Steeple Road, Antrim ~ Tel: 028 9442 8111

Archive for the News Category

High Fives all Round Once again as Jolly Tots Antrim Scores Top Marks in Food Hygiene Inspection

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The Jolly Babies at Jolly Tots Antrim are once again giving their unit at the nursery a big high 5 for scoring another 5 in the Food Hygiene Rating!  Jolly Tots Antrim follows guidelines set by Nutrition Matters for the Early Years, Minimum Standards for day care and laws set by Environmental Health Agency and received the highest possible score in their recent inspection.

Maggie McGinley, Jolly Babies Manager, commented; “We are so pleased to have again gained a Food Hygiene Rating of 5 at the nursery.  The inspection went so well and we are delighted that our high standards of hygiene and cleanliness have been reflected in the report.  We make sure our children at Jolly Tots Antrim enjoy a healthy balanced diet of nutritional meals and snacks, freshly made on site.  All meat comes from our local butchers, fresh vegetables and potatoes are delivered daily, fresh fruit delivered weekly, and all our milk is delivered fresh daily by Dale Farm so you can rest assured your child is receiving the highest quality fresh food.”

For more information contact Maggie McGinley, Jolly Babies Manager on 028 9442 8111 or email

Your child deserves quality education from the start. Make Jolly Tots Antrim Your First Choice.

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Your child deserves quality education from the start! The quality of child care has a direct impact on a child’s ability to learn, to build healthy relationships, and to become the best they can be.

From 0-3 years a child’s brain learns and grows at a faster rate than it ever will again in its life time.  If you think about how many things a child learns to do in such as short space of time it is quite amazing.  Children thrive from experiences and routine.  Boundaries are set for their own protection as they learn how to keep safe as they grow.

Within the walls of Jolly Tots children have the advantage of being cared for in a room with children of the same age.  We pride ourselves on the advantage of being able to give children one to one time as well as promoting group activities.  Children learn and copy from others be it adults or children.  Children make friends, learn to share and learn to respect one another as well as developing their communication skills, social and emotional skills and physical development all while learning through play.

At Jolly Tots Antrim we are an “All Ireland Centre of Excellence” as well as “2015 Family First NI Best Nursery winners in the Antrim/Ballymena area”.
If you want high quality child care then Jolly Tots Antrim has to be your choice for your child. So give us a call to discuss your child’s needs or pay us a visit.

Teddy Bear Hospital Visits Jolly Tots Antrim and Delivers Health Education Workshop


The children and staff at Jolly Tots Antrim having been looking at ways people in our community help us and in many different ways. So Heather from the Renal Unit of Antrim Hospital helped us set up a Teddy Bear Hospital which allowed the children to work with some equipment and materials that may normally deter children away from nursing staff and equipment. This gave them the opportunity to help their sick or injured teddy in a fun way. The children got to meet with Heather and tell her what was wrong with their teddy so that she could help and reassure teddy that “everything is okay and we will make you feel better”.

Helen Canning,  Manager, Jolly Tots Antrim commented: “This was a fantastic experience with the children who loved getting involved with every step from giving their Teddy Bears a check up, listening to their Teddy’s heart, administering medicine and putting on plasters and bandages, even an x- ray for those teddy bears who may have had some broken bones. At the end of their appointment Teddy was given a Bravery certificate and a copy of their Teddy’s x-ray.  Many thanks to Heather for taking so much time and trouble to put on this workshop which was greatly appreciated by all the children and staff here at Jolly Tots Antrim.”

Thanks for Your Feedback from Everyone at Jolly Babies

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Here at Jolly Tots we are always keen to receive feedback on how we are doing so  on occasions we ask for feedback in the form of a family questionnaire . Thanks to everyone who participated and for taking the time to complete the questionnaire for Jolly Babies and thanks for your positive comments – some of which are shown below.

“The service provided is beyond excellent. Our daughter feels at ease with the girls and really enjoys her time in Jolly Babies, everybody who works there is friendly, approachable and professional”

“Very happy with the service for my child, find all the staff extremely helpful”.

“Overall we are very happy with the nursery and confident that our daughter will be looked after well and enjoys going each day”.

“I am happy with quality of service provided to my child. The staff are professional and friendly. I feel the activities are good for my childs development”.


“The service you provide is very good. The staff know each child’s individual needs and will encourage each child to develop further”.

“We are very happy with how our son has settled into Jolly Tots, he seems to be developing well whilst enjoying himself”.

“Very happy with my sons progress, girls are very good with him and he seems happy with Jolly Tots and loves attending”.

“Excellent nursery, great staff highly recommend to anyone”.

