currently be deducted from your wages and paid by voucher directly to us. This deduction allows you to save basic rate tax and National Insurance on that portion of your wages and can therefore represent a very significant saving to you.

We can accept payment from most voucher companies (Computershare Vouchers Ltd, Accor, You at Work, Care 4, Kiddivouchers, Fideliti, Faircare and many more), so please do ask your employer if they have a scheme and try to persuade them to set one up if not, as so much money can be saved for you.

Voucher hints and tips

If the company you are with does e-vouchers or direct payments we would be grateful if you could set this up as it saves a lot of admin time. Some companies allow you to set up a ‘standing order’ with others you must remember to release the money each month. We can of course accept paper vouchers if this is necessary but this does cause us extra work and a delay in payment. Please remember that all vouchers taken from your wage are not paid to us until the following month. This means you will need to settle your nursery bill by cheque or bank transfer for the first month otherwise you will be in arrears and it can get very complicated reconciling which voucher belongs to which month.

Vouchers need to be with us on the first of each month, as do any other balancing payments.

If you decided to leave the scheme or the nursery you will need to cancel them the month before your child leaves otherwise the money will still come out of your wages.

Any changes to the amount on the voucher will also take a month to come into effect, so please do remember this if your fees change for any reason.

Please make sure that you give us a reference of your child’s name, and not yours, so that we know who the voucher is from.

We cannot refund fees paid by voucher, as this would be fraudulent. It is therefore very important that you do not build up a large credit either with us or with your voucher company which you then cannot use.

15/30 hours per week funded for 3 & 4 year olds (& a restricted number of 2 year olds)

As we are OFSTED registered and inspected and we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, we are able to claim for up to 15/30 hours per week funding from the government for your child. These funded hours are term time only and are available for children in the term AFTER they turn 3 years old. (ie Jan-March Birthdays, available after Easter holidays, April to August Birthdays, available after September, Sept-Dec Birthdays, available after January). As the government have placed a few restrictions on how the hours can be used for your child, if your child is eligible for these free hours, please contact us for further details as to how you can use them at our nurseries. Please ask for more details of funding for 2 year olds if you think you may be eligible.

Special Educational Needs

At Funcare we believe that each child has the right to reach their full potential and therefore each setting employs a Special educational needs and Disabilities coordinator who has knowledge and experience in care and assessment. They assess each child’s specific needs and adapt our facilities where appropriate. We ensure that all children are treated as equals, and encouraged to take part in every aspect of the nursery.

Through regular training and supervision, practitioners will support the holistic integration of all children and acknowledge the diversity of special educational needs,  religious practice, customs and festivals and to endeavour to include these in the curriculum wherever possible.

We provide quality care for all children encouraging overall language development and the learning of English as an additional language. We will work with parents and carers to provide a supportive environment, ensuring children are given time and space to express themselves to communicate English, and plan activities for the whole group which would help the child develop their spoken English.

We believe parents are the most important people in a child’s life and welcome their knowledge and involvement. By working in partnership with parents/carers we aim to meet the needs of individual children, at all times sharing information with parents/carers and encouraging them to participate in their child’s learning and development. We understand that the parents are the child’s primary educators and it is important to offer information and share their expertise, to continue learning experiences within the home/nursery environment.

Testimonials for Nursery

  • "My little boy went to PlayAway from 8 mths to starting school, and my youngest is staring in the baby room tomorrow. I was always happy with the way they looked after my little boy. The guys there are fab and C loved his time with them. It has been lovely this week going back in with F as everyone has been so..."

    Testimonial – Donna SellersRead All
  • "My daughter is in toddlers. Although there are closer nursery’s I still walk to take her to that nursery cos it’s fab. The staff are great very friendly and professional. Just like a big family. My daughter knows all the staff and is very happy to go. Highly recommend"

    Testimonial – Jo TillerRead All
  • "My daughter went to PlayAway there from 5 months til school. She (and me) absolutely loved it. The staff are fab, they became friends and saw me through some tough times. Josie and Ian who own it are also lovely and still helped out when my daughter started at school on half days and I couldn’t pick her up from school as..."

    Testimonial – Caroline OrmeRead All
  • "As today was C’s last day at PlayAway we wanted to write to thank you for having such a fantastic nursery. We have been absolutely delighted with the care provided all the way through from Babies to Pre School by Dee and the rest of the team. C has been wonderfully happy at PlayAway which has made it so much easier for..."

    Testimonial – Jane and Paul SimpsonRead All

Play Away Opening Times

We are open Monday to Friday from 7.00am until 6pm all year except bank holidays.