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Early Years Practice

A day in The Life of an Education Advisor

Here’s an insight into the wonderfully unique and incredibly creative world of our Education Advisor, Ruth!

When I began thinking about a day in my life at Fennies, my first thought was “where do I start”?! My role is so diverse and interesting, really no two days look the same, which is why I love doing what I do. 

Firstly, let me share a bit about me and my previous background before Fennies. I worked in a variety of roles including reception teacher, nursery room leader, and a nursery SENCO (special educational needs coordinator). Further to this, I’ve trained and advised practitioners throughout my career including a brief stint as a visiting early years lecturer at South Thames College. I’ve also worked for several day nursery companies over the past ten years before finally settling at Fennies which is (of course) my favourite! 

nursery practitioner role play with child

I first studied back in the dark ages when permed hair and rara skirts were a thing, achieving an NNEB qualification at college. Fast forward several years, and I went on to gain a degree in early years education, which truly gave me new insight into why early years education is so important. Now I’m at Fennies, utilising all my experience and spreading a little early year’s magic wherever I go! 

My day starts early! I am notoriously an early riser in my house there’s been times when I’ve started my day at the same time my 22-year-old son arrives home from his night of clubbing! I tend to kick my morning off with a hot drink and meditation which, especially for those who know me, may come as a surprise to know I can sit still for that long. But I feel it’s good to start the day in the right headspace.  

Then I check my phone and laptop for messages or emails. I work closely with the other members of the Education team so sometimes there are things to catch up with them about. If I am visiting nurseries first thing, I usually find something exciting to take with me as I never arrive empty-handed! This could be a fabulous storybook, a ball of my homemade playdough, props for a learning activity or a good quality reference book for ideas for our management teams or amazing practitioners.  

not a box activity

What I take with me will depend on previous visits to that nursery and is always something that will help me guide learning. I often get messages from our practitioners who reach out about specific activities or topics, so I’ll always bring something along that will be relevant to what they’ve asked me about. 

My car is like a travelling resource centre and I often get called a modern-day Mary Poppins as I usually can produce something needed, as if by magic! 

7:30 am - Morning Nursery Tours

As mentioned before, for me no two mornings look the same, however generally I am touring all our Fennies nurseries. When I arrive at a nursery, I check in with the Manager and Deputy before making my rounds to see everyone else. I usually catch up with the practitioners first to see how things are going in their rooms and what the children have been interested in lately. 

nursery staff and children

Other mornings might involve an Ofsted inspection. If so, I will support staff and chat with the inspector about my role and the vision of the nursery. When we have inspections it’s so important to help staff who may be feeling nervous and to bring that out their ‘you’ve got this’ spirit!

One of my favourite parts of my job is interacting with the children. They are always so pleased to see me and more importantly wonder “what does Ruth have in her bag”? I often get started by reading a story, singing a song or a rhyme.  

Taking in a story or helping to create and guide an activity is still a privilege for me, I would absolutely hate not to be able to meet and chat with the children as this always bring a smile to my face. 

children in nursery

11:00am - Fennies Inspire

I’ve recently been very excited about the roll out of the ‘Fennies Inspire’ programme. We kicked off the programme with ‘Inspiring Expressions’ - which is targeted around the communication, language and literacy aspects of our curriculum - and I have really enjoyed going ‘on tour’ with my letters and sounds road show!

I’ve been working primarily with the Preschool teams explaining how and why we have adopted this scheme and its benefits. During my nursery visits I make time to showcase some different activities which helps bring Fennies Inspire to life. 

12:00am - Morning Meetings

I usually jump a Zoom call with the Marketing team around this time to share with them what I’ve been up to and what’s been going on in the nurseries. Part of my role is collaborating with various teams across Fennies, and I particularly love working with our Marketing team as we get to produce film videos demonstrating activities for our practitioners or taking pictures for social media content. 

1:00 pm - Lunchtime

Lunchtime often involves either chatting to practitioners or supporting with children’s   mealtimes to promote high quality routines.  

I then usually grab a bite to eat and head off to the next nursery. 

Nursery staff talking

2:00 pm - Afternoon Nursery Visits

I arrive at the second nursery of the day and it will be similar to the first visit - I’ll make my way around the nursery rooms and work with the practitioners to help enhance their everyday practice.

This will involve more role modelling of good practice by working with them to create fabulous learning opportunities which link with children’s interests. I often ask practitioners about their planning to ensure they are continually stretching children’s education.

At one nursery recently, practitioners asked me for some more ideas around STEM (science, engineering and maths) activities. So, I decided to set up some loose parts (strong paper cups, masking tape and sticks) and we created a ‘bugs bridge building’ activity and challenged the children to create a bridge for the ‘busy bugs!’ The activity was a great way to exercise the children’s engineering skills and introduce mathematical concepts, it also tied in with letters and sounds as an alliterative activity too! 

3:00 pm - Room Enhancements

I work alongside the Education team, which is made up of our Head of Education, Rageena, our Linguistics Coaches, PE Coaches and an Art Specialist. Part of myself and Rageena’s role is to help oversee enhancements that take place across our nurseries. 

nursery practitioners reading a story

Where needed, I’ll work with nursery practitioners to see how the physical environments can be enhanced. I’ll often work alongside our Quality Development Managers to look at room layouts and help make any changes as well as discuss certain areas that could be improved to create new rich learning environments.

Before leaving any nursery I usually set a task for practitioners, this could be to either try out something I role modelled or adapt it to create a new learning experience for the children. I’ll make sure to touch base with them on this regularly through our staff app. I also use the app to post any activities I come across which can highlight specific aspects of learning.  

nursery painting activities

Other areas of my role include taking part in Nursery Manager and Deputy meetings - usually leading a practical session focusing on an area of the curriculum.

6:00pm - End of the day

On arriving home it’s time for a cold drink and to hit the sofa before checking social media (I have my own popular Facebook page where I post ideas and inspiration for my early years followers!) and catch up with any final e-mails. I look forward to scrolling through the staff app to see what the teams have been doing throughout the day and I love that they are sharing this good practice with each other. 

nursery painting activities

I feel very privileged to be working at Fennies as it is by far the best company I have worked for in the childcare sector (I promise I haven’t been paid to say that!). I feel the combination of; stunning nursery environments, the internal training and support on offer for staff, the care of the children along with the ambitious curriculum we have for them is what makes Fennies stand out from the rest!

Now what exciting things am I doing tomorrow? 

We have some exciting opportunities within our education team. Want to find out more?



Education Advisor

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