There were more than a few tears shed at Birdham Pre-School when manager Jan Thomas left the charity run nursery after 11 years.
Jan has seen more than 700 children pass through the nursery since she joined and has overseen some significant challenges including a move of location, an Ofsted inspection and changes to funding regulations.
She said: "Professionally, my highlight was achieving a ‘good’ Ofsted report, but my personal satisfaction comes from the children - I’ve seen them grow, and move on. I love them all!”
Mum-of-two Shelley Morelli said she had seen the nursery transform under Jan’s leadership.
She added: "Jan has really established the nursery as a key part of the Birdham community. As parents, we’re invited to be involved as much as we want, and new ideas like the woodland walks have been really popular.”
Deputy manager Ann-Marie Hide said: “Jan is a lovely person - down to earth, caring, upbeat, and she always supports us. We’ll miss her so much.”
It was clear from speaking to the staff and parents that Jan was going to leave some big shoes to fill.
Fortunately for Birdham Pre-School, a new manager has been found: local childcare professional Sarah Cathie, who takes over shortly.
Birdham Pre-School is open 8.15am to 3.45pm Monday to Friday, and looks after children between the ages of 12 months and five years. For more information, contact www.birdham-preschool.co.uk or telephone 01243 514562.
Pictures by Matt Simmons
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