Our Staff

Meet our friendly and welcoming team!
Our staff are constantly undergoing training and continuing their professional development. They are offered support and in-house training from Karen Potter who has worked in childcare for over 20 years and is an experienced further education teacher. Karen Cooper has over 20 years' experience running her own childminding business which she continues with from home. All staff are first aid trained and regularly undertake safeguarding training.  
What do parents have to say about our staff?
  • go "above and beyond"
  • "caring and friendly"
  • "incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and supportive"
  • "put parents' minds at ease"
In our parent survey conducted July 2016, Staff Friendliness was rated 9.4/10 and Approachability 9.8/10

Karen Potter


- BA Hons Education and Training
"I have been working in childcare for almost 20 years.  Previously I have successfully managed another Early Years setting to receive an outstanding Ofsted inspection judgement and I have previously taught childcare and management at a local college."

Karen Cooper


- Level 3 Qualified
"I have been working in childcare for over 15 years and have been running my own successful childcare business, working with children of all ages and supporting the needs of many families within the local community."

Kelly Brimmer

Deputy Manager

Moles Room Leader & SENCO

-  Level 3 Qualifications in Childcare and Special educational needs coordinators in early years settings
"Early on in my childcare career I realised I have a passion to support children with special education needs, so I enrolled in a pilot scheme for Level 3 Sencos, which has brought a wealth of knowledge and support to our setting. "

Danielle Herne

Bunnies Room Leader

- Level 3 Childcare
"I have always enjoyed helping others and I love working with all the different aged children within the nursery and seeing them learn and develop. Here at Wind in the Willows, I am constantly expanding my knowledge with the help of others which is allowing me to further in my career."

Maja Carter

Bunnies Room Keyworker

- Level 2 Childcare
"I am a very bubbly person and have always loved being around kids. I have just left school and am studying alongside my job to gain my qualifications. I would love to become a nanny and travel the world doing what I love!"

Lysney Bell

Bnunies Room Keyworker

Level 3 Childcare + Education

I qualified in Scotland in 2002 and worked in childcare for a time before taking a hiatus to raise my own three children. Upon my return to work i discovered that working with babie is my passion, helping them to grow in confidence within the setting and striving to aid all areas of their development. Having a home from home setting here at Wind in the willows is the perfect envirnment for the children to thrive.

Cathryn Smith

Froglets Room Leader and Keyworker

Level 3 Childcare - I have been working in childcare for 5 years. I have worked in a few different nurseries in Portsmouth mostly over the years i have been within the baby room. I enjoy working with children as i enjoy watching the process of the individual child meet there learning targets and develop in their own way. 

Raisa Fearis

Froglets Room Keyworker

Level 3 Childcare - I have been working with children for 8 years and have worked in a few nurseries around the Portsmouth area. I have a caring nature which is a main reason i have always wanted to work with children, i also love watching and being a part of there development path. Here at Wind in the willows i work in the Froglet room with the under 2's but have experienced all ages.

Zoe Arnold

Toads Room Leader, currently on maternity leave

-Childcare Level 3
"I've always seen myself working with children; ever since I was little I would always say that I would work in a nursery. Growing up with lots of younger children in the family really made me want to pursue my career in childcare. I am a very hard worker and will try my best 100% of the time. Children are at the centre of everything I do. I love watching children learn and thrive. Childcare really is my passion in life!"

Jess Brewer

Toads Room temporary Room Leader  

-Childcare Level 3
"I have been working in childcare for 15 years working in various settings in the Portsmouth area. I have worked with all age groups, mostly focusing on the 16-26 month age group and have worked at Wind in the willows since having my first son in 2016. I have 2 sons and feel since becoming a mummy it has taught me so much more, I feel that this has enabled me to do my job even better and strengthened my relationships with all parents. "

Kaci Ross

Toads Keyworker

- Working towards Level 2 Childcare

"I have always loved being with children ever since I was young.  I started working as an apprentice in the Tadpole room in 2017, then I moved to the Badgers room as a keyworker.  I am now a keyworker in the Toads room working towards my level 2." 

Faith Winning

Toads Room Keyworker

-Working towards Childcare Level 3

"I'm currently doing an apprenticeship in level 3 child care and really enjoying it. Working with children is always something I knew id love to do. I love working with all ages and are really enjoying being in the toads room.I love teaching them new things and helping them learn and watching them develop into lovely children".

Lucy Wadham

Moles room key worker

-Level 2 qualified 

I am currently working towards my NQV level 3. I am very fun, ambitious and enjoy helping children learn. I take pride in making sure every experience for children is fun and different  Working at The Wind in the Willows is helping me massively in preparing for my future journey to become a midwife.

