AN INFANT school has celebrated the official opening of its new nursery.

North Baddesley Infant School pupils, staff and governors were ‘delighted’ to welcome county councillor Alan Dowden and Test Valley borough councillors Celia Dowden and Alan Warnes to mark the occassion.

Headteacher Carla Lashmar said: “The opening of our nursery enables us to support local families for additional years.

"The advantages to having children earlier at our setting and the ability to support our children's growth academically, socially, and emotionally has a positive impact on every individual child.”

Daily Echo: County Councillor Alan Dowden and Test Valley Borough Councillors Celia Dowden and Alan Warnes at the opening

The nursery is a term-time only, teacher-led setting with a fully trained, qualified, and experienced early years teacher leading the unit alongside other qualified staff.

It is open from 7.45am to 6pm, which the school says provides a “crucial” extended-hours care offer for working families.

Ms Lashmar added: “We can streamline transition to school in line with the strong school ethos and values, something we are incredibly proud of.

"Having a teacher-led setting offers greater choice for our local families and something a little different to the other local settings.”

The nursery opened to pupils in January, but restrictions have only recently allowed for the official opening.

The building was partly funded using a community asset grant from Test Valley Borough Council.

Staff say it has already become an “essential” part of the local community in a short time.

Daily Echo: Children at the new nursery

Councillor Celia Dowden said: “The new nursery is an impressive facility, enabling the North Baddesley Schools to offer care and education for children from two to 11 years on one site, providing familiarity and stability to the pupils across all those important early years of learning.

"We thank the headteacher Carla Lashmar, the staff team and governors for their innovative thinking and commitment to our Community.”

Ms Lashmar said: “The nursery’s vision is to nurture children to become confident learners who are curious about their world. The Nursery encourages children to take risks and challenge themselves within a supportive, safe and stimulating environment.

“As part of the wider school community, the Nursery children benefit from use of the school's facilities, including its library and extensive grounds as well as forging close links with the Reception class environment to ensure a positive transition to Year R.”

Daily Echo: Children at the new nursery