Hey, my name is Denise and I've been working at Sandcastles since we opened in May 2004. I started as a nursery assistant and after a couple of years became supervisor in the Pre-School room.
I studied childcare in England (which is where I am originally from) and gained a Diploma in Childcare. Whilst working in a nursery in England I also continued various courses and training relating to my work. This has continued on since working in Sandcastles and I have carried out various training courses such as first aid, manual handling, inclusions of children with special needs and diversity in our curriculum and fire warden training.
I feel I have a lot of patience which is important part of child care. I also think I am able to show empathy with both children and from parent's point of view. I am able to use my own initiative which this kind of work really requires a lot of quick thinking. As well as being able to work alone, being a team member is important and valuing others in the workplace too. A sense of humour and fun is vital in this kind of environment too and not feeling embarrassed to be a bit silly.
Pre-School is a great age to work with as I really enjoy conversations you are able to have whilst doing work, and just general chat. It's great when we begin learning new skills and seeing the children remembers them and even improving them. The work and craft we are able to do is fun too and the end results are great to see. It's nice to see children come up through the nursery and be prepared for the start of school, hopefully with a good set of learning skills and a happy out-going personality.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family and having fun with my niece and nephew as well as having my own bike and spending my summers away at race meetings as my fiancé races whilst also trying to squeeze in a little relaxation!!!!
Hi my name is Michelle Campbell. I have worked in the pre-school room in Sandcastles since January 2007 as a nursery assistant. I have a NVQ level 2 whilst completing this course I got experience working in University of Ulster crèche, Mulberry Day Nursery and Killowen Primary School. Once I completed my level 2 I remained at Killowen for a further 5 years being a classroom assistant on to one with a child with cerebal palsy. I always knew I wanted to work in child care because I have a love of being around them and I enjoyed completing a course in child care while at school.
In pre-school I enjoy working with the children and watching them develop each and every day. I love talking to them and listening to all their little stories they have to tell and well as sharing one to one time with children while I supervise them doing craft using new and different materials.
I'm married and have a son with number two on the way!! Outside of work I enjoy doing things with my son like swimming or going to the park. My hobbies are reading and going to the gym when I can.
Hi, my name is Lesley-Anne
Since the age of 10 my mother has been a respite carer and childminder. Our house was constantly full of children for me to help care for. I always wanted to help feed, change and entertain the babies.
When I attended North Regional College in Coleraine studying Health studies, I had three placements to complete. First a children's placement where I worked in Trinity playgroup. The children were between ages of 2 - 4 this was a crucial time in the children's lives, the developmental stages were clear and easy for me as a student to identify.
For my second placement I chose the Rehabilitation ward in the Causeway Hospital. And finally my third placement was in Sandelford Special School. I was in a class with children aged 9 -10, with varying degrees of needs and abilities. I helped with school work and during playtime, the teacher of the class allowed me to independently take a music lesson where the children followed a number pattern with different musical instruments attached to make a song.
After college I attended Queen's University and studied mental health nursing for 1 year.
I have worked in Sandcastles Nursery now since 2009 where I started in the baby room, but I have been placed in all rooms and worked with all ages of children within the nursery.
Btec Health Studies
Fire Warden certificate
Manual handling in childcare
Currently studying criminology and Criminal Justice
Hobbies and Interests
I enjoy singing and was in the school choir for 5 years. I have won awards at Coleraine music festivals for singing and have sang at weddings and at the 10th Anniversary service for Joey Dunlop
I am also a member of the Joey Dunlop leisure centre where I attend regularly.
Hi my name is Kathy and I've been working within a child care setting since 2007. I have my NVQ 2 in childcare, learning and development. My experiences have been varied from working in a school to children's crèches.
I now work in Sandcastles, which I enjoy very much. The children are a joy to work with and its very enjoyable getting to know them and their different personalities. As I work with all the different I feel I get lots of different experience and build up a good ra-pore with all the children and staff.