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About Sleepy Hollow Group

Sleepy Hollow — the early years

Sleepy Hollow is Northern Ireland’s largest childcare company. It was established 29 years ago but was bought by the current owners, Nikolai and Diane Koplewsky, in 2001. Back in 2001, Sleepy Hollow was registered for 35 children, and over the past 19 years has grown to a chain registered for 545 children across 16 different sites. Our growth has been to meet affordable and quality childcare demand, particularly based on primary school sites.

Sleepy Hollow — growing to meet demand.

As the company grew, so did the management team. As a result, the company has a strong skills sets of practitioners, managers and senior managers. Sleepy Hollow continues to be forward-thinking in the childcare sector. We always strive to be creative and top of our field to meet working parents’ needs. Our ultimate goal, above all else, is to provide a high-quality service for the children in our care.

Sleepy Hollow — 2020

Sleepy Hollow Early Childhood Centre is a social economy model day nursery facility and eager and able to learn 2–3-year-old programme based in Crumlin.

The wraparound after schools sites are in

  • Crumlin
  • Belfast
  • Lisburn
  • Dunmurry
  • Glengormley
  • Newtownabbey
  • Carrickfergus

About Sleepy Hollow Group

Sleepy Hollow — the early years

Sleepy Hollow is Northern Ireland’s largest childcare company. It was established 29 years ago but was bought by the current owners, Nikolai and Diane Koplewsky, in 2001. Back in 2001, Sleepy Hollow was registered for 35 children, and over the past 19 years has grown to a chain registered for 545 children across 16 different sites. Our growth has been to meet affordable and quality childcare demand, particularly based on primary school sites.

Sleepy Hollow — growing to meet demand.

As the company grew, so did the management team. As a result, the company has a strong skills sets of practitioners, managers and senior managers. Sleepy Hollow continues to be forward-thinking in the childcare sector. We always strive to be creative and top of our field to meet working parents’ needs. Our ultimate goal, above all else, is to provide a high-quality service for the children in our care.

Sleepy Hollow — 2020

Sleepy Hollow Early Childhood Centre is a social economy model day nursery facility and eager and able to learn 2–3-year-old programme based in Crumlin.

The wraparound after schools sites are in

  • Crumlin
  • Belfast
  • Lisburn
  • Dunmurry
  • Glengormley
  • Newtownabbey
  • Carrickfergus

Senior Management Team

Diane Koplewsky

Managing Director

Diane is an early years and a business graduate who also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration, Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Studies, and an MBA. She started her working career in a large law practice, followed by consultancy posts with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte. Following the birth of her second child, Diane purchased Sleepy Hollow, which was a small nursery for 35 children at the time. During the past 16 years, the chain has grown to the largest childcare chain in NI with 15 wraparound units and a large All Ireland Centre of Excellence Day Nursery. Diane holds level 3 in CCLD and playwork. She also holds a 1st class honours degree in Early Childhood Studies, a level 5 in CCLD and is a qualified Assessor and has also completed a Teaching Certificate in Further Education from the University of Ulster in 2016 to deliver training to the Sleepy Hollow Staff Team. Diane is one of the Designated Safeguarding Officers of the Company. Along with Bronagh, she has written a Sleepy Hollow Inspired Accredited Qualification. Diane is a past Board Member of Playboard NI and chairperson of the Playwork Education and Training Council NI (PETCNI). Diane continues to sit on the PETCNI committee and is a founding member and treasurer of the International Play Association NI. She currently chairs the Day Care Owners Forum and is on the Board of Directors of the Early Years Organisation. She also sits on the Board of Governors of a primary school. Diane has attended the International Conference in Reggio Emilia in 2016 and many other conferences and professional development days in the UK and Ireland. Diane firmly believes that sharing the best practice is important for the Childcare sector in NI. Being involved in committees and through her own CPD ensures that we offer the highest level of care and development opportunities for children. Diane is one of the Designated Safeguarding Officers of the Company. Quite simply put, she loves her job and wouldn’t return to a corporate boardroom for anything - working with children and seeing them play, grow and learn is more fulfilling than any other job in the world! Diane is one of the speakers at the Early Years World Forum in Macau, China, in April 2019 and carries out consultancy work on the Sleepy Hollow Inspired Branch. In her spare time, Diane is an active Member of Belfast Soroptimist Club, where she serves as club president for 2021/22 — a service organisation that works towards achieving sustainable development goals and improving the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and now grown-up family, visiting extended family who lives far and wide and loves nothing more than spending time in her caravan with long walks on the beach along the north coast with her two Labradors.

Bronagh Creery

Director

Bronagh is an early years graduate and has over 24 years of experience in Sleepy Hollow, having joined as a young student. She has experience working with all age groups, from babies to teenagers, as she ran the local community youth club outside of work. Bronagh joined management ranks in Sleepy Hollow firstly as personnel manager in the nursery before setting up Sleepy Hollow’s first after schools provision and being instrumental in starting and developing the wraparound model, which we use in 15 different primary schools today. She manages a workforce of almost 100 people. Bronagh is one of the Designated Safeguarding Officers of the Company. Bronagh holds a BA Hons Degree in Early Years and levels 2, 3 & 5 in CCLD and levels 3 & 5 in playwork. She has also completed Assessors Awards and Teaching Certificate through People 1st. She has also been a member of PETCNI and is currently the Communications Editor and one of the founding members of the International Play Association (NI). Bronagh was also on an International Study Tour to Reggio Emilia in 2017. She has attended countless other conferences and Professional Development days in UK and Ireland. Bronagh is one of the speakers at the Early Years World Forum in Macau, China, in April 2019 and also carries out consultancy work on the Sleepy Hollow Inspired Branch. In addition, she wrote a Sleepy Hollow Inspired qualification alongside Diane which all of our staff undertake when joining the company. Bronagh enjoys spending quality time with her young daughter and husband or catching up with friends in her spare time. She also has a caravan on the North Coast and can be found most weekends on the beach or reading a good book.

