I’m over 50 now and, oh my, I have been fortunate to have squeezed a lot into my life so far!
As I look back at those early steps into adult life; first as an undecided Civil Servant, then as a determined teacher and finally that giant whole-hearted step into the world of early childhood, I feel real gratitude that I found my way into this world of infinite possibility.
A world that challenges the heart and mind, and because every child is different; so is every day!
From being a senior lecturer in Early Years at Glasgow College, the Scottish Independent Nursery Association approached me and invited me to set up a training branch. It is one thing to teach a course created by someone else; quite another to create the course, recruit the team and make the magic happen. I’m pleased to say this SQA accredited centre is now in its 15th year.
You know when you take a leap of faith (which that definitely was), sometimes it opens other doors you might only have dreamed of. Well that is what happened during my time at SINA. I wrote a book and recorded a collection of DVDs, became a regular contributor to Nursery World magazine, was chosen as one of six delegates to look at how other countries were supporting asylum seeking families and submit a report to Westminster, developed two new Level 7/8 Management Qualifications and updated the HNC in Early Years.
The driving force behind everything that I have done and continue to do is the overwhelming desire to make a positive difference on the lives of practitioners and the children in their care. What we do matters; every minute of every day!
I’ve had the opportunity to work with and support all kinds of incredible people and groups; the Education and Library Boards in N. Ireland, Basic Skills Agency for the Welsh Government Assembly, Scottish Book Trust, London Early Years Foundation, to name a few (and prove that I cross the border quite a bit!)
Along the way I had the opportunity to buy the training branch of SINA and so Experiential Play was born. Over the past 10 years, myself and the team have developed courses with Glasgow University (BA in Childhood Practice), as well as those focussed on dads (Approved by Dads) and mums (First Steps), parents and babies (Tickle Giggle) and narrowing the gap in children’s language development. Amongst the hundreds of professional development courses we’ve delivered, our current favourite is Enriching Play for Under 3s. It’s a six-day course and from beginning to end it is a joy to see the focus, dedication and love that each practitioner gives. We do make a difference to the children in our care!