“Excellent nursery with wonderful staff”

“The service from all the staff at Jolly babies is brilliant. My daughter loves coming to nursery and is very happy”

“We think you are a fabulous nursery. The kids love being there and as a parent I feel confident that they are very well cared for and happy. Also I find the nursery very accommodating to our needs. Thank you all”.

“Our Sons transition between rooms has been great, we were a little anxious at first but delighted with his development. Many thanks”.

“My child is very happy and I feel he is well looked after”.

“My son settled brilliantly into Jolly babies and this is in large part due to the care he receives from the staff. We are so pleased with the way he is looked after. Thank you”.

“My daughter is so happy and loves nursery both staff and her little friends. I feel very content leaving her and know she’s in very caring, capable hands. Thank you”.

“Brilliant nursery, our son loves attending”

“Excellent nursery I would recommend it to any new family. The girls in the are fantastic and my daughter is very content in their care”.

“Maggie and the team of girls created a real home from home environment for both my boys over the years. My confidence in them gave me the peace of mind I needed to go back to work”.

The Great Outdoors at Jolly Tots Antrim Just got Better

Here at jolly Tots Antrim we have been working on a project to enhance our outdoor space for the children. Senior management met with staff and worked together to develop a “mud kitchen” for the children to explore and express all those childhood memories we ourselves remember of mud pies and much more. We have also developed a fun physical area using something as simple as tyres. This has been a big hit with the children who have explored this in more ways than one.

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We are big fans of the outdoors and this is why:-

The chance to connect with the natural world; first hand experiences of life and growth; endless opportunities for creativity and imagination; improved fitness and physical development – the countless benefits of outdoor play have a real positive impact on children’s lives.

Outside is a natural environment for children. There is a freedom associated with the space which cannot be replicated inside. If children feel at home in a particular space it seems natural to teach them in that area; education should not be a chore but an enjoyable worthwhile occupation. Children playing and learning in an outdoor environment appear more active, absorbed, motivated and purposeful, and develop a more positive attitude to learning.

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So we would strongly advise that children come dressed appropriately for outdoor play, this way they can take part freely without the worry of getting dirty.

Jolly Babies at Jolly Tots Antrim…Learning through Play

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At Jolly Babies, not only do the children have fun by getting involved in activities and making friends, but they also learn so much and develop key skills.   We help your child to develop through different areas of stimulation and ‘learning through play’ – giving them plenty of praise and encouragement in the process.  One of the ways in which we do this is by reading to the babies – they love to hear familiar stories and to look at the pictures in the books.

Maggie McGinley, Jolly Babies Manager at Jolly Tots Antrim, commented;

“Reading aloud to our babies teaches communication, introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colours, and shapes in a fun way, builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills, and gives the babies information about the world around them.  This development of understanding of the world is also encouraged through playing outside and going for walks.  Our children here at the nursery just love to explore the castle grounds and have a peek into the bushes to see if they can spot any small animals or new flowers.  It feeds their curiosity!”

















For more information contact Helen Canning on 028 9442 8111 or email 

Forget The BAFTAS….Jolly Tots Antrim Win Best Nursery of the Year Award


While the BAFTAS have been handed out as the stars descended on London’s Royal Opera House and the red carpet resplendent with dresses to provoke debate one thing is not up for debate.

Who won the “Best Nursery of the Year” Award in the  Ballymena section of the Families First Awards held recently at the Stormont hotel in Belfast? And the winner is “ Jolly Tots Antrim”.

So the team at Jolly Tots are still on cloud nine after winning ‘Best Nursery of the year award in the Ballymena Section at the Families First Awards last Friday night. This event was held at Stormont hotel and Nursery Manager Helen Canning was on hand along with some of her Jolly Ladies looking equally resplendent as anyone seen at the BAFTAS to receive this wonderful award.

Upon receiving the award Helen in true BAFTAS style but with none of the luvvie speak heard at the BAFTAS commented: “We were absolutely delighted that Jolly Tots were recognised as the Best Nursery!  The whole team are super proud of everything that we have achieved. “Hands up for Jolly Tots”


A special mention must go to one of our Nursery assistant Pamela Mc Neil who was recognised during the awards ceremony for “Nursery Nurse Assistant of the year”. Pamela has worked for the company now for 12 years and has always put the children’s individual needs before anything else she does. Her caring, gentle attitude is only one of her finest qualities and her dedication to her job is why we felt she deserved this recognition. Well Done Pamela.

