• Meet the Staff

Here at Monkey Puzzle Astwick we have a highly trained staff team with several of our staff having completed their NVQ Level 4 or above in Childcare alongside the remainder of our team being Level 3 qualified or are working towards achieving this with us. In addition to this many of our staff have achieved individual specialist qualifications to support their role in teaching and caring for your children which you can read all about below.

Natasha Moniz
Nursery Owner / Manager

NVQ Level 4 – Childcare & Education
Safeguarding Officer
First Aid Officer
Paediatric First Aid
Food Hygiene

I have over 20 years’ experience in childcare, first starting as a nursery nurse, then as a deputy manager and finally a manager working for two of the largest nursery groups in the UK. I have also worked in the NHS with babies and their mothers who were suffering with severe mental health conditions.

I have always loved working with children as no two days are the same, and children have a way to make you smile so much. It is a privilege to teach a child something new and watch them grow and develop until they are ready for school.

I love working at Monkey Puzzle Astwick as its always been a dream of mine to own my own nursery and I still can’t quite believe it’s finally happened! It’s no longer a job – it’s a passion,  and I have absolutely loved putting my heart and soul into making my nursery such a beautiful place (even if I do say so myself 😉). I also love the location on Church farm; it’s such an amazing environment for the children and my staff team.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my own three boys and my husband, going on family days’ out or movie nights at home on the sofa. I also enjoy spending time with friends and travelling.

An interesting fact about me…

I used to work as a PA for Charles Worthington (celebrity hairdresser) and also trained in fashion and make-up at the London College of Fashion before realising that my passion was caring for children.

Leadership Team 

Abi White
Nursery Manager

  • BA Honours degree in Early Years
  • Certificate of higher Education in Early years
  • Cache L3 Diploma in Child care and Education
  • Leading your Early Years setting
  • L3 SENCo
  • Autism
  • Designated Safeguarding Lead
  • Allergy Awareness
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Food Hygiene
  • Child protection
  • Prevent duty/FGM

I have worked in childcare for over 7 years after finishing college and have worked my way up to become a Deputy Manager in a large UK nursery group and stepping up as Manager on several occasions. I have worked in various nursery settings across counties carrying out all sorts of different roles, supporting settings to achieve the best outcomes for children.

I am very passionate about working with children and really enjoy helping to teach and nurture them whilst at nursery! It is an extremely rewarding job when you see how much children can achieve.

Monkey Puzzle Astwick is a unique setting based on the church farm which provides an amazing experience for both the children and the team.

I love travelling and exploring new parts of the world and spend a lot of my spare time visiting spare times and taking part in new experiences.

An interesting fact about me…

I have been solo travelling around Europe in recent years and have even climbed over the O2 arena!

Holly Reynolds
Deputy Manager

  • Level 3 in children’s care, learning and development
  • Designated Safeguarding Lead
  • Food Hygiene
  • Safeguarding children
  • Health & Safety/Fire Safety

I have worked the childcare industry for 8 years. Starting as a nursery practitioner before progressing to deputy manager.

I have worked in a wide range of settings including within London as a nursery deputy manager – managing the day to day operations of a multiple site private nursery.

I love working with children as I get to experience their journey over the years that they spend with us, watching them develop and flourish into confident young individuals. I love building relationships, not just with the children but their families too.

In my spare time I love to spend time with my partner and little girl, enjoying family days out and making memories.

An interesting fact about me…

I worked and lived on the Greek island of Rhodes in 2019, providing childcare to families from many different nations and backgrounds!

Becky Coleman
Room Leader / Third in Charge / EYFS Teacher

  • Early Years Teacher Status
  • BA Hons in Early Childhood Studies
  • CACHE Level 3 in Childcare and Education
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • CACHE Level 2 in Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health
  • STEPS Behaviour Training
  • FGM
  • Level 2 in Allergy Awareness
  • CACHE Level 2 in Understanding Autism
  • Safeguarding
  • Manual Handling
  • Food Hygiene
  • Prevent
  • Covid-19

I have worked in Childcare for the last 13 years. Within my experience I have enjoyed working in different sectors including a children’s centre, an after-school club and within Nurseries. I have been a Nursery Manager for the past two years and prior to this was a Deputy Manager. I also have a sound knowledge of working with SEN children, and I was the SENCo in my previous setting.

