Having taught in Early Years and primary schools since 1988, I got jaded by the data-driven system and decided, with a teacher friend, to open a preschool. Our mission was to provide premium quality childcare and education for the lowest possible cost! We wanted to be led by children, rather than be led by data.
We set up a business and registered with Ofsted in November 2018, and found a premises from which to run. Alas, this was not to be and we fell victim to a landlord who suddenly increased our rent by 50%, leaving us desperate to find a new premises for the families we had on our books: this is when we found The Scout Hut at Mill Lane Sevenoaks - and what a find!
Vast open space and woodland for children to explore and a huge indoor space, too! It was perfect! Many of our families made the move with us, some unfortunately couldn’t as they had school runs and work commitments that didn’t allow for the extra journey. But we soon found ourselves with almost 30 children on roll and our team began to grow.
Whilst building the Westerham Team, and teaching at the Sevenoaks preschool, I was approached by a scout leader from Tonbridge - the playgroup that rented from them was closing after 52 years and would I like to have a look, with a view to opening up a new preschool! This became Tots Teachers Preschool 3, at Weir View Hut, Tonbridge. The search for the Tonbridge Team began!
2020 has been a bit of a year, what with Coronavirus and lockdown, but for me, it’s been really exciting! Exhausting, but exciting! When I advertised for the new teams I was inundated with applications - people had time to look for other jobs during lockdown and this worked to my advantage. I met with applicants in parks and we walked and talked about the roles they might play in the vision I had for the preschools. They shared their own visions of their dream preschool with me, too. They were interviews that I had never imagined having before! But they were great - I got to know the applicants much better then I would have at a traditional-style interview - one applicant even brought her children along (yes I employed her!) During one interview I fell victim to a rather large pigeon flying over my head (splat!) Definitely broke the ice! I’ll never forget the recruitment drive of 2020!
To see the teams develop and bond over the summer term, as we held socially distanced induction days and first aid days, was great! Having them all pull together to create Open Days was amazing! And seeing them all start the term as if they’d always been there was phenomenal! I don’t think I can put into words how utterly proud I am of them all as individuals and as a team!