Our Staff

We are committed to providing the very best education and care for your children, and recognise that every child deserves the best possible start in life.  We aim to work in partnership with parents to help children to learn and develop, to gain confidence and to reach their potential in whatever they do.

We aim to add to the wellbeing of the community and to offer children and their parents a service that promotes equality.

We operate a key worker system - each child is assigned a key worker and a back up key worker who work closely with them and monitor and plan for their learning and development.

An image of a girl painting a rainbow
An photograph of a child painting under the supervision of one of the staff
Ali Hicks (Manager)

I started my childcare career volunteering in a preschool and primary school before starting work as an Accredited Childminder. I gained Early Years Professional Status then moved on to work in Cranbrook Children's Centre for several years before joining Staplehurst Under 5 Playgroup in 2018 as Manager and key worker of the orange group. My role has developed to also include curriculum co-ordinator.

About me

I have four children, a cat and a husband. In my spare time I like cooking, gardening and being outdoors, plus as a family we are always busy because we are building our own home from scratch so there's always a lot to do! 

My favourite thing about working with children is definitely the hugs.... It's also a wonderful thing to be part of their lives and help them to develop and learn.

Jo O'Rawe (Deputy Manager)

I am the Playgroup's Deputy Manager, along with being SENCO and Safeguarding Lead. I started at Staplehurst Under 5 Playgroup in September 2019, having previously worked as a TA in a primary school and a Practitioner at a Pre-school. 

I obtained my Cache Level 3 Dipolma in Children and young Persons Workforce and developed further my knowledge of special educational needs and disabilities.

About me

I have 2 teenage sons and 3 Hungarian Vizsla dogs.  In my spare time I volunteer for a Hungarian Vizsla charity and home check prospective adopters.

I have a huge passion for enjoying books and reading to children in early years.

Sally Chapman

I joined Staplehurst Under 5 Playgroup in January 2021 as a key worker. I completed my NVQ level 2 in childcare whilst working as a trainee in reception class. I then went on to work in nurseries where I became a room leader, before becoming a nanny.

About me

I am an auntie, a godmum and a furmum to a cockapoo!

In my spare time I enjoy walking, socialising with family and friends and live music.

Sarah Hoad

In 2020 I became a key worker within the playgroup after volunteering since 2017, at which time my son came to playgroup.  

I am training for my Level 3 Early Years qualification.

About me

I love Harry Potter!!

Our committee

Staplehurst Under 5 Playgroup benefits from an extremely talented committee who support the staff, organise events and lead various fundraising initiatives, all on a voluntary basis in their own spare time. They are:


Chairman: Ross Best
Secretary: Kelly Mclean
Treasurer: position vacant
Members: Becky Bassett, Kirsty Edmonds, Adele England, Carly McClelland

               Contact the committee