I love being able to teach children new opportunities and watch them grow into little humans. Working with children is such a rewarding job as you get to see the impact you make on their everyday life. Every day is a new day with children – the comments they make just make my day!

I am very excited to start my new position at Monkey Puzzle. I feel I can bring lots of new ideas from my experience and qualifications that the children and staff will love!

In my spare time I enjoy cooking and spending time with friends and family.

Interesting fact about me…

For four years in a row, I volunteered as a young carer for a charity taking physically disabled adults skiing in Austria for a week.

Harriet Toynton
Forest School Leader 

  • NVQ Level 3 – Diploma in Children’s Learning & Development
  • Paediatric first aid
  • Food hygiene

I have recently moved to the area from Northamptonshire where I worked in a private day nursery set on a farm. I have worked in childcare since I was 18 (4 years now), starting off as an apprentice achieving my level 3 diploma.

I love working in childcare as no two days are the same. It is always fun, exciting and full of adventure. The thing I love the most about working in childcare is how rewarding my job is. I help to teach, nurture, love and make a positive impact on so many children’s childhoods. In my eyes there is no job that would compare.

Monkey puzzle Astwick is a home away from home for me. The picturesque setting is an amazing place to say I work. The staff team are like a family and always there to support one another. The nursery itself is amazing with such fun, bright and colourful rooms. Therefore, with those foundations I couldn’t think of a better place to work and I can’t wait to help shape and grow Monkey Puzzle Astwick.

I am fortunate to live on a farm so I take full advantage of the amazing countryside around me, by taking my dog Betty on lovely long walks. I also love to travel, exploring amazing new places and cultures with my family. Oh, and I of course love to go shopping!

An interesting fact about me…

I am the proud owner of a fordson super major (vintage tractor), which has been in my family for three generations.

Katie Ralph
Room Leader

  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years workforce
  • Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • Child protection
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Food Hygiene
  • Supporting 0-2-year-olds in the EYFS
  • Prevent Covid-19
  • Hand Hygiene Training
  • Prevent
  • FGM
  • Safeguarding

I began working in a private day nursery 6 years ago, completing my level 2 and 3 qualifications. Most of my experience has been with 1-2’s & 2-3’s however I enjoy working with all age groups.

Working in childcare is such a rewarding experience. I love creating opportunities to support children’s ever changing interests and curiosities! Every child has their own unique style of learning. It’s so fulfilling helping them to develop new skills & watching them put these into practice each day.

I love working for Monkey Puzzle Astwick because the setting is absolutely beautiful. We are so lucky to have access to amazing outdoor spaces which the children really thrive from. The staff team are so dedicated and caring which has created such an enjoyable place to be.

In my spare time, I enjoy shopping, going to the gym, cooking and spending time with friends and family.

An interesting fact about me…

I’m currently learning British sign language!

 

Michela Ippoliti
Room Leader

  • NVQ level 2 in childcare
  • BSc (Honours) Psychology
  • Key Stage 2 Teaching
  • Yoga
  • COVID – Prevent
  • COVID – Infection Control
  • Food Hygiene
  • Prevent
  • FGM

I have been working in childcare for the past eight years, and I have experience with a mixed age range of children, from babies to older children. Initially, I started working as a nanny when I first moved to London, and then progressed my career by working as a nursery practitioner once I moved to Hertfordshire. I was then promoted to a Room Leader and worked within a pre-school in St Albans before I decided to join Monkey Puzzle Astwick.

Fortunately, when I was growing up in Italy, I was always surrounded by children in my neighbourhood and the parents acknowledged my childcare talents. In addition, I looked after my younger brothers and supported our local summer camps. Consequently, I have had an opportunity from an early age to discover my interest in child development. Furthermore, I have been blessed to have received the chance to study psychology and this increased my depth of knowledge regarding the world of children. In my spare time, I enjoy reading about child development and I try to ensure that my practices are up to date with the latest child development guidance.