Sarah Crowder

Moles Room Keyworker

-Level 3 Childcare

"I started childcare when I was 16 and worked in a nursery and gained my Levels 2 and 3 in Childcare and Education.  I then had a break to have 2 beautiful children of my own.  I then returned to begin work at Wind in the Willows and haven't looked back since.  I am first aid qualified, Level 3 in management.  I have experience in Safe guarding and would love to further my career in this field."

Nicky Lake 

Moles Room Keyworker 

Level 3 Childcare

I've been working in nurseries for 13 years, growing up i always knew i wanted to work with children, i love watching the children i care for grow and develop and think it is the most rewarding job.

Jodie Cooksey

Badger room Leader and Keyworker

BA Hons Early Childhood Studies

After completing my degree, i worked in a primary school, in both a reception and year 1 class. Although, i loved working so closely with the children, i wanted to gain further experience in working with parents to support the whole family, which led me on to become a family support worker. Here I gained valuable experience and worked alongside many families, supporting them with a range of different needs. after a year and a half being within this role, I decided i wanted to return to working more closely with children again, which led me to my role now at Wind in the Wlilows. My passion has always been to work with children; to support them in their learning and to make a difference to each of their lives.

Lucie Reid

Badgers Room Keyworker

"I have 23 years experience in childcare and have been working in nurseries since 2003. I have also nannied for two families and worked in the Italian Alps as a nanny for a travel company. Childcare is my passion in life, I love to see children thrive, grow and become independent school children with aspirations! Teaching and guiding them makes me smile.  Working at Wind in the Willows keepsme challenged. My enthusiasm for early years hasn't changed since I was 17!"

Gemma Mooney

Badger Room Keyworker

 "In July 2018 I graduated from the University of Portsmouth, with a degree in Criminology and Psychology. Soon after i gained experience in my first role with Stop Domestic Abuse. Whilst studying, I volunteered for two children's charities: Spurgeons children's charity and Homestart. I have gained skills in supporting families to initiate change and achieve the best outcomes for their family. My Volunteering experiences have motivated me to begin a career in working with children. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Wind in the Willows so far and i'm looking forward to gaining my level three qualification in childcare.

Tracey Carling

Badger room Keyworker

Level 4 qualified

I started in childcare volunteering in my sons nursery which i thoroughly enjoyed. This led me on to getting my qualifications and continue to work in childcare for 22 years .My roles have been a deputy Manager, Manager and a senco worker,I really enjoy working children and regularly update my training to meet the needs of the children .

Rosie Drayton

Badgers Room Keyworker

-Level 3 in Childcare

"I have worked in childcare since leaving school and have 7 years worth of experience.  I have a bubbly personality and strive to make learning fun and enjoyable for the children.  I am also very nurturing and like to turn frowns upside down."

Barbara Roesch

Badger Room Keyworker

Level 4 Qualified

I holld a diploma in montessori teaching and a BTech in childhood studies. I have been working in childcare for over 20 years, in various settings, including nurseries and schools including clubs for children with special educational needs. During this time I have held various roles, including senco, deputy manager, teaching assistant and respite carer. I enjoy spending time with children, helping them learn and develop new skills. I have mainly worked with pre school children and like this age as they question everything and show such enthusiasm when they discover something new. I have two daughters of my own, who keep me busy when im at home, but I believe this helps me be more empathetic towards children's emotional needs and engage with parents on a equal level.

Tracey Carling

Badger room Keyworker

Dawn Leigh

Breakfast time staff

I have lived in the Milton community all my life and i love it. Working at Wind in the Willows is a breath of fresh air, i love coming to work every morning and seeing the children happy faces and love making their mornings special.

Katie Page

Nursery Administrator

Level 3 Childcare

I have worked in the setting since it opened whilst gaining my childcare qualifications during my time here i have worked within all rooms. Since moving premises i have took on a new job role and am enjoying it.

Steve Waight


I can often be seen around the building or the grounds carrying out maintenance. The children sometimes watch or help with tasks such as gardening, digging holes.

Natalie Herne

Lunch time cook

I have recently returned to work as i took time off to raise my 2 daughters. I take pride in making the children feel involved and happy with their meal choices and they are all catered for their own individual dietary requirements. I am proud to be part of the Wind in the Willows team.

Steve Waight

Nursery Maintenance

I started from the very beginning before we officially opened our doors and it has given me a sense of purpose working at Wind in the Willows. I am 'Steve Mr Fix it' to all the children and i love it.

Wind in the Willows 

023 9282 2956 | info@windinthewillowspreschool.co.uk | Hester Rd, Portsmouth, Southsea PO4 8HB

Opening times Monday - Friday 7:15am - 6pm