However, my love and passion for children came later when I started a family of my own and began enjoying helping at my son’s playschool. As my family got older, I longed for that fulfilment so made the decision to become a child minder. I enjoyed every minute of my role, and it gave me the motivation to work in schools so when my youngest son started, so did I, as a Special Educational Needs assistant. I worked alongside the class teacher to help children who needed additional support. My job specification grew in much the same way as my passion to deliver the curriculum to ALL children in attendance at the school, not just those who excelled in the environmental confines of a school building. I was one of a handful of assistants chosen to pilot a scheme to encourage those with English as an additional language, including Traveller children to not just attend but thrive in a school environment. My title changed from SEN to EMTAG assistant (Ethnic Minority & Traveller Achievement Grant). Although challenging, this was such a rewarding role, opening a whole new world to children and their families.
By this point, I was captured by the sector and wanted to cast my net wider, helping more children, so I took the decision to return to education and obtain formal qualifications. This enabled me to work in the Early Years Sector, which is where my heart truly belongs, working in various nurseries and preschools, progressing and furthering my career along the way. As my family grew older, I felt able to give myself to a full-time role and started working in private day care settings. When I finally became manager of Monkey Puzzle Highbury, I felt the directors and I had the same vision and we grew the nursery from a building site to an outstanding nursery, reaching out to so many children and families across North London. Much of my knowledge and practice was improved and refined with a multitude of experience and experiences that only 6 years working in a busy and now Ofsted Outstanding graded London nursery can!
I found myself equipped with the wisdom of nearly 25 years in different roles, in a range of settings with their own sets of challenges. This empowered me and gave me the desire to share it wider still to ensure more children and families benefited. When Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries Head Office advertised for the role of Early Years Quality Manager, it was the perfect opportunity to fulfil my desire and disseminate all the good practice, skills and knowledge I had accumulated over the years.
My role now, is varied and wide ranging. On one day I can be setting up new nurseries with franchisees and supporting with their SPI, the next, supporting existing settings with ensuring quality outcomes for children. I help with facilitating effective planning and assessment and observing the impact teaching and learning has on the children. It’s a pleasure to be in classrooms looking at the setting’s enabling environments and training staff on various subjects.
My role fills me with a sense of purpose; I feel I am making a difference for our next generation, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!