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 Miss. Jones, Mrs. Morley and Miss. Reece 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.
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.
Sara Jones (Miss. Jones)
I qualified as an Early Years Professional with a CACHE Level 3 Diploma in 2013 and joined the team here in October 2018, having gained invaluable experience, in the intervening years, at another OFSTED ‘outstanding’ childcare setting.
At Stepping Stones, the children are at the centre of everything that we do; they will never be rushed through their learning and developmental ‘milestones’ and are always given the time, space and individual attention that every child deserves. As a result of the child-led approach to learning that is adopted here the children are confident, happy and engaged learners. My role enables me to spend time working directly with the children and share some management and administrative, office-based tasks with Miss. Green, Mrs. Morley and Miss. Reece.
I enjoy working as part of a successful, hardworking, loyal team of professionals; who all share a 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 family feel, giving children, parents and staff alike the opportunity to get to know each other individually. No two days at Stepping Stones are ever the same; each day brings new and fresh experiences and challenges, which are embraced and nurtured, bringing huge job satisfaction.
Sally Morley (Mrs. Morley)
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 now 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.
In June 2014 I went on maternity leave to have my baby girl. However, I soon returned in a 3-day week role, supporting our fantastic team of Early Years Practitioners as Team Support & Liaison Manager. This position allow 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.
Ellie Reece (Miss. Reece)
Early Years Teacher / 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 young child, 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.
I am now employed as the Early Years Teacher. As a result of my training, I have implemented a more ‘child-led’ approach to learning and am extremely passionate about ensuring that children have the opportunity to make choices about how and what they learn; helping them to become autonomous learners who are confident, independent and resilient to challenges they may face throughout their lives.
Stepping Stones Streetly 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.
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 advanced 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 girl. However, I am returning from maternity leave and resuming my 3 day week position at Stepping Stones in August 2019.
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 another nursery and a school. I started as a part time member of staff working with each age group and alongside every team member. This gave me the opportunity to learn about all aspects of nursery life and experience, hands-on, the setting’s philosophy that ‘learning and development are best achieved through the enjoyment of play’. I particularly like the happy, positive atmosphere that is so evident here.
In September 2012 I jumped at the opportunity to extend my hours to become a full-time key person and work with the eldest children in the nursery. I really enjoyed preparing these children for their next step and transition to ‘big school’ – it is a joy to watch them develop new skills and watch their individual personalities emerge. My dedication and commitment to the children and Nursery was rewarded in June 2014 by the creation of a new Senior Nursery Nurse position and then again in January 2016 when I was asked to be Acting Deputy Head whilst Mrs. Beardmore and Mrs. Hill were on 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 am therefore happy to say that I am now back as a keyperson and loving getting stuck into new and exciting activities with them every day again.
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 splattered in paint midway through the latest art-attack project! These experiences for the children are invaluable and are as important as some of the more formal approach learning activities.
Amy Yardley (Miss. Yardley)
Early Years Practitioner / Trainee Level 5
I have been a full time Key Person at Stepping Stones since February 2015, having worked previously at the setting as a student. As soon as I had obtained my Level 3 qualification in Childcare, I was eager to secure myself a job within the company and was absolutely delighted to be asked to stay on as a permanent member of the team. The nursery has its own unique ‘environment’; it is a safe and nurturing space for all that enters it, be that a child, parent or staff member. 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 and leave as confident, happy individuals.
I particularly enjoy interacting and playing with the children. It is only by coming down to their level and taking the time to get to know them properly by observing their play and interests that you begin to realise just how unique each child is. It is as a direct result of this that I am able to adapt activities and interactions to each child, knowing how to individually challenge and help support them to reach their full potential. I have also undergone additional training in Behaviour Management and am the setting’s Behaviour Coordinator. I enjoy attending regular training to keep up to date with new ways of thinking and working and sharing this knowledge with the rest of my team.
Lauren Kelly (Miss. Kelly)
Senior Early Years Practitioner
Prior to joining Stepping Stones in August 2018, I had been feeling a little disillusioned with my childcare career. Having qualified in 2015 with a Level 3 Diploma in Children and Young People’s Workforce I had been working in a much larger pre-school organisation where there was a very different ethos and approach to childcare and education. As soon as I walked through the door at Stepping Stones I could feel the difference in atmosphere and knew this was where I would reignite my passion and love for everything ‘early years’. I have not been disappointed and am so happy to be part of such a lovely Nursery. The Nursery and team are small, friendly and caring, whilst being dedicated and motivated to provide the best quality of experience and service to the children and families in our care. Every day is a joy, filled with learning, fun and personal interactions with the children. In the summer of 2019, I will be taking some time off for the arrival of my own daughter, but I have every intention of returning, I will miss everyone too much to be away for long!
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.
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.
Prior to the birth of my own little girl I worked full-time and was a keyperson. Initially, when I returned from maternity leave, I worked part-time in a role that took me across all age groups in the Nursery. However, recently, I have resumed a keyperson role on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday which I really enjoy. 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.
