Mother and daughter in new kind of child’s play at The Kinder Hub in Cottam

Staff at the Kinder Hub at Cottam. Elaine Cooke is far left
Staff at the Kinder Hub at Cottam. Elaine Cooke is far left

For grandmother Elaine Cooke, family is everything. With a passion to providing a safe space for children while their parents are at work, she set up Newlands Nursery School in Preston in 1990.

Following in their mother’s footsteps, her two daughters, Lisa Charnley and Joanna Moughan, also took on the reins.

The Kinder Hub at Cottam

The Kinder Hub at Cottam

After almost 30 years in business, they took the collective decision to sell up, looking for a new family-orientated venture.

Now, Elaine and Lisa have joined forces once again to open The Kinder Hub, based at the side of the Ancient Oak pub, in Cottam.

The hub is a play centre for children under seven, offering imaginative play in a specially designed mini village, with a supermarket, fire station, police station, builder’s yard and theatre.

The centre also hosts various classes, activities and well-being sessions including yoga and baby massage, music and movement, phonics sessions.

With our extensive early years background, we knew that the one thing that could keep children engaged for any great length of time is role play.

Lisa Charnley

Parents can enjoy a coffee and a chat whilst their children are supervised.

Lisa, 30, who has two sons aged six and two, says: “The Kinder Hub venture first began when we craved for somewhere different to take my children in the local area.

“We found there was a lack of nice children’s play centres in the area.

“With our extensive early years background, we knew that the one thing that could keep children engaged for any great length of time is role play.

The Kinder Hub at Cottam

The Kinder Hub at Cottam

“So, at the Kinder Hub, we have fantastic role-play areas for young children to develop their imaginations and have fun, while under supervision.

“The specially designed indoor play areas, called the mini village, include a mini supermarket, fire station, police station, ambulance, mechanic garage, builders’ yard and theatre, all conveniently accessed by a miniature road.

“Dressing up clothes and accessories are in all the areas, so children can act out real life role playing, either as individuals or in a group.

“The climbing structure in the centre has been designed to provide a space for children to develop their physical skills, as well as burn off some of their energy.”

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Grandmother-of-four Elaine adds: “Imaginative play is crucial for young children. It can help to develop social skills, communication and creativity.

“Where their imagination may take them is absolutely endless, even more so, when they have other children to connect with.

“We will also be a host to various classes, activities and well-being sessions including yoga and baby massage, music and movement, phonics sessions and many other activities taking place in our theatre area.

“These will all help to assist children with their holistic development through fun, exciting and engaging sessions. These classes can complement a child’s nursery education or provide learning experiences for children who do not attend an early years’ setting.

“While we fully encourage parents to get involved in their child’s play, helping them to share, make friends and interact positively with other children, we also know that parents may be keen to have a well-deserved rest. With this in mind, we have designed a lovely café, serving hot and cold drinks, breakfast, healthy light lunches and cakes and biscuits.

“Our combined total of more than 40 years’ experience of working with young children, has taught us the need and importance of maintaining a clean and hygienic environment, which is why our team will be meticulous when it comes to cleanliness.

“We pride ourselves on having spotlessly clean toilets, highchairs, baby equipment, chairs, tables and play areas.

“With regular inspection checks, our aim is for our customers to be able to eat and play safe in the knowledge that everything has been suitably sanitised for use. It is this attention to detail which won us the Ofsted Outstanding recognition at the nursery.”