Connect Childcare chats to…. Mother Goose Corner Nursery & Pre-School
With over 3,400 nurseries in our portfolio, we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on a different one each month, to get to know them a little better!
So, as part of our new, regular Q&A series, it’s over to Beverley Taylor-Carson, operations and HR manager at Mother Goose Corner Nursery & Pre-School to tell us more about her workplace, job role and experience using our nursery management software.
1. How long have you worked in the nursery sector?
Our setting is a family-run nursery which my mum, Valerie, set up 22 years ago in 1998 and I grew up with Nursery as it established during its earliest years. I came back home from living and working in London to join the team full time in 2011.
2. Sum up your typical working day in three words:
Manic, engaging and rewarding.
3. Why did you choose Connect Childcare?
There’s a bit of a back story to this one… Nine years ago, we were looking to digitalise our childcare operations, and when we quizzed the three leading software providers at the time about the various system functionalities we needed, Connect was the only one which said the team would include our needs in their system development and let us know when they had been incorporated.
Some months later, we received a call from the Chris – Connect’s CEO – explaining how they’d worked to get the different features that we needed integrated, so I signed up straight away and haven’t looked back since.
Connect’s response was so amazing, and their level of adaptability blew me away – it greatly mirrors the flexible nature of the Early Years sector. Plus, the team are incredibly approachable and responsive, and the tech does everything we need to help run our setting efficiently.
4. Describe our nursery management software platform in one word?
I can’t pick just one, how about three? Everything we need.
5. And your favourite feature?
We’re a pair of sister nurseries, so I love the fact I can see our digital operations and information across both setting locations from my desktop. This makes me feel closer to the teams I don’t physically see every day.
6. What’s your biggest challenge as a nursery practitioner?
Having the right people in the right place at the right time.
I’m a firm believer that you can’t run a nursey effectively if haven’t got these three things fully mastered. That, and you can’t do it on your own, it’s very much a team effort – if your team isn’t in a good place and doesn’t know what needs to be done and when, the children and families won’t receive the high levels of care and education they need and deserve.
Any nursery’s strength is in its team and being part of a leadership team that puts sufficient focus on this, we feel has been integral to our success.
7. But what do you love most about your job?
So many things! As a people-person, I love chatting to parents and colleagues alike – understanding their wants and needs to find the best fit or solution to whatever problem might have arisen. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to running a nursery, and I love the diversity of each day.
8. Complete the sentence: ‘Connect’s technology has enabled us to’… (and explain why)
… liaise and engage more with parents – especially throughout lockdown!
We started our ‘Keep in Touch’ programme at the start of lockdown – which saw us send emails to parents with lots of tips for home-schooling and supporting child development. And using iConnect, we set a daily challenge and recorded story times – we even started our own YouTube channel and shared our video links on ParentZone. This was amazing for maintaining a ‘real’ presence in the children’s and families’ everyday lives, when we weren’t able to physically welcome them in for their normal sessions each week.
One parent even said: “I don’t know how I would’ve coped without it” and called it a “lifeline” – which was really heartwarming to hear.
I believe that by using the tech and posting videos and resources for the children and parents, it’s enabled us to have a more seamless return to ‘normality’. The children still felt close to our practitioners, as they’d seen and heard from them regularly – albeit virtually.
9. When you’re not at work, how do you relax?
I have a 22-month-old son who’s just started talking non-stop, so I love spending time with him. I also enjoy reading, painting and playing the piano, as well as continuing with a mega house renovation.
10. Finally, what advice would you give to nurseries considering investing in management software?
The biggest thing for managers when switching to digital from being paper-based I think is to be prepared to spend time supporting your team members with their emotional transition in going from paper to digital.
My team, for example, had always put so much love and care into the children’s paper journals before we switched – arranging the photographs a certain way, or doodling creatively around their notes – which they obviously weren’t able to do when we started to work online. Some of them struggled with this to start with, but several weeks on they then realised just how much they’d gained – seeing how much easier and more fun it became to record and share a child’s developmental journey with their parents.
Because of this, I’d personally recommend managers help their team discover how to make their personalities shine through their digital words instead, and to continually remind them how wonderful it is to have more time freed up to spend with the children. Which is exactly what we should be focusing on!
Personally, I believe that having everything online has really helped our general operations run more smoothly, and overall, Connect really has just made the way in which we support and track each child’s development that much more practitioner-friendly. I wouldn’t be without Connect for all the tea in China, these days!
Mother Goose Corner Nursery & Pre-School also featured in Nursery World and NDNA with their #keepintouch campaign idea, click the links to read more.
Feature on our blog!
If you’re a Connect Childcare client and you’d like to take part in our Q&A, complete the form by clicking the button or drop a quick note to our PR manager – via firstname.lastname@example.org – and she and the team will take it from there.