Sarah Green (Miss. Green)
I first joined the Stepping Stones family back in 1998; having had previous experience, post NNEB qualification, within other early years settings. Initially I worked as a full-time Early Years Practitioner and key person gaining further experience and honing my skills across each of the different age groups. However, promotion came in 2004 when I joined the management team and, having completed the CACHE Management Diploma, I was soon offered the position of Nursery Manager at our then sister setting in Great Barr. I have very happy memories of the 15 years spent there and the wealth of skills and experiences I gained are invaluable. Very sadly this setting closed at the end of the lease on the premises, but I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to relocate here as Manager, just in time for the quarter century anniversary!
With the support of Ms. Reece, Miss. Reece and Mrs. Morley I have full autonomy over the day to day running of the Nursery and despite this bringing enormous responsibility and challenges; it also brings job satisfaction and reward in equal measure too. We believe that ‘a team is made from a group of people who all work together to achieve the same goal’. I am extremely proud of our talented team of childcare and education practitioners; they are all experienced, hardworking, and loyal, showing tireless commitment and dedication to their individual roles and each bringing their own special qualities and skills to the Nursery and children in our charge. Continuous professional development is very important at all levels of our team, so I have recently started the journey towards formal qualification as a Forest School Teacher. This will not only enhance and extend the outdoor learning opportunities we currently offer our children during Forest Sessions held within Sutton Park; but also add to educational and health and well-being experiences explored within our own fantastically resourced garden environment.
I am passionate about every aspect of my role and cannot wait to play a positive part in each child’s early years’ journey with us.
Ellie Reece (Miss. Reece)
Deputy Manager / Early Years Teacher / Lead SENCO
In February 2015, I joined the family at Stepping Stones in a multifaceted position; I divided my time between caring for the children in Nursery and working alongside the Proprietor in an administration-based role. This enabled me to have the benefit of a ‘hands-on’ practical involvement whilst also gaining an understanding of the administrative systems involved within the running of Nursery.
Having previously completed a BA (Hons.) Drama degree in London in 2013, I decided to extend and hone my existing knowledge and skills by undertaking the Early Years Initial Teacher Training course at Newman University. It was a huge challenge to complete the course, whilst also working and raising my own family, but it was also enormously rewarding, and I obtained my Early Years Teaching Qualification in June 2017. I also completed the Special Educational Needs training.
My primary role within Nursery is as the Early Years Teacher. I ensure that the curriculum is team-designed and implemented across all ages of children, supporting my colleagues to promote our ‘child-led’ approach to learning. I am extremely passionate about ensuring that children have the opportunities to make choices surrounding ‘how and what’ they learn; helping them to become autonomous learners who are curious, confident, independent and resilient to challenges they may face throughout their lives.
This Nursery was opened in 1994 to answer a much-needed demand for quality education and care for young children, and as somewhere the Proprietors own, then 2-year-old, daughter could attend – me! It is an honour and privilege to now work alongside my mother, and the entire team of dedicated childcare professionals, to ensure that her vision back in 1994 continues as strongly as ever. I truly believe that my involvement within Nursery symbolises everything we believe here at Stepping Stones – we are all about family, love and preparing children for the future.
Sally Morley (Mrs. Morley)
Senior Early Years Practitioner / Team Support & Liaison Manager
I have been a member of the team here since November 1997, having previously worked in other childcare settings after qualifying as an NNEB in 1994. I quickly realised that the Stepping Stones ethos was different to other nurseries I had experienced, and knew I wanted to be a part of their commitment to deliver the very best quality care, education and service to pre-school children and their families.
I became Nursery Manager in 2007, having been promoted through the roles of Third in Charge, Deputy Manager and Acting Manager. As such I took on full responsibility over the day to day running of the nursery. I am Level 4 qualified after completing the Quality Accreditation Award in 2011 and remain dedicated to continued self-development and improvement, actively promoting and encouraging this within the Nursery and team.
After the birth of my daughter in June 2014, I chose to return to Nursery in a 2-day week role, supporting our fantastic Early Years Practitioners as Team Support & Liaison Manager. This position allows me to spend time working directly with the children, staff and parents and means I can play my part in ensuring that Stepping Stones remains the fantastic Nursery that it has been since I joined; whilst still enjoying precious time at home with my daughter.
