020 8850 6778   Mon - Fri: 8.30am - 5.00pm

Meet The TeamADO Mini Exp Logo for Web 300

The ADO Mini-Explorers team is part of the ADO Academy which is supported by the experienced team behind Animal Days Out C.I.C.. Let us have a look at our team on the ground.

Tara Thompson -Teaching Manager


Lesley Bonynge – Operations Manager


Emma Taylor - Outdoor Educator (Holiday Club Manager) Emma Taylor oval

Emma is a new recruit who joined us at the start of the january term. Emma has a level 2 diploma in children’s care, learning and development, as well as a level 2 certificate for the children and young people’s workforce, level 3 diploma for the children and young people’s workforce (early learning and childcare) and paediatric first aid. 

Emma has worked in a range of day nursery’s since 2011 working with children of 3m-5yrs, whilst completing her childcare training. In 2016 Emma became a sole charge Nanny for two young children aged 6 months and 4 years old.

Amber Staff Photo

Amber Downs - Outdoor Educator, Level 3

Amber is currently working hard training as a Level 3 in Early Years Childcare and is already demonstrating her knowledge in every day activities and care. Amber adores working with early years children and is very energetic and imaginative, making a perfect combination for getting fully involved in children's play.  

Amber is highly creative and runs an Art Club for the children every week and has assisted with decorations and designed paintings around the preschool setting, making it more colourful and interesting for the children. Amber has been volunteering and working with ADO since she was at school, assisting and running parties and taking part in the after school and holiday clubs as a young leader. She has developed knowledge and experience in the Forest School Approach as well as Animal Handling. Amber says "I love that I get the opportunity to be with nature every day and see all of the children grow within it. I believe it's the best way to learn and develop."

Amber is also about to undertake a bushcraft course to become a Bushcraft Practitioner in September 2017. She can then bring these outdoor learning skills to the children at the preschool and during Holiday Clubs


Morgan Newman -Early Years Apprentice


Julia Davenport - Lunchtime Supervisor


Carol Lindsay - Outdoor Leader


Eloise Greenwood - Outdoor Educator & Operations AssistantEloise Greenwood

Eloise has been with ADO since 2013 and has proved herself a valuable member of the team! Eloise has shown versatility in her time with ADO and her skills have grown with the company. Eloise started out volunteering with community events and company photography. She moved in to the office to help with the ever increasing administration, whilst assisting with the running of after school clubs and holiday clubs.

In February 2016, ADO Mini Explorers Preschool opened and Eloise was there from Day 1. Eloise helped out in the preschool with a mix of administration and childcare until she decided to dedicate herself to undertaking a Level 2 qualification in Early Years Care and Education. Eloise worked daily with the Mini Explorers and thoroughly enjoyed her time at the preschool and being part of the children’s exciting learning journey!

In March 2018, Eloise made the brave decision to return back to the office to help the company to grow further and develop the Alternative Provision, which will help vulnerable children and young people. Eloise is now the Business and Exams Officer for ADO and shows true dedication and hard work to this demanding role. She also assists with the therapy admin, preschool invoicing and current Mini Explorer requests, handles the holiday club administration and all other enquiries. She is the backbone of the office!


Julie Longhurst - Operations Assistant

Julie is our preschool whizz in the office and she handles all the preschool new starters and June leavers. If you call the office to enquire about the preschool, you'll likely talk to Julie and she will guide you through the next steps and enrolling your child as a Mini Explorer! Julie was originally a volunteer and moved to working in the office and has now been with us over two years and has proved a valuable member of the team with a very calm and caring nature. Julie's youngest son, is heavily involved with our Holiday Clubs and is about to become an official Mentor! 


Joe Greenwood - Horticulture Level 2     Joe Greenwood

The preschool grounds and maintenance are up kept by Joe who has a level 2 in horticulture. Joe works hard to ensure all of the outdoor areas at ADO are of a high standard and he also offers community garden services for individuals and schools through ADO. Joe has built many of the features in the preschool garden, including the play house and the mud kitchen, which the children love! New this academic year - Joe runs the Gardening After-School Club on Thursdays at the preschool and shows and teaches the children about gardening skills and nature around and outside of our setting. 


