The Acorn Nursery School Cranleigh
The Acorn Nursery School Cranleigh

Our team

The Acorn Nursery School consists of a team of competent, committed, caring and experienced employees.

Allow us to introduce them to you on this page.

Pauline Crowder

 

Owner/Manger/Registered Person

Qualifications:

Diploma PreSchool Practice

City and Guilds Early Years Practitioner (324 & 365)

NVQ 3 Child Care and Education

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I started Acorn Nursery in 1990 to provide, what I considered to be, a perfect environment of learning through play for my, then, 2-year-old daughter, my youngest of three children. I’ve seen many changes, over the years, in the Early Years sector but our ethos remains the same now, as it was then, to provide a Safe, Nurturing and Exciting environment in which children can develop key skills and become confident learners. I have a wonderful job, as there’s no greater reward than teaching children. I’m fortunate to have an amazing team of dedicated and committed staff, who also are great fun to work with.

In my free time I enjoy hill walking, especially in the Scottish Highlands, Pilates and keeping fit. I’m also attempting to learn golf! I enjoy my Book Club and a very sociable monthly pub quiz. I love spending time with my family and friends.

Krista Ross

 

Senior Assistant in Acorns

Qualifications:

Diploma PreSchool Practice

ECAT (Every Child A Talker) Trained

 

I live in Cranleigh with my husband and have three grown up children. I have been an Early Years Practitioner for 24 years and at Acorn for 8 of those. I love working with the pre-school children, the joy of watching them become such confident learners is wonderful and so rewarding. I enjoy working with our enthusiastic team, in such a warm and caring environment. I seem to have inherited the children’s gardening club, which they love especially in the summer when they can pick and eat the fruit that they’ve planted. It’s ironic that I’m actually working in the school grounds that I started my own Learning Journey on over 45 years ago.

In my spare time I enjoy gardening especially growing my own fruit and vegetables, although I’m still learning and love to hear other gardener’s tips and advice

Natasha Dhall

 

Deputy Manager

Room Leader in Catkins and Squirrels

Qualifications:

Children and Young Persons Workforce (CYPD) Level 3

SENCo Trained

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I grew up in Sardinia, Italy, for the early part of my life and moved to England in 1995. From a young age I’ve always known that my future would be working with children, and I’ve been working in Early Years since 2001. Teaching and supporting the children to develop and seeing all the different characters grow is such a delight. I love the fact that no two days are the same. I worked for several nursery schools in London, learning so much about ‘the business’. Finally managing a Day Care Nursery in London, where I gained invaluable experience working with the complete age range of Early Years. I was thrilled to move to Cranleigh early in 2017, to join Acorn and manage the two younger year groups, I work with a great team. Myself, my husband and daughter (an Acorn pre-schooler) all love this area and am very happy to be here.

I’ve recently taken up Martial Arts and that’s taking up all of my free time at the moment!

Gemma Dighton

 

Deputy Manager

Deputy Room Leader in Acorns

Qualifications:

Children and Young Persons Workforce (CYPD) Level 3

Certificate in Early Years Practice Level 4

Currently studying for Early Years Degree

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I have been working in the childcare sector since 2008, I joined The Acorn Nursery School in January 2011. All three of my children attended The Acorn Nursery and loved every moment of their time here. The excellent delivery of the EYFS curriculum in a fun, engaging and nurturing environment gave my children a great start at primary school as well as lots of fabulous memories. I love working in early years and watching the children grow, learn and develop. Every day is different and you never know what to expect! I’m thoroughly enjoying studying for my degree in Early Years. In my spare time I love being with my family and friends, taking our dog for walks and art & craft activities.

Sharon Gardner

 

Deputy Manager

Deputy Room Leader in Catkins and Squirrels

Qualifications:

Scottish Nursery Education Board (SNEB)

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I trained and qualified as an Early Years Practitioner in Scotland in 1989. I moved to England in 1991 to work with children in a Special Educational Needs Boarding School, which was a challenging but immensely rewarding job. The first of my three children started at Acorn in 2002, I was delighted to join the Acorn team shortly after that. The children are always such a joy to teach and care for. It’s a super environment to work in and I feel fortunate to be part of such a great, supportive, team.

In my spare time I enjoy being with my family, walking the dog in the lovely Cranleigh countryside, and cycling.

