Felton mum helps tackle Northumberland childcare shortage by setting up a nursery in her own home
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35-year-old Rachel Dawson, from Felton, started her ‘micro-nursery’ in May after previously working in nurseries and as a nanny before she took a break to have three children of her own.
Now her daughters are aged five, three, and one, she has become approved to set up the home nursery, where she looks after other children from the village.
Rachel said: “I liked being a nanny and I also liked being in a nursery, so I find this is the best of both ways of doing it.
“I still get to spend time with children, I am at home with mine, I am in my own home, it is a win-win really.”
The set up is beneficial for the children, including Rachel’s, who are growing up with the people they will eventually go to school with, making that transition a little easier.
Rachel thinks the friendly environment benefits parents too.
She said: “Because I go to playgroups and I know quite a lot of people in the village, it just made that transition a lot easier.
“You come and you do a settling-in period. A lot of children have come twice, maybe three times, with their parents and then they come and do a few sessions by themselves, mum will maybe just go to the shop and come back.”
Rachel believes the model helps make childcare more accessible and that there are “not enough” childminders around, but also that it helps parents find the right childcare where they will feel the most comfortable.
She said: “It is sometimes not about cost. Sometimes it is about connecting with a family. When people come and have a look around at mine there is no pressure.
“You have got to work with families. You have got to be approachable and I think that is one of the things I find the most rewarding about it.”
Rachel’s mum has been helping make the venture work by picking up the grandchildren so she can watch the maximum number of children she is allowed to.
Rachel said: “It is just so rewarding. I have seen people manage to start walking, start talking, interacting with others.
“I have always enjoyed that side of it. I have always enjoyed watching children thrive and their confidence boost, just supporting them in areas that they need support.”
Rachel was trained and approved to open her home nursery through Tiney, a company that helped her get the required certifications.
She said: “Tiney has its own set up for it, so when I decided I was going to do it they put you through your training.
“It is something I am quite passionate about so I feel like I have got quite a lot of knowledge.”
She added: “I was already kind of set up anyway, we just had to set the house up a bit more.
“If you like children and you are involved with children it is quite a nice thing to do.”