Jo Stainsby - My Story
As a full time working Mum to two children, now aged 15 and 13, I understand how crucial it is to find high quality childcare with staff who understand and are passionate about children's well being and development. Here is my story:
I worked as a reception teacher for twelve years in four different schools and three local authorities before managing the children's centre in Nantwich for three and a half years. My specialisms are in the Early Years, Play and Special Educational Needs.
My experience in teaching and in particular, Special Educational Needs, has taught me that children come in all different shapes and sizes and learn in many different ways. Memories of my teaching years include one child's fascination with pipes around the school, another child's ability to recall all 29 birthday dates of his classmates. I had an "explorer Joe" and a "Creative Clare". Writing and drawing were one child's horror but another's joy. Two brothers diagnosed with autism were entirely opposite in their behaviours and thinking. My passion was to use each child's strengths and interests as a starting point for their learning.
My journey has also been shaped by my knowledge of the Finnish education system, where children do not start formal learning until they are 7. My sister lives in Finalnd with her Finnish husband and two children, now aged 18 and 15! It has been fascinating to watch my niece and nephew grow over the years and witness their advanced social skills, problem solving abilities and adventurous outlook. The focus on these skills and the extensive play opportunities offered to them both indoors and out (regardless of the weather) have equipped them with the critical skills they have needed to enter formal learning.
The Finnish outdoor education ethos has been equally influential to me. Parents of chldren who are involved in nature nurseries have reported big improvements in independence, motivation, perseverance, self esteem and their child's social development, which are all behaviours that enable children to achieve and succeed in their school years.
The Children's Centre role has taught me about the importance of early help at the right time for children and families and the use of an holistic approach. We all experience difficulties at times in our lives and it is good to know that there are services out there who can really help. Red Wellies staff have a wide knowledge about these services and actively encourage parents to utilise these when necessary and as early as possible.