Lauren Neville (Miss. Neville)
Senior Early Years Practitioner / Graduate Leader
I was thrilled to be invited to join the team here in March 2020, having previously trained and worked at different Early Years settings. I have a BA (Hons.) in Education gained in July 2019 but started my formal childcare and education journey firstly with Level 3 CACHE Childcare and Education in July 2015 and then a Level 5 in Early Childhood Studies in May 2018. I have also achieved my A1 Early Years Assessor award, which means I am able to tutor childcare and teaching assistant apprentices through their training and qualifications.
I usually work with the oldest group of children at Stepping Stones, teaching and supporting them in their final year here, and in preparation for school. It is fantastic to implement the wealth of knowledge and experience I have gained into my practice. I love coming into work everyday to see the children, ready to get going with some fun activities! I am a firm believer that children learn best through play experiences, and that’s what I love most about Stepping Stones – we put the children’s choices at the heart of what we do.
I really enjoy working as part of a happy, successful, hardworking team of professionals, who all share the same commitment and dedication to ensuring the children in our care grow and develop to their full potential. As a small setting, the Nursery exudes a warm family-feeling giving children, parents, and staff alike the opportunity to get to know one another individually and build special caring relationships. The Early Years of a child’s life are so important, and it really inspires me knowing the part I can play in shaping the adult they will become.
Amy Yardley (Miss. Yardley)
Senior Early Years Practitioner / Trainee Level 5
I have been a full-time Keyworker at Stepping Stones since February 2015, having worked previously at the setting as a Level 3 student. The Nursery provides its own unique environment, where the home-from-home feel and caring, nurturing practitioners provide individualised focus to offer experiences and activities for the children that are adapted to stimulate and challenge each child at their stage of development.
Watching the children progress and develop their unique personalities through play, drives my passion to strive to extend my own knowledge and skills further. To ensure I am well placed to support every child to have the best start in life, I enrolled to undertake additional training and formal qualification through a Foundation Degree. This 2-year Level 5 course is now nearing conclusion and I am already enjoying using the teachings in my everyday practise with the children. I particularly enjoy reviewing aspects of child development to explore ways to extend their play and foster the life-long hunger for learning that is so vital for success.
The team are kind and work hard to constantly raise standards, striving to ensure we are offering children the very best opportunities. As a result of this constant dedication, children enjoy their early years education here and leave as confident, happy individuals with big personalities – ready to take their next steps.
Hannah Allcock (Miss. Allcock)
Senior Early Years Practitioner
I joined the Stepping Stones family in June 2009 as a Nursery Assistant with a Level 2 qualification, a flair for all creative activities and a natural love of children. I was encouraged to extend my formal qualifications further and completed my NVQ Level 3 in Childcare in February 2011 and training in Special Educational Needs. Promotion through Third-in-Charge and Deputy followed with an 18-month period spent as Nursery Manager covering maternity leave in 2015-16.
In more recent years, my home-life has taken pole position, with the decision to start my own family. I am now the proud mummy to my little boy and little girl. However, Stepping Stones has always had a special place in my heart and I eagerly returned, to a 3-day-week position, after being on maternity leave with my babies.
With my experience, knowledge and skill set being so broad, I often rotate across different age groups of children. I particularly enjoy working to support new children settle into the nursery routine and form sound attachments within our safe nurturing environment. I find this position extremely rewarding and am very empathetic to how children and parents, new to the nursery environment, might be feeling. I am also keen to revisit training more tailored to children that may require additional support to achieve their developmental milestones.
Lynette Lamb (Mrs. Lamb)
Senior Early Years Practitioner
I joined the team at Stepping Stones in February 2012 as an NVQ Level 3 qualified Early Years Practitioner with 4 years post qualification experience gained within other nurseries and a school. Since then, I have worked with each age group and alongside each member of the team. My dedication and commitment to the children and Nursery was rewarded in June 2014 by promotion to Senior Early Years Practitioner and then again in January 2016 when I was asked to be Acting Deputy Manager to cover a colleagues maternity leave. During this time, I enjoyed the challenges associated with assisting in the management of the Nursery but really missed my day-to-day interactions with the children. I was therefore happy to resume my keyperson role and much prefer getting stuck into new and exciting activities with the children every day.
