Spotlight on…Anna McKann

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Owner of Rainbow Childcare, West Yorkshire

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Rainbow Childcare celebrates its 30th birthday this year - what is the secret of the nursery's success?

Firstly, I think it’s having a good reputation for being professional but also homely and caring. Secondly, our staff are well-paid and well cared for, and that has led to them staying with us. Several members of the team having been here for between 15 and 20 years. That’s very special and it’s worth a lot.

How did you get into writing?

There are two kinds of people; those who go into childcare because they see it as a business and those who love children. I was the second, and just as my business was getting grounded I read about street children and was very affected by it. As a result, I went on a research trip to Mexico in 2003. I kept a journal while there and I returned with a vision. I started writing children’s fiction based on what I had seen.

What have you written?

I have written eight books so far for young children based on the rag doll Rianbo from our nursery logo. It’s good as I can practise on children in the nursery. I often go in with a story and get feedback from them so I can go away and get more ideas. I have also written books for older children, and I work in schools with Years 5 and 6 on creative writing and issues like poverty, deprivation and drugs.

How do you balance writing with work?

I am very blessed to have such a good management team. I am very involved, but can release a bit of time to focus on my passion for writing, including a stage production that I am in talks to have put on in the West End. As the nursery is ticking over beautifully, I have time to do other things too like work on my charity RCC International, develop a writing competition for children in Spain, and promoting literacy in schools. I’m on a very challenging and interesting road!

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