I am very appreciative that I have been given an opportunity to work with the team at Monkey Puzzle Astwick. I chose to apply for this nursery, as the grounds have beautiful open spaces, the overall goal and vision for the nursery, and what this nursery can offer the children. I believe, it is very important for the children to have opportunities to learn both indoors and outdoors.

In my spare time, I like to do a wide variety of different things, from yoga to reading, being outdoors, travelling, sewing, and taking photographs. Being Italian, I love good food and cooking in my kitchen at home.

Interesting fact about me…

Growing up in Italy, I was lucky enough to spend time sailing with my grandad and hiking with my parents. I have a real love for the ocean, and water sport activities such as sailing and surfing. When I am unable to get to the coast, I like to spend my time in the mountains regardless of weather. I have three brothers, two younger brothers and one older brother.  I have always been interested in travelling, discovering new cultures and new food.  I am lucky enough that I found my boyfriend, who shares the same passions.

Sandra Roberts
Room Leader

  • Early Years Level 4
  • Child Protection
  • Safeguarding
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Prevent
  • FGM
  • Food Hygiene

I gained my qualifications in Germany and have been working with children of all ages for 22 years. I gained most of my experience working in nursery settings and I have also worked in residential childcare. I have had little breaks to raise my own 2 children and thoroughly loved my time with them.

I love being part of a child’s learning and the impact I have on their journey. Just watching their curiosity throughout the day puts a smile on my face. Every day is a different day and doesn’t just give learning opportunities for the children but for me too.

When I went for my interview at Monkey Puzzle Astwick, I just knew that this was the nursery I wanted to work for. Everyone was so lovely and welcoming and the atmosphere is just lovely. I love the outside space, going for walks visiting the animals.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. We enjoy travelling throughout Europe and further afield. I enjoy keeping fit and go out running as often as I can.

An interesting fact about me…

I was lucky enough to go to the Falkland Islands for a holiday, spending a lot of time with the beautiful penguins on the beach and seeing some very smelly elephant seals!

 

Zoe Currell
Room Leader

  • Level 3 diploma in childcare
  • Designated Safeguarding Lead
  • Prevent & FGM
  • SEND & Behaviour Management training

I have worked in childcare for 8years now and I couldn’t think of a better career. Over the past 8 years I have experienced many roles within the industry and have gained lots of experience. I was previously deputy manager at my last setting, which also provided me with the opportunity of stepping up as manager for a period of time.

I think it is so important to be able to provide the children with the best start in life! Starting with all the amazing experiences we can create for them as babies, leading up to the life skills we begin to teach them before they go off to school!

I’m excited to join Monkey Puzzles Astwick and get stuck in creating some new learning environments for them all to explore and most importantly…. for them to have fun whilst developing new skills!

In my spare time I enjoy taking my dog for a walk, up-cycling furniture and meeting up with my family and friends.

Interesting fact about me…
I used to play football when I was younger and I once trained with the Arsenal ladies team.

Louisa Connolly
Room Leader

  • CACHE Level 3 – Diploma in Children’s Learning & Development
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Safeguarding
  • Supporting Children with Autism
  • Social Communication Needs
  • COVID – Prevent
  • COVID – Hand Hygiene
  • Food Hygiene
  • SEND Training

I have worked in another nursery for just nearly 4 years, during this time I gained my Level 3 childcare qualification. I have experience working in the 1-2’s room which I worked in for about 4 months and the Preschool room for just over 2 years. I also have experience in being an assistant room leader as well as acting room leader.

Working in childcare is such an exciting job, helping the children grow into such amazing individuals, giving them the love and support they need. No two days are the same and that’s why I love how rewarding it is to make such a difference in their lives.

Monkey Puzzle Astwicks’ outdoor ethos has a huge positive impact on the children’s ongoing learning and development. With the nursery being located on a farm, the children can explore the surroundings and wildlife, as well as visiting the animals on the farm or even splashing in muddy puddles as they love to do. The staff are friendly and lovely, creating the perfect atmosphere to work in.

In my spare time I enjoy baking, trying out new fun recipes. As well as spending time with loved ones and meeting up with my friends.

