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.
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.
Jessica Woods is part of the Special Educational Needs Development team. She believes that children with additional education needs see the world through a unique and brilliant lens and she loves interacting and helping these children.
Jessica feels that the pedagogy at Little Birches is not only inclusive of children’s diversities but celebrates them throughout learning and play. She has completed an OCR Level 3 Health and Social Care course, in which she focused upon safeguarding children who could be considered vulnerable in some circumstances.
Jessica also brings art and language skills to Little Birches, where she teaches ballet and French classes. Jessica has also completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology. The key areas she focused on where social structures, particularly within families, child friendship dynamics and education.
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.
Veronica has 30 years’ experience in childcare, in a variety of roles, and is one of our most experienced practitioners. She’s incredibly compassionate and the child’s emotional wellbeing is always at the forefront of her mind when planning activities.
Veronica also holds the following qualifications: Diploma in Preschool Practice and Extended Safeguarding.
When Sarah left school, she initially started a degree in Early Childhood Education, although her path took her in a different direction and she excelled as a Manager of a travel company, where Sarah worked for 14 years.
Sarah has decided to fulfil her original childhood passion to work within an early years setting. Sarah believes that as practitioners we act as facilitators, encouraging the children to use multi-sensory and experiential approaches. This allows children to become involved in emotional, physical, aesthetic, spiritual and cognitive experiences as part of their learning.
Sarah chose to work at Little Birches after seeing the setting and meeting the team. She said she felt a warmth unlike any other and knew it was the place for her to develop and learn her skills.
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.