Meet the Team: Hannah Spence

NAME: Hannah Spence

JOB TITLE: Centre Manager At Reading.

Hannah Spence is the Centre Manager at Dingley’s Promise in Reading. The centre looks after 25 children each week, and has nine in its busy team. We caught up with Hannah to find out more about her role.

How long have you worked at Dingley’s Promise, Hannah?

I’ve worked here for about three years – before coming to Dingley’s Promise I worked in mainstream education, but always in Early Years.

Describe a typical working day:

A typical day involves having a team meeting first thing and ensuring the staff have answers to any questions they may have, and we’re prepped for the children’s arrival. It also includes a bit of admin, and generally making sure the morning goes to plan and that everything runs smoothly. It’s quite a varied role – I manage the centre as a whole; the team, the welfare of the children and their families and the other professionals who we welcome each week.

Our children may have a range of therapists working with them outside of Dingley’s Promise, such as speech therapists, physiotherapists and educational psychologists. The team at Dingley’s Promise will work with them and include any advised exercises in the individual programs we devise for the children.

How did you become an Early Years Practitioner?

I initially wanted to work with kids who were a bit older, but I went to an Eary Years setting and it happened quite naturally – I found it very rewarding. So I decided to go to college to study an Early Years NVQ in Childcare.

What is the most rewarding thing about working at Dingley’s Promise?

There is so much that I find rewarding about working here. Specifically – in the role that I do – it’s the relationships that we build with the families, and the difference we make to them that is the most rewarding aspect of my job.

The families who join Dingley’s Promise will face various difficulties and challenges, and when we can help them progress positively and move on in a positive way, it means a brighter future not just for the child but for the whole family which is a great thing.

When families first receive their child’s diagnosis it can understandably be an uncertain and challenging time for them, and we see that when we welcome families here. After their time with us, though – you can see how they leave in a different, positive, frame of mind and have a very different outlook on their child’s future.

We stay in touch with many families here, even when their children have moved on, which I think is testament to the role we play in the families’ lives, which is something we’re all very proud of.

In your opinion, what makes Dingley’s Promise such an invaluable service?

It is such as bespoke service – we focus on learning through play, and have a big focus on inclusion. We aim to boost the confidence of the children and the families, and work on interaction, communication and physical progress skills. No child is the same and we work flexibly and individually, often with one-on-one care. We recognise that we’re a rare service, and where possible we share our knowledge so other Early Years centres have the skills to work with children with additional needs, too.

No two days are the same – it doesn’t come without its challenges, but working with the children and their families is what matters most to me.

Hannah Spence is the Centre Manager at Dingley’s Promise in Reading. To contact the Reading centre, please call 01183 277424 or email [email protected].

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