Staff development day 4/4

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Staff development day 4/4

We had to ensure that we kept up the momentum of the fast pace of the morning so after the photography session we handed over to our senior management team


Early Childhood Centre Teams

Karen, Ruth & Lisa – chatted about all things happening in the Early Childhood Centre.


  • The importance of ensuring observations are recorded & updated
  • Changes in the schedule of the daily menu (we swopped ONE of our mid morning snacks to straight after sleep time – so we offer breakfast, morning snack, lunch & pudding, fruit straight after sleep (instead of having this with morning snack) and then high tea).  We found that having too much food in the morning was leading to food waste at lunchtime as the children weren’t hungry.  There seemed to be mis conception that we were dropping out morning fruit but hopefully this has now been settled by a discussion as to why the fruit was moved to later afternoon (we appreciate that some children who leave at lunchtime miss out on a snack but we feel that its important to follow nutritional guidelines for early years, ensuring we are keeping to portion control and no leading to food waste).  We are happy to give fruit home with children leaving at lunchtime.

This is just one of the opportunities of matters discussed – good to get feedback with everyone in the one place and a good question and answer session  It was also good for the afterschools groups to have an understanding of issues in other areas of the business and vice versa


Wraparound Units

Dee and Rachel – spoke about various matters including Dee’s most precious subject of ‘allergies’.


  • Dee looks after all matters pertaining to allergies and specific dietary requirements in all of our wraparound settings – she absolutely excels in this role.
  • Both Rachel and her discussed some further items we were taking off our menus because ingredients had changed
  • They also discussed our new plans for Summer Camp 2020 with running a 9-3pm ‘normal school hours’ activity camp followed by a flexible breakfast club and late pick up.  This is to follow on from parental feedback and we will still have summer camp themes but the same theme will not happen during the same week in each setting – it will travel round each site and work on a rotation.  We will bring in some outside support to run the activities or have some of our staff lead the activity element of the camps.

Staff all seemed very excited about this innovative approach and providing a more tailored fitted and affordable camp for parents and children.


Accounts and Admin


Denise and Pauline talked about their roles within the team.  They talked about how staff should view them as the ‘sales’ and ‘accounts’ department in the business which made it easy for staff to ensure they are passing on queries to the right person.  Quite often invoice queries come to Denise and then parents needing extra days for example come to Pauline.  Their roles interlink quite a bit but it saves time and its better for customer service when we can ensure queries are being passed on promptly to the right person.

The staff in units and in the Early Childhood Centre have a face to face relatsionship with our clients which Denise and Pauline don’t enjoy due to the nature of their posts, and given they work in the office  and just don’t get the opportunity to meet with the clients as much as they would like to.  So its important the rest of the company can address even the slightest query by passing these on to enable Denise and Pauline to put the customer and family at the centre of our services.

So it was a worthwhile session and instead of us having a Denise and Pauline we had two brand new departments born – Accounts & Sales!



Diane talked about how Sleepy Hollow got its name!

Well the name was inherited – Diane bought the nursery over as a going concern.  At the time of taking over Diane hadn’t heard of either the Sleepy Hollow movie or the restaurant (its now one of our favourite restaurants for nights out for the staff team).  We loved the name back in 2001 but after 20 years of hearing why do you call your nursery after a horror movie we thought that we may like to rebrand our company.

The ladybird was the logo we created on taking over the nursery – the ladybird itself has had a facelift over the years but we haven’t been brave enough to change the name.

We gave staff post it notes and asked for their feedback and ideas of how we could rebrand.  Its all top secret (and undoubtedly will be delayed due to COVID19) but we will rebrand down the line and are lucky to have a passionate team who care and want to be involved with the ‘rebranding working group’


Three year development plan

Throughout the day we had post it notes on tables and posters round the wall with one year, two year and three year plans.  Through the day we would see staff going over to the posters and putting up an idea or inspiration written on a post it note.

By the end of the day the boards were covered.

We took 12 from each and committed to those straight away.  We promised to do a feedback on each suggestion on a longer workplace app video the following week (we actually had it posted by the Monday lunchtime).

We wanted to give the ideas & goals real consideration and some of the ideas were mind blowing.  We will do a longer post on long term development planning and will touch on the detail there but when we consult in this way – plans are achieveable as they come from the staff up.  When we impose plans and ideas from management down quite often – we are out of touch with what the staff want or desire, or staff become unmotivated due to the lack of consultation and partnership working.   Lots more to follow on another blog – but just to say there were ideas put forward that we had never considered and they were mind blowingly inspirational.  We are excited to follow these up when we re-open!


Drinks and Nibbles

We finished the day with bubbles – prosecco, beer and fizzy water with nibbles, good fun and just getting to know each other on a social level.


Probably the best money we have every spent on Staff Development – EVER!  We will do this annually for sure




Awards & Recognition