Daycare manager reflects on 30 years of 'full on' work ahead of retirement

Joanna Ryan, is retiring as the manager at Fakenham Children's Daycare Centre.

Joanna Ryan, is retiring as the manager at Fakenham Children's Daycare Centre. - Credit: Katie Stephens

A manager and founding member of a daycare centre has reflected on 30 “full-on” years of work ahead of her retirement.

Joanna Ryan, manager of Fakenham Children's Daycare Centre will leave the site for the final time on July 20 as she retires after 30 years of work here, including helping to establish the site back in 1991.

The centre, which opened in 1993 started work on it two years earlier when the need for full daycare was highlighted by a local steering group.

Since then, Mrs Ryan has been at the heart of its growth, from obtaining funds from the Lottery big enough to purchase a bigger building, which is still their home on Field Lane, as well as securing grants for quality and inclusion to upgrade the building and enhance resources.

 Fakenham Children's Daycare Centre on High Field Lawn, Field Lane, in Fakenham.

Fakenham Children's Daycare Centre on High Field Lawn, Field Lane, in Fakenham. - Credit: Katie Stephens

“Childcare looked very different then, being overseen and inspected by social services which then combined with Ofsted when we had joint inspections,” she said.

“To the present day where our last inspection gave us an outstanding result, which we are extremely proud of.

“I am really proud that through numerous changes thrown at us over the years, that we have kept the centre as a family-friendly environment, ensuring that every child is treated as a unique individual, being allowed to grow and develop at their own pace and looked after by such lovely, caring professional practitioners.

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“I can only say it has been a full-on, busy 30 years.

“I take away some fabulous memories, some life long friendships and it has been a pleasure to have had some input into so many little lives, seeing them flourish and move onto new adventures."

Katie Stephens, who is taking over as manager of Fakenham Children's Daycare Centre.

Katie Stephens, who is taking over as manager of Fakenham Children's Daycare Centre. - Credit: Katie Stephens.

Katie Stephens, assistant manager at the centre, was full of praise for her boss.

“I have worked closely with Joanna for longer than I have lived with any other person, including my children, my parents and my partner. She is, without a doubt, my greatest role model," she said.

“Joanna is more than a boss; she is a mentor and I most certainly have very big boots to fill when taking on the position of the centre’s manager. I just hope I do her justice.”

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