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

 

Head of Nursery and Ofsted Registered Person

Qualifications:

Diploma Pre-School Practice

City and Guilds Early Years Practitioner (324 & 365)

NVQ 3 Child Care and Education

SENDCo Trained

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, Kayaking, 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.

Natasha Dhall

 

Nursery Manager

Room Leader in Acorns

Joint SENDCo

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

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, rising to Manager of the whole nursery when Mrs Crowder took her, well deserved, semi-retirement. As well as Nursery manager, I'm also Room Leader in Acorns class, our pre-school children, which I'm really enjoying. I work with a great team. Myself, my husband and daughter ( an ex 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!

 

Sharon Gardner

 

Room Leader in Catkins and Squirrels

Nursery Deputy Manager

Deputy DSL

 

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, especially in my current role as Catkins/Squirrels Room Leader.

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

Krista Ross

 

Deputy Room Leader in Acorns

Nursery Deputy Manager

Qualifications:

Diploma PreSchool Practice

ECAT (Every Child A Talker) Trained

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I live in Cranleigh with my husband and have three grown up children. I have been an Early Years Practitioner for 26 years and at Acorn for 13 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

 

Rachael Nicholson

 

Nursery Assistant in Acorns

Forest School Leader

Qualifications:

NNEB

Forest School Leader 

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I've worked in Early Years for many, many years, having completed my NNEB training when I was 18 years old! I love working in Early Years and truly couldn't imagine doing anything else!  I had the opportunity of training as a Forest School Leader a few years ago and jumped at the chance as I think 'Outside Learning' is an essential part of growing-up. Having helped on both my parents and in-laws farms for many years and having 2 brothers who work as tree surgeons, it seemed a natural thing for me to train in and I've never regretted it. I was delighted to bring those Forest School skills to Acorn, it's a joy working with such a professional and committed team.  I'm a mum of 4 children and have a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats, lizards and various cute rodents. In the little spare time I get I enjoy reading and walking the dogs.

 

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.

Clare Brambley

 

Nursery Assistant in Acorns

Qualifications:

Children and Young Persons Workforce (CYPD) Level 3

Joint SENDCo

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 and work with children with Special Educational Needs.

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.

Wendy Hastie

 

Deputy Room Leader in Catkins

Forest School Support in Acorns

Behaviour Management Lead

Qualifications:

Qualifications: NVQ 3 in Children's Care, Learning and Development.

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

 

I began working with children in 2006 when I joined a day care nursery in London.  I quickly came to love the nursery environment and re-trained from Human Resources Management to gain my Childcare qualification. Children's boundless energy and eagerness to learn is truly infectious and a joy to be part of.  I'm delighted to be part of the extremely friendly and very professional team at Acorn Nursery.  I  was excited to discover that Acorn has a Forest School area as I support the Forest School lead at my own children's school and really enjoy it and recognise the value of outside learning.  In addition to my role with Acorn Nursery I volunteer at my children's school as a parent reader and help with various PTA roles.  In my spare time I enjoy walking my dog, cooking and reading.

Lisa Maxton
 
Nursery Assistant in Catkins and Squirrels
Qualifications:
NV2 & NVQ3 in Childcare & Education

NNEB (Nursery Nurse )

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

I have worked with children for 22 years, in a wide range of settings, gaining invaluable experience. I’ve also worked with children with Special Educational Needs.  From a very young adult I’ve always known that this was going to be my chosen career. It’s an incredibly rewarding job and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I very much enjoy working with the Acorn team, they are extremely professional and good fun.

 

I moved to Bramley with my husband and 2 sons in early 2017 from Godalming, where I grew up.

I'm my spare time I enjoy reading, jewellery making, papercraft and making cards. I’m often kept busy by my son's exploring the woods and tracks in and around Bramley. We enjoy going on long walks.

Karolina McAlpine

 

Nursery Assistant in Catkins and Squirrels

Qualifications:

Children and Young Persons Workforce (CYPD) Level 3

Paediatric 1st Aid Trained

 

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, as Snack Bar manager. It was then I discovered how much I enjoy working with young children and retrained 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.

Lotti Ellis

 

Supply Nursery Assistant

Qualifications:

Level 6 - Qualified Teacher Status

Triple P Parenting Practitioner

 

I grew up in Hungary. At the age of 19 I went to the United States to work as a nanny. Soon after returning from America I missed working with children, so I started my teacher’s training at the Central European Teacher’s Training University . From my freshman year at University I started working with primary age children, teaching mainly English as a second language, then after gaining Qualified Teacher’s Status as a primary teacher. 

The children at Acorn Nursery, as well as the staff team, have been an absolute delight to join and work with. I feel that so much of the attitude of children towards learning depends on the nurturing, caring, positive environment and input from the adults they are surrounded with, especially in the early stages of their education. They all have their own, unique story to tell and I am excited to be part of their special story, helping them learn that everything is possible if they just give it their best and persevere.  Unfortunately, due to my son's change of school, my working life also had to change, with a considerable reduction in hours! It's fortunate that I can still very much part of the Acorn team as supply cover.

Alice Burke
 
Nursery Assistant in Catkins and Squirrels

Qualifications:

Level 3 Early Years Educator

Early Year's Foundation Degree (Working Towards)

 

I became an Early Years Practitioner when I gained my Early Years Educator Level 3 qualification back in 2015. I am now working towards my Early Year​​s Foundation Degree, which will help support my Professional Development in Childcare. I have always lived in Cranleigh, and was educated locally. I actually attended Acorn Nursery as a toddler, I returned to Acorn for Work Experience when I was 15 years old,  so I'm really thrilled to be part of the Acorn staff! I love working with children, helping them to reach their next steps in order to grow and develop. 

In my spare time I enjoy seeing my family and friends and studying for my degree!

 

 

 

 

Carly Witte

 

Snack Bar Assistant in Acorns Class

 

I came to England in the summer of 2018, after graduating from College, to spend one year as an Au Pair with a host family in Cranleigh looking after two boys aged six and sevenboth boys attended Acorn when they were younger.  Working at The Acorn Nursery School has been wonderful for me, I love being with the children and being part of such a happy, professional team. There's an added bonus for me as not only does it give me a good opportunity to improve my English, but I am now more confident about working with children, as Children's social work is what I plan to study when I return to Germany.  Most of the time when I’m at nursery I support the children at snack time. We prepare the fruit together and I help them to spread butter and jam their crackers.  I'm also teaching them to wash-up and dry their plates and cupsIf there's time after snack I love spending time playing with them. What I enjoy the most is watching them building up whole stories and amazing worlds! I love to see how creative and imaginative children are.
When I’m not at nurserywith my host family or babysitting for families in the community I spend a lot of time in the gym, meeting other Au Pairs from all over the world and visiting as many places in England as possible. I also love horse riding and ballroom dancing.   

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