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Children and families show their appreciation as Kay Rowe Nursery School and Children's Centre celebrates 70 years

PUBLISHED: 17:13 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 25 July 2019

Ayaan and Aryan Punawala, both four. Picture: Andrew Brookes.

Ayaan and Aryan Punawala, both four. Picture: Andrew Brookes.

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Children, parents and staff paraded along a busy Forest Gate road to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Kay Rowe Nursery School and Children's Centre.

Saad Ahmad, two, and mum Bushra Ali with Preetha and Aleisha Khan, one. Picture: Andrew BrookesSaad Ahmad, two, and mum Bushra Ali with Preetha and Aleisha Khan, one. Picture: Andrew Brookes

As one father put it, Kay Rowe is "more than a nursery, more than a children centre - it's right at the heart of the community" and worthy of the fanfare as it supports hundreds of families and children.

Karl O'Keeffe said: "So many people come through this place and you constantly meet people whose children were here, or in some cases they were here themselves, years ago."

The nursery school provides early education for 130 children aged two to four, while the children's centre - which opened in 2006 - provides a range of family support, stay and play groups, and activities for those with children younger than five.

Mr O'Keeffe discovered the nursery school through the dads' day that is run at the children's centre on Sundays.

Laura Taylor-Williams and sons Francis, six months, and Quinton, two,, with childminder Angeline Cassell and Sid Smith, five, at the anniversary carnival. Picture: Andrew BrookesLaura Taylor-Williams and sons Francis, six months, and Quinton, two,, with childminder Angeline Cassell and Sid Smith, five, at the anniversary carnival. Picture: Andrew Brookes

"They value the child as an individual and place a child's independence, resilience and inquisitiveness way ahead of everything else," he said.

"It's all child-led learning, they're all discovering for themselves and discovering things about themselves as well, so when they come out from a year at nursery, they're confident, happy learners and you can see they're ready to move on to the next stage."

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The celebrations centred on the colourful carnival procession along Woodgrange Road, complete with children playing drums.

Kay Rowe Nursery School history display at The Gate library in Forest Gate. Picture: Andrew BrookesKay Rowe Nursery School history display at The Gate library in Forest Gate. Picture: Andrew Brookes

There was also a bouncy castle, face painting and other activities, as well as history displays at the nursery and the nearby The Gate library.

Acting headteacher Sarah Porter, who takes over from the retiring Anne Kibuuka in September, said: "It is a particularly important day for us because, nationally, nursery schools are under threat, so we're really looking to Newham to support us.

"We really wanted to make our presence felt, which we did with our procession, and that's why we've got our exhibition at the library as well, just to make it clear how important we are in the community and how many families we work with."

Mother Samina Machhada said Kay Rowe had supported her and her four-year-old twin boys since they were babies.

"Sometimes when you have multiple children it's not the easiest thing to get about and they were incredibly helpful and also really helped with my self-esteem and confidence," she said.

"We eventually ended up in the nursery and the staff are so genuine, they really do care about the children.

"We're definitely going to miss it when we leave."

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