Meet the team at Little Birches Nursery and Preschool!
We are a childcare facility located in Sonning Common, a village in South Oxfordshire. Our dedicated team provides exceptional early education and care services for young children, between 3 months and 5 years of age.
I have been working in the Early Years sector for over 25 years, in several different roles including being Operations Manager, overseeing small groups of nurseries, and supporting all areas of the business.
I am now looking forward to supporting Sonning Common and using my experience and knowledge of running multiple sites to nurture the team and develop the learning environments.
I am passionate about engaging and empowering the team to flourish and continually develop in their profession. I believe as a nursery they are our biggest asset and make the biggest impact on your child.
Sonning Common is an amazing setting and I am excited about watching it grow.
Deputy Lead Mentor
Ashlee has been working with children for 11 years and has 5 years’ experience in senior roles. She has a level-3 qualification in Nursery Nursing and level-5 qualification in Leadership & Management. Ashlee has worked in a children’s home that achieved an Outstanding certification with Ofsted. She has been trained in many different areas such as safeguarding, SEN and therapeutic care.
Assistant Deputy Lead Mentor
Alex has been working in Early Education for 8 years, starting as an apprentice and working her way into leadership roles. Alex has completed her Level-3 in Early Years Education and has various other training courses that have aided her in all aspects of her role. Most of her experience is working with, and leading the team, in preschool.
Alex enjoys being able to make meaningful connections with the children and families, and believes that the partnerships between the two are paramount in creating a safe and nurturing environment. Not only this, but Alex is a strong follower of the children’s imaginations; you’ll often find her immersed within their imaginative worlds, being a fire-fighting dragon, but also guiding and teaching them new things in a way that brings out the best in them.
Alex supports not only their creative sides, but their inquisitiveness, emotional well-being, and encourages them the best she can to eat healthfully. She believes that every question is a good question and will always try her hardest to answer it, even if that means scouring through books until she can find the answer.
Bryony has worked in childcare for over 7 years. She was previously a Room Leader in a nursery before she decided to go travelling. During her time travelling, Bryony decided to take a position in a children’s club in Greece where she worked for the summer with toddlers.
When Bryony visited Little Birches, she fell in love with the way the rooms were made to be so homely. She found the resources exciting and engaging for the children to explore their curiosities and extend their learning. She also appreciates how valuable the expansive outside space is.
Bryony loves being at Little Birches, citing how great the team is and how this transcends into providing the highest level of care for the children.
Senior Nursery Practitioner
Hello, I’m Emily! I started my journey in childcare in 2018, after leaving college when completing my A-Levels. I shortly began my Level-3 childcare apprenticeship, whilst working full time in a nursery setting.
I have always loved caring for children and enjoy resonating with my inner child! I particularly love art, messy play and music/dance; I really believe expressive arts are so beneficial to children’s development. I spend a lot of my free time reading, painting and exercising outdoors.
I have many years of experience in nursery settings caring for children under 5 years. Here I have progressed to leadership roles and caring for children with SEND.
Sophie has 10 years’ experience in childcare, and she is also Level-3 qualified in Early Years.
Sophie’s experience gave her the opportunity to be a Room Leader in her previous setting. With Little Birches, Sophie wants to extend her interest in helping children with additional needs. She hopes to complete a Level-3 in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities soon and wants to support the SEN team with any children within the nursery who require more support.
Sophie enjoys the outdoors and loves to take the children out on adventures, exploring in the woods or discovering activities and interests in Forest School.
Sophie spends her personal time riding and caring for her horses as well as coxing for the local rowing team that represent Great Britain.
Bethan has been in childcare for numerous years and has completed the Level-3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce. Bethan was inspired by her family as they are all practitioners working in Early Years.
Bethan enjoys creating invitations for children to investigate messy play activities. She loves the outside and believes the vast outside area at Little Birches creates so many opportunities for children.
Bethan is convinced that outdoor learning offers the chance for the children to develop areas such as communication, problem solving, team work as well as building on physical skills and confidence.
I’m Ruby. I live in a village called Woodcote with my family. I completed my level-2 Early Years course at Reading college in June 2023. Whilst completing my course, I was based in two different settings covering different ages from 6 months to 5 years.
