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About us

We are a day nursery located in the heart of North Dorset, between Blandford Forum and Sturminster Newton, attached to St. Nicholas Primary School, in the village of Child Okeford. We open from 8.00 until 6.00 for 50 weeks per year, closing for one week near the end of August and one week at Christmas. We are a community group with charitable status.

Our aims are:


  • To enhance the development and education of children in a parent-involving, community-based group.
  • To offer good quality, affordable childcare
  • To provide a caring, safe, secure and stimulating environment for children from 0-11 years
  • To work within a framework that ensures equality of opportunity for all children and families.

The Ark Child Okeford – History


The Ark started in 1967 as Child Okeford Playgroup, and was run by a committee of parents at Child Okeford Village Hall for 3+ year olds. In May 1994, it became registered as a charity and later that same year moved into St. Nicholas Primary School.

Over the years the group expanded its hours and changed its name to Child Okeford Pre-school, but it was not until 2006 that a major change took place. After five years of fundraising, an extension was built to the school to accommodate a full day nursery, and in January 2007 the Preschool became The Ark, taking children from 0 – 11 years of age and incorporating Breakfast, After-school and Holiday Clubs.

In 2008 The Ark became a company registered by guarantee with the official title of The Ark Child Okeford. However, it remains a registered charity, run by parents, and any excess of income over expenditure is ploughed back into the group.