Sarah, the Nursery Manager at Bright Horizons Wimbledon House, is an experienced childcare professional. She talks to us about her passion for childcare and describes her career journey.
“I always knew I wanted to help people and it has been my mission throughout my career. After I completed work experience at my local day nursery I knew that childcare was my future.”
Where did you train?
I was lucky enough to be able to train on the job and complete my Level 3 while I worked at the nursery. This allowed me to earn and learn.
What was your first job/role?
My first job was as a nursery assistant working as bank staff.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
My first Room Leader is still my role model for quality practice, customer service and personal development. She always aimed to deliver the highest quality care and that’s what drives me every day; now she owns her own After School Club and is still an inspiration to me.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
I would say you have to love what you do and have a good sense of humour. Childcare is however a serious business, policies need following and staff and children protected at all times.
What keeps you awake at night?
I spend too long on Pinterest! I am always thinking about activity ideas and emailing them to myself at midnight!
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
I love to see my staff grow and develop. My last three Assistant Managers have been promoted to Nursery Manager roles. I feel incredibly proud watching them grow and seeing them now running their own nurseries.
Also, another special moment for me is working with new parents with children who join our nursery. The first few days can always be so daunting when they have to leave each other but slowly they both build that trust in my team and happily wave goodbye to each other each day. This is the best feeling in the world!
What do you think is likely to change in childcare sector in the next decade?
I’d like to think that childcare options will become more diverse and flexible. Forest Schools are on the increase giving parents more variety on their chosen style of teaching/learning, which I think is a great thing. Day Nurseries will become more flexible to meet the needs of parents who have demanding jobs and/or flexible working hours.
Which job would you have done if you had not become a nursery nurse?
I used to manage a nightclub for a few years and that was great fun!
If you could change one thing in early years sector, what would it be?
More appropriately costed government funding to allow all children to access quality childcare no matter what their background or financial situation is.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Spending time with my daughter and catching up on sleep!
If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be?
Jake Gyllenhaal, because I’m single!