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 always enjoyed working with the leadership team while 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 really enjoyed this move and as we reopened to our ‘new normal’ I focused on adapting our practice to meet the safety and emotional needs of our children, families and practitioners.
When the opportunity arose to become Assistant Manager at the new site at Branston Road I was very excited. I aim to step into the manager role as the setting and team develop and it has been fascinating being part of the development and design of this setting from the start. Now its open I am just enjoying meeting all our new families and children and look forward to being part of their journey.