Meet The Team
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.
Alice Pinwill – Preschool Manager
Alice has over 10 years experience working with children and young people as well as leading and managing staff in Early Years Settings. She is passionate about outdoor learning and holds a Forest School Leader qualification (Level 3) alongside a degree in Education and a Diploma in Childcare and Early Years.
She has a love of being outside, in and around nature and animals. As a young child she spent most of her time in the garden and at local parks having adventures with her family. This love of nature and the outdoors has been recently rekindled since working within a Forest School setting and she has seen the benefits of this style of learning and the benefits it can give to young children. Alice joined ADO in September 2015 and quickly became ingrained in this friendly busy team. She looks forward to meeting some of your children!
Miranda Hamill– Deputy Preschool Manager
Miranda has over two decades experience in caring for children in the early years environment. She is qualified to Level Three in Early Childhood Learning and has run her own home based childcare business for nine years, in addition to roles working in childcare management and education roles. Further experience comes from parenting two energetic children and a rescue greyhound. These experiences enable a very down to earth and practical approach to all areas of child development and learning.
Miranda has always had an passion for the outdoor environment, and the need to promote an interest and respect for nature has been key throughout her career and personal life. Miranda has a wealth of experience in engaging children to see the 'treasure trove' of experiences that a natural environment can offer for learning and play opportunities in the early years. Miranda is a keen gardener and advocate of grow - at - home and seasonal eating; this coupled with a love of cooking and preserving offer another range of skills and learning opportunities that she brings with her to the Mini Explorers and Animal Days Out teams. Miranda has undertaken bushcraft practitioner training and she brings these skills to the children and the preschool environment, especially outdoor cooking skills during the Cooking After School Club. Miranda is our trained SENCO and is supported by Katie O'Brien, our senior manager and therapist. In addition to her experiences Miranda sits on the committee for a number of local charity and community ventures.
Amber Downs - Outdoor Leader
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.
Eloise Greenwood - Outdoor Leader & Operations Assistant
The team are ably assisted by Eloise Greenwood at the preschool, who has worked at the preschool since it opened in February 2016 and within the ADO company for 4 years. Eloise has completed a Level 2 in Early Years Care and Education and has completed a Bushcraft Practitioners course. Eloise also holds a Bsc degree in Media Technology and has many years of experience as a nanny to young children locally and a wealth of extended experience in childcare with all age groups at our After School and Holiday Clubs.
Eloise has a split role between the preschool and the ADO office where she assists with administration, customer communication and relationships and media, such as website content and videos. Eloise is an important part of the team with the experience to ensure that Early Years technology and media can be seamlessly implemented to work within an outdoor learning environment.
Julie Longhurst - Operations Assistant
Julie is our preschool whizz in the office and she handles all the preschool administration, including all enquiries, general daily administration and also supports funding and payments. When 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, Tom, is heavily involved with our Holiday Clubs and is about to become an official Mentor!
Joe Greenwood - Horticulture Level 2
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.
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!