I joined Our Monkey Club as the Assistant Manager at the Donisthorpe setting in 2017 after hearing about the company from my friend on the Foundation Degree with me. I had worked at a school for children with Special Education Needs and then became an Assistant Manager at a setting in Burton. I felt that my previous settings had not focused on the child and did not keep the child’s thoughts, ideas and motivations at the centre of their practice. I have always believed that early years practice should be child led and focused on the individual and therefore I immediately felt comfortable with the Our Monkey Club ethos.
I quickly settled into the Donisthorpe setting and loved getting to know the children. I was immediately struck by how differently the children interacted and played at the setting compared to my experiences prior to Our Monkey Club. I noticed that the children made more choices, were more vocal and set their own goals in play. I was excited to see how I could support children when they were truly offered freedom and support to achieve and succeed. I continued with my Foundation Degree and when I succeeded I took a brief break and then decided to complete my BA (Hons) Working with Children and Families in the Early Years at Pen Green Research Base. I took a step away from management to focus on my dissertation which I looked at systems to support children with English as an Additional Language. I found this work fascinating and enjoyed watching the children progress as we implemented the new strategies.
I decided to lead the literacy program for a few months at Church Gresley and managed the library developed the assessment and planning for literacy throughout the centres. While I loved this role, I again agreed to step up into the Assistant Manager roles at the Church Gresley setting during the few months our team had to adjust to Covid-19. I have always enjoyed working with the leadership team and remaining with the children however I found my role was adapting to focus more on management and leading others practice while working alongside them in practice everyday. I have really enjoyed this move and as we reopened to our ‘new normal’ I have been focused on adapting our practice to meet the safety and emotional needs of our children, families and practitioners. I look forward to improving our service as we move forward and develop our settings to meet our families needs in the long term.