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An Interview with LNS Bluebell Cottage founder and CEO Sara Brennan

By Ester Pintor

1) Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from Newcastle Upon Tyne, studied Education at Durham University, and have lived in London for 6 years now. I lived in Sydney Australia for a year, and New York too, so travel is very important to me, and connected to my vision for the School to open globally. I like to run in Hyde Park in the morning and start every day with a large latte!

2) What made you set up Bluebell Cottage?

Having worked as a teacher, and nanny from School, I always wanted to focus on early years education. I really couldn’t find a nursery School that I loved working at, so I decided that I would create my dream curriculum and learning environment for children based on my experience and vision. I believe early years education are the most important ones as it sets the foundation for the future.

3) What is the best thing about running a nursery, and what have been the toughest challenges?

The best bit - the children - they are inspirational every day.

The biggest challenge - planning permissions to convert buildings into School use, the process is complex and expensive, I really hope the government will support early years education more in the future.

4) You take children from a very early age. What are your top tips for potty training?

I’m a big believer in social learning environments over having a full time nanny at home, which is why we have admissions from one year of age. The children are ready, and they love the social interactions with friends and teachers, it really sets them apart from other children who do not have this influence at that age in terms of confidence and independence, which are key for potty training too. We have many children potty trained by 18months, and some that start with us at 3 years still in nappies. It is different for everyone, my top tip = take the nappy away, and stick with it, buy stickers and stars as rewards and a singing potty! They can do it when you make it fun and special. Have a potty song and potty dance!

5) Tell us a funny story or quote from a child at nursery

One child decided to cut their own hair with the scissors, it was very stylish but I’m not so sure that the parents were too impressed!

6) You also offer after school clubs, what are they about and can families outside of the nursery join?

My focus is to connect communities through shared learning experiences which is what the LNS Community aims to achieve and the clubs are perfect for friends to come together and share quality time together. We also will open Saturday School fromJanuary which is very exciting.

7) What’s your favourite time of the year?

Between Autumn and New Year, there is so much happening with Halloween, bonfire night, and the lead up to Christmas, I always hope for snow so we can go sledging down Primrose Hill.

8) What will you be up to this Christmas? And describe your ugliest Christmas jumper.

This Christmas I will be in London for a change, it’s been a whirlwind of a year so it seems like a good time to stay put and relax. My Christmas Jumper style would have to be a reindeer, with a flashing nose and music on repeat, very annoying, but very funny for the children.

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