Day nursery celebrates 20 years and thousands of happy children
A centre of excellence for two decades and home to fun, learning and a romance or two, Highfield Day Nursery in Edgbaston is using birthday celebrations to pay tribute to all who have passed through its doors.
They include Highfield graduate Emily (17), and Claire McCall and husband Chris, who are celebrating nearly 15 years of marriage after meeting at the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ day nursery in Highfield Road.
At the birthday party for the current generation of Highfield children, Manager Jo Hassan, who has been at the nursery for 17 years, said:
“I have worked with dedicated and passionate practitioners throughout my time at Highfield and feel enormously proud of our 20 year record of excellence. We are all excited about the future of Highfield.”
From the early days when education and care were rated separately by Ofsted, to the new inspection process, Highfield has continuously been praised as ‘Outstanding’ and that, according to its longest serving member, is down to exceptional team work.
Carrie-Anne Hassan, sister-in-law to Manager Jo, who has been at the nursery for 18 years, said:
“It sounds cheesy but we really are one big happy family working and socialising together. I think that, and the fact that we never stop trying to be even better for our children, makes the nursery successful and a great place to work. I even pop in on my days off,” said the mother of two.
Photographs of staff and memorable events over two decades lined the walls at Highfields as the young party goers were treated to performances by two children’s entertainers, and special guests Minnie Mouse and La La handed out balloons, cake and gifts.
Emily, who is now studying ICT at Sutton College, was joined at the party by her first Highfield’s carer, Charisse Northwood and her four-month-old son Daniel who will be joining Highfield soon.
“I have nothing but lovely memories of my time at Highfield. I was happiest in the paint and craft rooms or at the interactive white boards and computers,” said Emily who helps out at annual charity fund-raisers at the nursery.
Charisse, who is currently on maternity leave following the birth of her first child, Daniel, said she loves working at Highfield in their baby room.
“Each baby is unique with their own personality, likes and dislikes. Being around for significant moments in their development is magical and the bond you share with their parents; the trust they put in you makes this job so very rewarding.”
“My colleagues feel the same. We are a team who have grown up together, met our partners and had children together,” she said.
Teams past and present gathered for an evening celebration that included Highfield ‘old guard’ members like Alison Beard, a former practitioner, Manager and now Regional Director at Childbase Partnership, the award-winning employee-owned company which includes Highfield.
Also there were Claire and Chris McCall who worked together as practitioners in 1999 but didn’t fall in love until Chris, a caretaker at a Solihull school, left in 2001. They married in 2003 and have two boys, Jack (13) and Dylan (10).
“I still feel very proud of the work we did then and what Highfield has achieved today. The team worked and played together and we still stay in touch; the bond we had with each other and even some parents remains very strong,” she said.