Meet The Team
SEONAID – DIRECTOR
I went to college to train to be a Nursery Nurse after encouragement from a fantastic friend and mentor called Isabel, who ran Fogo Nursery where my children attended. Once I’d qualified I decided to take the huge step of setting up Castlegate, at a time where options for childcare locally were very limited. We’ve now had the pleasure of supporting thousands of children to make important steps in their learning journeys, and hope there will be many many more in the future. I have so many happy memories of experiences I’ve had through Castlegate, one of these being a trip to visit nurseries in Hungary as part of my Professional Development Award course. Their naturalistic, child centred approaches and love of outdoors really influenced my practice, then and still now.
I love being outdoors, and bring this passion with me to Castlegate where I lead our Forest School work. In my free time I like to walk our lively family dog on the beaches at North Berwick, where I’d also happily spend hours hunting for my favourite shells – tiny little cowries. I’m also known for making scones for all occasions!
CHRISTINE – DIRECTOR
I joined my Mum in running Castlegate in 2008, moving into early education from working at LGBT Youth Scotland who I proudly started out with as a full time volunteer when I left university. I’m passionate about ensuring Castlegate remains a sustainable business moving forward, so have been building strong business practices including leading digital developments in recent years. You’ll also often find me lobbying at local and national level for all things early learning and childcare – I believe in fairness for all providers and the children and families who use us, and often this means speaking up to achieve this. It’s also really important to me to do right by our brilliant staff team and ensure that they feel nurtured at work while they nurture the children in our care.
I love a quiet life – pilates, yoga, walking and long cycles when I can. When possible I love to take the opportunity to travel, including taking a five month sabbatical from work in 2014 to complete the research for my MEd in Childhood Practice in Kathmandu, Nepal.
SARAH – DEPUTE MANAGER
I am currently a Deputy Manager at Castlegate. I started working here straight after college in 2005 before heading overseas for a year to work. Whilst in Australia, I was lucky enough to work in many different childcare settings and see their way of working over there. I loved every minute of it. I then came back to Castlegate to work as a room leader of the baby and the toddler room before moving on to lead the 3 year old room. I currently spend most of my time in the office but occasionally help out in the different rooms when needed. My role in the office is varied but most of my time is spent on the children’s development and staff development.
My professional interests are mainly the outdoors and how we as a nursery can encourage children to learn and get the very best of their time outside. I am also very keen on loose parts play, always thinking of new ways and ideas of incorporating them into the children’s learning. I also feel as a deputy manager that one of my main focuses is the staff and making sure that they are receiving what they need to be able to carry out their jobs effectively.
Outside work I am very keen on keeping fit and healthy, doing regular exercise classes and bootcamps at my local gym. I also love taking my 2 dogs out for long walks in the country.
JULIE – ROOM LEADER
I work in the Hedgehogs room as Room Leader and have a P.D.A in Childhood Education. I have worked in childcare for 23 years, starting with running Sprouston playgroup. I have been at Castlegate for 18 years and have a passion for outdoor learning.
I have 3 grown up children, 4 grandchildren and 2 dogs. I love walking in the Lakes as often as I can.
VICKI – ROOM LEADER / SUPERVISOR
I am Room Leader in Owls and Room Supervisor for the Fox and Rabbit rooms at Castlegate. I completed my NC in Childcare in 2007 and then went on to complete my SVQ Level 3 in Children’s Learning Care and Development in 2009. I have recently completed an SVQ Level 4 in Social Services Children and Young People.
I enjoy being able to build relationships with the children and help them to grow and learn new skills through planning experiences and providing a stimulating environment. I am interested in open ended play and the use of loose parts to enhance the children’s learning – enabling them to use the resources however they choose, to be whatever they imagine them to be.
In my spare time I enjoy running and I have completed two half marathons.
RACHEL – ROOM LEADER
I started my journey at Castlegate 9 years ago and I currently work in the Rabbit Room as the Room Leader. I have worked through my SVQ Levels 2 and 3 after starting and recently finished my SVQ Level 4.
I enjoy my job, watching the children grow and build relationships with them. I have always wanted to work with children from a young age.
I live in Kelso with my husband, who I married in August 2017. In my spare time, I enjoy looking after my two bunnies, Mac and Maddie.
ABBIE – ROOM LEADER
I work in our Fox Room at Castlegate. After gaining experience from a young age through helping my Mum with the children she childminds, I decided after leaving school to go onto college to complete my NC Early Education and Childcare, during which I completed my placement at Castlegate. This then led on to me starting at Castlegate in 2015 and completing my SVQ Level 3.
I enjoy supporting the children as they grow and develop whilst in my care, and the relationships I build with them during their time at nursery.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.
LAURA – ROOM LEADER
I started working in the Out of School Club in August 2018. I have experience working with different age groups and I very much enjoy seeing the children grow, develop and learn new skills.
In my spare time, I enjoy baking, cooking, being outdoors and spending time with my boyfriend, friends and family. I also volunteer as a leader at my local Brownie unit.
ASHLEY – PRACTITIONER
I am a Nursery Practitioner in the Hedgehogs. I started working at Castlegate in 2007 and I currently hold my SVQ Level 3 in Childcare. Before working at Castlegate, I worked as a nanny for two families in the Scottish Borders.
We are very lucky to have such a great outdoor space at Castlegate and I’m a great believer in the importance of outdoors in early years education. I love watching children grow, thrive and develop in our environment. I enjoy doing drama with the children, acting out ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ or ‘The Gruffalo’ as these are some of the children’s favourites!