I particularly enjoy and have a natural aptitude for some of the larger and more exuberant activities that we offer at Nursery! I can often be found replanting the veggie patch with the children or leading messy craft activities such as splatter painting or crazy art. In direct contrast I also lead and enjoy doing yoga or mini-workout sessions with the children. These opportunities enable the children to try new things and are supportive tor mental health and well-being.
Following the birth of my beautiful daughter in April 2021, I am currently on Maternity Leave.
Lorna Hands (Miss. Hands)
Senior Early Years Practitioner
I completed my BTEC Level 3 Childcare qualification in 2014 and have been a member of the team here at Stepping Stones since September 2015, with post-qualification experience working in another day nursery prior to this.
Over the years that I have worked here I have gained invaluable knowledge and experience, undertaking additional training with the team but also, most recently, focussing on PSE (Physical, Social & Emotional) Development in Early Years children. This can be impacted, either positively or negatively, by many things. Unfortunately, the recent pandemic has exacerbated things for some children, so I am really pleased that I am able to offer my knowledge and support, to the children and my colleagues, as the Stepping Stones ‘PSE Champion’.
To date, I have worked with the two youngest age groups of children here in the Nursery and find massive satisfaction in my job role. I love working with the younger children as I feel that you see the most significant progressions in development at this age. There is nothing more magical than supporting children in learning to walk, talk and more! It is truly so rewarding to know that I am helping children to reach their personal milestones whilst feeling safe and happy.
I feel very privileged to work in an environment where the well-being of the children comes first. We support each other, as a tight-knit team, to best foster every child’s individual skills and attributes, where individuality and inclusiveness are both encouraged and nurtured. I believe that each and every child deserves this kind of love and support, and that this sets them up for the best possible start in life.
Abbie Capnerhurst (Miss. Capnerhurst)
Senior Early Years Practitioner
I joined the Stepping Stones team in November 2018 and instantly knew I had found where my skills and enthusiasm for work with pre-school children would be nurtured and developed. I had previous experience working in other nurseries since obtaining my Level 3 Diploma in 2014 but was looking for a setting that had that elusive ingredient and where I could put down some roots. Stepping Stones felt friendly and welcoming, in a way that I had not experienced at other settings before. The whole ethos of Stepping Stones demonstrates ‘family’ and we work hard to ensure that every child’s unique skills and qualities are recognised and embraced.
I particularly enjoy interacting with the children and observing first-hand how my interactions help to extend and develop their thinking and understanding. I really enjoy helping children grow and develop in the early years of their life, ready for their next adventure into school. I am bubbly and friendly whilst also being caring and calm with children that are settling into the Nursery routine. I particularly like imaginative play and like to help the children develop their sense of imagination, be that inside or outside in our lovely purpose designed and expertly resourced garden.
Recently I have had opportunity to develop new skills through additional training in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). This very important area of learning means I can help support the team with delivery of curriculum that reinforces the development opportunities for the children within the EYFS and Understanding the World.
Every day here is different, the children constantly surprise us with their entertaining personalities – seeing them smiling and happy is the best part of my day and it gives me huge job satisfaction to be part of their extended Nursery family.
Kim Baillie (Mrs. Baillie)
Early Years Practitioner
I have worked, as a part-and full-time Early Years Practitioner, within the team here at Stepping Stones since October 2004. Prior to this, I qualified as an NNEB in 1981, enjoyed 23 years working within the childcare sector and raised my own three children. In recent years I have worked in a 3-day-week position and know that my ‘more mature years and the experience they bring, are recognised as an asset to the Nursery as a whole.
My extensive years at Stepping Stones mean that I have worked with the children and my colleagues in all of the age groups. I feel that it is very important to be able to identify and respond to each child’s individual needs at the earliest age possible to ensure they get the very best start in life. I find it very rewarding to watch children grow, develop, and achieve at their own rate and pace, knowing that I have helped them in their progression. I have a calm and laid-back nature and particularly enjoy engaging the children in art activities and displaying their work for all to see, enjoy and admire. Looking after very young children requires a lot of patience, but it is also rewarding and great fun.
Leah Mathewson (Mrs. Mathewson)
Early Years Practitioner
I completed my NVQ Level 3 in 2012 and joined the team at Stepping Stones in February 2015, having previously worked as a child minder.
Since then, I have been a keyperson, in both a part-time and full-time capacity, in a role that has taken me across all age groups of children.
I have recently returned to work following a period of Maternity Leave and feel that the insight, skills, and experiences I have gained from having my own family, have enhanced what I have to offer to the children and families here.
