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The Windmill Preschool

Bolford Street Hall, Thaxted, CM6 2PY

"The quality of teaching is very good ... Children clearly enjoy learning through play, eagerly choosing what they wish to do from the varied range of resources offered."

OFSTED, 2014

01371 831457 (session times only)

Meet the "Windmill ladies"

We are very lucky at The Windmill Preschool to have a dedicated and close-knit team of professional staff, most of whom have been with us now for a number of years. Between them, they've raised 20 children of their own, so you can be sure they not only love working with children, but also know them inside out.  All staff, including the Manager, are Key-Persons, and form part of the staff:child ratios.

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Claire Rooney, Assistant 

"I began working at The Windmill in September 2015 when my youngest son started school. Prior to this I was secretary of the committee for four years, and both of my children came to The Windmill. I have a degree in Health, Welfare and Social Policy and lots of experience working with people of all ages and abilities. I love working with children and I am currently working towards my Level 3 Early Years qualification."  

Rachel Kesterton, Assistant

"I have a history degree from Cambridge University and am a qualified secondary school teacher but that was in a previous life! I have four children of my own, which is how I discovered a love of small children. I gained my Level 3 Diploma in Preschool Practice and joined Windmill in 2006. I love every minute but particularly anything sticky, creative or involving the telling of tales, being a passionate believer in the importance of stories not just for children, but for all of us."

Louise Crockford, Assistant

"My son came to The Windmill and I was a volunteer at The Windmill for two years before joining the team in January 2014. I have a Level 3 BTEC National Diploma in Childhood Studies (Nursery Nursing). The activities I enjoy the most are creative play and cooking."

Peta Gilbert, Assistant

"I have a background in education and was part of the team that set up the child care voucher system that we all use today. I left London to bring up my family and started at the Windmill in 2010 when my third child started school.  Two of my children came to The Windmill and I was on the Committee.   I enjoy all the activities, particularly the creative ones, and love our nature walks to the secret garden."

Karen Blaney, Manager

"Both my children came to the Windmill Preschool and I was on the committee for 3 years, I loved the "feel" of the place - warm and friendly - and was really keen to work here.  I started as an Assistant in September 2004. and have been Manager since September 2008. I have a Level 3 Diploma in Preschool Practice.  I am the Designated Lead for Child Protection.  My favourite activities usually involve the children getting messy, physical games and baking.  I love our outdoor play area and enjoy seeing how the children utilise the equipment."

Jo Yehezkel, Assistant Manager and SENCO

"I started at The Windmill in April 1999. I completed Special Educational Needs training in 2002, and am also a Level 2 Learning Support Assistant. I am the preschool's Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator.  In Dec 2016 I achieved a Level 3 Elklan Speech and Language qualification. I like being outside, exploring bugs, creepy crawlies and anything to do with the natural world. I also like all construction materials."

Liz Hotchkiss, Deputy Manager and ENCO

"I'm a mum to four daughters, 2 of which came to The Windmill.  I began working here in September 2008. I have a level 3 Diploma in Pre-school Practice and am the pre-school's ENco (equality named co-ordinator) and Health and Safety Officer. I love each and every varied day at Windmill, especially enjoying storytelling and literacy activities."

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