Linda is Deputy Child Care Manager in Childcare at Queen's, the University's childcare service. With a focus on promoting the ethos of a happy, caring atmosphere within a stimulating learning environment, Childcare at Queen's offers a varied programme of activities nurturing the development of the whole child delivered through the medium of play.
What does an average day look like for you?
Childcare at Queen's care for an average of 80 Children on a daily basis, with 23 staff members in our team. Our role is to provide a quality on-campus childcare provision that supports staff and student parents as they undertake their employment or studies within the University.
Queen's Childcare has been in operation since 1970, and, despite what people may think, I only joined the staff team as a childcare supervisor in 1987.
There is never a dull moment in Childcare and no two days are the same.
An average day for me starts at 8.15am, when the staff, children and parents arrive to the Childcare site. I am part of a team that has responsibility for the daily management of the Childcare setting. In terms of duties, I could be dealing with staff queries, or, for example, be called to inspect a rash or an unpleasant nappy. I also check my emails and answer any queries from outside agencies, parents, other Queen's colleagues. I am very hands-on with the children and support the staff as they carry out their daily tasks and make the children’s day as fun as possible.
What is the best bit about your role?
The best bit about my role is when I walk into a room and children run over and wrap their arms around my legs to say hello. Seeing all those smiley faces each day, it warms your heart knowing the most precious thing in a parent's life is their child, and that they have enough faith to hand them over to a very dedicated staff team - which I am proud to be part of.
What are the challenges?
Like many areas, the Covid-19 pandemic presented Childcare with many challenges. We had to adapt and devise new ways of operating that met with all regulatory compliance and Public Health Agency guidance. These changes were difficult to implement, but were carried out in order to keep the children and our staff team safe during uncertain times.
What makes you most proud about Childcare at Queen's contribution to the University community and beyond?
I am very proud to be part of a service that is delivered with dedication, passion and love.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have recently taken up sea swimming, and I also like walking. My favourite spot is the Newcastle promenade. I find looking at the sea very therapeutic.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
Never ask anyone to do something you would not do yourself.
What is your favourite app?
My Fitbit. I like to keep an eye on my steps target: 10,000 a day.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I was in Spain in the nineties and I saved a child from drowning in the swimming pool. That moment has always stayed with me.
I played badminton from the age of 12, and when I was in my twenties I was ranked first out of 300 people and was awarded Player of the Year.