Jacqui Lewis, Day Care Centre manager at the University talks about life in the nursery…
I am honoured to have the luck of being paid to be a child – can you believe it! Or at least to see things from a child’s point of view and to ensure they receive the highest quality care.
We have a tremendous amount of fun at the Day Care Centre and are the most raving lunatics you will ever find but the serious stuff is going on underneath. While at the Centre I always call them my children and my staff and they will always come first to me. It is the one job where you can come into work not feeling as lively as you would like, but the minute the children walk through the door they brighten your day up immediately.
I have worked at Cardiff University’s Day Care Centre for 13 years and it is a job I am very passionate about. I could not imagine doing anything that did not involve working with children. I am constantly studying and updating my skills and knowledge, I just wish there was a recognised degree course available for the age group I work with.
It is a large nursery, being registered for 64 children at any one session from ages ten weeks to five years old. It is an extremely important part of the University as it supports students and staff alike.
I started life here as a Section Leader running the three to five age group for one year. I then ran the baby room for three years and applied for the manager’s post which I was offered in September 1999, after running it as acting manager since June of the same year.
The nursery has a fantastic reputation well outside of the University. Our last annual inspection carried out by our registration body was the best we have ever received. There were no good practice recommendations at all and there were very good comments about the nursery.
I am very proud of the nursery and while I am still here I will keep striving to keep moving forward in the provision we provide while still maintaining the high standards we have, providing Cardiff University with a provision to be extremely proud of.
We have recently celebrated our own anniversary where we had our 30th birthday party here at the nursery. This was attended by past and present day care users and their parents. This was a very successful evening all round and the children thoroughly enjoyed the entertainer we had provided.
We also hold an annual fete day. You have to have a sense of humour in this job as can be seen from the photograph – by the way the one putting the cake in my face is one of my staff – she did pay £5 for the privilege though – the things I will do to boost our fundraising efforts!
I’ve appeared in the University Newsletter Cardiff News where my picture was a little scary – I was photographed in outdoor clothing looking like a telly tubbie! (the photo was taken during a winter shoot and I must have had on about five layers of clothes under my coat) and holding an air rifle. I had not long come back from Minnesota in the United States where I was part of the Welsh squad in the World Air Rifle Championships in 2000. We came third.
My other hobbies include walking my dog, supporting my husband-to-be and his band (he will be my hubbie in October 2008 - I finally gave into his proposal after 16 years…well you can’t rush these things!), hand knitting and making my own hand made cards. I am very much looking forward to the arrival of my first grandchild who is expected the day after my wedding - trust my son to time things like this!