鶹ý

Employee Appreciation Day: Celebrating our supporting teams

March 1, 2024
Careers
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At 鶹ý, we thrive by working together to achieve the best possible outcomes for our children.

Every member of our team, from our apprentices to our cooks, and from our educators to our office managers, plays a vital role in achieving this.

That’s why, to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day, we’re sharing the stories of three of our supporting team members to share the integral role they play despite not working directly with our children. It is their hard work, dedication, and passion that ensure we can provide the best experience for our 鶹ý families and the highest quality early years education for our children.

Hannah, Learning & Development Manager

Can you introduce yourself and a bit about your career history?

I’m Hannah, I’ve been part of the 鶹ý group for over 7 years and had the privilege to work within early years for 20 years. I have had experience working directly with the children and in nursery management for most of my career, having trained at university as an Early Years Teacher, before moving into the learning and development world in 2020.

What does your role as a Learning and Development Manager involve?

My role as Learning and Development Manager is multi-faceted – from designing and delivering in house training in best practice and leadership and management, to facilitating external training like apprenticeships with our training provider, Realise, or even training in specialisms like Coaching skills, Forest School and SEND. I have the incredible opportunity to lead on our wellbeing programme internally, resourcing and supporting our Employee Wellbeing Champions and delivering Mental Health First Aid across the business. I work closely with our Head of Education to develop new programmes and initiatives and keep our current education offering at the top of the game, from our curriculum to our sustainability approach and beyond!

What inspired you to pursue a career in early years education?

Honestly – it was a complete accident! My intention had always been to train as a primary school teacher, but I fell into early years at 17 years old, working in a local preschool. This inspired me and I pursued a degree in Early Childhood Studies before beginning to work in nurseries, working my way up into management. I studied a master’s in psychology with a specific interest in Learning and Development and was able to transfer this knowledge and the skills into a more strategic role within the organisation whilst still being able to pursue my passion for making an impact on early years education.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love helping people grow and develop and being able to do this in a creative way! I have the opportunity to work with all team members, from our amazing nursery teams to our central support departments to create the best possible learning and development offering. Most importantly, my work still directly impacts on the quality of care and education our children and families receive and nothing is more important to me that our children getting the best possible early start in life.

How do you, and the Education Team, support our nursery teams day-to-day?

Day to day, our education team role model and coach our teams to ensure the quality of education that the children and families are receiving through our curriculum and practice is everything they deserve and more! We are in constant communication with each other, always working to identify how we can best support our teams and working to create inspiring learning environments for our children.

Hannah, 鶹ý's Learning & Development Manager

Mike, Cook at Edgbaston Nursery School in Birmingham

Can you introduce yourself and a bit about your career history?

Hi, my name is Mike and I have been working at Edgbaston Nursery School for 7 years. Before joining the Edgbaston team, I worked within the kitchen at a nursing home for 6 years. I applied for the job at Edgbaston for a better work life balance as my children were still young. Working for 鶹ý has enabled me to build up my knowledge for cooking and adapting it into practice.

What does your role as Nursery Cook involve?

As our Nursery Cook, I prepare nutritional and balanced food for a wide range of dietary needs and requirements. My role is to help provide children with a healthy start to their life. Whilst I am not a team member who works in the rooms directly with the children, I find myself as a valued member of the 鶹ý team.

How do you use your meals to educate the children at Edgbaston Nursery School?

Each year, we cultivate a batch of vegetables. Last year, it was tomatoes, which we used to make a delicious tomato soup. I make sure that every child is encouraged to join in the process of growing their own veggies, fostering their confidence to explore new foods.

Personally, I have my own allotment, and I am excited to exchange ideas and share successful methods with the team at Edgbaston. During our cooking sessions, children not only learn new culinary skills but also develop physical abilities, like chopping vegetables, and refine their fine motor skills through using cutlery at mealtimes.

What is special about mealtimes at Edgbaston Nursery School?

At Edgbaston, we have put a lot of love into crafting our menus, making it a special time for socialising during the day. This also gives Steve, our Assistant Cook, and me the chance to spend time with the children in the nursery rooms. When parents walk in, they often notice the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen and ask us for our recipes to try at home. So, we have created our own recipe cards that parents can grab and take with them.

What is your favourite thing about working at Edgbaston Nursery School/鶹ý?

Cooking healthy and balanced meals, and seeing our children enjoy their food. I also love the fact that I am part of the nursery team, despite spending much of my time in the kitchen.

Mike and Steve, Edgbaston Nursery School Cooks

Lynne, Office Manager at The Learning Hive Nursery School in Manchester

Can you introduce yourself and a bit about your career history?

I’m Lynne, and I began working at The Learning Hive in 2016 as an Early Years Educator, progressing to Senior Educator, Deputy Manager, and finally Office Manager. I am a Mum to three grown up children, and in my spare time I like to read and binge watch boxsets to relax!

What does your role as an Office Manager involve?

As an Office Manager, I am the first point of contact for our prospective families. I manage our face to face, telephone and email enquiries, booking in nursery viewings and conducting them when needed.

I strive to provide the best possible experience for our families, answering any questions they may have, running our social media profiles, writing newsletters, and organising events.

The admin side of my role includes managing fees, invoicing, funding, and our children’s booking pattern changes. I also assist the management team with admin procedures, effectively managing staffing ratios and team rotas.

What inspired you to pursue a career in early years education?

After having my own children, I decided to become an Ofsted registered childminder, completing my level 2 & 3 qualifications. I managed my own business for 12 years before taking a role as Early Years Educator at The Learning Hive.

What inspired you to progress into your Office Manager role?

After almost 20 years in childcare, I still enjoyed working in the nursery environment but was ready for a new challenge. I have always been organised and originally came from an admin background, so it seemed a logical next step.

What is your favourite thing about your role?

I am always kept on my toes as no two days are ever the same!

Lynne, The Learning Hive Nursery School Office Manager

If you are passionate about helping children to discover a love of learning and reach their full potential, then 鶹ý is the place for you. Browse our open vacancies at your local 鶹ý nursery here.

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