As you are aware by now, here at Daybreak we have a diverse team of staff whom have a wide variety of ages between them.
Many have been through the process of starting Daybreak as their first job and many have joined us as they have worked through their childcare careers. Here at Daybreak we very much like to focus on our staff, especially celebrating their birthdays and the experience they have gained throughout working with us and other experiences they have implemented here.
As we are focusing on Staff perspectives we would like to show you a simple graph for each nursery setting, stating the age range and overall age of staff!
We hope you enjoy what we have taken the time to do, we were very interested to see the outcome!
See below for the averages we have drawn up and stay tuned for more to come!
Hi Louise, thank you for the taking the time to speak about your amazing achievement of 10 years’ service here with us at Daybreak. I understand that you have progressed from a nursery assistant all the way up to the senior team and now organise events and marketing. What an amazing achievement!
Such broad range of skills learnt whilst working full time.
What was it that inspired you to come into childcare 10 years ago, when you first started at Daybreak?
Hi Laura, wow! 10 years?! Time flies by so quick it seems…. Well, I firstly thought of studying childcare before I had started to work at all. I used to attend a local college, where I studied the basics of childcare. After my year at college I went on to childmind for a year or so, when I then decided I wanted a slight change, to work with children within a setting, the rest is history!
During 10 years’ service you must have experienced a few Ofsted inspections, describe to us how you felt during your first inspection to now?
Well, my first Ofsted inspection is going back several years ago! I believe I had worked with Daybreak for roughly a year or so and I had become a keyworker in the Toddlers room. I remember having been nervous about being approached by an inspector and that I may say something incorrect, I continued to carry out my daily tasks of interaction and engaging with the children in my care, ensuring their needs were met. Staff that had experienced an Ofsted inspection before were good to direct myself and others in a professional manner which as I remember put my mind at ease. A big sigh of relief swept through the setting as our hard work paid off!
Now that I have 10 years’ experience under my belt, I use my knowledge to speak with the inspectors about Daybreak and how we work and adapt to suit every child’s needs. I like to think back to my early days at the setting to reassure new staff at present if they are in the hand of an Ofsted inspector.
You will have seen and experienced many situations in 10 years; Ofsted inspections, changes to the EYFS curriculum, new and returning families, staffing, training. Is there anything that sticks out over the years as a fond memory or situation?
Is there a particular challenge or hurdle that you have had to overcome in relation to a particular situation over the past 10 years that stands out?
Fond memories are truly great to reflect on, especially those in which involve new siblings of returning families. It’s a lovely thought to know that Daybreak are in mind for the ‘next child and returning to nursery with transitions. For me, a new challenge that sticks out and I found quite hard to overcome at the time was my transition from working in the toddler’s room for about 4 years to begin working in the baby room!
I was very anxious at first as the babies seemed very young and I hadn’t experienced caring for this age range much at all. But, with the help of senior staff guidance and the room leader, I gained confidence to overcome and to just enjoy the babies. Every age range at nursery are a pleasure to look after, but after learning so much about babies I must say that having the delight to care for them and watch their characters unravel is a very fond memory for me.
What is it you enjoy most about coming to work?
When working at a well-established setting, it’s great to come into work and see a variety of long and trusted faces. Whether they are returning families, or the staff I have worked with over the past 10 years. It is always a delight to walk into any room at nursery and be greeted by the children with a welcoming hug or smile.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Now, this is a tough question!
There are many things that I feel quite personal about regarding my achievements at Daybreak. For me, having a good, open and honest relationship with others is important. I always feel most rewarded when new staff ask me advice – being able to offer an opinion using my reflection of experience. I achieved a great deal of experience and am very proud of my time spent as a room leader, I must say that this is a very hard role to have within a nursery, to have an overall care of the children and of the staff is very much a hard job to have and I take my hat off to every room leader out there, as I know exactly how tough it can be.
Do you have any advice for anyone not sure if childcare is the right path for them?
The most important advice I can give is to be 100% certain that childcare is the right path for you. Most importantly for yourself to thrive in something you want to achieve in this profession, also the children in your care. Through my experience I have learnt that a child can really sense a vibe off of another person, this does take effect on how their mood or emotions may be. A happy adult encourages a happy child, which equals more of an initiative for a child to explore a happy environment.
What would you do differently if you had your career path ahead of you again?
