Sandcastles Day Nursery- the dream began in Feb 2000; a vision shared by husband and wife team Tommy & Cindy Craig.
'Our aim was to provide childcare that would provide invaluable peace of mind for parents and to always consider the social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional needs of the children.
When looking for a site to build Sandcastles, we knew we wanted a large spacious site or residence with plenty of room for a large building and a huge garden space for the children to be able to run and play safely and privately. We looked for over year, visiting numerous sites and houses looking at the potential for renovating or building Sandcastles, and after lots of disappointments, finally stumbled upon this amazing house in a beautiful highly sought-after residential area in Ballymoney.
219 Seacon Road had everything we needed; a drive entrance and an exit, for safely dropping off and collecting the children, close to the by-pass and main Coleraine road for easy access and avoiding the town rush hour traffic, a huge enclosed garden surrounded by trees for privacy, and an enormous site with fantastic potential for renovation and extension.
We had found a place to build Sandcastles at last! Then the work really began!!!
Architects, engineers, building control, fire safety, social services, planning department, the list went on, and after a year of designing and redesigning we finally attained Planning Permission. Then we had a year of building, renovating, equipping, recruiting, inducting and training and finally opened our doors on 24th May 2004.
We opened that Monday with 19 children and 5 members of staff and since then have grown from strength to strength and we now care for over 80 children and have a waiting list for many more and they are cared for by 30 staff. Our vision is to make Sandcastles a model of best practice, offering not only the highest quality child care but also eventually creating an in-house training facility for childcare workers and managers.
Owning Sandcastles is a pleasure and it's a real blessing working with all the staff, we have a very low staff turnover so relationships are easy to maintain. At Sandcastles we believe in investing in our staff and operate a rigorous training programme both in-house and externally. We believe in recruiting the best and training them to ensure they provide the best of themselves which ultimately benefits the children and parents.
Along side the vision for excellence in childcare, the next child relevant passion is food! As a food technologist by qualification, a lot of time and energy went into researching the fundamentals necessary for the food impact on children's growth, health and development.
Here at Sandcastles we have seen children come in through our doors, we have cried with mums leaving them off for the first time, we have hugged kids when they've fallen, cleaned scraped knees, sang Happy Birthday, seen them grow and blossom, watched as their wee concentration levels have expanded, looked on as friendships have bloomed, and then said goodbye to them as they have moved on to their next stages in life. At Sandcastles Day Nursery our aim has always been to provide invaluable peace of mind for parents and to always consider the social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional needs of the children. So far I'm confident we have achieved that.'