Interesting fact about me…

I am allergic to alcohol so I’m teetotal!

Nursery Practitioners

Lucy Almond
Assistant Room Leader

  • NVQ Level 3 Early Years Educator
  • Prevent
  • FGM
  • COVID-19
  • Paediatric First Aid

I left school when I was 16 years of age and went straight into childcare; I started as an apprentice and worked in each room gaining experience before receiving my qualification.

I believe that working in childcare is the most rewarding job anyone could ever have. I love seeing the impact I have on the children I work with as they learn new things every day. Every year for Christmas I go to the children’s ward in Bedford hospital to spend time playing games with the children and also to give them presents.

I love working for Monkey Puzzle Astwick because the staff here are so lovely and everyone is there for each other and will help out whenever they can. I love the setting and being able to explore the farm with the children.

In my spare time, I like spending time with my family and also seeing my friends, I like going to the gym with my boyfriend and going to concerts and festivals together.

An interesting fact about me…

I went to Thailand and spent 3 days working with elephants, I rode them, fed them and washed them. It was the best experience ever.

Chelsea Fourie
Assistant Room Leader

  • Level 3 BTEC National Diploma in children’s care and development Safeguarding
  • FGM
  • Prevent
  • Paediatric First Aid

I have worked with children since leaving school in 2012, starting off doing voluntary work alongside completing my Level 3. I moved to Hertfordshire five years ago where I have enjoyed working in a nursey on a farm setting, I love exploring the outdoors and finding ways to incorporate it into activities for the children!

No day is the same working with children, it’s fun, challenging and rewarding all rolled into one. I have had the opportunity to work with so many great children and families, its’s a lovely thing to be a part of. There also aren’t many jobs where it is acceptable to burst into Disney songs!

I love working for Monkey Puzzle Astwick: I cannot wait to start my journey at Monkey Puzzle. It’s a beautiful setting and I’m sure I am going to love it!

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, watching Disney films and going out with friends.

An interesting fact about me…

I am a HUGE animal lover! I have three cats and two ferrets!

 

Nicola Jane Goldhawk
Part-time Nursery Nurse

  • NVQ Level 3 – Childcare & Education
  • Paediatric first aid
  • Food hygiene

I have over 10 years’ experience working for some of the UK’s largest nursery groups. For the past 4 years I have been working as a private nanny for two adorable twin girls.

The reason I work in childcare is that I have always had a natural bond with children and I am passionate about helping them grow and learn. I feel that working with children is extremely fulfilling and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else!

The thing I love about working at Monkey Puzzle Astwick is that I can see my big sister’s dream come true; having worked with Natasha for many years in childcare I knew she would make her own nursery a success where the children always come first.

In my spare time I enjoy socialising with my friends and family. I have a six year old boy and together we enjoy going on walks and exploring! We enjoy family holidays and spending quality time together.

An interesting fact about me…

I backpacked around Thailand when I was younger, visiting many islands including Phuket. I also camped on Phi Phi Islands – an experience that I’ll never forget!

Charlotte Moncrieff 
Nursery Teacher 

  • BA Childhood Studies and PGCE Primary
  • Safeguarding
  • FGM
  • Prevent Covid-19
  • Hand Hygiene
  • Understanding emotions
  • In the moment planning

I have worked in nurseries and schools and my first year of teaching was abroad in Kuwait. I have worked with children aged 3-11 and I love planning fun and interesting activities.

I enjoy finding out about children’s interests and planning around that and the early years curriculum provides opportunities for flexibility. I love being a part of children’s early learning experiences.

I love working for Monkey Puzzle Astwick because the staff team here are all very approachable and I like that it is near a farm. There is also a very friendly atmosphere.

In my spare time, I like doing arts and crafts such as decoupage, painting and knitting. Dancing is also a favourite pastime of mine too.

Interesting fact about me…

I’ve climbed Mount Snowdon twice.

