Meet the Mentor - Julia

I qualified as a nursery nurse way back in 1986 and have worked predominantly within early years settings ever since. I began my career working in Social Service’s day nurseries and then the enticement of school holidays tempted me over to education where I worked in schools, sometimes in Key Stage 1 & 2 but the lure of early years was too hard to resist and I was always happiest when supporting the reception classes.  In 2002 I registered as a childminder, thinking that I might do it for two or three years, I absolutely loved it and continued as a registered childminder for the next seventeen years.  It was such a privilege to be able to play such an important role in the lives of the children and their families and I treasure some of the enduring relationships that were forged.  My commitment and passion for all things early years included gaining a Degree in Early Years through the Open University.  In 2019, my career took a gentle turn and I became a childminding support worker, this role seemed like a natural progression from childminding and I really enjoy being able to support Bristol childminders and share my passion for quality early years provision.

In 2003, just a year after starting on my childminding career I began my Bristol Standard journey and it has been a key part of all I do ever since.  As a sole provider, running my own childcare business full time, it was quite a commitment but the benefits of doing the Bristol Standard made all that extra work so worthwhile.  I loved how positive it was and how it validated what I was doing and why, helping me to recognise and celebrate my strengths as a practitioner.  It always felt like a meaningful and valuable piece of work, endorsing how I was ensuring the best outcomes for the children in my care.

I am such a big advocate for the Bristol Standard and have relished the opportunity to support childminders on their own Bristol Standard journeys.  I’ve been involved in supporting the monthly discussion sessions for childminders and it is a joy to hear their passion and commitment to the children they care for and how they are using the Bristol Standard to ensure this.  I am also part of the validation team and love to get a glimpse into all the wonderful early years practice that is happening across the Bristol Standard settings, it’s truly inspirational.  Over the past few years, I have been writing case studies on a variety of early years settings and never cease to be amazed by the enthusiasm, passion and commitment of the dedicated practitioners who put the children at the heart of all they do and use the Bristol Standard to achieve this.

The Bristol Standard is such a positive and affirming journey to be on and I am so pleased that my Bristol Standard journey is continuing, albeit in a very different way to how it began.  The Bristol Standard family are a wonderful team and I feel blessed to be a part of that.

Bristol Standard Contacts

bristol.standard@bristol.gov.uk

Nicky Bale, Foundation Years Bristol Standard Consultant