Sam Pilcher - Advanced Outdoor Programme Apprentice

Sam has experience working with all child age groups at our holiday clubs and after school clubs. Sam works with the children at the preschool to lead activities with them and gain further valuable experience working with children. He also runs the Monday Bushcraft After-School Club with the Mini Explorers. Sam is a Low Ropes Course Instructor and Low Ropes Constructor, enabling him to run Low Ropes obstacle courses and challenges for some of ADO's services.  

Katie O'Brien - Senior Manager and Therapist

Katie is the senior manager for the ADO Academy and our therapy services. She is fully involved in the operations of the preschool and will likely be the one to show interested parents around the preschool setting. Kate has worked at ADO for four years now and has gained a wealth of experience and skills. She is a Bushcraft Practitioner and has an Animal Assisted Therapy Diploma, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Diploma and Animal Management Diploma. With her knowledge and experience with therapy, Kate is able to advise and support the preschool team and children and works closely with the preschool SENCO and preschool parents.  


Victoria McHolland-Pilcher - Education & Therapy Director

The ADO Academy is headed by Victoria McHolland-Pilcher, our Education and Therapy Director. Victoria also leads our ADO Therapy teams and has over 15 years Project Management and Business Consultancy experience and qualifications working for large firms in London and across the country. Victoria's life history includes a lifelong love of supporting youth and community programs and with a family heavily involved in youth and community, spent many summers supporting holiday schemes for deprived children and young people. Victoria has undertaken both the Forest School Leader Level 3 course and is also a Bushcraft Practitioner with several years experience of implementing these programs within our existing childcare clubs. Victoria is a Low Ropes Course Instructor and Low Ropes Constructor, enabling her to run Low Ropes courses for ADO. Victoria also holds qualifications in Animal Assisted Therapy, finalising in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and currently studying Relaxation Therapy. With a therapy team on hand, we are in a strong position to support children with SEND requirements where required.


The ADO Team

Some other members of the ADO Team may be at the preschool at various times whilst your child is attending the setting. They are there to help support the preschool and assist with upkeep and maintenance. There are staff sheets on the parent noticeboard which have images of all staff involved with the preschool. The staff sheets can be viewed <HERE. All staff involved with the preschool have enhanced DBS checks. The whole operation is backed by key staff at head office where our operational team are the cogs in the machine that make our Mini-Explorers Preschool tick. We have 8 years of operational experience running after-school and holiday clubs for young children and young people. Not forgetting our wonderful animals that we regard as being part of our team and the animal care team that looks after them. Our team operates across many areas of the business supporting our animal, wildlife, nature and outdoor activities for all our brands and services. The ADO Team partner with Kylanja Ltd T/A Animal Days Out, with over 25 years of operational experience working for large companies in the London West End and City. The ADO team and partnership ensure that their is full support behind growing our Preschool.



As a not for profit Community Interest Company, we could not achieve all that we do without our wonderful volunteers that support many of our programs including our after school clubs, holiday programs, community events and therapy. We encourage volunteers to help in our preschool and are always looking for reliable volunteers who have experience in childcare settings, young people on work experience, parents wanting to get back into work or those wanting to undertake childcare placements with us. We also work with the Apprenticeship scheme across our company. All Preschool volunteers will require reference checks and an enhanced DBS check. 


Session Workers

We have various education session workers in our team who will support the preschool who are multi trained in delivering educational animal encounters, animal handling and animal therapy to childrens centres, schools and nurseries who are on hand as needed.

We will at various times of the year require additional qualified Preschool staffing to cover holidays, absences and growth. We are especially looking for session workers with Childcare Level 2 and 3 to be on our books planning ahead for our growth. If this is you and you love the outdoors - get in touch!




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