I am very passionate about working with children with different needs and abilities. I am also very interested in developing my knowledge further within childcare. In my spare time, I enjoy seeing friends and family, walking and cooking.
Nursery Cover Assistant
Jessy studied Philosophy at York University. Her main focus of her studies was the philosophy of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness.
Jessy fell in love with Little Birches when her younger brother used to attend, but her passion for childcare began when she started looking after her 4 younger siblings.
When an opportunity arose to work at Little Birches, she knew that she had to come and participate in the developmental opportunities that Little Birches offers young children.
She loves the huge outside area that allows children to expand their learning and immerse themselves in nature. Jessy also has an amazing gift as a singer-songwriter. We love hearing her sing and teaching us new songs and rhymes.
Lorea graduated with a Sports Coaching and Physical Education degree at Oxford Brookes. Lorea has been working with children for several years as a Teaching Assistant as well as working as an activity leader in summer camps, both in England and in Spain as she is a fluent Spanish speaker. Now that Lorea is finished with higher education, her next career steps are working towards progressing in childcare.
Amy studied at London Studio Centre, and completed a degree in Musical Theatre. Since her degree, Amy continued musical theatre and she taught dance and drama to younger children.
Amy is a very proud auntie to a beautiful niece and is extremely passionate about children’s learning and education.
As a trained professional singer, Amy enjoys passing on this interest to the children, teaching them new rhymes and songs and ways to express themselves. She loves to observe the children exploring the environment whilst developing their own interests.
Before joining Little Birches, Ashleigh worked in a children’s care home. Although the children were older, she enjoyed planning activities especially those that used arts and crafts.
Ashleigh is so happy that she is able to utilise her creativity with the children in the nursery making different art using a variety of media. Ashleigh loves messy play! She believes that messy play activities allow children to engage using all of their senses.
She loves that Little Birches has such a vast outside space for the children to explore and play. Ashleigh thinks it is so beneficial being outdoors helping children with their communication and she enjoys being a part of the children’s journey in their learning and development.
Kalyn is from South Africa and has been an English Teacher for numerous years, teaching children of various ages.
Childcare in any avenue has always been a part of her foreseeable future. Kalyn is fascinated by how she can intrigue a child by offering them different opportunities and ways to learn. She enjoys the rapport with children and the overall impact she can have on a child’s life by just being herself.
Kalyn is thoroughly enjoying working within the Early Years sector. She loves the Little Birches ethos of being outdoors and following the child’s interests.
She looks forward to continuing her career in which she feels is a most important sector of childcare and development.
Sapir has 3 years’ experience in early years.
She enjoys helping the children develop their own individual personalities in a fun supporting environment.
In her free time, she likes going to the gym, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.
Sapir is looking forward to completing her level-2 qualification and progressing with the nursery.
Hannah has just begun her childcare journey and is extremely excited and grateful to be starting at Little Birches.
Hannah is a mum to two little boys and was introduced to Little Birches by having her youngest attend the nursery. She saw how amazing and supportive all the team were and thought this would be the perfect place to learn to be the best early years practitioner.
Hannah fell in love with the amount of outside space for all the children which is such a gift. She is looking forward to splashing in puddles, searching for bugs and building dens. She also can’t wait to take the children for a walk in the woods too! She loves reading and singing, and imaginary play.
Hannah will be working towards doing her Level-3 qualification in childcare. She adores being there to reassure, support, guide and entertain the children, and enjoys to see them grow, laugh and play.
Director of Childcare
Denise has 20 years’ experience in a multitude of educational and childcare roles. Denise holds a Bachelors’ Degree (Honours) in Early Childhood Education as well as a Foundation Degree in Early Years. Her last role was at a local nursery and infant school (rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted), where Denise worked in various management positions for six years within the Early Years part of the school.
Denise is very creative and has particular experience in sensory, nurture rooms, and forest school. Denise feels that it’s essential to create exciting routines and activities that stimulate a child’s imagination, leading to scaffolding opportunities for little ones to learn further. Denise also has exceptional child interaction skills and has achieved notable success with children with learning and emotional difficulties, immersing them in an engaging and fulfilling learning journey.
She also has extensive experience supporting children with visual and hearing impairment and those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder and Pathological Demand Avoidance. Denise also has a British Sign Language Level-1 qualification.