Meet our Parent & Toddler Group Facilitators

Heather Knowles, P & T Group Facilitator

I moved to the gorgeous West Highlands from the outskirts of Nottingham in 1991, and have never wanted to go back! I have been involved in working with children all of my adult life. I have 5 beautiful daughters and grandchildren too.

I think I have the best job in the world, enjoying all aspects of it, meeting people, supporting parents and families, helping groups to run, and playing with children! Messy and sensory play are the areas I enjoy the most, but I love to create, so enjoy art and craft too. When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my own family, camping, walking, and doing lots of different home crafts.

Fiona Thorpe, P & T Group Facilitator

I am based in the beautiful North of Scotland. I started working in nurseries and playgroups around 15 years ago but began working with babies & toddlers after I had my own children. 

It is one the most rewarding jobs and I think delivering Bookbug Sessions is one of my favourite things to do – please don’t be surprised if I burst into song at any random moment!

I moved back to the Highlands a few years ago and really appreciate what a fabulous place it is to raise children. Being able to build a sandcastle whenever you like is a real treat!

Monika Maleszka-Ritchie, Bi-lingual Coordinator

I am the Polish Bilingual Coordinator for CALA. I live in Culloden with my family. I am from Poznan in Poland and my husband is from Edinburgh. But we met back in 1996 on an archaeological excavation in the Beauly Firth – we always say that fate has drawn us to the Highlands!

I really enjoy helping children develop and engaging with their parents and carers. I love messy play and creative learning. But I have a special interest in outdoor learning – I help run the Inverness Young Archaeologists Club in my spare time and recently contributed to the Forestry Commission Scotland Outdoor Archaeological Learning resource. I also love gardening and am very proud of my annual strawberry harvest!

Isabel Fowler, P & T Group Facilitator

I have been a Parent and Toddler Group Facilitator for mid/west Ross for the last three and a half years. I support 18 groups in this area.

The best bit of my job is spending time with the parents and children, and when I am able to sort out problems that the groups may have. I love the varied things my job entails – as well as supporting the parents and children, I do Bookbug sessions (including in the home), am trained in infant massage and promote activities low cost or free activities from the Play@home books.

In my spare time I like reading, running, walking my dog Lucy, and spending time with my family.

Hanna Gray, P & T Group Facilitator & Volunteer Coordinator

I have just started (Jan 2016) as a Parent and Toddler Group Facilitator for Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch & Strathspey and so far I’ve been enjoying getting to know all my groups and planning lots of fun and messy activities. I know I’m going to really enjoy my work with CALA.

I’ve lived in the Badenoch & Strathspey area for the last 5 years and owe a lot of my friendships to having had a good toddler group to go to when we first moved so I very much appreciate their importance. They are a great place to spend time with other parents and carers who might be in a similar situation to you and the children get to interact with others whilst exploring the world of play in a safe and welcoming environment. I think my favourite thing to do will almost certainly involve messy play but I also enjoy a sing song.

When I’m not working, I spend time with my family and love exploring the beautiful Highlands that we are so lucky to live in.

Jennifer Morrison, P & T Group Facilitator

I became a PTGF at the end of 2015 and I’m really enjoying it.  I love messy play, arts & crafts and Bookbug (just as well the children don’t judge your singing!).

I have worked with pre-school children for almost 16 years – in nurseries, day care and with Social Work.  Working with little ones is so rewarding.

My three children are all grown up now, the youngest recently went off to university so I am looking forward to time for me and a new challenge…travelling maybe…?

Julie Taylor, P & T Group Facilitator

Hello everyone. Since joining Cala in January this year I have been on a rollercoaster of courses, meeting all my groups and getting to know all my lovely colleagues.

I relocated to the highlands in Jan 2011 and its one of the best decision I’ve ever made, not only do we live in the same village as my husbands family, Its a fantastic place for kids to grow up. Since my little girl was born I have made great friends, all of whom I met at baby and toddler groups.

When the position for Parent and Toddler Group Facilitator came up I couldn’t believe my luck, equally when I got offered the position I thought this is too good to be true. My little girl is starting playgroup and I was so sad that we would miss out on going to toddlers as we always have so much fun, but now with being the new Playgroup and Toddler Group Facilitator I will get to be the lady who provides the fun.

In my spare time, when there is some I run my children to all there after school clubs, spend time as a family and enjoy life.