I have a calm, patient, and unhurried disposition, so I find that I have a particularly natural affinity with the younger age groups of children. I get huge job satisfaction helping them to settle into the Nursery routine, building trusting relationships and supporting them to develop into happy, confident, and curious little characters. It is really rewarding being part of their early years and knowing that you have played an important part in keeping them safe, providing a nurturing environment and preparing them for their next steps through Nursery and new wider life experiences.
Laura Wardell (Miss. Wardell)
Early Years Practitioner
I initially started at Stepping Stones when I was offered the opportunity to undertake a Level 2 Childcare and Education Apprenticeship through Sutton Coldfield College. Having successfully completed this, I was determined to extend my formal qualifications and, with the continued support of Nursery, started a new Apprenticeship in September 2018, to undertake the Level 3 Childcare and Education. I felt very lucky to be placed at Stepping Stones to help me learn, develop and shape the future practitioner I would become. I found that all members of the team were incredibly friendly, down to earth, knowledgeable, and supportive.
Upon completion of my CACHE Level 3 in February 2020 I was thrilled to be offered a position as an Early Years Practitioner here. I strongly believe that my passion, enthusiasm, and drive to want to better the lives of children and their families contributed greatly towards this offer; whilst the amazing training I had enjoyed here greatly enhanced my levels of practise with the children on a day-to-day basis.
I particularly enjoy engaging the children in Outdoor Learning opportunities and widening their experiences with the outdoor world and nature. When outside the children can ‘make a mess’, be noisy, active and are supported to take risks in their learning. As a result, the children are highly engaged and make huge leaps forward in relation to their confidence, self-awareness, practical skills, and ability to work with others. I also enjoy art and creative activities, with music and movement being a real pleasure.
Laura Newton (Miss. Newton)
Early Years Practitioner
I joined the Stepping Stones family in December 2019 having achieved my Level 3 CACHE Diploma in Childcare and Education in another nursery setting. Sometimes it can be hard to leave a setting where you have become familiar and confident with how things are done, but I need not have worried because all the team here are so welcoming, friendly, and inclusive that I now cannot imagine being anywhere else! At Stepping Stones I am really happy and like to think that I have added to the team dynamic in a positive way. I have a calm, caring and very gentle nature and find it easy to build trusting and affectionate relationships with the children and their families. I enjoy working with all ages of children within Early Years but to date I my role has been as an Early Years Practitioner and keyworker within the youngest age group of children. I really enjoy helping them settle into their new Nursery routine, encouraging them to explore their surroundings and watching as their personalities emerge. I try to work closely with each individual child to help them embrace their individuality and tailor their learning experiences in a way that best suits them. Developmental progression is so quick at this age that to support them, as they start to verbalise and become more independent, is really rewarding.
Katie Marshall (Miss. Marshall)
Early Years Practitioner
During my college-based training as an Early Years Practitioner, I had opportunity to be on placement at Stepping Stones as a student. I absolutely loved it and was keen to see if there might be a position available for me once I qualified. I was thrilled to join the team in September 2020 once my training was completed. I am happy and confident and have thrown myself into my role here with enthusiasm. At the moment I work alongside Miss. Yardley as a keyworker within the middle age group of children (Rainbows 2-3 year olds).
Kim Robinson (Mrs. Robinson)
I qualified as a professional cook with a City and Guilds 7061–7062 in 1978 and worked within the catering industry for 27 years. I then joined the team at Stepping Stones in 2001 and took up the responsibility for all aspects of the children’s nutritional welfare. My duties include menu planning, food preparation, making provision for any dietary requirements (be that allergy, cultural or religion related), purchasing of food stuffs and meal service.
Over the years I have renewed my Food Hygiene Certificate every three years and ensured that the Nursery achieves the highest grade within the Food Standards Agency 5H for Hygiene Scheme operated by Birmingham City Council. I have recently completed the advanced training for allergen awareness compliance. I have also attended many courses about children’s nutrition and how to encourage fussy eaters, which has been particularly useful. I am often asked for recipes from parents who cannot believe the variety of food their child eats at Nursery but would not touch at home!
I love helping and teaching children to be creative and have fun with cooking. I believe that interest, understanding and education about food is the key to a healthy, happy eater and a very important life skill. I really enjoy being part of the Stepping Stones team; it is like cooking for a big family!