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Spotlight on ....Preschool Room Leader Vikki Wray

June 22, 2018 12:20 pm

Vikki Wray has been with the Mulberry Bush since we opened. She runs the busy Locks Heath Elderberries (Preschool) Room and also operates at setting SENCO.

How long have you worked for the Mulberry Bush?: Since day 1! So it will be 5 years in July.

What do you most enjoy about working with children?:
Everything! Watching them grow and especially sending them off to school. I find preparing for that next stage of life and helping them to achieve their goals very satisfying. I am also setting SENCO and I particularly enjoy helping support those children who struggle a bit more to get over their hurdles. I really love a challenge! Of course we get to have loads of fun with the children everyday and who wouldn’t enjoy that?
I also enjoy building relationships with families and often feel that those relationships are at least as important as our relationships with the children themselves. It is really important to me that parents realise that their children are genuinely loved and cared for when they are in our care. Every child is their parents’ precious baby, we are holding their whole world in our hands and we never loose sight of that.
Preparing children for school is the element of my job that I find most personally satisfying. I think that one of the most important things that we can give the children is the confidence to use their imagination, I think this is key to successful investigation and learning. It is also vital that they go to school happy, confident, independent and able to make friends. If they walk through the door on day 1 with confidence a good school will do the rest and luckily we have a lot of good schools around us. From my experience a good handover to school is so important to enable a smooth start. If we are able to pass on how each child learns and their needs it means that the teachers are already one step ahead in being able to support that child.

What do you feel are the strengths of the Mulberry Bush?:
School preparation is something that we are very strong at. We have built up really good relationships with the local schools and I think that helps a lot with the transition.
We work very hard to build good relationships with parents and families. I think that this really helps us to support children and their families and that can be key to the children’s development.
Our continuous provision is something we have worked really hard on. We have started a new type of planning using the children’s interests directly. My team are loving this as it gives us more freedom and options and is very exciting and inspirational for the staff and the children.

How do you find working for the Mulberry Bush as a practitioner?:
I am given a huge amount of freedom to implement my ideas. I am trusted and I know that the Directors and Managers have faith in my abilities. I feel that we are allowed and supported to trial different ideas and to develop and adapt. I am also given realistic budgets to support my children which doesn’t happen often in nurseries! I asked for an outdoor classroom about 2 years ago which we now have as we became busier I asked for more space for the preschool and we had a whole new floor put on the building, I asked for a sensory room for my preschool and now every room in the nursery has their own sensory room! I can’t ask much more than that!

I am very excited about future opportunities. Right now I am looking forward to planning outings for the preschool using our new minibus.

Are there any professional goals that you would like to achieve personally?: I enjoy being SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and I would like to gain more training and experience working with children with additional needs. Eventually I would like to work in a more supervisory role helping to support best practice generally.

There have been a lot of physical changes to the nursery since you joined. What are the areas you like best?: I love the fact that we have a true outside/inside free flow meaning that our children can make very independent choices about how they use the environment.

What do you like to do when you are not at work?: I have a little boy, Parker, who is 17 months old so he takes up most of my time! I really enjoy creating activities for him. I am a bit of a child development geek!

Now for the important questions!......

What is your favourite ice cream?: A good quality chocolate ice-cream

Which is your favourite chocolate bar?: I change my mind all the time but this week it would be a Picnic!

What is your favourite activity to do at nursery: I love the lycra game which is part of our letters and sounds programme. It is very simple but so versatile and effective.