The Mad Hatter's Team
At Mad Hatter’s, our staff are highly qualified. We have two members of staff who have a B.A. Hons in Early Childhood studies and two members of staff who have a foundation degree. We also have a practitioner who holds Early Years Teacher Status, a specialist degree in working with children up to the age of 5 years. All other staff hold at least an NVQ level 3 Early years qualification and a wealth of experience overall. All our staff are dedicated to training in early years and along with our high ratios of practitioners to children, we can support children to fully reach their own individual potential.
We operate a key person system, where practitioners monitor the progress of each of their key children throughout the week, and half termly undertake focus week observations on their key children. This information is shared with parents on a regular basis through our online Tapestry journals. Parents also have access to this journal so that we can achieve a profile of the whole child.
All our staff are Social Security registered and all hold current DBS- Disclosure and Barring Service check (formerly CRB police checks). The nursery has been inspected by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) for which we received a good rating in all areas of education and care in 2022. This report is available in the nursery for you to read or online at reports.ofsted.gov.uk
Staffing ratios are: 2 years to 3 years – 1 adult to every 4 children, 3 years to 5 years – 1 adult to every 6 children. We do reserve the right to alter this to 1 adult to 8 children (the government requirement) if necessary, to cover staff illness.
Meet the Team
Many years ago my eldest son started nursery school and after a few months the lady that owned the nursery asked me if I would like to cover if anyone was absent. I said yes, thinking that I probably wouldn't be called upon, but before very long I was a full-time member of staff and both of my children were at nursery with me. Little did I know that my life was about to change so dramatically and that I would fall in love with the children and what I was doing. In those days Ofsted didn't exist and life was much simpler than it is today, (no paperwork), we played all day and the children were happy and had an amazing time. Funny how things come round again.
I worked at Greatham Village nursery for 15 years where I was made deputy manager and took over the running of the nursery. When the opportunity to purchase Bohunt playgroup came about I had very mixed feelings, but it was the best decision I have ever made and Mad Hatter’s was born. I opened the nursery in January 2001 with 1 colleague, two children, a portacabin and a vision. That vision has changed many times over the years and as we accomplish each aspect of that vision it changes again.
I am very lucky to have worked with some very special adults and children over the years and that has in turn made Mad Hatter’s what it is today. In 2002 I was asked to return to Greatham Village Nursery to manage that as well. Luckily, I have amazing staff at both nurseries that has enabled me to achieve this. Over the years I have done copious amount of training, covering all aspects of early years foundation stage education, been through a few Ofsted inspections and learnt so much from the children and adults I have had the privilege to work with. After all these years I am still passionate about the nurseries and what we can do to support families and children alike.
Manager & Big Hatties room leader
Designated Safeguarding Lead
I have worked in childcare since 2002, first as a nanny for 3 young boys and then joined Mad Hatter's as a work experience placement whilst undertaking my Foundation degree in Early Years Care and Education. After graduating, I went on to complete and achieve a 2:1 in my BA Hons in Early Childhood Studies degree. In 2010 I qualified at Chichester University as an official Early Years Teacher.
I have worked for Mrs Chiverton throughout my nursery career, both at Mad Hatter's and our sister nursery at Greatham. In 2008 I took on the role as head of room for the newly opened Little Hatties, teaching 2- and 3-year-olds. In 2011, I also became Deputy manager of Mad Hatter's. In September 2020 I took over the role as head of Big Hatties.
I feel very privileged to have worked with the youngest of our children and to be their very first teacher and I am looking forward to helping and enabling the older children to prepare them for Reception. I enjoy arts and crafts with the children, board games and reading them stories as well as being outside exploring our extensive outdoor area with them. With 2 young children of my own now, life is busy but there's never a dull moment!
Deputy Manager & Little Hatties Room leader
Designated Safeguarding Lead
I have been working with children since 2004. I started my career working in a nursery pre-school and have also been a private nanny and a childminder for many lovely children and their families.
I began work at Mad Hatter's in September 2019, joining the Little Hatties team and in September 2020, I took over from Mrs Killick as Head of the Little Hatties room. My own little girl started Mad Hatter's in 2017 and I have wanted to work there since the first time I looked around on a visit.
I adore working with children and love to see them learn, play and grow. I enjoy crafts and being with the children outdoors, seeing their excited faces explore and play in the wonderful gardens at Mad Hatter's.
My own children have attended Mad Hatter's so it really feels like being part of a big family.
My name is Debs Casey and I am the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at Mad Hatter's. I completed my work experience at Mad Hatter's when I was 15 years old. In 2011 I completed my Level 2 & 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce after I briefly left for maternity leave when I had my son. When I returned, I completed my SENCO training and took on that role.
