Spotlight on...Lisa John
Meredith Jones Russell
Monday, October 14, 2019
Head of nursery, Maggie & Rose family members club, Chiswick
HOW DID YOU START IN THE EARLY YEARS?
I originally went to drama school to become an actress. It’s a very playful profession and I taught art, music and drama classes for children, which gave me a real interest in child development. I did my Level 3 childcare qualification to understand more about play and learning, and decided to buy a Gymboree franchise in Ealing, where I worked while doing auditions.
WHY DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN WORKING FOR MAGGIE & ROSE?
I had always been attracted to their innovative concept of combining nursery education with heavy parental involvement. I had actually just started the interview process with them, but got a job in Dubai around the same time. I felt I would regret not taking the opportunity but promised to keep in touch while away.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN WHILE IN DUBAI?
I had lots of opportunities to explore different roles, including working at an eco-nursery, which taught me about sustainability. I also got into mindfulness and meditation and was able to bring relaxation activities into my own practice. Being from London, I was used to a multicultural environment, but in the Middle East there was such a mix of cultures, it was really amazing. I could really appreciate and learn from different international approaches to the early years.
HOW DID THIS EXPERIENCE INFORM YOUR RETURN TO MAGGIE & ROSE?
Like the Middle East, many families in London have moved there without any extended family. Maggie & Rose has built a safe and trusting space for families to share experiences. Families can use the members club or the nursery, or both. The key thing is creating a home from home for the whole family to enjoy. For example, parents might go for dinner in the brasserie, which has space for children to play, or they might attend one of our workshops, where children are welcome. Children feel secure in the space because they use it so much, and parents feel relaxed not having to worry about childcare. Sharing time and positive emotions allow the whole family to make happy memories together.