Gemma Camborne-Paynter
Nursery Practitioner

  • NVQ level 2 Diploma for Children & Young People’s Workforce
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Prevent
  • FGM
  • Safeguarding
  • Food Hygiene

I have worked in childcare for 9 years and have worked with various age groups from 3 months to 5 years. For me I’ve always wanted to work with children since having my own 18 years ago. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to nurture and teach young minds, and excitement on their faces when they’ve achieved something new is incredible. I don’t think I could see myself doing anything else. To be able to work at Monkey Puzzle in such beautiful surroundings and with people dedicated to their role and the children in their care is an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to learn new ways of teaching and giving the children new experiences. In my spare time I love to spend it with my family going into London and exploring new places not yet seen in the city. I love to go out for meals, to watch films and to concerts.

Interesting fact about me…

As my dad is American and I have family there so I could have dual nationality if I chose to.

Sydni Reed 
Nursery Practitioner

  • NVQ L3 Diploma for Children & Young People’s Workforce
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Prevent
  • FGM
  • Safeguarding
  • Food Hygiene
  • Behaviour Management
  • Data Protection
  • SEND
  • Internet Safety

I have worked in childcare since December 2016. I have worked with a range of age groups from three months to five years.

I love my job because seeing the children grow and develop is amazing. No two days are the same and when a child learns something new it is amazing and knowing that you’re supporting them to develop and have the best start to their lives.

Monkey Puzzle Astwick has given me a huge boost of confidence that I needed, the team here are so supportive and lovely and are really helping me reach my full potential. It is so refreshing to see every member of the team giving 110% everyday so we can provide the best care for the children at the nursery.

In my spare time I love to spend time with my family – we go on days out and love having adventures visiting new places. I also enjoy having some days at home watching my programmes and creating different things as I’m quite artistic!

Interesting fact about me….

Between the ages of 10 to 16 I did trampolining and then from the age of 16 I taught children aged 3 to 6 how to trampoline!

Jenny Noades 
Nursery Practitioner

  • NVQ Level 3 Cache in Childcare & Education
  • Prevent
  • FGM
  • Safeguarding
  • Food Hygiene
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Understanding attachment, relationships in everyday settings * Motorways in the brain – the processes of neural development

I have over 12 years of childcare experience, working with all ages from 3 months old to 12 years old, with half that time spent working in a nursery environment and the other half as a nanny. I have recently returned to childcare after being a care assistant for the past year.

I love working in childcare because every day is different and immensely enjoyable whilst also giving me the opportunity to express my bubbly, fun loving, energetic and caring personality! There is no greater feeling than when a child has learnt and developed as a result of your encouragement and support, so to be a part of that is a blessing and very rewarding.

I love working for Monkey Puzzle Astwick because it has giving me an opportunity to get back to doing something that I love and I am very passionate about.

In my spare time, I love being with my husband and dog having cuddles, playing and going for walks. I also enjoy socialising with friends and family. When I’m relaxing I like to watch films and do some reading.

Interesting fact about me…..

My nan was Welsh, so I’m quarter Welsh, “lechyd da” means “cheers” in Welsh!

Stacey Campbell
Nursery Practitioner

  • NNEB in Nursery Nursing (Level 3)
  • Safeguarding
  • Prevent
  • FGM
  • Paediatric First Aid

I have had lots of experience working in nurseries and pre-schools since I became qualified in 2001. I have worked with all ages ranging from 3 months old up to 10 years of age. Plus, I have experience as a Nanny and doing school runs.

I’m very lucky to do a job that I love. I feel such joy to be helping to give children that valuable start in life; to help children to learn, play and to develop their social skills. I just love watching the children grow and progress – it is such a rewarding job.

I absolutely love working at Monkey Puzzle Astwick and I just knew my daughter would love it here too 😊. It is a beautiful setting and such a friendly team to work with.

In my spare time I love to create lots of memories with my daughter and husband. We love to go for walks, explore woods, all sorts of baking plus visiting farms and zoos. I also love to spend time with my family and socialise with my friends – going out for meals and of course, shopping!!

An interesting fact about me…

I once spent Christmas in New York with my family and on Christmas day we went ice skating in Central Park. It was magical!

