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Meet The Team

The most important thing to us here at Little Steps Day Care is your child's comfort, care and development. To ensure your child is cared for passionately, we have a team of qualified and friendly staff who are dedicated to helping your child have the best start in their education. Our team are encouraged to achieve high standards of child care and delivery of early education, so you can rely on us to provide your little ones with professional care.

Proprietor, Nursery Manager and SENCO

Joanne McClelland

I have been working with children for over a decade and hold a degree in Education Studies with Sociology, a Post-Graduate qualification in Psychology, and a level 3 Early Years Educator Diploma. During my studies I have gained a strong knowledge of child development and the best ways to support children through their early stages of life.

I have gained experience working in nurseries as a room leader, running my own pre-school room for 2 to 5-year old children. I have also worked as a special needs assistant in a school where I helped develop and run support programmes for children with Special Educational Needs; I spent 2 years with a team of specialist teachers, assessing children’s needs and training other members of staff on how to provide support for children with specific difficulties. I am extremely passionate about providing the best care and education for children and strive to do this here at Little Steps Day Care by building a great team and a loving, welcoming environment.

Running my own nursery has been my dream since leaving college and I was lucky enough to have the support of my parents in opening up Little Steps Day Care. My vision for Little Steps is to provide a loving environment where our children feel part of a family, not just a nursery. My priority is to ensure all the children in our care are given the best support for their emotional well being which will help them feel safe and secure and excited to learn.


My role as the setting’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator is a passion for me. I have always been interested in SEN and finding ways to best support all children. I am dedicated to ensuring our nursery meets all children’s needs and that we make any reasonable adjustments to ensure our learning environment, daily routines, care practices and staff training are flexible and robust to meet all needs.

If you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s development or feel your child may have additional needs, please speak to me at any time, and we will work together to develop the best possible support for your child.

Proprietors & Operations Director

Rachel & Mark Burgess

Rachel and Mark decided to support the ‘Little Steps’ dream of running a children’s day nursery with their daughter Jo in 2015. Rachel has trained and worked in childcare for over 30 years and is passionate about providing a nursery setting with a loving, homely and family feel. She is no longer working in the profession, although enjoys helping out from time to time at Little Steps Day Care in Bedford and joining in with all the fun activities with the children.

Mark has a background in business and procurement and enjoys putting his skills to work in his own business partnership. He is keen to support everyone involved in Little Steps, from the staff who make up the ‘Little Steps Family’ to the children and families we care for. Running a family business has been an ambition for Mark for many years and he is very excited to be able to do this at Little Steps Day Care in Bedford and provide a home from home for the children in our care.

Deputy Manager

Maria Peccarino

I have been working with children for 5 years and hold an NVQ Level 3 Diploma, The Young People’s Workforce, (QCF) and have an extensive amount of knowledge and understanding in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework.

I have previously been a room leader and key worker for the babies and toddler room and I have been a Deputy Manager for the last 4 years; a role which I find very enjoyable and rewarding. I have always wanted to work with young children since being a young girl myself and to me, working with children and watching them develop and grow as individual’s is more than just a job; it is part of my life.

I am passionate about building up strong relationships with the children and parents/carers and creating a home from home environment for the children to strive in, whilst providing the best care and education on a day to day basis

2+ Room Leader

Mariya Amini

My aspirations to become a teacher began from a young age, and I had initially followed that path and gained a degree in political geography. After having my first child I had a realisation that working with young children is something I wanted to pursue further in life. I went on to complete a level 3 CACHE diploma in childcare and education.

I now have over 10 years of experience in the field, working with children of various ages. It brings me immeasurable joy to see children develop and flourish, all while having fun and feeling welcomed.

Some of my prior experience includes involvement with a forest school, which I am glad to be able to run at Little Steps Day Care. My prior work with the Child Development Centre has helped promote children’s language and literacy.

Senior Nursery Practitioner

Daniella Canale

Hello my name is Daniella Canale. I am level 3 qualified in child care and education. I’ve always wanted to work with children ever since I left school. I did all my child care training in the lower school I went to as a little girl then I went on to work there for a few years.

I have over 11 years of experience working with nursery and primary age children. I’ve loved every moment of it and enjoyed helping others. Every day is so different.

I enjoy spending time with my Son outside of work, going on walks, bike rides and swimming. I also enjoy going to the gym a couple of times a week.

Senior Nursery Practitioner

Alex Jakins

After my younger brother was born and diagnosed with Autism at an early age, I have always wanted to work with young children. His journey inspired me so much to support other children and make sure that they are the growing and developing to the best of their abilities, whichever route they decide to take.

I have studied childcare for 5 years now, recently graduating with a 2.1 degree in Early Childhood Education which I am super proud of! With handfuls of experience in different settings and age groups, I truly enjoy working with little people the most. I believe that children have such a uniqueness which is inspiring, hilarious and pure – there really is never a dull day!

When I’m not at work I love spending quality time with my close friends and family. I also enjoy shopping and listening to music, and I’m a pretty big Harry Potter and Disney fan too!

Senior Nursery Practitioner

Stephanie Capener

I have been working in a nursery setting since leaving school, and I hold a Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to work with children as I love to see them develop through play whilst learning new skills. I believe every child should start their early years learning in a safe and happy environment.

I love spending time with family and friends. I am keen on fitness, regularly attending a local gym and classes in my spare time.

Nursery Practitioner

Carol Mansell

At a young age, my best friend and I helped out at a crèche which was run by our local sports centre and helped out at a local Children’s home. My best friend and I decided we wanted to work with children and researched how we should go about it. Sadly my best friend died when I was 16 but I carried on pursuing the career we had decided on together. I managed to get a place at college to study to be an NNEB and our dream was fulfilled when I passed.

My first job was working at St John’s Special School in Kempston and since then I have worked in many different kinds of childcare – School nurseries, reception class, day nurseries and pre-schools. I also ran my own playgroup. My favourite job was working as an Early Years Ofsted Inspector where I learned may skills then have helped me in my career.

Over the years, sadly, I found that the higher I worked my way up the ladder in Childcare, the further away from the children I became. So, I have now come full circle and am really pleased to be back with the children again. I look forward to meeting parents when they bring their children to the nursery and collect them at the end of their day with us. I also look forward to having meetings with parents to discuss how their children are progressing and how we can work together to help and support their learning and development. I am really happy to now be part of the team at Little Steps Day Care.

Apprentice Nursery Practitioner

Gemma Medeiros

Hello my name is Gemma ,
I am a mummy to two girls age 5 and 3.
I am well travelled and skilled in a trade in a different industry.
However I decided to take a turn and opt for a change in career when my children came along.
I enjoy being a mum which lead me into the idea of working with children.
I have a keen interest in the special educational needs of children in early years education and looking forward to learning more about it.
I have just started my Nvq level 3 in childcare , once I complete the plan is to keep developing my knowledge and move on the next qualification.
In My spare time “which is rare these days”
I love long walks, spontaneous trips to the beach , cooking for family and being at home.
Nursery Practitioner

Kaylee Denton

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Nursery Practitioner

Fallon Bloom

Hello my name is Fallon and I am newly qualified level 3. I first found my interest in childcare at a young age. I enjoyed helping my teachers and looking after my friends. I believe it is important for all children to receive the best possible start to life as children are the future.

In my free time I like to relax with friends and spend quality time with my family. My goal For the future is to be a manager of a nursery and to help others achieve their goals.