Without sounding like I’m at the BAFTAS It goes without saying that I have a fabulous staff team who dedicate their working lives to all the little ones in their care. I am just so proud to be a part of that team and everyone must be recognised for that. This award is for them.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our parents and families for taking the time to vote and showing us all your kind support we really do appreciate it. I also want to thank Naomi and Janet for always believing in us and supporting the nursery in everything that we do.”

Water the kids at Jolly Tots Antrim up to now?


Jolly Tots Antrim is the perfect place for your child to begin learning through play, right through from the Jolly Babies Unit to the Jolly Kids Unit  for older children.  At Jolly Tots Antrim we help your child to develop through different areas of stimulation, and one of the favourite ways is simply getting messy! Children don’t mind getting dirty. Water, sand, finger paint, play dough, and clay — these are all favourite play materials!  Messy play has many benefits for children.


The recent cold and wet weather brought lots of water and ice to the Jolly Tots Antrim, and the brilliant imagination of the children at the nursery meant that much fun ensued! The children left a tray lid filled with water outside when it was cold to see what would happen, and to the children’s delight it froze! They then were able to bring it in, break it up and play with their winter animals and watch what started to happen in the heat. The children spent long periods of time at this and the language they developed was fantastic.  The children and staff all ventured out all geared up to find some puddles, and had great fun jumping and splashing around in the puddles again providing long periods of fun.


Helen Canning,  Jolly Tots Antrim Nursery Manager, commented:

“Children are active learners. They learn through play which allows them to make sense of the world around them. Through play, children learn to make choices, solve problems, and make plans. Learning processes grow and concepts develop, and learning becomes exciting and interesting. It ensures that children remember what they learn. Messy play is particularly attractive because it stimulates many of children’s senses at once and because of the variety of materials available, such as water.  Children can enjoy water play in many ways, which brings so much learning to a child development and curiosity of the science behind water.  It is one of the basic raw materials for purposeful play. Just like sand, clay, and blocks, children can use water without being constrained by the one correct way to use it. Unlike many of the commercially produced, flashy playthings tempting us, water is a plaything that fosters curiosity, imagination, and experimentation.  It’s true what they say;  the best things in life are free!  The children have really enjoyed the weather we have had lately and as you can see its been very rewarding for them.”


For more information contact Helen Canning on 028 9442 8111 or email 


Hands up for Jolly Tots Antrim in the Families First Awards!

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Jolly Tots Antrim are proud to announce that we have been nominated for a prestigious award by Families First, a website for expectant and new parents. The Families First Awards give parents their say in recognising the products, people and brands their families love and could not be without.We have been nominated in the Best Nursery category and need YOUR help to make sure that we win!

Voting is open to the public – all you need is your email address, so please vote for us and spread the word amongst your family and friends.

Go to: and follow the instructions on the Homepage to cast your vote in The Peoples Award 2015 – we are under Service Awards > Best Nursery > Ballymena.
Please spread the word amongst your family and friends tell them how much you think of Jolly Tots and why we deserve to win!

Helen Canning, Jolly Tots Nursery Manager, commented;

“On behalf of everyone here at Jolly Tots Antrim I would like to thank you all for your support.  We pride ourselves on our high standards of care for babies and children and we are so grateful that they have been recognised by our parents through the Families First Awards.  Please keep voting and sharing for Jolly Tots Antrim – the nursery where your children are  happy to stay, play, learn and grow in confidence.  Hands up for Happy Kids!”

Jolly Tots Antrim Practice Good Hygiene at All Times

With the current concerns in the News about Swine Flu we felt it important to reassure you that we are taking all the recommended precautions here at Jolly Tots Antrim. The more we all know about how to prevent infection, the more resilient we will be so it is important that we all continue to do everything we can to stop swine flu and other infections from spreading.

Maggie McGinley, Jolly Babies Manager at Jolly Tots was keen to stress how seriously the staff at Jolly Tots Antrim are addressing this issue:

Everyone within Jolly Tots Antrim and all parents can play their part by practising good hygiene at home and in work. We have advised staff to ensure they are extra vigilant in the current circumstances and we ask everyone to be aware of the following:

Hand washing is one of the most important ways of controlling the spread of disesases.
All staff and children wash their hands regularly throughout the day.
All handles and surface areas are washed at regular intervals throughout the day.
Hand sanitizer dispensers are in the front hall areas please use this when entering and leaving the building.

Any child with diarrhoea and vomiting should not attend nursery, and will not be allowed to attend unitl they are 48 hours clear of illness.

Please do not bring your child into nursery if they are unwell with vomiting and diarrhoea

Your understanding and cooperation is greatly appreciated and if you require any further guidance speak to a member of staff.

For more information contact Maggie McGinley on 028 9442 8111 or email

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