I live in Coldstream with my partner Colin, our two boys Finlay and Nathan and our family dog Lola. In my spare time, I love spending time with my boys and going on outdoor adventures or trips to the beach.
CHLOE – PRACTITIONER
I started working at Castlegate in 2015. In April 2018, I left to go travelling for a few months over the summer and I have returned, working in the Owl Room.
Prior to starting at Castlegate, I completed my HNC in childcare and early education. I originally aspired to then go on to do my teaching training but whilst carrying out my HNC, I became particularly interested in learning about the importance of the early years and theories of child development. I also enjoyed my work placements that were in nursery settings which heightened my interest in working with the younger age group.
In my spare time, I enjoy keeping active, walking my dogs and socializing with friends and family.
DEBBIE – PRACTITIONER
EMMA – PRACTITIONER
I work in the Hedgehogs Room and I joined Castlegate in February 2014. I have an SVQ 3 in Childcare.
Previously I have worked at nurseries in Sweden and I have a BA in Early Years Education from a Swedish University. Children’s development and learning is one of the areas I find most interesting along with children’s speech and language development.
In 2013, I moved from Sweden to the UK and I live with my husband and our daughter, 2 dogs and quails. I enjoy spending time with my family and explore our lovely surroundings.
ERIN – PRACTITIONER
I am a Practitioner in the Rabbit Room in Castlegate. I joined Castlegate in September 2017, on placement for my college course, and started as a member of staff in January 2018.
I have my NC in Child Development and completed my HNC Childhood Practice in summer 2018. Before I joined Castlegate, I had another placement in a different nursery, and have looked after children of all ages for friends and family. I really enjoy working at Castlegate, the environment is very friendly and welcoming and it’s great to watch the children grow and develop.
When I am not at work or at college I enjoy spending time with my friends and family at home.
MICHELLE – PRACTITIONER
I started working at Castlegate when I finished my NC Childcare course at college, then completed my SVQ3 whilst working. I have now been at Castlegate since 2012 and work in the Foxes Room.
I enjoy doing arts and crafts with the children and seeing how creative they are. I love watching them grow and develop into their own little characters.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, shopping, walking and reading.
TAMARA – SUPPORT WORKER
I am a Support Worker at Castlegate, working with our Owls and Out of School Club. I live in Kelso and I and have worked at Castlegate since November 2017. My past experiences include working with children as a volunteer from the age of 14 in different holiday camps, working for Live Borders as a Play Coach, and babysitting.
I am interested in all the children’s developments throughout their time at Castlegate, and doing arts and crafts with them. I am currently working toward my Level 3 SVQ in Social Services Children & Young People, aiming to learn new things to help me thrive even more here at the nursery.
In my time away from work, I like to do things with my boyfriend and socialise with my friends, as well going riding at a local riding school.
ANGELA – FINANCE & OFFICE MANAGER
I have returned to Castlegate for a second time as the Finance/Office Manager. The environment is so warm and friendly and I look forward to coming to work each morning, wondering what that day will bring.
I have worked in an office environment for 40 years now, specialising in payroll and hold a Diploma in Payroll Management. I spent most of my working life in Glasgow, employed by various chartered accountants, a Scottish whisky supplier and a large multi-national payroll outsourcing company, which in turn allowed me the opportunity to go to Mauritius to train payroll staff in 2007. In 2013, I was awarded the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals UK Manager of the Year.
In my spare time, I love the important things in life – family, travelling (especially to countries where the sun shines) and shopping for shoes (currently 74 pairs and counting!).
SELINA – ADMINISTRATOR & RECEPTIONIST
I work in the office which I thoroughly enjoy, and I have built a good relationship with the parents, children and staff during my time at Castlegate. Part of my role which I really enjoy is when the children come into the office and huddle around my computer to look at pictures/videos of what they have been learning in class, it is nice to have a wee chat to them.
Apart from the general day to day tasks in the office, I also like to help out in class covering lunches and also serving the lunch on occasions! I studied at Borders College and completed my SVQ 1 & 2 in Administration. Upon finishing my course, I got my first office job at Oregon as a Receptionist and I was there for 9 years. I then worked at Elite Education for 3 years as an Administrator.
I have 2 children, Kyle and Jack, who are both at school now. I love spending time outdoors with my family going to different parks, the beach and the bike track which of course is a favourite. We also enjoy family holidays and making memories. I also go to the gym twice a week to keep fit!
SUE – COOK
I started my catering career studying for a Diploma at Westminster College in London many years ago. Having worked in catering in schools and restaurants, I then trained in nursing and have worked in nursing and social care for most of my career, which has given me a good insight into how important food and nutrition is as part of our daily needs, and in keeping us healthy and vigorous to take on the day’s activities.
I love working proactively in planning the lunch menu and providing healthy, interesting and nutritionally balanced meals for all the children, who give me a daily thank you after lunch and frequently a cheerful smile at the lunch table which makes my day! I am very lucky to work in such a wonderful and enthusiastic environment with great children and a dedicated team.
I have two daughters, one of which attended Castlegate ten years ago! Working at Castlegate gives me a good work life balance with time to ferry my family around to various clubs and activities, and I also enjoy picture framing as a hobby and walking three rescue greyhounds with my family.
MAGGIE – CLEANER & HOUSEKEEPER
I started at Castlegate in April 2018. I am the cleaner and I make sure everything is kept clean and tidy.
I love having my grandchildren to stay, walking, reading, music, baking, and I love to watch movies.