There are so many experiences that I have definitely learnt a lot from. Mainly for myself from a personal review is that I wish I had got stuck into studying childcare, more so whilst I had the chance to, to not be so shy in my first year or so at Daybreak as it took a long while for me to open up and put my own stamp onto a given project or activity.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years???
I enjoy all aspects of childcare, so it’s quite a hard question for me to answer.
I would like to say I will have a family of my own, the possibility of imparting my knowledge of nursery life onto others would be a great achievement too!
I am currently still enjoying new challenges and responsibilities given to me within my role at Daybreak. It is tricky having to look into the next 10 years, I’m sure that I will still be involved in the childcare industry, as I know this is something I would like to do for many years to come!
Thank you so much for inviting me to this interview.
As you are aware by now, here at Daybreak we have lots of working Mums who’ve all had to go through the feared process of returning back to work. It’s such a hard thing to do when all you want is to spend time with your children – (whether they are younger or older) and make sure they get the best possible up-bringing you can offer them. Being Mums that work in nurseries, it is perhaps a little easier for us, as we know more about nursery life.
This year, we would like to focus our blog topic on ‘mature staff perspectives,’ these series of blog posts may be helpful to those whom combat your journeys back into work after a possibly break from being a stay at home parent or a career change to childcare. We would love to hear your experiences too, so please comment below if you have any stories you would like to share.
Today we will be talking to Linda who works in the Preschool room at our Rickmansworth Town Centre Nursery, who is currently on her eighth year of working with the Daybreak family. Linda has three older daughters aged 25, 27, and 31 all of who have their own careers.
Hello Linda and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule today and joining us. How has the welcome from the Staff at Daybreak helped you in becoming a strong and well-loved character of the Daybreak team? Hello – thank you for letting me talk about my life before Daybreak! As I had worked at home as a Childminder for the past twenty years, returning to a workplace was a very daunting proposition for me. At first I really worried about remembering all the children’s names, the different policies that were needed to follow and also the fact that the majority of staff were much younger than I. However, as time has gone by I feel that Daybreak has given me the opportunity to carry on working with children which has always been very important to me and the staff that I have worked with along the way have always been kind and understanding towards my needs. Soon after I started working at Daybreak, the ladies allowed me to be part of their team, of which I feel I am a well trusted and respected member.
Please enlighten us on a ‘Day in the life of Linda’ at Daybreak! What are your main tasks for the day? My first important task of the day is to greet all the children in my room (Preschool), with “good morning” this can be in a group, or individually. So many children are excited to see me and tell me they have brought a book in for Storytime, or want to tell me of any news updates that they have. Throughout the day I work or play alongside the children on a one to one basis or in a small group to learn about their skill development as they grow into the next chapter of their learning. Also, I find the time during my nursery day to collect a group of children from their schools and take them to the Break or back to Nursery for their lunch after their morning at school.
We know that you have three daughters whom are grown up and working themselves, when they were younger did they attend a nursery? How did you pass the time as they were growing up? When my daughters were young I was a childminder, I became a childminder because I wanted to be at home with my three children whilst they were young. They all attended a playgroup daily and mixed with different children that I cared for over the years, as they got older they attended school clubs, dance and swimming clubs at term time, they also went to holiday clubs which I feel they have really benefitted from as this was a drive to keep them active. Due to my job, I always had children around me, this was very handy to the parents of the children I looked after – as I was a cheap taxi service for dropping off and picking up at school run times. I do feel I spent as much time with my girls as I possibly could, any clubs that they did attend – I was able to take the other children in my care to as well as it was so beneficial in a part of growing up.
Is there any advice you would like to share with parents? Would have changed or maybe thought out in a different way regarding your children transitioning at school and years afterwards? The only advice I would give to other parents would be that I found it so beneficial and sociable for my children to have others around them – whether at a play or nursery setting, or having other children in my home with them – through my eyes, this grew very beneficial to my family. So I guess for me, the more sociable your children are, the more confident they will thrive to be through their lives.
Moving further, we all know and love ‘Linda’s Story Time’ in the Preschool room. How does this feel for you, knowing that the children/parents and even staff especially love this time of day? My Story-time has become quite a popular event in the preschool room. The children run up to me and greet me with their chosen books from home, it is quite a special time for me to really bond with the children, it even surprises me how quiet they all become and get engrossed in the stories – I sometimes have up to twenty children at one story time. Every lady that has worked in our kitchen has actually passed comment on how they really enjoy the time and even miss it when I am not there. So many parents have said to me ‘Ah, you’re Linda – we have heard so much about your Storytime!’ so all this is lovely feedback and does make me feel really happy and very proud on how well this activity has become.
