Shadow Minister for Early Years visits Heckmondwike preschool providing tailored support to children

published on 7 Dec 2018

Tracy Babin MP

On Friday 7 December 2018 Shadow Minister for Early Years (Tracy Brabin MP) visited The Salvation Army (Barracks St, Heckmondwike WF16 0EJ) to meet children exploring, discovering and adventuring through education at the Noah’s Ark preschool.


Noah’s Ark provides a safe, welcoming setting that empowers children aged two to four years old in their education. The Early Years accredited teaching is innovative and individually tailored to the children, and parents also benefit from access to workshops and ongoing support to help them in their children’s growth and development. The staff encourage parents to have a hands-on approach to their child’s development.

The preschool has been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted and recognised for its ‘imagination’ and ‘creative thinking through effective interactions’, with inspectors noting that ‘children are developing skills that develop them well for school’.

Early Years Setting Manager Jessica Harrison explained: “It was great to have Tracy Brabin visit and see for herself the way we are working alongside children to provide the tailored support they need to best help them grow and develop their unique personalities, creativity and skills.

“There is so much on offer for both children and their parents at Noah’s Ark preschool. As part of each child’s preschool introduction, we ensure they have time to meet the staff to make sure they are settled in ahead of starting, making preschool a little less scary.

“We also work hard to make sure families are involved in their child’s development.”

Heckmondwike Salvation Army church leader Lieutenant Hannah Lee said: “Noah’s Ark sits within The Salvation Army church hall, allowing us to offer so much more to the families who come to the preschool. We always provide a warm welcome to anyone coming through the doors. We have a variety of faith-based activities and community-focused projects that engage people in the local area. In everything we do we aim to meet the needs of the individual, bringing people of all ages together in a safe space where they can find practical assistance and a listening ear.

“During the Christmas season we invite the children and their families to take part in what we’re doing as a church and charity. In particular, we have encouraged them to be part of our Christmas toy appeal and have demonstrated to the children from a young age the importance of looking after one another.”

The preschool operates five days a week from 9.15 am to 12.15 pm and the church offers a variety of community-focused activities and support, including emergency food provision for people in crisis. The team aims to go the extra mile to support people in tough circumstances. Hannah shares an example: “We recently had an enquiry from a parent linked to our preschool who felt comfortable enough to ask for our church’s help when her benefits were delayed. By having our preschool on site we can work together to ensure cross-generation support for families.”

Jessica adds: “Childhood is an exciting time of discovery and preschoolers are at an important stage in their learning and development that will make an impact on the rest of their lives – from setting routines and discovering boundaries to developing in their education and how to interact with other people. We’re so proud that our professional staff team is able to provide a happy, stimulating and positive environment where each child can reach their full potential.”

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said: “I’m always glad to hear local nurseries receiving good inspections from Ofsted as high-quality early years education can make a massive difference to children’s lives. I’ve really enjoyed looking round and hearing more about Salvation Army nursery provision.”

During her visit, Tracy met with parent Naheeda Ahmed, a teaching assistant who has opted to send all four of her children to Noah’s Ark. Naheeda’s eldest two children are now in school, one attends Noah’s Ark and she is planning to send her youngest also.

She said of Noah’s Ark: “I’m loving it, absolutely. My children have all come and settled in so well and The Salvation Army has such experienced, professional staff. As a parent, I see how outstanding Noah’s Ark is – my youngest is not one yet but I already want to send him here, too. Even though my second youngest is only here a couple of hours a day, he comes home and recites his whole day in detail to me, including about the staff. For my child, The Salvation Army preschool is a part of our family.”

Noah’s Ark has availability for children aged two to four years old. To arrange a visit or for further information, please telephone 01924 408714 or email