The Little Bear's Story

  • With 11 years of early years teaching under her belt, Shona O’Neil found it a constant struggle to find good childcare, so when their neighbour decided to sell up in 2005 it was the perfect opportunity to consider launching their own nursery, right next door.

    That was the start of Little Bear’s On Wanstead Green – a 32 place day nursery adjacent to the family home, that quickly developed a good reputation and an Outstanding rating from Ofsted.

    Places quickly filled and it became apparent that expansion would be necessary to accommodate the needs of growing families as younger siblings looked to join their older brothers and sisters. With extending the current premises not an option it was time to look further afield.


    Since then, Little Bear’s has grown from a single site to a group of well-regarded facilities. Little Bear’s In Wanstead Village was the next acquisition, an old private medical facility that had stood empty for some years, which provided the perfect footprint for a larger site. 10 rooms were developed as part of the £500,000 refurbishment project, creating a 96-place facility that opened in November 2011. The after-school club opened late in 2012, following a redevelopment of the old operating theatre.

    Late 2011 saw further opportunity to expand their sloth of Bears with the development of the Olympic Park in Stratford. Little Bear’s were invited to tender to manage the site in the newly created East Village and were subsequently awarded the contract in June 2013. Little Bear’s In East Village opened in September 2013, adding another litter of Bear cubs to the family.

    The 4th member of the Little Bear’s family opened its doors in early 2019 to serve the growing family communities in Elephant & Castle.  The new purpose built setting features a unique sensory room and, like all of our other settings, offers our little Bear Cubs space to play outside.  Little Bear’s In Elephant Central is conveniently located a short walk from Elephant & Castle station, making us the perfect location for a childcare facility for working parents.