What’s your name and role?
My name is Mandy, and I am the Nursery Group Support Manager.
What fills your heart with happiness about your role?
Everything really. I love working with children and supporting all the managers. I love my job; I am passionate for what I do, and I love to see children developing and growing into little people. Seeing their little faces smiling and laughing and listening to the conversations they have with each other; it fills my heart with happiness to be a part of this.
Have you always worked in childcare?
I haven’t always worked in childcare; however, I have for most of my life. I have 4 children of my own and I went into childcare in my late 30’s. I took myself into it, got my qualifications and found a job that accommodated to me and my home life with my children. My children are what encouraged me to get into childcare, I loved bringing them up and watching them grow.
What has your childcare journey looked like?
I have been in childcare for over 20 years now. I started in a play group as I had no qualifications before attending an evening class at college for a practitioner qualification. Once I had completed this, I began working in a day nursery where I completed my Level 3. I continued to study and work fulltime, completing my Level 4 and 5 in childcare and carried on to achieve my BA Honours degree in Education and childhood studies! I worked my way up throughout different roles – from practitioner, to supervisor, to third in charge and then onto a manager. I am now the Nursery Group Support Manager at Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries. This job role consists of myself supporting all the managers within Nursery Group – if they’re on leave or unwell, I can cover them. I assist with a range of different aspects, such as recruitment compliance and general admin.
What did you do prior to childcare?
Before I took a step into childcare, I worked in hairdressing. I always knew I loved working with children, so it completely changed my perspective on my career choice. I wanted to get into childcare as soon as I left school, however it wasn’t such an easy process back then, so I took the easier route and went into a career I had more access to.
How were you supported by Monkey Puzzle?
I was heavily supported by the Nursery Group leadership team. I already had 20 years of experience already before coming to Monkey Puzzle, so I knew what the job entailed, however my manager was very supportive with the transition from my old nursery to Monkey Puzzle. I would have regular catch-up calls with her – I had a very strong relationship before the nursery opened and this continued and didn’t slow down once the setting was open. She would always visit me and if I needed anything I knew I could go to her.
What would you say to anyone thinking about starting in the early years sector later on in life?
You need to be passionate to be in this sector, it was a vocation for me. It’s a fantastic and rewarding job and Monkey Puzzle made it very easy for me. No matter your age, it is lovely to see the children develop and be a part of that process. I don’t think age comes into it, if you feel you are able to be active with the children and you are young in your own mind, it doesn’t matter. It’s the passion of working with children and what is in your heart.