 

Farrah Harmer Smith
Nursery Practitioner

  • Level 3 Childcare Diploma
  • Paediatric first aid
  • Level 1 BSL

I have been a Childcare Practitioner since 2016 & became qualified in 2018. I’ve worked with all ages of children and managed a busy preschool in my previous setting. Working in childcare is fun, rewarding and no two days are ever the same. Helping to raise the next generation is a wonderful privilege!

I really love working for Monkey Puzzle Astwick because it’s a lovely new setting with miles of outdoor space to explore.

My husband and I are huge Disney fans. We enjoy introducing our two young boys to the movies and theme parks. We also spend time growing our own vegetables on our allotment.

An interesting fact about me…

I can squat lift the equivalent of my own body weight at the gym!

Navreet Chauhan
Nursery Practitioner

  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Safeguarding
  • Prevent
  • FGM
  • Food Hygiene
  • Allergy Awareness

I have worked within childcare for 8 years and I have experienced working with all different age groups. I started working in schools and only recently started working in nurseries. I love working in childcare, because it’s the most rewarding job – seeing the children grow and knowing that I have been a part of their development is amazing!

I love working at Monkey Puzzle because the staff are amazing to work with and have made me feel so welcome, they support you and help you whenever you need it. It is a great environment to be in.

I have just recently got married and moved to the area, so with my spare time I like to spend time with my family and getting to know the area. Also I love to go shopping and spend time with my friends.

Interesting fact about me…

I have a side business where I create handcrafted gifts, I make personalised floral frames, mugs, keyrings, cake toppers and for Christmas I do Christmas baubles.

Kayleigh Weller
Nursery Practitioner 

  • Cache Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
  • Prevent
  • FGM

I have worked in Childcare for 15 Years, in different Nurseries and have also been a nanny for two families. I have worked with children from the age of 3 months – 10 Years. I love working with children and knew from a teenager that’s what I wanted to do. I love seeing children develop and it makes me feel proud seeing their achievements.

Working at monkey puzzle is great because it’s a beautiful setting with the farm and I knew my daughter would enjoy it too. It’s also a happy and friendly environment.

In my spare time I love making memories with my Daughter and Partner. We enjoy socialising with family and friends and taking our dog Gus for walks.

Interesting facts about me…

I grew up in Essex where I started my career as a Nursery Nurse, I moved to Hertfordshire in 2010!

Bethan Lainsbury
Apprentice Nursery Nurse

  • Paediatric first aid
  • Food hygiene
  • Safeguarding
  • Child Protection
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Prevent

I have 9 months’ experience working in another Monkey Puzzle nursery in Battersea as a Level 2 Apprentice working with children aged between 3 months and 5 years. I chose a career in childcare as I simply love being with children, helping them develop into amazing young children.

I love working for Monkey Puzzle Astwick because of all the amazing children that make me constantly laugh and smile, and the wonderful staff team that have made me feel so welcome.

In my spare time I like to read and write, bake cakes and spend time with my friends.

An interesting fact about me..

I’ve always been interested in forensic science (so I love helping our mini scientists in pre-school carry out science experiments!).

Mya Hillier
Nursery Practitioner Apprentice

  • Currently studying for NVQ L3 in Childcare
  • FGM
  • Prevent

As I am just starting my apprenticeship with Monkey Puzzle I don’t have a huge amount of experience working in nurseries however I am loving my time here so far and can’t wait till I become qualified. I have previously worked for an afterschool/summer club for children aged 5-11 which I also really enjoyed.

I’ve chosen to work in childcare as it is one of the most rewarding jobs; I get to watch the children grow knowing that I’m a part of their development. After spending two years at sixth form college, thinking I wanted to go into office related work, I realised that I actually wanted the complete opposite, and to work with children! I have always loved children and now I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else!

I love working at Monkey Puzzle Astwick as everyone is so friendly and made me feel welcome from the day I started. It is a great environment to be in and I am lucky to get the opportunity to work in such a lovely nursery.

I am a massive football supporter so on the weekends, whenever I can, I go and watch my team Bristol Rovers play. I travel up and down the country watching them and I love it!

An interesting fact about me…

When I went to Turkey my Dad and I went parasailing. It was amazing but I don’t think my Dad enjoyed it as much!

