Originally, The Children’s Workshop was registered with Ofsted as a playgroup on 26 April 1979. However, it was on 5 December 1984 when the owners of the playgroup agreed to sell the “goodwill and equipment of The Children’s Workshop Playgroup” for the sum of £3,000 to the members of a committee of parents. Under the leadership of Yvonne Roberts as Chair and Joan Hatton as Secretary that marks the start of The Children’s Workshop story.
On 31 May 1985 Kent County Council registered the premises of the playgroup at Sevenoaks Rugby Club and on 24 June 1985 The Children’s Workshop Playgroup constitution and aims were agreed and signed.
From the outset, the aims of The Children’s Workshop were “to advance the education of children below compulsory school age by (a) providing safe and satisfying group play, in which parents have the right to take part; (b) encouraging other charitable activities through which parents may help the children; (c) furthering the aims of the Pre-school Playgroups Association”.
By 1994 The Children’s Workshop was registered as an unincorporated association listed with the Charities Commission and on 5 April 2004 converted from an unincorporated association to a Limited Liability Company. This meant that The Children’s Workshop was dissolved and then reformed as a Company Limited by Guarantee, effectively a charitable company. This enabled the pre-school to be on a more secure footing and under a number of different Chairs, The Children’s Workshop flourished. Whilst getting bigger, the discussions then began to include a move to a purpose-built building that would benefit the children of The Children’s Workshop.
In 2009, through a number of conversations with Lady Boswell’s the realistic prospect of moving to a site adjoining the edge of the school was under discussion, although it seemed to be put on hold when Lady Boswell’s moved to a two-form entry and the focus of all resources and space were committed to this new objective.
However, discussions continued until, together with years of fundraising and additional support, the new Children’s Workshop building was lowered in to place in August 2016 under the leadership of the Chair at that time, Judy Pang, who also project-managed the new build.
We now enjoy a wonderful space, nestled in the trees around the Environmental Park and have maintained the same child-centred and local community approach that has always made The Children’s Workshop a very special place and we aim for this to continue now and for many years to come.