Spotlight on… Claire Smith

Meredith Jones Russell
Sunday, September 15, 2019

Room manager, Busy Bees Thetford

HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE YOUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF WORKING IN THE NURSERY?

I arrived on the day to see banners and balloons and notices up everywhere congratulating me. Staff had put a memory tree up in the hallway for parents to write their memories of things I’d done. Then in the afternoon the children got me out in the garden for a surprise tea party. They’d even got my mum to come. I burst into tears straight away. It was so lovely. I really wasn’t expecting anything. They were all very sneaky!

WHAT ARE YOUR BEST MEMORIES?

There have been so many over the years, I couldn’t possibly pick. There have been some wonderful trips out; taking the children to the Sea Life centre and to the beach. But every day is brilliant, I just love it.

HOW DID YOU START WORKING IN EARLY YEARS?

I joined the nursery when I left school at 15. I got day release from college to do my NVQ Level 2 and once I finished, I was offered a position there and I carried on doing my Level 3. From there I worked my way up to become room manager about a year ago.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THE JOB?

I’m quite a shy person and when I first started, I really only talked to the children. Thanks to the great support I’ve had from managers here, I’ve gradually got over that. We have regular meetings to check there are no problems and you know there’s always someone to support you if you need help. It’s made me much more confident in all areas, like researching and planning activities for children. I love creating science experiments for the children, like seeing what happens when you add a mint to a Coke bottle. We share our activities on a nursery app so all the staff can benefit from them.

WILL YOU STILL BE AT THE NURSERY IN ANOTHER 20 YEARS?

I hope so, if they’ll still have me! I’m very happy where I am. I wouldn’t want to do any rising into managerial levels or anything; I want to stay in a role with the children because that’s really where I’m happy.

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