 

Kaitlyn Gibbs
Nursery Practitioner

  • Level 2 in Childcare and Education
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Safeguarding

I left school at the age of 16 to go to college and do my level 2 in childcare which I thoroughly enjoyed. While doing my course I got to experience working with children from ages 6 weeks old to 4 years. Now going on to do my level 3 qualification! After I completed my course I started my career in working with children, I have worked in the industry for just over 4 years. I have gained experience on planning a different variety of activities from messy, wet play to simply reading stories and extending that activity.

Working within in a nursery setting for so long has given me a lot of experience and it makes you feel proud of the children and what they achieve, support them in getting ready for school and new opportunities. Seeing children learn and gain new skills is the most rewarding part of job.

In my own time I enjoy going running and I love going travelling abroad! I also enjoy spending lots of time with my family and friends!

Interesting fact about me…

I have been to Florida in America a few times and when going to the water/animal park I slide down the slide surrounded by dolphins.

I am also a florist and love being creative!

Chloe Hollis
Nursery Practitioner

  • Level 3 in Childcare and Education
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Safeguarding
  • Schemas
  • Food safety and hygiene Level 2
  • Allergy awareness
  • Pathways to extremism and prevent
  • Prevent and British values
  • Awareness of domestic violence and the impact on young people
  • Working with children with disabilities
  • Child and adult exploitation
  • A new approach to child poverty
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Safe sleeping for babies
  • Connected baby series
  • Understanding babies

I have almost 9 years experience working within childcare in various roles throughout the sector, including management, teaching in a military school abroad and private nannying too!

I have always had a passion for working with children. The joy you receive from watching them grow and develop is amazing. Every single day is different, the children change dramatically from birth-5 years and I’m grateful to play a part in helping them. Working in childcare is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have!

In my spare time I love to be with my daughters aged 4 and 11 weeks old. I love watching my eldest play and grow! We are always on days out exploring and having fun.. especially anywhere with animals. I also enjoy socialising with my friends and having family meals!

I’m very excited to start my new venture with Monkey Puzzle Astwick. The staff are all extremely welcoming and kind as is the location of the setting. I also can not wait to start my baby here too, we had originally decided to keep her at home but when we saw Astwick we couldn’t say no!

Interesting fact about me…

I used to volunteer at a dogs pound in Cyprus, saving stray dogs and having them in my home until ready to fly back to the UK.. I even have had 6 dogs at one time!!

Jenny Piper
Nursery Assistant

  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Food Hygiene
  • Prevent
  • FGM

I have recently returned to childcare, after several years away. I realised how much I missed being with the children, watching and helping them learn, grow, and develop. I have worked in a day nursery before for 4 years. Mostly my experience is with babies and 1-2’s.

The Monkey Puzzle setting really attracted me to work here and all the Management and Staff are very friendly and dedicated.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my husband and socialising with friends and family. I enjoy watching films and visiting different places, especially RHS Gardens and Flower Shows.

Interesting fact about me…

I am also a florist and love being creative!

Megan-Rose Wake
Nursery Apprentice

  • Level 1 in child development

I have previously completed my level 1 in childcare are looking forward to completing my further qualifications at Monkey Puzzle Astwick. I have previous experience working in a preschool setting and also helping look after my younger siblings and cousins. I am really excited to gain more experience at the nursery and help the children to develop and grow. I love working at Monkey Puzzle Astwick as everyone is so kind and caring, it’s great to see everyone dedicated to helping the children learn and grow and I can’t wait to learn many new skills from the people around me. In my spare time I spend lots of time with my family and friends.

Interesting fact about me…

I’m a young leader for beavers and my church youth cub.