By having gained many years experience in childcare; through working in a nursery setting, childminding and through being a mum yourself, how would you advise mature parents and younger, when it comes to settling their little bundles of joy into nursery? Having worked in both a nursery setting and at home as a Childminder, I can honestly say there are pros and cons on both sides – whatever your age as a parent. I think the best advice would be to visit as many settings as you possibly can, covering both Nursery and Childminders and ask as many of the questions you have in mind – they are so important to you, however trivial they might seem. By doing this you will get a feel for the place and choose where you are most comfortable as a family. I think having as many settles as you want is very crucial for yourself and your child. In my experience choose a start date for your child which is suited to your needs and perhaps meet all of the carers that will be spending time with your little ones. I feel it is also important to keep a child in a homely environment, which both a nursery setting or a childminder can offer – it is just about choosing the right one for you.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us Linda, we wish you lots of many happy years with Daybreak Nurseries and look forward to hearing of your wonderful story times soon.
1.Welcome back Kylie, congratulations on your child! How does it feel being a mother of two and returning to work?
Thank you, it’s good to be back and getting into the swing of things again.
Being a mum of two, wow I haven’t really had time to stop and think about it. It’s such a crazy rollercoaster ride managing your time and then preparing for my return to work. But both girls are great, they get on very well which is a good thing haha… although my eldest daughter was convinced that bubba was only staying for a few days so that was funny trying to explain to a 3year old actually darling she is staying forever.
Returning to work has been ok. You get to the stage where you’re ready to get back to work. Having 8months off is great because you get to see all those important milestones… but 8months away from the work environment is like having forever off with lots of different changes to staffing, promotions, paperwork. It’s like walking into a new place.
2.Now that you are back at work, how do you feel about having a child at Daybreak and your eldest at School?
It’s great having her at Daybreak and I’m very lucky to be able to have her at the nursery with me. The transitions from home to nursery work very well and the settling in process is great so she was able to meet her careers prior to actually starting nursery. I’m very lucky because both girls settled very well at Daybreak all the staff made this transition happen and made it such a smooth transition for them.
My eldest has settled well into Nursery School she loves meeting new people so it has really benefited her and she also gets to see her friends back at Daybreak in the afternoons which she is also happy about.
3.Since you have been back at work for 2 or so weeks, have you found it easier or harder returning with 2 children?
I wouldn’t really say it’s harder neither easier. I’m the sort of person that just gets on with things and grasped very quickly that now there is two children to get ready, I have just had to manage my time better. With school/Nanny pick ups and drop offs. Don’t get me wrong I do sit in the car in the morning and am like right eldest is going here, youngest is going there and I need to get to work for this time. I must look like a crazy lady haha.
4.How have the staff team helped your transition back to Daybreak?
All the staff have been great, welcomed me back and have updated me with changes and other information I needed. The main transition is ensuring both girls were settled and happy which they are so thank you girls for all your hard work.
5.Have you found settling in to nursery transition any different for your second child, in comparison to your first child’s settling process?
No I have been very lucky both girls settled really well, we had no tears at all which is great and upsetting at the same time. Makes you think awww there very happy but then you think but hang on why are you not sad being left. Haha. I’m very grateful to the girls because they made those transitions easy for both the girls. Happy girls, happy mummy!
6.How are you finding the morning now that you are doing a school drop off as well as dropping off your little one to nursery and starting work?
Time management, constantly looking at the clock ensuring we leave at the right time, but again as all parents know every day is different, hurdles get higher everyday especially if you have a 3 year old that has just got out of bed on the wrong side.
The school drop off is ok it’s pretty quick and I have the girls grandmother helping out also.
7.How is your eldest getting involved with helping with the transition period for your youngest?
My eldest is great she is such a character that would brighten up any body’s day. She is always asking where her younger sister is going for the day. And when we get back to nursery she is very eager to see her in her room before she goes to see her friends.
8.And finally, any advice for parents facing a similar situation or thinking about returning to work?
My advice would be to do it! Get yourself back into the swing of things, as hard as it is leaving your children they really will benefit from meeting new people whether it be at a Day Nursery, a Nanny or a family member.
Working in a team really is great you all bounce off each other and it really brings the best out in you. Managing your time is key, but you will be surprised it comes as natural as being a parent.
