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 and Ofsted Registered Person

Qualifications:

Diploma Pre-School 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, 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 Catkins and Squirrels

SENCo

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!

 

Sharon Gardner

 

Deputy Room Leader in Catkins and Squirrels

Nursery Deputy Manager

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.

Gemma Dighton

 

Room Leader in Acorns

Nursery Deputy Manager

Qualifications:

Children and Young Persons Workforce (CYPD) Level 3

Certificate in Early Years Practice Level 4

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.

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 10 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 Acorns

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 Catkins and Squirrels

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.

Wendy Hastie

 

Nursery Assistant in Acorns & Catkins

Forest School Support

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:

Trainee 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, 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.

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.
 
I met my Husband (originally from Coventry) in Hungary in 2004, a year later we married and I moved to the UK. I enjoyed teaching in primary school and did a few years of it until we had our own children. And now, after a few years gap, I was excited to get back to working with little ones.
 
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. 

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