Our caring, creative, and observant staff are our greatest resource at Lake Street Nursery. The children benefit from having a small team of passionate educators and caregivers, each bringing unique perspective, skills, and personality. We have an ongoing programme of staff training and career development opportunities to support our staff to really build on their particular areas of interest within the Early Years framework.
PGCert in Education (PGCE) Systems Leadership
Level 6 qualification in Child Care
Catherine has been the manager at Lake Street since 2000. She lead in transforming Lake Street from its humble beginnings as Lake Street Playgroup, to the vibrant and nurturing five-day-a-week independent nursery setting it is now.
Catherine is a valued leader in Oxfordshire Early years community and offers peer-to-peer support of other independent early years settings in Oxfordshire.
Catherine is our Special Educational Needs Coordinator, SENCO.
Key person, Yellow group
Level 3 Diploma, Children and Young People’s Workforce
Level 2 Diploma, Food Preparation, Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Jess is an enthusiastic and experienced early years practitioner. She joined Lake Street in 2015.
Jess loves helping the children learn signs alongside their rhymes and songs, and has championed signing at Lake Street. She is the main organiser and leader of our lively Music and Movement sessions each day. She also has experience in supporting children with autism spectrum disorders.
“Jess is a kind soul and has an innate ability to make children feel like they belong. If my toddler is ever having a wobble, she knows exactly what to say, or which activity to suggest, to cheer her up”.
“The children gravitate towards Jess because she genuinely cares for them, and they trust her . I once saw a new child who was nervous about coming in the gate on his first week. Jess just sat down on the ground right at the gate with him, and stayed with him gently as he looked around the garden from there. I turned around a few minutes later and Jess was still sat on the ground just inside the garden gate with him, he was still there and she was reading him a story, and now there was not just one child, but a whole pile of children on her lap and all clustered around too!”
“Jess has a real cheeky side that the children love. She’s not afraid to be silly, sing their favourite songs or do things to make them laugh. She’s just great fun as well as being warm and caring. My daughter can’t wait to tell me what she’s been doing with Jess every time I pick her up.”
Key person, Red group
Level 3 Diploma, Child Care and Education
Saira has experience as acting deputy. She has undertaken numerous training courses whilst working at Lake Street, and is looking forward to further study in Early Years Education, alongside her work at nursery.
“Saira is incredibly creative and thoughtful in her approach. I love the way she takes the time to really understand my son, and the way she takes his point of view seriously. He had a spell where he refused to use the toilet at nursery. I couldn’t figure it out. Saira talked to him and got under the skin of what he was worried about, and then they used his own ideas to make a plan together that really worked!”
“ I chatted to Saira once about how she chooses activities for the day and was fascinated at how effortlessly she held in mind the physical development, emotional needs, learning needs, attention span, social skills and so on of each of the children in her group as she planned what looked on the surface like a ‘simple’ task of cutting and gluing, or a ‘simple’ yoga session. She really is very knowledgeable!”
Key person, Blue group
Level 3 Diploma, Child Care and Education
Shikha is a warm, and creative practitioner. She joined the team in 2016. She especially enjoys reading to the children, and bringing stories to life with puppets and props.
She has several years experience as an early years educator, and has training in signing.
“Shihka has such a loving and motherly warmth! I think her special power is making toddlers – especially the shy ones – believe in themselves, and it’s wonderful to watch them grow in confidence with her gentle support”.
“Shikha is really good at nurturing their creativity. She has a way of spotting something a particular child enjoys, and then from there, encouraging them to push themselves to learn and grow.”
Key person, Green group
Foundation degree (FdA) Early Years
Sophie is an Oxford Brookes University graduate. She joined Lake Street in 2021, and brings a gentle, thoughtful approach.
Sophie is the lead for our late afternoon sessions. These are quieter, family-style after-hours sessions between 2:45-5:45pm, with fewer children per staff member. The children help prepare dinner together before home-time, and sometimes take outings to the park to visit the ducks.
“My son was very attached to his Key Person, Ben, so when Sophie took over Green Group from Ben, we expected my son might have a period of being unsettled, maybe another mini ‘settling in’ with the changeover…. But there wasn’t so much as a blip! He cheerfully told me Sophie would be taking care of him now, and the rest is history! She managed the transition so beautifully for the children”.
“My little girl was unexpectedly unhappy at nursery one week (we only later realised she had intermittent hearing loss, so was probably quite confused and felt left out all of a sudden). Sophie knew right away something wasn’t right as well, and was really responsive and thoughtful when we were communicating via the Famly app. There was no empty reassurance that ‘don’t worry she’s fine’, and also no pressure for us as parents to resolve the sudden new (quite demanding) emotional/behavioural issue. Instead it felt like Sophie and I were a team who care about my daughter, just trying to figure out between us what was going on under the surface. We were back and forth that week, sharing things we’d noticed, and experimenting together with things to help her feel better.”
B.A. (Hons) Outdoor Education
Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Workforce as an Early Years Educator.
Ben joined us in 2015, and brings a mix of inventiveness and groundedness to the team. He has taken the lead on development of the outside area and our eco-literate approach to learning outside.
For many years he was Key Person for the Green Group. For now, he works Fridays only.
Ben was previously a Forest School Teacher, before re-training as an early years practitioner. He is an active member of the local community and runs the Hogacre Eco-Park in Grandpont.
“Ben is so gentle and observant of all the little details that make up a toddler’s experience; in each of his comments about the day, we recognise our daughter instantly. We love knowing she is with someone who really sees her and ‘gets’ all her little individual quirks.”
“My little girl loves Ben! And I love overhearing his jokes and banter with the kids at drop off and pick up time, he really hooks them all into playing around with language, and having fun with their imagination.”
“I usually see Ben with his jacket pockets overflowing with various children’s favourite soft toys or comfort blankies from home – I think that really says something about the kind of safe base he is for the children, that they totally entrust him with those when they arrive, and it helps them relax and settle into their day”.