Returning to work will really benefit you also, it will give you that much needed space that we all need sometimes. We have all been there, babbling away and then realising your actually sitting in a room full of adults (embarrassing) haha!
But yes enjoy your time off and see all those important moments and then when you and baby are ready then start to think about the next stage.
Our bodies need vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fat in order to remain consistently healthy. Children however need different amounts at different stages in their childhood. Research has proven how significant a child’s early years are in terms of long term health and well being. The first 5 years are so important for developing strong bones, teeth, muscles, brain and generally a healthy body. Of course it is very important to limit the amount of sugary foods and saturated fats. Naturally occurring sugars in fruits also need to be limited so not too many grapes, strawberries etc. Fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy are all vital components in a child’s diet and should be included in a varied, exciting and consistent way to ensure children get to experience tastes and enjoy food. Remember children need to try food at least three times before we conclude they don’t like them so if they don’t eat that piece of broccoli the first time, just keep trying.
From around one onwards your little one should be able to eat what the rest of the family eats but of course cut up and in smaller amounts. This routine is important for children so they get into the habit of consuming a healthy and varied diet.
Here at Daybreak Nurseries we are always very conscious of our children’s nutrition and reflect this in our seasonal menus. We have key members of staff who devise healthy but exciting tea menus. They also sit down with our chefs and discuss the lunch menu in great detail in order to be able to provide the best options for all children, taking into account a varied diet and making sure all food groups are included sufficiently throughout the nursery day.
Natalie our chef has been cooking for Daybreak for over a year now and has been vital in providing the yummy menus we use on a daily basis. With this in mind we are keen to find out more about her and her background in cooking. So please read on to see what our chef Natalie has to say about all things nutrition.
1. Hi Natalie, you’ve been with Daybreak for over a year now. How have you found working in nursery catering and how does it compare to your previous experiences?
Hi Kylie ! I have previously worked in restaurants, pubs, schools and nurseries . Typically my day as a nursery chef at Daybreak starts at 8am to ensure all my prep and cooking is done in time for lunch.Most other nurseries would typically have one chef per location who would do less hours but I am full time and cater for all four Daybreak sites at our kitchen at Amersham Chiltern Avenue .This means I can dedicate my time to ensure that children at all Daybreak sites are getting the same tasty ,nutritionally balanced lunches everyday.
2. Have you found that allergies, food aversions and preferences have changed since starting with us? How do you ensure that all preferences are catered for appropriately on a day to day basis?
Food allergies are always quite common in babies/younger children which most grow out of in later life .We try and encourage all of our children to try everything on our menu to help them develop good eating habits.I work closely with each nursery to produce paperwork that I refer to daily outlining any special dietary requirements.I also have regular meetings with nursery managers to discuss the progress of children with dietary requirements.
3. You cater for all four Daybreak sites; do you find it difficult catering for 100+ children? For example getting the right quantities, keeping the food at the correct temperature and the logistics of getting the food to the right destination.
On my busiest days I’m catering for 180 children which isn’t as complicated as it sounds ! I’ve previously done contract catering in a local girl’s school which helps estimate my portions.I have a Kitchen Assistant , Rob,who helps pack up food tins into giant thermo boxes and then delivers them to our three other sites within 45 minutes to ensure lunches are arriving piping hot and on time.
4. Do you feel the nursery menu caters for the children’s nutritional needs and how much input do you have in the final menu?
We have been doing the catering for the last 18 months and I believe our current menu is the best yet.We try to include different styles of cuisine as well as plenty of pulses and wholegrains too.Homemade cakes and biscuits are on the menu but I’ve carefully selected baked goodies that aren’t too sugary !
5. What is your previous experience in catering and has this helped your continuing journey at Daybreak?
I previously trained as a Chef at Aylesbury College and after my first year specialised in Pastry and Confectionery.I’ve been working in catering since I was 15 and have worked in various pubs and restaurants although in recent years I’ve been working in schools and nurseries.In my spare time I run my own cake business. All my previous roles have helped me in my role at Daybreak but my biggest interest is being able to use my baking skills to make desserts and cakes for children with special dietary requirements.
6. You have a strong interest in baking and have produced some great Cakes for Daybreak, is baking something you wish to take further in the future? If yes, what would you like to do?
I do love baking cakes ! Occasionally I do cakes for vintage fairs and weddings but Daybreak keeps me pretty busy.One day I would love to run my own cake shop.
