A key driver, for so many people, when it comes to starting a business, is to ensure a better work/life balance, particularly when you have a family that deserves as much of your time as your business.
That was the case for Sir Thomas White Loan Charity borrower Naomi Perfitt, who set up Adventure Playschool to enable her to work in an area she loved whilst balancing her home life, which includes raising three young children.
A qualified primary teacher with over 12 years’ experience, Naomi, from Ravenstone in north-west Leicestershire, enjoyed the opportunity presented to her whilst working in schools to design and build new areas for outdoor play and learning. Allowing children to grow vegetables, dig for worms and experience life through nature was something that Naomi was hooked on as a method for teaching.
“Setting up my own playschool had always been in the back of my mind, but the task always seemed too daunting,” Naomi admitted. “After six years trying to find an education establishment that fitted around my family and met my interests, it seemed so obvious that creating my own setting was the right thing to do.”
And thus, Adventure Playschool was born. Adventure Playschool, also based in Ravenstone, is a small pre-school setting that offers a play-based and outdoor-focused approach to learning.
“Adventure Playschool is basically an amalgamation of all my favourite approaches I have come across and always tried to incorporate into my teaching,” explained Naomi.
“I am an outdoors person by nature and always have been. I love the way that nature offers a reset and it was hugely important that my working day would be spent predominantly outside and sharing this with the children.
“The biggest challenge was finding suitable premises that offered the access to not only a constant outside space, but also places we could visit for our adventures,” continued Naomi. “I found a number of sites that would be suitable and had their support, but each time there were unforeseen events that meant the lease agreement was unable to go through. Our current premises fit all our criteria and the parish council have been so supportive.”
Daunted by the prospect of applying for a bank loan, Naomi turned to a friend, who told her about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity. Following some research into the charity, Naomi chose to apply.
“The information from the charity was straight-forward and even a business novice like myself was able to complete the business plan and provide the supporting evidence required,” said Naomi, who revealed that she benefited from the free support on offer to applicants through accountants and business support organisations.
“The loan has been used for all aspects of setting up the business the necessary registrations, trainings, insurance, resources and a small salary for me. The loan has allowed me to purchase the toys, equipment and furniture we require to open from scissors and pencils, to timber for fencing and exciting purchases such as a mud kitchen! I have loved building my resource base from scratch.”
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic affected the timescales of opening Adventure Playschool, a successful Ofsted inspection and subsequent registration was granted and the school opened in September 2020.
“I want to spend time making sure that every aspect of my vision for playschool is fulfilled,” said Naomi, looking to the future. “We will grow the setting slowly to make sure that we get it right. I hope that in time I will be able to open more settings using my first as the pattern for many. I hope to build links with training colleges and facilitators so that practitioners can learn by our example.”
For more information on Adventure Playschool, please visit https://adventureplayschool.co.uk/
Alternatively, please click here for details on The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans.