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Lesley-Anne Newnham

After leaving school I studied Fine Arts and upon completing my studies in South Africa I went on to start my own art school called KreativKidz for children from the ages of 4 to 18 years old. 

I left South Africa in 2004 and started working in a private school in the United Kingdom. I took on the role as Art Specialist and soon I was made head of the art department. I started KreativKidz again and soon the Art School was working with over 50 children from the ages of 4 to 18 years old.  I worked in the Foundation Stage alongside being the art specialist developing creative skills in young children and working towards enabling a creative environment for young children to learn in. 

I have had many experiences working in education and I took up the role of editor and designer of the school magazine, which was produced annually highlighting the children’s and schools achievements. I left teaching to have my son in 2012, but soon grew restless and opened my own Nursery and day care implementing the EYFS foundation stage curriculum. I received a good to outstanding accreditation from Ofsted on my first Ofsted inspection, which was a great achievement. My setting was also earmarked as a setting for children with disabilities. I have currently finished further training and continue to develop my personal development working with young children in the hopes of one-day getting my masters in Early Years development and management.

I am a very passionate person and I always endeavour to give my best at work and at home. I am a Mum and I love investing quality time with my little boy and husband. I am an accomplished artist who paints and draws from my interest in Africa and the people that live there, especially the Bushman culture.  I have had the privilege of presenting and curating exhibitions and also selling my work. In my spare time I spend my more quiet moments in my studio at home, painting and drawing, but this is not limited to canvas or paper, I have also studied face and body art and when the opportunity presents itself I enjoy face painting at parties and functions. 

I have always been interested in the possibilities that education presents; to work for NAISAK is just one of those rare opportunities to be part of something dynamic and fundamental, as it is changing lives and creating opportunities for children that may not have had the possibility of accessing a progressive school like this. It is dynamic because it is challenging parents and children to realise the endless possibilities that an outstanding education can afford and that is something that I want to be part of. I want to be accountable in changing lives. I want to be part of an educational programme that says it is not afraid to challenge the norm and strive for the impossible. I want to be a dynamic and innovative teacher for the children at NAISAK. A teacher who shares with the children in my care the passion I have for their success. To bring creativity and a joy of books. I want to develop through reading the endless opportunities of the imagination and how that can open so many exciting and new experiences for them.

I am going to help my students develop academically, socially and personally, by being passionate about their learning. Giving the children every opportunity to stretch their potential through the lessons that are planned. By being organised but flexible in meeting an organic and ever changing curriculum. Preparing creative minds through an enabled imaginative and stimulating environment. Developing individual interests. Pushing past fears to encourage confidence in tackling the things that are more challenging to them. Encouraging thinking, feeling and ambitious individuals through the examples I set as a teacher and the constant questioning of how, when and why. 

It is extremely important to me to have a positive relationship with the children and parents in my class. I call it ‘Partner shipping’: working together with parents in educating their children.  By being approachable with a friendly face no matter what the issue is, always in my experience eases any tense situation. One should listen carefully and be empathetic to the difficulties that arise no matter how big or small and be willing to go beyond ones self to help in any way you can to alleviate the fears of a parent or the stresses of a child.

I have been with NAISAK a year now and it has been a thoroughly exciting time for me as I taught Foundation 2 last academic year and now lead the Foundation 1 unit this year. I look forward in developing an excellent Early Years curriculum in Foundation 1 stage.

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