Mel Luck

 

Nursery Assistant in Catkins and Squirrels

Qualifications:

Children and Young Persons Workforce (CYPD) Level 3

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I came to know and love Acorn when my two daughters attended, I loved the nursery environment so much I knew I wanted to be part of it. When my youngest child started school, I re-trained from retail management to become an Early Years Practitioner. I love working with the 2 and 3-year olds, watching them grow in confidence and I really enjoy helping to teach them to develop the necessary key skills during these early years. It really is a joy to be part of the children’s learning journey.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, history and spending time with family. I love listening to 80’s music.

Laura Penson

 

Nursery Assistant

SENCo

Qualifications:

Montessori International Diploma

Nursery Nurse Education Board (NNEB)

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I have worked in Childcare for 20 years in a range of settings, including full Day Care, Sure Start Children’s Centres and now at Acorn Nursery, where both my children attended and thrived. I have a keen interest in the Special Educational Needs of children and was delighted to further my Professional Development in that field, and am currently Acorn’s SENCO.

In my spare time I enjoy cooking, sewing and reading.

Clare Brambley

 

Nursery Assistant

Qualifications:

Children and Young Persons Workforce (CYPD) Level 3

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I grew up in Australia and came to the UK to work as a Nanny for a year, I enjoyed it immensely and decided to remain working in Childcare. I then trained as a Nanny and loved my time working with three different families, who I still remain in close contact with. I’m married with four children, my eldest started at Acorn in 2009. We loved the ethos of the nursery and all my children had an excellent start to their education. I began volunteering at Acorn when my youngest started and I absolutely loved working with the children and being part of the Acorn team. I’m very keen to progress my career and Professional Development, for that reason I’m currently undertaking further Early Years training.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, swimming, looking after our menagerie of pets and watching my children train and compete in their various sporting activities.

Karolina McAlpine

 

Nursery Assistant in Catkins and Squirrels

Snack Bar Manager

Qualifications:

Trainee Children and Young Persons Workforce (CYPD) Level 3

 

I grew up in Poland and came to England in my late teens. Where I trained and qualified to work in Hospitality. I am married with 2 young sons, my youngest is still at Acorn and loving it as much as my eldest did. I worked at Cranleigh School in hospitality before I joined Acorn, where I now work as Snack Bar manager. It was then I discovered how much I enjoy working with young children and am currently retraining as an Early Years Level 3 Practitioner. I feel very fortunate to have the support of the Acorn team.

When time allows, with two young children, I enjoy cooking, crocheting, reading and watching films.

Robyn Duffell-Canham
 
Nursery Assistant
Qualifications:
Bachelor of Arts: Psychology, English and General Education
Montessori International Diploma (Early Childhood Course: 2 and a half to 6 years)
Paediatric 1st Aid Trained
 
 
I studied Montessori Methodology and a Bachelor of Arts degree at internationally accredited tertiary facilities in sunny Cape Town, South Africa in the early 2000s. I then ran and managed Montessori Early Years’ classrooms in various Cape Town preschools for many years. I have worked with many different children of all ages with wide ranging Specialised Educational Needs, both in and outside the classroom environment. I have a passion for early years’ education and helping develop every child to the fullest of their potential. I enjoy volunteering  at various organisations within my local community and in local schools. I especially enjoy supporting language and reading. 
I am a dedicated mom to boy/girl twins and have been happily married for many years.  My family and I have happily settled in the Horsham area.  In my spare time I enjoy knitting, travel and spending time with my children.

Dora Potar-Bota

 

Snack Bar Assistant

 

I came from Hungary to Cranleigh in April 2016 to work as an Au Pair, looking after two boys in Cranleigh, both whom attended Acorn Nursery. I was delighted to be asked to join the Acorn team as a part-time snack bar assistant, I love helping the children prepare their snacks and listening to them chatter it’s a delightful age to work with. Before leaving Hungary, I worked as a social media assistant and also a group fitness instructor, I gained a qualification in Children’s Aerobics and have a keen interest in the physical development of children. Which is another reason I love Acorn, as the children spend a lot of time learning outdoors.

I like to spend my free time reading (Harry Potter is my favourite), making handmade jewellery and decorations. I also teach English as an additional language. I like run to keep fit and anytime I hear music, I start to dance.

Jane Wilson

 

IT Support

Educational Consultant

Qualifications:

BA Primary Education QTS

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

SENCo Trained

 

I have taught in a range of settings and ages from Reception to Year 10 before coming to Acorn when my eldest daughter started. Two of my children have attended Acorn and they loved their time there and thrived. I  offer support with Tapestry as well as being involved with advising on a range educational areas including SEND provision. 

 

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© Pauline Crowder