Meet The Team
At this time we’re mindful that we can’t invite families into our building to meet our lovely staff, however we will provide more information to all families enrolling to use our services at this time to ensure that you know which staff members your child can expect to see when they’re attending – all of which are listed below. You will also be offered a ‘stay and play’ visit in our garden which is a great opportunity for your child and yourself to get to know us a little better before your child’s start.
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 and enjoy pilates, yoga, and (short) runs around Kelso. I’ve enjoyed travel in the past, including taking a five month sabbatical from work in 2014 to complete the research for my MEd in Childhood Practice in Kathmandu, Nepal. More recently I’ve bought a little camper van so will be exploring the beautiful parts of Scotland I’ve not seen yet!
VICKI – DEPUTE MANAGER
I joined Castlegate in late 2007 after completing my NC in Childcare at Borders College. I started working in the baby room, then worked with toddlers and latterly moved into a senior role overseeing all the baby and toddler areas. From February 2020 I’ve been working as Depute Manager, a new challenge that became even more challenging due to Covid-19, but I’ve really enjoyed working alongside Christine and Angela to steer Castlegate through this time. I’ve completed my SVQ4 and have a place to start my PDA Level 9 in Childhood Practice later in 2021.
I love being outside and love to run, and over the years I’ve completed a number of runs for charity, including The Great North Run.
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 over 25 years, starting with running Sprouston playgroup. I have been at Castlegate for 21 years and have a passion for outdoor learning.
I have 3 grown up children, 5 grandchildren and 2 dogs. I love walking in the Lakes as often as I can.
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, and I’ll be starting my SVQ4 in March 2021.
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.
CLAIRE – PRACTITIONER
Before starting to work at Castlegate in March 2021, I started my learning and training in childcare in Germany in a British military camp, where I achieved my Cache Level 2 award. I also completed training in sign awareness which helped greatly with the children I worked with. My main experience has been with babies and toddlers, helping them learn and develop, and I enjoy watching them progress in all areas.
I lived in Canada for 2 years where I got to explore the Rocky Mountains, and I saw lots of wildlife including bears. I then moved to Germany where I lived for 3 years. During this time I went to Kenya where I got to explore around Nairobi and visit the Masai Mara. I have loved every moment of my travels, learning from new cultures and experiences wherever we went.
In my spare time I love going out walking in the countryside with my husband and our 2 dogs.
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 two daughters, 2 dogs and quails. I enjoy spending time with my family and explore our lovely surroundings.
ERIN – PRACTITIONER
I am a Practitioner in the Hedgehog 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 I enjoy spending time with my friends and family at home.
LAURA – PRACTITIONER
I started working in Castlegate’s Out of School Club in August 2018, and I achieved my Level 3 SVQ in Social Services Children & Young People in 2020. From January 2021 I have been working with the Hedgehog class. I very much enjoy seeing the children grow, develop and learn new skills, and I enjoy encouraging them to do their best!
Outside of work I enjoy baking, cooking, walking and spending time with friends and family. I also volunteer as a leader at my local Brownie unit and have been doing this for the last 10 years.
MEGAN – PRACTITIONER
Megan will be on maternity leave from February 2021
I started my position as a Practitioner at Castlegate in October 2019 and I work in the Foxes room. I completed my HNC Early Education and Childcare at Borders College in 2015, and while studying I came to Castlegate on placement, working with the 3 and 4 year olds.
I really enjoy working at Castlegate, especially watching the children grow and develop in all areas.
In my free time I like to spend time with my family.
TAMARA – PRACTITIONER
I am a Practitioner at Castlegate, working with our Rabbit class from August 2020. 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 achieved my Level 3 SVQ in Social Services Children & Young People in 2019, which helped me to learn new things and to thrive in my role.
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.
ZOE – PRACTITIONER
I joined Castlegate in June 2021 after passing my HNC Childhood Practice course and SVQ Level 3 at Borders College. I live in Jedburgh and after a very tough year of online college due to Covid 19, I was looking to develop on my experience of working with children, as well as make a difference to their learning. I thought the caring environment at Castlegate would be perfect for me.
I am interested in outdoor play and love watching the children get involved with messy activities and the smiles it brings to their faces. I am also interested in child development – I learned about this as a student and and want to continue learning about it in practice.
In my spare time I enjoy going out for dinner with my friends.
ZOE – PRACTITIONER
I started at Castlegate in June 2021, previously having worked as a nanny. I’ve also worked in pre-schools in England, and I’m looking forward to developing my career in the Scottish childcare system. I love being outdoors and can see the benefits being outside brings to the children.
In my spare time I enjoying riding my horse, hill walking, and walking my dogs.
SHAUNA – PRACTITIONER, SUPPLY
I started working at Castlegate in January 2020 and I provide supply cover across the different classrooms.
Before I started at Castlegate I completed my NC in Childcare and Early Education at college in 2016 and completed placements in a nursery and a school. I then went on to work in a different nursery setting and completed my SVQ level 3. I’m enjoying developing my career further at Castlegate and enjoy working with the great team here.
When I’m not at work I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, family and friends. I also like cooking and baking at home and love watching films and tv series!
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!
SARAH – HOUSEKEEPER (DAY TIME)
I was thrilled to join the Castlegate team in April 2021, as the Housekeeper. In my position I enjoy preparing and serving the daily healthy snacks to the children, and assisting Sue the cook with lunches. It’s fantastic to work with the children and to see them develop and grow in confidence.
I was raised in Jedburgh and after leaving school I attended Napier University in Edinburgh, gaining my HND in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management. After completing my studies I worked at Walt Disney World in Florida for a year before travelling around the world.
I have 3 grown up children who I raised while working as a childminder, then progressed to a Teaching Assistant role at Berwick Middle School. In the past I volunteered as a Guide Leader for 6 years. My hobbies include cycling and walking, and I enjoy gardening, cooking and sewing.
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 over 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.