Nikolai Koplewsky

Director of Operations

Pauline Bradshaw

Finance Manager

Pauline Bradshaw (Finance and Regulatory Manager). Pauline has worked for Sleepy Hollow for six years, having worked for another large nursery setting in NI and admin/finance roles further afield in the UK. She is trained specifically on all SAGE packages we use. She works alongside setting managers in a wide range of matters such as invoicing, preparing accounts for our accountant, petty cash management, archiving records, fair employment, and all things regulatory in the setting. Pauline works for us mornings only and is kept busy with her very sporty son, a swimmer and a hockey player. She can often be found at 5am poolside in both Ards and Bangor, late evenings helping with galas or just being a supporter. She loves to holiday with her husband, son and family friends. She is also a Sunday School coordinator at her church, so she rarely has a spare minute like the rest of the management team in Sleepy Hollow.

Dee Edwards

Regional Manager for NI

Dee, an early years graduate, joined us 12 years ago as a Manager in one of our wraparound units. She has since worked in many of our units, working alongside new managers or staff. She was promoted to Area Manager four years ago and helps with setting up new settings, supervising and induction of new staff, curriculum planning and overseeing day to day running of after schools groups. Dee is qualified to level 3 in CCLD and Playwork, has level 5 in Playwork and holds an assessors award. Dee is an animal lover and spends most of her time outside of work caring for animals. She can be found walking her dog along Seapark in Holywood or any of the parks near her home. In addition, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her friends.

Lisa Logan

Senior Manager in charge of Eager and Able to Learn Programmes and SEHSCT SAC branches

Lisa, an early years graduate, is one of Sleepy Hollow’s longest-serving members of staff. She has worked as Assistant Manager in our Day Nursery before being promoted to Manager. She has worked in our facilities in McKinney PS & Crumlin IPS. She is one of our leads on our trips and outings. She holds a BA Hons Degree in Early Childhood Studies as well as being qualified in playwork. Lisa enjoys working with school-age children and discovering the different personalities of the children she works with. Every day brings something new she says. She mostly enjoys holiday camps and her highlights have been the ‘human hungry hippo’ game and the five trips she had to Shean's Horse Farm in Armoy all in one week. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter Catherine son John Og and husband John, and they love nothing more than travelling around the island of Ireland!

Lorna Mulholland

Head of Early Years — Early Childhood Centre

Joanna Davis

Admin Manager

Enrol now for 2022

16 Locations across Northern Ireland

Sleepy Hollow is an All Ireland Centre of Excellence accredited childcare provider. We are also Investors in People accredited and were winners of NI4 Kids Awards 2017 and runners up in the Nursery World Awards in London 2018 and again in 2019.  We have also won some awards at local and community levels. Unfortunately, the onset of the pandemic saw several awards cancelled, so we hope to take up where we left off as we embark on the 2022/23 academic year.

Our Day Nursery, which we refer to as an Early Childhood Centre, caters for children from 6 weeks to 12 years. We are based in a wonderfully rural purpose renovated setting on the outskirts of Crumlin Village. It is situated within a couple of minutes drive from 6 primary schools, all commercial and industrial businesses located in Nutts Corner, Crumlin Camp; Antrim, with our largest local employers being Randox Laboratories and the International Airport.

We operate a unique Reggio Emilia Inspired Curriculum in our Early Childhood Centre and an Eager and Able to Learn programme for our two year old room. Quite simply, what we offer in our Early Childhood Centre is more than care alone. We pride ourselves in being early educators and specialists in our field of early education, with many of our Senior Management Team being graduates in early childhood studies.

Sleepy Hollow has specialised in school-age childcare for 15 years operating on school premises. We work with leading and dynamic schools that are forward-thinking to meet the needs of their pupils and families. We have carried out a lot of playwork research and feel this model of childcare best suits school-age children.

Professor Peter Gray, Boston University, addressed the International Play Conference in Limerick in 2018, stating that schools should offer play opportunities and provisions that aren’t solely based on extracurricular competitive sports or exam based music tuition. He said that this model of wraparound care in schools is the way forward and links more play opportunities to the wellbeing of children as they become young adults. He personally congratulated us on being leaders in our field.

We actively seek to expand our school-age childcare services each year as we firmly believe this childcare model holds immense benefits for children, working parents and the school community.

Sleepy Hollow provides out of school camps during school holidays and exceptional closures. These are available to our regular clients and those who need a holiday or temporary childcare. However, the camps are much more than holiday schemes. We follow fun curriculums and ensure each day is made up of play activities, baking, sensory play, group games, creative activities, and the opportunity for child-led play. We also offer fun and exciting trips during summer periods. Schools come together during holiday camps, so it’s a fun way to make new friends and form partnerships in the community.

Awards & Recognition