The Team

JaneJane Pears – Manager

Hi my name is Jane and I moved to Norwich with my family in 2015. St Helen’s Pre-School is a lovely community Pre-School, which I am very proud to be the Manager of since January 2016. I have a Foundation Degree in Early Years Leadership and I am an Early Years System Leader for Norfolk County Council. I have had numerous years of experience working and managing different childcare settings and I am very passionate to provide quality care and education to children and working together with their families to ensure they have the foundations to become lifelong learners.


Teresa Squires – Administrator/ Health and Safety Officer

Hi my name is Teresa and I joined St Helen’s Pre-School as the administrator in September 2016. I really enjoy working at the Pre-School and having the opportunity to watch how the children learn and progress whilst they are with us.


Joanna Greengrass – Lead Practitioner (supply)

Hi I am Joanna I enjoy being part of the leadership team at St Helen’s and the varying different activities and challenges that each day brings. I am a mother myself to four children and enjoy days at the beach, camping, being outside and travelling.


Julie Woodhouse – Lead Practitioner/SENCo (Special Educational Need Coordinator)

Hi my name is Julie and I’ve worked at St Helen’s Pre-School since early 2006. I hold a Level 3 qualification in Children’s Care, Learning and Development. I have been working as SENCo since 2017 and during that time I have completed the four part Autism and Social Communication Difficulties course, Signalong training and a Level 3 Award for Special Educational Needs Coordinator in Early Years Settings. I am also a Mental Health Campion and part of the Leadership team. I love being part of a team that strives to provide every child with the best possible early years experience, allowing each child to fulfill their potential and helping to create life long learners.


Emma Barber – Lead Practitioner/SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator)

Hi my name is Emma and I joined St Helen’s in 2007 as a key person. I am now a Lead Practitioner and SENCo. I have returned from maternity leave to work 3 days a week and I really enjoy watching the children grow and progress.


Kerry Sturman – Lead Practitioner/Safeguard Lead/Curriculum Coordinator

Hi my name is Kerry. I joined the St Helen’s team in 2009 when the eldest of my two daughters started school. Over the years, I have worked hard to become part of our leadership team and thoroughly enjoy the challenge that each day can bring. I still find it so rewarding seeing each child fulfill their potential.


Afton Ward – Early Years Practitioner/ PANCo (Physical and Nutrition Coordinator)

Hi my name is Afton and I started at St Helen’s in 2015. I completed my Level 3 in Early Years in 2017. I currently work 3 days a week and also work as a part-time Zumba Instructor which I incorporate daily into the pre-school routine. I love to be outdoors and doing any physical activity, dance, yoga etc. I have a passion for healthy lifestyles and exploring new foods with the children.


Ellie Hayton – Early Years Practitioner

Hi my name is Ellie. I’ve worked at St Helen’s since 2015 and have a Level 3 childcare qualification. I really enjoy my job, creating a bond with the children and being such an important part of their development. I enjoy being outdoors exploring the garden with the children but am equally happy inside reading a story or building a tower. I love to make learning fun.


Terri Jiggins – Early Years Practitioner

Hi my name is Terri. I’ve worked at St Helen’s Pre-School since 2015 and really enjoy my job. I love being outside and interacting with the children in our friendly environment.


Heidi Wilson – Early Years Practitioner

Hi my name is Heidi and I started at St Helen’s in 2014. I enjoy being a part of a great team here and I really enjoy doing craft and musical activities with the children.


Gemma Mitchell – Early Years Practitioner

Hi my name is Gemma. I have been at the Pre-School since January 2018. I am very passionate about working with children and I like playing and teaching the children in our fantastic environment. I have also just completed my training in LEGO therapy to develop the children’s communication and social skills.


Kate Shepherd – Early Years Practitioner

Hi my name is Kate and I have been working at St Helen’s Pre-School since 2014. Working with children has always been a passion of mine, from motherhood into my working life. My job gives me nothing but satisfaction to watch the children learn and grow.


Paula Avery – Play Practitioner (Supply)

Hi my name is Paula. After running a local playgroup for many years, I joined St Helen’s Pre-School as a Play Practitioner.


Marie Dacre Early Years Practitioner

Hi, I am Marie and I am a parent of 4 children. I have many years’ experience of working with children in Pre-School, Primary and Secondary schools. I have worked with children with complex needs, as a childminder and as a parent of children with SEN. I have a level 4 Early Years qualification and have personal experience of adoption, I understand the joy and challenges this may bring. I joined St Helen’s Pre School in January 2020, who are a fantastic, dedicated and friendly team to work with. I also have a particular interest in nutrition and have completed a diploma in nutritional medicine.


Kim Pitts – Early Years Practitioner

Hi, My name is Kim. I have a level 3 qualification and over 10 years experience in working in childcare. I’ve recently joined the St Helens Pre-school team in Feb 2021. I have 2 daughters 7 and 4 years old and have been married for many years too!

In my spare time I enjoy going for long nature walks with my family and socialising with friends.

Diana Harding – Play Practitioner – (long term sick)

Hi, I am Diana and I have been a part of the St Helen’s team since 2016. I really enjoy working here as a play practitioner and interacting with the children.


Paul Burnett – Chair of St Helen’s Pre-School Committee

I joined the committee in 2014 as chair shortly after my eldest son joined the preschool, as I was impressed by the team and the childcare provision. I have over 15 years business experience working across both HR and property disciplines.

Kerry W

Kerry Woodrow – Treasurer of St Helen’s Pre-School Committee

Hi, my name is Kerry and I joined the committee as Treasurer in 2016 when my son was here at the Pre-School – he is now at school but as I genuinely love being part of the St Helen’s team, I have happily decided to stay!

I was a teacher for 10 years, then paused to run my own business for 5 years while my son was young. I am now going back to teaching again! I am also a Primary School Governor and Rugby Team Manager.


Lisa Burnett – Secretary of St Helen’s Pre-School Committee

I joined the committee in 2014 while my eldest son was attending. I really liked the warm welcoming team and wanted to do my part to help. My background is in administration working for a counselling charity. My role on the committee is secretary.


Stuart Beard – Committee Member

I have a background in primary education, including 7 years as headteacher of a thriving Norfolk infant school.

Now I run a photographic business specialising in early years and families. (

Samantha Goodall – Committee Member 

Hi, I’m Samantha. I moved to Norwich in 2014. I joined the Committee in 2019 as my son had attended and my daughter currently attends. I was taken by how extremely welcoming, professional, child centered team and I wanted to help in what ever way I could. I have over 10 years experience running Guides and Brownies units and hold a BA (hons) in Archaeology.

Charlotte Ladyman – Becoming a Committee Member 

Ellie Wright – Becoming a Committee Member 

Suzanne Whiteley – Becoming a Committee Member