Vanessa Callan

MA Early Years Professional Practice, P.G.C.E. (Early Years), B Sc.(Hons),  E.Y.P.S.

I began my career in teaching as a 12 yr old; eager to help the children and organise activities for them when I came home from school. My mother had set up one of the first nursery schools in the county within our home, her aim was to educate as well as care for the children. High quality teaching and the importance of providing a rich learning environment soon became my own foundation and pedagogy.

Having become a qualified Primary School teacher and an Early Years Co-ordinator, I moved on to a management role within my family nursery, back in Hertfordshire. Very soon after joining I had an opportunity to become one of the first teachers to gain Early Years Professional Status; my award presented by the Education Minister at the time at a prestigious event in London.

Gaining the EYPS afforded me the amazing opportunity to join study trips to Reggio Emilia, Sweden and Toronto. I soon after built links with teachers in Canada, Spain and Germany, offering an exchange programme for students to visit our nursery. My work abroad included teaching the benefits of Reggio Emilia and the project approach to the entire staff within a Primary and Nursery school in Athens. Consulting and sharing my knowledge has been a passion of mine from the very beginning.

European funded projects I have been involved in, have provided me with additional training, research and study tours to Norway, Greece, Portugal, Poland and Croatia. A book is currently being published to highlight the most recent collaboration in Europe, to teach practitioners the importance of parental participation.

I am currently at the beginning of a Maths in Early Years project, which will afford me the opportunity to visit additional countries such as Slovenia and Spain.  Learning from other countries is an amazing way to build my knowledge and provide others with that understanding of best practice. I have shared previous work by writing for journals such as Primary Geography, inputting ideas and contributing to Nursery World Magazine, as well as appearing on BBC1, ITV, Radio 4, 3Counties Radio and in the Sunday Times.

I never like to stand still and always want to increase my knowledge. I therefore completed the Ofsted inspector training, have passed a Montessori Diploma, Level 3 Assessors Award and managed to squeeze in a Masters Degree in Early Years Professional Practice, for good measure.

Throughout my training, projects and visits to amazing nurseries, I have managed my own Ofsted Outstanding nursery; providing leadership and a vision which is to give children the best learning opportunities, with no boundaries. High House Nursery became a finalist in Nursery of the Year Awards, a wonderful moment in my career. It has gained a reputation for being a centre of excellence, attracting visitors from as far as Taiwan, Japan, Australia and Chile.