An interview with a nursery owner

Did you start your career as a Nursery Nurse?

I started my career as a primary one teacher and after a few years I was given the opportunity to be seconded to do anEarly Years and Froebel qualification. This was an amazing experience and completely changed my attitude to learning and teaching. I learned how to help young children take ownership of their learning and set myself as the facilitator of their learning. From this my career progressed into management, first as a deputy and then as a head teacher.

Where and when did you own your first Nursery and how many to you have now? After the arrival of several grandchildren I made a decision toopen my own nursery. In 1999 with the help of a colleague who had just had a baby, we took over Early Days Nursery with 25 children of various ages. I now have 4 nurseries with around 500 children.

What would you say are the main benefits for a child attending a nursery ? Socially - they learn how to share, cooperate and empathisewith their peers. Intellectually - they are taught and cared forby trained professionals who challenge and stimulate themto achieve their full potential. Emotionally - they are provided with opportunities to explore their feelings and concerns.Physically - they learn to explore the world outdoors, assess risk, develop gross and fine motor skills and embrace healthy lifestyles.

What do you think makes the biggest difference to a child’s nursery life - the setting or staff?

The greatest asset a child can have at nursery is an excellent key worker who helps them fulfil their potential. Our key workers receive training to ensure they give informative, accurate feedback to parents. We are privileged to share in the development of our children and it is crucial that staff appreciate how important their role is in the child’s life. It is also essential staff recognise the value of keeping parents updated on the achievements of their child. Our learning journals enable parents to have valuable insight into their child’s progress, particularly the video clips which capture special moments for parents.

What do you enjoy most about your job ?

Most of all I enjoy working with the children and the brilliant staff at Early Day Nurseries. It is fantastic to come into work every day and continue my passion for education. I lovegoing in to visit the various rooms especially if I have had

a hard day. The joy of seeing a child mastering walking, saying their first words, or understanding a maths concept is immeasurable.

Do you believe nurseries have to evolve ?

t is crucial that we are knowledgeable about the challenges our children face. We strive to teach them life skills to equipthem for their world, but the ever-changing world means wetoo must continually adapt the way we teach. Over the last 50 years, I have taught similar basic skills but I have learnt to keep up to date with what our children need to succeed in life today.

Thank you Maureen Crandles - you can find out more about Early Days Nurseries by following this link.