The Learning Tree acquires Newport-based Little Darlings Nursery and its sister site, Big Darlings Explorers

Cardiff childcare provider to take over Langstone and Llandevaud sites, continuing the provision of nursery and wrap-around services to around 100 children in the process

Two key centres for childcare for Newport, which currently provide around 100 children with nursery and school wrap-around services, have come under new ownership.

Little Darlings Nursery, based in Langstone, and its sister site, Big Darlings Explorers, in Llandevaud, have both been acquired by Cardiff-based nursery The Learning Tree, retaining 16 jobs in the process.

A purpose-built nursery facility based in the heart of Cardiff, The Learning Tree first opened in 2019 when previous owner, Busy Bees, decided to close the city centre site and Chris Baker, whose daughter and son both attended the existing nursery, stepped in to save it.

Now Chris, whose background before launching The Learning Tree was in the property business, is looking to build on this success by acquiring the Little Darlings and Big Darlings sites as part of wider expansion plans for the brand.

Chris said: “We’ve had a wonderful start to our Learning Tree journey following the unexpected acquisition of our Cardiff site, which has since become a way of life for me and my family, and attracted five star reviews from the families we support in the process.

“It’s not all been straightforward, with Brexit and Covid arriving not long after we opened, but The Learning Tree has continued to flourish regardless, to the point where we are at long last ready for further expansion.”

“I had always had Newport in mind for our next site, not least because we have close family who live in the local area, and having driven past both the Little and Big Darling nursery sites for years, I’ve always thought it would be great to take over should the opportunity arise,” Chris continued.

“So, when I found out that the nursery was available, I immediately wanted to pursue the opportunity, and after six months of hard work, here we are!”

As part of the takeover, all 16 people employed across the Little Darlings and Big Darlings centres will remain in post, and families currently using the facilities in Langstone and Llandevaud will continue to benefit from the services available to them, alongside further enhancements The Learning Tree will be working to implement in the future.

A member of the Cardiff team will subsequently be moving across to help introduce operational elements present at The Learning Tree, whilst maintaining positive aspects already in place at both Newport sites, with further investments and improvements set to be made from there.

Chris and his colleagues also worked closely and positively with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) during the acquisition and were supported by the regulatory body throughout the process too.

Chris said: “This is a really exciting time for both our existing staff in Cardiff and our new colleagues in Newport, who are all now a vital part of the Learning Tree Group, as we look to grow and develop our services and build on our reputation as a ‘go to’ provider of childcare within Wales.

“Our mission has always been to create innovative, inspiring and highly engaging nursery and wrap-around facilities, offering families an industry-leading standard of childcare they can believe in. The acquisition of two more sites in Newport brings us a step closer to achieving these aims on a wider scale, and we’re really looking forward to working more closely with the staff and local communities around both Darlings sites to help them be the best they can be, for the sake of all concerned.”

For more information on Little Darlings Nursery and Big Darlings Explorers, and the services they provide, visit