- Our TeamThe founder of Phoenix Nursery, the late Louise Gray (also known as Sister Gray) was an Industrial Nurse who initially worked at a factory. Her love for caring for children led her to establish Phoenix Nursery following the closure of the factory and its nursery where she worked. To symbolise her undying love for child care in the community she named our nursery Phoenix signifying the rise of this nursery from the ashes of the closed factory nursery. Phoenix Nursery has continued with this strong family trait of love for caring for the children as demonstrated by the commitment of Louise’s daughter, Claire, the current manager and the dedication of Luisa, her grand daughter and current Deputy manager.
At Phoenix Nursery we are friendly, qualified, and passionate in our vocation to work with children and provide them with a fun, safe and stimulating environment to foster a love of learning. Our team draws on a wealth of experience and we benefit from one Early Years Practitioner currently studying towards and three Early Years Practitioners who hold a BA degree in Education and Early Years ensuring your child receives the best possible start in life. In addition our Deputy Manager, Luisa, has obtained her Early Years Professional Status and completed an NVQ in Speech and Language support for under 5’s.
We are committed to maintaining a strong and healthy relationship with the children and families which offer you a safe reassurance when your child is in our care.
STAFF PROFILEClaire Erzingher
Claire joined her late mother at Phoenix Nursery in 1988 and has spent many years building up the positive and lasting relationships with families who have experienced the nursery and continue to keep in touch with her.
Claire spent 4 years perfecting her cooking skills in Napoli, Italy (home of the pizza!) and cooks a range of diverse and healthy meals for the children (including those with special dietary needs) with a specific passion for pizza and pasta. She often shares these healthy recipes with parents upon request due to the children’s request for ‘Claire’s Spaghetti’. The children love cooking with Claire and often boast to their parents about their delicious creations at nursery!
Claire uses her close relationships with the families at Phoenix to raise awareness of the need for a nutritious diet and to be physically active in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and establish lifelong healthy habits during the children’s early years. As a practitioner, Claire maintains a hands on approach to the development of the eldest children working to prepare and establish their independence for reception, maths, literacy, reading skills and their transition to big school.
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Education Studies (Early Childhood)
Deputy Manager and Early years Professional
After attending Phoenix Nursery as a child and with a passion of caring for children, Luisa followed in her mother’s footsteps and joined the family owned nursery in 2007. With a love for professional and personal development, Luisa has continued to deepen and expand her knowledge and expertise with a range of qualifications, which have stood her in good stead of overseeing the education at the nursery and leading an excellent practice with all the Early Years Practitioners.
Luisa specialises in developing language and has a passion for leading music time and storytelling as a means for the children to express themselves. Luisa’s family come from Napoli in Italy so she shares her passion for all things Italian with the children! This includes teaching the children Italian phrases and introducing the children to different forms of music such as Latino music or Italian opera that they can express themselves to. She also practices yoga with the children and works with Claire promoting the positive benefits of following a healthy and active lifestyle.
Luisa has enhanced the parents’ experience through introducing online learning journals, yoga child and parent workshops which are held termly at the nursery and through the use of social media to keep parents updated. Luisa works with the babies (under 2’s) and nurtures caring and loving relationships with this age group.
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Education Studies & Early Years, Early Years Professional Status & NVQ Level 3 in Speech Language Support for under 5’s
Early Years Practitioner
Nicola joined Phoenix Nursery in 2006, her calm and patient manner gives both the children and parents a tangible and demonstrable sense of security and helps children settle in quickly. As a mother to two boys, Nicola uses her first hand experiences as a parent to support families at the nursery. Nicola works with the babies and takes pleasure in being creative with the children by supporting them in exploring and enjoying the many creative opportunities at the nursery. Nicola loves to promote sensory experiences for the babies to encourage their confidence, independence and ability to explore the world around them.
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Education Studies & Early Years
Senior Early Years Practitioner
Amy joined Phoenix Nursery in 2015, after completing her studies, to follow her passion in child care. Amy works closely with Luisa to continue developing her knowledge and leadership skills. She works with the two year olds and loves to bring new ideas to the team and develop the children’s interests. Amy’s love for messy play and creativity means she is always bringing new ideas to the nursery which are very popular with all the children!
Amy takes a lead in planning forest school sessions for the children to develop their confidence and self-esteem in our local outdoor woodland environment. Through these sessions she loves teaching the children new skills, encouraging their imaginative play and helping them grow into creative thinkers.
Qualifications: Foundation Degree in Education Studies and Early Years, BTEC Level 3 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development
Early Years Practitioner
Danielle brings her own experience to the team, having watched her own child enjoy his early years at Phoenix Nursery. After he started ‘big school’ she just couldn’t stay away and joined Phoenix Nursery in 2015. Danielle uses her insight from her own experience of her son’s development through the Early Years at Phoenix Nursery and shares these when supporting families.
Danielle enjoys taking the children on country walks to explore their local environment. Danielle has a passion for role play, she loves to create exciting scenarios with the children and brings her own dramatic flair to their learning! Danielle works with the 3 year olds and enjoys developing their confidence and sense of awareness and belief in themselves.
Qualifications: Currently undertaking Level 3 Childcare & Level 3 in Health & Social Care
- Settling In
Transition refers to the move of a child from one environment to another. This experience could cause young children to feel vulnerable and frightened and can affect their ability to integrate and learn. It is therefore important to support children during transition time.
At Phoenix nursery, transition is referred to as “Getting to know you time”. We suggest that for your child’s first visit one of the parents stay with them at the nursery to help with a smooth transition while on the next visit your child encouraged to stay for 1 hour to meet their key worker and become familiar with the setting. For subsequent visits the child’s time at the nursery is gradually increased until they are ready to start nursery. During this time is it helpful if parents/guardians can provide the nursery with photos of their child’s family members or pets to place in our family photo book to help with the feeling of familiarity and security for your child’s transition.
- Our Trips
In addition to our vibrant regular outdoor activities, we enjoy taking our children out for the annual nursery trips further afield. Over the past years we have enjoyed trips to Whipsnade Zoo and Southend Beach and for our families and the children it is always such an enjoyable and memorable experience!
These annual trips have helped built up a sense of expectation and excitement among the children and we always advise parents to inform us as early as possible if they would like their children to participate in this memorable activity 🙂
- Healthy Eating
At Phoenix Nursery we place great emphasis on eating together like a family, we talk about our day and make it an enjoyable and sociable time. All children are encouraged to eat a variety of healthy nutritious meals that are prepared freshly on site. We understand how important meals are at nursery, with some of our children eating four meals a day with us it is essential we offer children healthy balanced meals. We offer breakfast, snack, lunch and tea at Phoenix Nursery and this is all included in your fees.
Children Serve Themselves
As the children get older they learn about nutrition and healthy lifestyles, they help prepare snacks/meals when possible and independently serve themselves. This helps in promoting positive attitudes towards food and meal times that will hopefully stay with them for life.
Through encouraging the children to serve themselves at meal times we are hoping to allow the children to gain more independence and personal skills, promote a positive attitude towards meal times and trying new foods, and promote lifelong healthy eating habits. This links in to the Early Years Foundation Stage which states that we should teach children about the importance of a healthy diet and ways to keep healthy.
We hope through these teachings to inspire our children and parents to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.