Emily Leonard
Nursery Practitioner

  • FGM/Prevent

I am just starting my level 3 childcare qualification with Monkey Puzzle. Although I do not have any experience working in nurseries, I have experience with children from 7 years old, as I have been a brownie leader for 7 years. I am really looking forward to starting and gaining more experience and learning about the children and helping them grow and learn. I have decided to work in childcare, as for the past few years I have been working in an office-based job, and realised that an office job definitely isn’t for me- I knew that working with children would give me more job satisfaction, being on the move all the time with the children too, as an office job is the same thing 5 days a week. I can’t wait to start a job where every day is different and so rewarding watching the children develop and learn new things. In my spare time I love to bake, and make celebration cakes for my friends and family. Baking has always been a big passion of mine and I enjoy doing it in my spare time. I love to try out new recipes, and I think my family also love my hobby, as they are my chief cake tasters! Interesting fact about me:
I volunteered at my local brownie pack for 7 years and during this time, I qualified as a young leader when I was 15 and a fully qualified leader when I turned 18. I also did a week’s work experience with a chocolatier, who catered for a prestigious event, one of which was a secret event for the BBC.

Nursery Support Staff

Natalie Ward
Support Staff

  • A. (Hons) in Education
  • Cache L3 Diploma in Childcare & Education
  • Early Years Professional Status
  • NVQ Level 2 Equality and Diversity
  • NVQ Level 2 Diet and Nutrition

I have worked in childcare throughout my whole professional career, from starting as a casual member of staff covering breaks, to becoming a team leader and then as a manager of a preschool and extended childcare provision.

I love working in an environment where you can shape minds, build relationships, and help children learn and develop and reach their full potential. I really enjoy the daily challenges and rewards in working with young children and being able to see them develop and grow. I find the job so rewarding  and honestly could not see myself doing anything else.

I love working for Monkey Puzzle Astwick as the nursery is on a farm and children can explore such a range  of outdoor environments. I also love that all the staff having a caring attitude towards the children and are always thinking of ways to help develop the children they look after.

In my spare time I enjoy days out with my children and partner,  going out for meals and spending time with friends and family making memories.

 Interesting fact about me…

I once traveled around Canada for four weeks in a camper van, visiting family and seeing the most amazing sights. I can’t wait for the opportunity to go back!

Lucy Howe
Support Staff

• Prevent/FGM

I have volunteered in my local lower school since I was 16 and I really enjoyed working with the children. I also helped run a youth group with children aged 8 – 12. I have helped lead activities for children of all ages in my village at events. I’m really looking forward to gaining more experience in the nursery and support the children to develop and grow.

In my spare time I am completing a Business degree, I also enjoy seeing my friends and family.

Interesting fact about me…

I have previous been a florist and I have designed flowers for multiple big London events.

Kelly Naylor
Nursery Housekeeper

  • Risk Assessments
  • COSHH training
  • Manual Handling

I have lots of experience as a cleaner working in various settings such as offices and love being a Mrs Hinch and organising and making the environment clean and inviting.

I love working at Monkey Puzzle Astwick as I love the people I work with, such a friendly atmosphere and just like a big family.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, walking and watching films.

An interesting fact about me…

I used to do charity boxing events.

Jessica Walker
Support Staff

  • Prevent/FGM
  • Safeguarding

I have worked in childcare for about 3 years in a different Monkey Puzzle nursery, supporting staff and children in all age groups throughout the nursery. I recently moved and am really looking forward to gaining more experience in this nursery, especially out on the farm and support the children to develop and grow. I love working in an environment where you can build relationships and help child learn and reach their potential.

In my spare time I enjoy days out with my children and partner, and going on holidays in the caravan. I also care for my mother in my spare time.

Nursery Kitchen Staff

 Joanna Jones
Nursery Assistant cook

  • Food safety level 3
  • Allergen awareness
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Safeguarding children
  • Equality diversity and discrimination
  • Prevent duty
  • Infection control
  • Manual handling

I have over 30 years experience in kitchen work, 19 years as a primary school cook most of them being a mobile cook manager traveling around different schools in Hertfordshire preparing healthy and nutritional meals for the children. I have worked in pub kitchens and even in a bingo hall kitchen but I have a passion for working with children.

I love working at Monkey Puzzle Astwick as I love the people I work with, such a friendly atmosphere and just like a big family.

In my spare time my hobbies include reading, walking my dogs, knitting and days out with my six grandchildren and of course spending time with my husband.

An interesting fact about me…

I once shook hands with the queen while serving in the woman’s royal army corps.

Open chat