My SENCO role consists of helping children with additional needs, providing a tailored individual educational plan, working 1 to 1 with children who need me and co-ordinating with other outside professionals such as Portage, Speech and language therapists and physiotherapists. I work in both Little and Big Hatties, providing support for staff. I also run our 'Little Green Fingers' gardening club. I started this in conjunction with our conservation work to provide opportunities for the children to experience our natural world through planting, growing and caring for wildlife.
Outside of Hatties I enjoy my own garden and spending time with my son, our tortoise 'Bolt', cat 'Pepper' and two new guinea pigs 'Buddy and Elvis'.
I have worked in childcare for a little over 17 years. I started my career in a nursery where I worked my way up to Room Leader, before moving onto nannying for some wonderful families then onto my next venture of motherhood! My son attended Mad Hatter's from the age of 2, and ever since his first day I knew it was somewhere I would love to work...now here I am!
I really enjoy doing crafts with the children and all things outdoors - whatever the weather. I love all messy play, and playdough is a personal favourite of mine, but above all this, just having fun :)
Being part of the children's journey in the first few years of their lives is a pleasure and providing them with an environment in which they can explore and build their confidence for the big wide world :)
For the past year I have been working for Mrs Chiverton at our sister nursery in Greatham, but now my son has moved on to 'big school', I have joined the Mad Hatter's team.
Big Hatties Deputy Room Leader
I started working at Mad Hatter's in 2014 when I was an 18 year old apprentice working towards my NVQ 2 and NVQ 3 qualifications in Children's Learning and Development.
During my time at the nursery I have loved being able to work in both the Little and Big Hatties rooms and from September 2020, I took on the role as Big Hatties Deputy room leader. Before coming into childcare I studied performing arts and I love to join in with the children's singing and dancing games!
Little Hatties Deputy Room Leader
I have worked in childcare since 2011. I completed my level 2 in childcare at Chichester college and this included a placement at Greatham nursery (Mad Hatter's sister nursery) and was then offered a placement at Mad Hatter's for my childcare level 3 course.
In 2014 I took a job as a private nanny where I looked after a lovely family before having a son of my own. After another nanny position I decided I missed nursery work and the time it allowed me to spend with my son and I returned in 2018. Throughout my career I have babysat for lots of families on regular occasions. I enjoy arts and crafts, exploring the garden and reading stories with the children.
I have been working with children in the early years for over 25 years. I trained as a nursery nurse, gaining my NNEB certificate and later achieved my NVQ Level 3 in childcare. I joined the Mad Hatter’s team in 2020. I live locally with my husband and three children who I love to spend time with along with our family dog Teddy.
In my spare time I enjoy walking and exploring the countryside, going to the theatre and eating out with my family and friends. I also have a keen interest in basketball and enjoy supporting the BBL team in Guildford with my family. I enjoy helping children to grow, learn and develop through different activities and experiences we offer…..it keeps me feeling young!
In 2022 I was given the opportunity to join the amazing team at Mad Hatters nursery school, and is it the best decision I have ever made! I am currently doing an apprenticeship which includes completing my level 2 early years practitioner qualification and will go onto completing my level 3. I have always wanted to work with children and now with Mad Hatter's that dream has turned into a reality which I cannot believe, coming into work and seeing all the children really does make my day. One thing I truly love about working with children of this age is that every day and child is different, and never leaves you being bored!
In my spare time I take part in competitive Ballroom and Latin dancing, which I have been doing since I was just 5 years old and still love till this day. I also enjoy spending quality time with my family, friends, and two dogs.
I started working in childcare in 2002 before leaving to have my first child. Over the years I have been very involved with school life including running the PTA and helping at clubs.
My career took me away from childcare but during covid I, like many others, got a chance to reassess what I wanted to do and I was very lucky to be offered a chance to join the Mad Hatter’s team. I have absolutely loved being able to get back to helping children to develop their skills and watching them grow over the months.
In my spare time I enjoy watching and playing netball and I'm currently learning sign language with my youngest daughter.
Having been in the hairdressing industry for nearly 20 years, in 2022 I decided to have a complete career change and study for my childcare qualifications. I am currently working on my level 3 diploma and will qualify in 2024. I really enjoy spending time with the children and getting to know their characters. I realise how important and special it is to celebrate each child’s individual achievements and to build their confidence as they continue to develop.
As a busy mum of two young children, I love watching them grow and explore and through them they have taught me so much. I enjoy nothing more than making memories with my family and friends.
My son absolutely loved his time at Mad Hatter's and my daughter loves it too.
Mad Hatter's holds such a special place in my heart and I feel so very lucky to be here