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.
Deputy Lead Mentor
Anna’s previous position was at a London University Nursery (rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted), where she held the position of Preschool Manager. She was at the setting for 13 years and managed a team of 14, ensuring that the highest possible standards of care were in place.
Anna’s main strengths revolve around her passion toward childcare and her dedication to creating a superior environment where children thrive and love their learning experience. Anna possesses exceptional creativity and specialises in planning a variety of exciting activities, including forest school, for the children.
In total, Anna has 23 years’ experience in childcare and also holds an NNEB diploma.
Deputy Lead Mentor
Melanie Harman has over 10 years’ experience within childcare, where she has taken numerous senior roles, including as Nursery Manager, which was her last position prior to Little Birches.
The outdoors is where Mel thrives, she believes that children can learn so much within the natural world using the resources Mother Nature gave us.
Mel is extremely passionate about creating a calm and warm environment for the children to thrive, ensuring that each individual child has the opportunity to learn and develop with curiosity and integrity.
Along with Melanie’s level-3 childcare qualification, she is also trained in Makaton and teaches children how to use this in order for them to use simple commands.
Bringing the outside inside and creating a curiosity approach is something Little Birches is continually working towards, with Mel’s passion and appointment as Environment Mentor, we hope that your children will see the positive effects that a natural environment has in your child’s learning journey.
Hayley Bryant holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours achieved) in Early Childhood Studies and a Level-3 Subsidiary Diploma in Health and Social Care. During her studies, her primary interest was discovering how the outdoors benefitted children and how these different outdoor experiences shape a child’s learning experience.
Hayley has a great passion for childcare and she believes that all children are greatly unique and loves seeing their faces light up when they are discovering new things. Children have their own way of interpreting the world and Hayley finds it humbling seeing this unfold.
Hayley has spent two summers working on a children’s summer camp in Massachusetts, USA. She worked with the junior division, working with a range of children aged 2 years and up. She also has experience working in a reception and year-1 class as well as at a local Rainbows group.
Julie has sixteen years’ experience in childcare and has been at our setting for the entirety of her career in Early Years. Julie has taken on various roles within the setting, ranging from practitioner to Deputy Manager.
Julie says that she’s often asked why she decided to work with children and the answer is simple. When she sees a child’s face light up with pride after they have achieved something, she knows that she gave that child a little bit more confidence to aim even higher.
Julie has the CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Children and Young Peoples Workforce and has also undertaken courses in: Safeguarding, Paediatric First Aid, Child Development, Speech and Language, and Promoting Positive Behaviour.
Kay has 15 years’ experience within childcare and joined us after Kay’s own daughter and son had left the setting to go to primary school (what better parental endorsement!). In addition to childcare, Kay has also run her own business and she applies her leadership and organisational skills to great effect with Little Birches.
In 2010, Kay undertook her NVQ Level-2 in ‘Children’s Care, Learning and Development’ and she also has qualifications in SIPS (support in pre-schools), ‘Behaviour Management’, ‘Writing IEPs’, ‘Small Group Activities’ and ‘Speech and Language’. She is also a qualified Paediatric First Aider and has undertaken the safeguarding course.
Soo-Lian is our language and culture specialist and has 10 years’ experience working within childcare. Soo-Lian possesses exceptional creativity skills and has 2 years’ experience of teaching music and piano with children from 3 years of age onward.
Soo-Lian is also multi-lingual and loves sharing her passion for languages with the children. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkian, Malay, and of course, English.
Soo-Lian is degree educated (Bachelor of Science in Computing) and has a CACHE level-2 childcare qualification.
Maryna started her journey of working with young children in her children’s infant school and immediately realised that she wanted to work in the Early Years sector. Maryna has been working as an Early Years Practitioner for 7 years now.
She is a big advocate of play and learning through play. Maryna recognises that every child is unique and has their own way to learn and develop their skills and knowledge. She tries to work with every child according to their individual needs and interests.
Maryna values nature and natural, eco-friendly materials. She believes that in a natural environment while exploring the natural world around them and having fun, children develop holistically as well as build a strong foundation for future successful learning. Maryna believes nature gives us plenty of opportunities for building a mathematical and an early science knowledge base, developing children’s imagination, exercising curiosity, building problem-solving skills, and much more.
Maryna holds the Level-3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce as well as a Maths degree and a Maths teacher qualification.
Entela is fluent in 3 languages, English, Italian and Albanian. She has 4 years of experience working with children in the Early Years as well as having children of her own.
Entela is extremely passionate, patient, and caring. She believes it’s essential to provide children with a nurturing environment in order for them to feel secure in their environment. This will lead to children developing a high level of well-being and creates a feeling of involvement within the Little Birches community.
She believes a natural environment helps children to understand, develop and make sense of the world around them, and this is what attracted Entela to work at Little Birches. Entela feels that with questioning, modelling and understanding the individual child, she can scaffold the child’s learning to their next level of development.
Entela is currently studying towards a CACHE Level-3 in Early Years.
Lana has been working in Early Years for 3 years, training for a Level-3 qualification. She cared for children during Sunday School classes whilst growing up, and this experience led her to her decision to go into childcare. Lana would like to further her knowledge and understanding of children by studying for a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Lana was really excited to join Little Birches. She loves the idea of following the child’s interest and everything that we do is centred around the child. Forest school and our garden was a huge turning point as she believes there is so much space to encourage physical development. Lana loves the peaceful, calm environment and the fact that Little Birches has so many natural play areas for the children to create open-ended activities by using their imagination.
Lana hopes that her depth of knowledge will help the children who leave Little Birches have a meaningful understanding of the world, culturally and spiritually. She hopes to bring new ideas, innovations and experiences in order to develop their existing knowledge and understanding in a fun and friendly way.
Katy has 14 years’ experience working with children both in nurseries and as a nanny, she also has two children of her own who have both attended Little Birches. She chose Little Birches because she loves the aesthetics of the environment.
Katy celebrates the fact that the children of Little Birches adventure off to Forest School and enjoy all the different learning opportunities this brings. Such as growth and decay within the natural world that surrounds them. It can enhance communication between peers and respect for each other. It promotes risk taking, turn-taking and helps to foster resilience in a holistic way that allows children to shine.
Katy has always loved working with children, and she is extremely passionate about creating a nurturing environment for children to feel comfortable and safe when they are in their independent life away from parents/carers.
Katy also feels it is important to get to know each individual child and their interests so you can help them learn and reach their full potential to learn through play and build good relationships. She enjoys seeing the potential in children and enhancing their imaginative side, encouraging creativity, discussion and
Katy has a Cache Level-3 in Children and Young People’s Workforce and has undertaken courses in Safeguarding, Child Protection and Paediatric First Aid.
Cole’s passion for cooking began at a young age as he discovered he enjoyed baking. Cole has been a chef now for over 12 years and has worked in a variety of restaurant establishments. His young daughter used to attend Little Birches, so he knew the setting well before joining. He likes the way that Little Birches allows the
children to have autonomy over their learning, and the way the team enhances the children’s knowledge and understanding by developing their interests within the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Cole believes that children should have a healthy, well-balanced diet, providing the nutrition that they need whilst their bodies are growing. Cole prepares delicious and healthy meals regardless of allergies, intolerances, or cultural requirements.
Cole’s philosophy, when it comes to cooking, is you can always make something mouth-watering with the simplest of ingredients.