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Leicestershire ‘Superwomen’ Tackle Childcare Crisis by Opening Own Nurseries

Budding entrepreneurs across Leicestershire are taking a novel approach to tackling the childcare crisis: opening ‘micro nurseries’ in their own homes. 

Thanks to an initiative called tiney, which was launched by the Founder of Teach First, Leicestershire residents are retraining as childminders and opening nurseries at home. This is helping to provide excellent early years education for children whilst offering better childcare options for local families, at a time when nursery closures are at an all time high.

Leicester Time: Leicestershire ‘Superwomen’ Tackle Childcare Crisis by Opening Own Nurseries
Picture: tiney

Tiney hopes to recruit and train hundreds of new childminders in the area over the coming months to meet the demand for high-quality childcare services in the Leicestershire area. And many of these early recruits are education professionals who will bring their wealth of experience to the role.

Mother-of-three Asma Essa is one of these entrepreneurs. She recently made the switch from secondary school teaching to opening up a micro nursery in her Hamilton home.

“I’ve always loved working with children, watching them discover new things everyday and guiding them through their educational journey. Recently, though, I hadn’t felt quite as valued in the profession as I would’ve liked. I left to find something that would fit with my interests and passions, but would also bring a sense of fulfillment back into my working life,” she said.

Leicester Time: Leicestershire ‘Superwomen’ Tackle Childcare Crisis by Opening Own Nurseries

“I hadn’t considered a career in childcare before but, as a mother of three, I know just how much of an issue it is for so many families. Access to a good quality early years education can change the trajectory of a child’s life, so I may have left teaching but I’m very much remaining an educator. 

“I’m so excited to be throwing the doors open to my business this month. I’ll be drawing on my teaching experience to make as many kids as I can school-ready and give local children a high-quality early years education to put them on the right track for a bright future. As an English teacher, I’m a big believer in not underestimating children’s ability to pick up new vocabulary, so I’ll be making reading and language skills a focus in my home nursery.”

Across England, there’s been a 35 per cent increase in the number of nurseries closing down thanks to the pandemic. One in five nursery staff are thinking of leaving their roles. And a recent survey of 2,000 early years providers found 30% of nurseries are currently operating at a loss.

Tiney hopes that the prospect of higher salaries for childcare professionals (thanks to the low overheads associated with childminding) and the autonomy that comes from working from home, will help attract a new generation of early years educators in Leicestershire. On average, childminding is more than 15 per cent cheaper than nursery for under 4s.

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