Lorna Hands (Miss. Hands)
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.
To date, I have worked with the two younger age groups of children here in the Nursery and find massive satisfaction in my job role. The most rewarding part of my job is to know that I am helping children to reach their personal milestones whilst feeling safe and happy. I spend a lot of my time smiling and laughing, because the children are always funny and entertaining! The relationships we establish and nurture at Stepping Stones really are so special.
Here at Stepping Stones I have always felt very welcomed and was warmly accepted into the team. I feel very privileged to work in an environment where the well-being of the children comes first and where individuality and inclusiveness are both encouraged and nurtured. I feel that the children here really benefit from our loving Nursery atmosphere; we work hard to create a home-from-home environment for all our children and work as a close-knit team to ensure we best foster every child’s individual skills and attributes. I believe that each and every child deserves this kind of love and support and that this sets them up for the very best possible start in life.
Katie Newman (Miss. Newman)
Early Years Practitioner – SENCO
I qualified in January 2016 with a Level 3 Diploma in Children and Young People’s Workforce and began working at Stepping Stones shortly afterwards. I feel very lucky to be able to work alongside a team of established childcare practitioners and yet still always be given the opportunity to contribute my opinions and knowledge. In 2016 I also undertook training to fulfil the role of one of our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). This position allows me to ensure that all our children receive the care and education that they each deserve. As a setting, we are very experienced in this area and have been commended by other healthcare and educational professionals for our early identification of potential difficulties and the drive to go the extra mile to get the additional support needed.
I hold the Level 1 British Sign Language (BSL) qualification and am working hard to implement elements of sign language into our day to day life at Nursery. I have found that for children who find it hard to verbalise their needs, using British Sign Language alongside speech can be really beneficial in helping them to communicate more.
I am very active in the wider community, running a Rainbows Group in my free time. During my sessions with the Rainbows I encourage and support the girls with their development and help them gain badges in useful life skills and areas.
Abbie Capnerhurst (Miss. Capnerhurst)
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 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 shouts ‘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 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 new re-designed and resourced garden. 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.
Kirsty Lawlor (Miss. Lawlor)
Early Years Practitioner
Having qualified with my CACHE Level 3 Diploma as an Early Years Educator in 2017 I had taken time away from childcare and education, to try other things. However, I found I missed being with children too much to stay away for long, and joined the team at Stepping Stones in December 2018. I am happy and have thrown myself into my role here with vigour. I am chatty and friendly with an open and smiley personality. Whether it is a new child needing comfort and reassurance or an older child ready to develop more independence with school readiness skills, I am adaptable and confident to support them. I get enormous satisfaction from all areas of working in early years as I like seeing how each individual child’s goals and achievements develop and change over time. I am also very creative and enjoy craft activities such as junk modelling; I can often be found helping the children to bring to life their imaginative ideas using cardboard tubes, egg boxes and other miscellaneous items found around nursery!
Karmjeet Kaur (Miss. Kaur)
Early Years Practitioner – SENCO
I was given the opportunity to join the team at Stepping Stones in January 2017 as a Level 2 Apprentice. Having completed this qualification, I was thrilled to have my apprenticeship extended so could complete my Level 3 here too. I feel very lucky that Stepping Stones gave me the opportunity to learn and train within such an established childcare setting. The ‘hands on’ nature of the training course and support offered here means that I have benefitted from working as part of the team, whilst having the opportunity to observe, experience and learn from best practice. I am a strong believer in the idea that ‘you learn best by doing’ and to be supported, mentored and taught within an environment such as Stepping Stones is fantastic. I have always enjoyed working closely with any of the children that require support with special educational needs. As a result, I undertook the setting-based SENCO Training to become a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator here at Stepping Stones. I particularly enjoy this role within the nursery as I can support children and families with a broad spectrum of additional care &/or educational needs.
I enjoy working with all age ranges of children within Early Years. I always try to work closely with each individual child in order to help them embrace their individuality and tailor their learning experiences in a way that best suits them. I enjoy observing and joining the children in their role play games as this gives you great insight into their understanding and ways of thinking. This in turn leads into more structured and focussed activities involving things like mathematics and literacy. Anything and everything can be made fun – you just have to be adaptable and creative in your approach and delivery.
Laura Wardell (Miss. Wardell)
Level 3 Apprentice
I am undertaking a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Childcare with Sutton College and feel very lucky to be placed at Stepping Stones in order to help me learn, develop and shape the future practitioner I will become. I find that all members of the team are incredibly friendly, down to earth, knowledgeable and supportive.
Although I am relatively ‘new’ to childcare, having begun my course to consolidate my Level 2 qualification, in September 2018; I strongly believe that my passion, enthusiasm and drive to want to better the lives of children and their families contribute greatly towards the attributes of a quality Early Years Practitioner and greatly enhance my levels of practice 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.
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’s like cooking for a big family.