Interview with: Michelle Demirtas, Bright Horizons Family Solutions
5th August 2016
Talk of Childcare Expo Manchester is still bouncing around the office and the social media sphere following the success of the first Northern show in the calendar. Bookings are being taking already for next year and it was down to the speakers, workshop facilitators, exhibitors, sponsors and the lovely crowd of visitors who joined us across the two days that we owe our success too.
Bright Horizons Family Solutions returned to EventCity for their second Childcare Expo in the 2016 calendar and brought with them Michelle Demirtas, Workforce Learning and Development Facilitator, to conduct a seminar focusing on the current issue of risk and how incorporating the concept at the earliest stage will help ensure children develop behavioural safety instincts that stay with them for life.
For those who don’t know, Bright Horizons Family Solutions are the second largest nursery group in the UK, with over 200 nurseries offering a whopping 17,000 places for children. Childcare Expo caught up with Michelle, following her debut talk to find out her thoughts on men in childcare along with her biggest fear…
Firstly, what drew you to the early years sector Michelle?
When I was at school, I had a positive work experience and felt captivated to support children, especially those who needed extra support. I wanted to provide positive outcomes for children and their families who were in greater need.
What makes you passionate about your job?
I believe that children need to be provided with the best experiences in life and for some families who require extra support, I feel we can make that difference. Childcare and education is much more than knowing letters, numbers and colours; we can have a positive impact on children’s lives and provide them with the confidence to believe that they can be anything they want to be.
Passion and a genuine desire to know the children entrusted to your care are fundamental skills. It’s also important to have knowledge of how children learn and develop, and a commitment to continually developing your own knowledge, skills and understanding.
In your opinion, what should children learn and discover from their time in early years care?
They should learn to be empowered and encouraged to believe that anything is possible. Children should develop resilience whilst being active thinkers and problem solvers. It is not my desire for children to be able to simply count to ten and name the colours of the rainbow – it is so much more.
How do you think technology will influence the sector over the next 5 years?
Paperless systems will soon become the norm. Members of staff will also be completing work on iPads, such as instant observations and assessments.
How do you think settings can be made more appealing to men in the childcare sector?
Bright Horizons is committed to embracing the diversity of our workforce and support groups, such as Men in Childcare, can provide a network for men working in the field.
Creating role models within the setting and developing case studies can also provide real-life examples for practitioners and build confidence, highlight career progression opportunities and success stories for applicants and staff.
If you could make one change in the early years sector, what would it be?
More recognition for what we do from a national level. The importance of the role is not always reflected in the status of the sector.
To be patient with people, professionals and learners. We are all different and work in different ways which need to be understood. Also, to not be afraid to make mistakes, but always to learn from them.
What is your biggest fear?
Not being the best I can be.
Which 3 people, famous or otherwise, would you invite to a dinner party?
John Bowlby – so I can delve deeper into his attachment theory
Peter Kay – childhood memories comedy
Charles Dickens – Victorian era is fascinating
We want to thank Michelle for speaking at Childcare Expo Manchester. To find out how you can achieve excellence in the early years, see our wide range of seminar discussions for our upcoming Midlands event here.