Who runs the PlayPen crèche?
We run PlayPen in partnership with Poplar Harca housing association and at their St Paul’s Way Centre crèche, which is fully Ofsted registered and run by fantastic childcare staff from. Please click HERE to download a handbook with more information about the crèche facilities and policies, some details from which are also listed below. Poplar Harca are responsible for the wellbeing and safety of the children during the PlayPen sessions, and have full insurance in place.
How old does my child need to be to use the crèche?
We can welcome any child from the ages of 6 months up to 5 years old. Unfortunately we can’t take babies younger than 6 months.
How many children do you have at PlayPen in any one session?
We currently have availability for eight children per session, of any age from 6 months to 5 years.
Do I need to bring anything for my child with me?
The crèche does not normally provide nappies or snacks for the children but do please bring these with you, and the crèche staff can change your child or give them a snack at any point if you think they might get hungry. Also if it is a hot day then you might want to bring sun cream and a hat as there is an outdoor play area at the crèche.
Does the crèche have any policies re settling children?
Although our crèche and staff are both very welcoming, we understand that your child might initially not be completely comfortable in a new environment. The childcarers have asked that after initially settling your child (for up to 10 minutes) that you then leave the crèche space. If your child is then unhappy for any real period of time the staff will come out and find you next door to ask you to come back in and settle your child again.
Do I need to book my ticket in advance or can I just turn up?
We have limited places available at each PlayPen session; only eight children can be cared for in the crèche at any one time. So if you want a guaranteed place then it is advisable to book in advance here: playpen.brownpapertickets.com or using the “Book Now” link above. It is possible however if we are sold out that we might have a ‘no show’ for some reason, and a last minute slot becomes available. So you are welcome to turn up on the day and try your luck (paying £15 cash at the door); we just can’t guarantee you a place at the crèche without a pre-paid ticket.
Do you offer a free taster session?
We can offer a free taster session to provide you with the opportunity to see if your child will be happy with the surroundings/creche staff. However, if we are fully booked for any particular PlayPen session then you would need to stay with your child in the creche (for a maximum of 15 minutes) rather than head next door to work, to enable us to ensure the correct child to staff ratios. If we aren't at full capacity in the creche and your child is happy for you to leave then you are welcome to work next door at the Paper & Cup cafe, but we just cant guarantee this in advance at any point.
If my child is ill or something comes up, can you offer a refund for a booked session?
Unfortunately due to our limited spaces, and the fact that PlayPen is a business run at a loss, we cannot refund tickets if you have to cancel last minute. On a case-by-case basis we will try and be flexible on any bookings that you might need to change but we can’t offer any guarantees.
Can I receive a discount by block booking multiple sessions?
We don’t currently offer a multi-session booking option and discounted prices for PlayPen. This is primarily as we already lose money on our bookings, and £15 is minimum per session that we feel able to charge. If you have any clever thoughts on how we could adjust our pricing/payment methods then we are always happy to hear your suggestions.
I need to host a meeting at the Bow Brew café during a PlayPen session, is this possible?
You are welcome to host meetings in the café area. It may also be possible to hire a more formal meeting room upstairs if you need to. Do just get in touch in advance and we will try and make this happen for you.
Do you host professional workshops or business networking events for your working parents at PlayPen?
We believe that the real value for our PlayPen parents is the chance to get rare time to yourself to work on your own projects and businesses. So we aren’t currently programming sessions or activities during our PlayPen sessions. We are however looking at the possibility of offering such workshops alongside and separate to our Thursday morning PlayPen sessions and are open to any partnership suggestions on this.
Is there parking available nearby?
A good tip is to park in the nearby Mile End Leisure Centre which has Pay & Display for £2 and is a 5 min walk away. There is permit parking and pay-as-you-go parking available near to the St Paul’s Way Centre but it is fairly limited. The permit area is B3, and is available for use for up to three hours by any Tower Hamlets residents with any borough-wide parking permit.
I don't know the area well - are there other kid-friendly places and activities nearby for after the PlayPen session?
Yes! There's the Mile End Park playground a few minutes walk away, which has a sandpit and lots of places to play. There's also the Stepney City Farm about a 10 min walk away. And the canal nearby takes you up to Victoria Park which is further away but also has a couple of lovely playgrounds and Pavilion cafe.
What are the nearest transport links?
The Bow Brew cafe and St Paul's Way centre are both found HERE, at 83 St Paul's Way, E3 4AH. Mile End underground station and Limehouse DLR stations are both a 10-minute walk from the centre. The 277 bus also stops very near to St Paul's Way.
PlayPen is really far from where I live. Are there any other people providing similar services in London?
We understand that PlayPen is only really useful to parents who live fairly locally to Mile End. Unfortunately there aren’t too many other people offering parent-friendly workspaces but we have created a google map HERE that lists all the other similar providers across the city.