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Ali merits praise for 30 years in childcare

18.03.24 -

Ali Merritt is celebrating 30 years continuous service with Mama Bear’s Day Nursery in Yeovil and encourages others to follow her example by joining the profession.

Following a two year NNEB course including placements in the nurseries at South Somerset District Council and Yeovil District Hospital, Ali joined YDH as an Assistant Nursery Nurse in 1994. “At that time we wore nurses uniform, it was all very formal, just like Call The Midwife!”.

Ali pursued her career, firstly as the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator) and then as the Pre-School Room Leader. “This was great variety, allowing me to both specialise in my role (as SENCO) and develop management skills as Room Leader. That gave me options for the future.”

Later, Ali had two career-breaks for maternity, becoming a mum herself in 2008 and again in 2012.

It was during the second break that the hospital nursery was joined with the council nursery at Houndstone Close, Yeovil under the Mama Bear’s Day Nursery brand.

“It was strange to leave the bungalows at the hospital and come back to newly refurbished premises with new colleagues, but it was like I had never left and it’s been one big family ever since.”

Asked about the highlight of her career Ali stated “There have been many but it’s a privilege to support other families, especially when you are a mum yourself. Over the years I have given them tips to help them out, it feels like you are part of their family. Many parents have become good friends, one was a page boy at my wedding and is now Godparent to my son. I’m now looking after the child of a child whom I cared for 20 years ago.

“I’ve worked with many of my colleagues for decades, we’re a strong, close team, like a family ourselves.

“No two days are the same, everything is different day to day. It’s been the most amazing career and I totally recommend it to anyone who wants to make a difference to young people’s lives.”

Tony Driffield, Director at mama Bear’s Day Nursery said “We’re privileged to have such a wonderful, caring team at Houndstone Close. Ali in particular is the model of an Early Years Professional, dedicated and diligent. If I was three years old I would want Ali as my Keyworker.”

If you are interested in finding out more about a career in childcare visit or Do something big - Early Years Careers to find out more.