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Preschoolers and their parents were hunting bears in Headington on Wednesday as part of 20th Birthday celebrations at Julia Durbin Day Nursery.
Armed with torches for exploring caves and braving snowstorms and forests – specially crafted by staff in the garden of the day nursery in Old Road, Roosevelt Drive - the ‘hunters’ reenacted the famous children’s story book, ‘We are going on a Bear Hunt.’ From fake snow and ‘squelchy’ mud to a bear hunt cake and refreshments, the book – 25 years old this year – was the inspiration for the day-long party and activities as Area Manager, Angela Farmery, explained: “Like the book, staff teams at Julia Durbin have spent over two decades engaging thousands of children; feeding their imaginations and taking them on a wonderful learning journey. We love the book and we are enormously proud of our nursery,” she said.
Among the ‘celebrities’ at the birthday celebrations was practitioner Sarah Hunt, who cares for children under the age of two and was the first ‘Modern Apprentice’ at the nursery when she joined 17 years ago. “It has been an absolute privilege to be a part of the great moments in children’s lives, like their first words and steps. Sharing that with parents and watching those children go on to university is incredibly rewarding,” said Sarah.
Childbase Partnership CEO, Mike Thompson, presented Deputy Manager, Stephanie Crawford - another former Modern Apprentice – with a bouquet of flowers and gifts to mark her 10th anniversary at the nursery. A three-tiered themed birthday cake, made by Tracy Clarke, cook at ‘sister’ Sandfield Day Nursery nearby, took centre-stage at the celebration tea with bear shaped sandwiches, ‘grass’ salads, ‘snow-storm’ cream cheese dips and ‘oozy mud’ chocolate mousse.
Children of all ages joined in the excitement of preparing for the birthday party, crafting bear masks and ‘painting’ with their feet to create animal paw prints.
Photographs by Oxford Mail Newspaper: Paolo Spano (4 years) with the Julia Durbin 20th birthday ‘We are going on a Bear Hunt’ Cake.