The first day at school can be a big transition for young children, and parents. The realisation that your little one is old enough for school is quite a daunting prospect and the unknown of the new school routine and making new friends is scary for all involved.
Here are some handy tips to get your child school ready.
Role play schools – Doing simple imaginative games can help prepare for the impending transition. Dressing up in the school uniform, having a packed lunch and a playtime outside.
Having everyday skills is important – being able to sit still and listen will help them adjust to the school classroom routine. Sometimes this can be harder for boys and also the younger children… and of course is easier said than done.
Practise strengths – using scissors, holding mark making resources and doing lots of fine motor movements and hand eye coordination games will prepare them for class room activities. Also get counting with them too, sing counting songs and use numbers throughout the day as you go about your routine.
Recognising their names – practise writing their names and also recognising their names when written down as this will help them find their pegs and other labels when at school.
Being toilet trained – most schools will require your child to be toilet trained. It’s important that the child feels confident toileting in unfamiliar environments so take this into consideration when toilet training.
Never assume they will be fine – the most sociable child is often the one that struggles to settle into a new environment because they feel so confident in their current surroundings.
Listen to the teachers – they have settled in new school children before so have most likely seen all scenarios. Ask their advice on how to prepare your child for school in the mornings.
Prepare your child – Let your child know what is happening all the time. Preparing them before they start school and involving them in all the before school morning routine so they know what is happening at all times.
Keep communicating – talk to your child about how they are feeling and what they are doing at school (but keep questions simple, no interrogations). Also communicate with the teachers as and when necessary as children don’t always give the full story.
Good luck to all the children heading off to school in September, they’ll be fine!
September is a time where there’s a lot of change around in nurseries and schools. Younger children are moving into older rooms and the pre-school children are moving up to ‘big’ school. Moving from your safe place in a nursery to a more structured school environment can be a really challenging time for some children and parents too. so its important to make sure all involved feel comfortable with the changes taking place and the process that it may entail.
Here at Daybreak we like to make sure the children are as prepared as possible for all transitions, we make sure that the children have sufficient visits at key times of the day into their new rooms and we also ensure that parents have been introduced to new key carers and shown around the new environment. For Children going off to school we like to make sure the children have met their new school teacher, we allow the children to have a practice at bringing in and eating a packed lunch and we provide opportunity for them to wear, and be proud of, their new school uniform too.
Jo, is one of our nursery managers, who has been with Daybreak for the last 12 years, she has seen both her children make their journeys through Daybreak and begin their time at ‘big’ school. With that in mind we have put together some questions to Jo to see how she and her family coped with the transitions.
1. Jo, both of your girls have made their journeys through Daybreak, how did you find their transitions into each of the different rooms throughout the nursery.
Yes, both of my girls have been part of the Daybreak family since they were babies, as Jo jokes she mentions things ran smoothly.
2. What were your main concerns about transitioning to a school environment e.g. How your girls would cope? How it would affect family life? How it would affect your working life?
All of the above, I was worried about the girls and how I would manage drop off and pick ups juggled with work life. With the girls being at Daybreak , I always knew where they were, what they had eaten and how they had been throughout the day, I took this for granted, as school feedback is completely different and their days are much shorter than a nursery day.
3. Moving onto a school environment is a very different process, how did your girls find it and did it effect you as a family? Do you think you found it any easier knowing the transition process that occurs within the nursery environment?
The transition from nursery to school is very different, I think the first time around it was the unknown and I felt anxious, but I did not show this to Antonia, my first daughter. I feel at Daybreak our transitions are very in-depth, a lot of personal plans are thought through, such as home visits and settles, which are suited to a parent and child’s needs. Where as at school there is a lot of paper work and it is not as personal to the child or adult.
4. Did you find the move to school easier with your second child? Was it difficult watching them grow into school children and not having babies/toddlers anymore?
Yes, definitely easier, as I knew what to expect with my second child. I found it hard that my children had gone from Daybreak and that they are no longer babies. However, I am now excited about their new experiences in life.
5. Your eldest has now moved onto secondary school, was that an easier transition to make as a family?
Adaunting experience with it being unknown, she has been settled at secondary school for a year near now and is now formed good friendships. Now at secondary school, all we rely on is receiving school reports, which are not very in-depth, but they give us the information we need to know. School life is completely different, you cannot just phone or email just to check how your child is doing on the day. Where as at Daybreak, you have lots of communication and feedback throughout the duration of nursery.
Thank you for your answers Jo, good luck to you and your family in any future transitions.