about us

Awarded ‘Nursery of the Year’ (Outer Belfast Area)
Families First Awards 2015


Start Smart Daycare is owned by Sinead McElvanna and run by Heather McIntosh (Manager) and Claire Treanor (Deputy Manager). The Daycare was originally the Cardinal O’Donnell’s GAA Social Club based on Rockmore Road (off the Falls Road). In 2010 it was converted into today’s award winning Start Smart Daycare and opened its doors on the 20th September of the same year.Registered with the Belfast Trust, Start Smart Daycare is a member of the Early Years Organisation (EYO).

At Start Smart Daycare we are dedicated to providing a quality educational programme in a secure and supportive environment. All of our staff have been carefully selected, and are highly motivated nursery professionals, and are dedicated to the children in their care, making every child’s physical, social, psychological and intellectual development their priority.

We have 5 large spacious play rooms filled with fun, educational and imaginative play and can accommodate:


children / play room age group
12 Little Cubs & Little Monkeys (6 months - 2 years)
16 Cuddly Bears (2 years - 3 years)
16 Jungle Buddies (3 years - 4 years)
12 Wise Owls Nursery age (4 years - 5 years)
30 Safari Den - After School (Compulsory School Age)

The building is completely secure with CCTV and programmed entry and exit to allow you more peace of mind.

In 2015 our staff completed the Sign2Music Nursery / Childcare Training Programme introducing our staff to the benefits of signing and showing them how to incorporate it into their existing programmes in a fun way. All children are now benefitting; particularly our babies and toddlers as they develop their communication.

We hope our website will give you an insight into what we will offer you and your family as your childcare provider and if you have any further questions we would be more than happy to help.


our staff team

Start Smart childcare staff are chosen not only for their qualifications but also for their experience in, and approach to, childcare. We take the utmost care to recruit and retain only the best and most dedicated Early Years practitioners as we are well aware that a daycare is only as good as its staff team.

Each Room is managed by a highly qualified Room Leader and supported by an experienced team of Nursery Assistants. Each member of staff is chosen for their empathy and ability to treat each child as an individual. We are dedicated to the well-being and safety of each child and are aware of their developmental needs and personal routine as well as their likes and dislikes.

We are committed to furthering our staff development with a variety of childcare qualifications that are nationally recognised; on-going training is available through a wide range of courses provided to us through the Early Years Organisation of which we are members and/or through the childcare industry. We also have in-house training where all the staff get together to share personal knowledge and experiences and discuss any training they have been on themselves.

Each member of staff is subjected to Enhanced Access NI checks and also Vetting by the Early Years (Social Services) Team before joining Start Smart Daycare. Once appointed each member of staff undergoes a thorough induction period and training. This covers our extensive policies, procedures and practices to ensure they familiarise with our own high standards. All members of staff also receive first aid, child protection, fire awareness training and basic food hygiene training.

Our staff ratios are a minimum of:

0 - 2 years = 1:3 2 - 3 years = 1:4 3 - 4 years = 1:8 4 - 5 years (nursery age) = 1:8 Compulsory school age children = 1:8

our key worker system

At Start Smart Daycare we recognise that parent/carers are by far the most important people in the lives of their children. We see that it is of vital importance that there is an identified member of staff, that both the child and parent/carer can develop a close professional relationship with; this allows for warm attachments to develop and gain continuity, security and significance to their present lives.

The role of the key worker is to develop with both the child and parent/carers a trusting, caring and sensitive relationship. During the ‘Settling In’ process we will introduce the parent/carer to their child’s key worker. The child can then be passed over to their key worker in the mornings and in their absence, the key worker’s assistant with whom they will also build a relationship.

The key worker takes on many important functions such as easing separation from parent/carer, meeting the individual needs of the child (i.e. one-to-one interaction during changing, feeding and comforting), relating information to parents, assessment and record keeping and liaising with outside agencies.

how to arrange a pre-enrolment visit

Initial enquiries may be made by phone or by using our contact form, to make an appointment for you to view the daycare. This ensures that you will be given time to view the daycare at length and ask any questions. Your appointment will also coincide with activities in which the children will be involved in during the day. An application form may be submitted to the daycare on the day, or you can take it away to fill in; and we will ask for a deposit to secure your child’s place.

It is our policy to make our daycare accessible to all children and families from all sections of the community. We aim to provide a high quality, efficient and accessible service to parents and children. We welcome children from all religious and social groups, and we will always try to be flexible to accommodate the needs of parents and children.

We value our relationship with parents and are committed to working in partnership to provide top quality care so that the children feel safe and happy in the absence of parents. A settling-in period is encouraged before a child starts the Daycare full-time.