Smiley Stars Nursery

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Smiley Stars Nursery is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
Managing Director
Staff are always there
to help
Tamara Marashi left a career in civil engineering to
follow her dream and become the managing director of
Smiley Stars Nursery in 2010. They now care for nearly
90 children between the ages of six weeks and five years
across two sites in Glasgow. Rated as “very good” by the
Care Inspectorate in 2018, Smiley Stars has quickly grown in
popularity over the past eight years while Tamara remains wary
of the challenge that the new government daycare provision
will present.
At Smiley Stars Nursery we offer homely and comforting childcare that is personally
adjusted to each child’s needs. We work closely with our parents, to meet their
requirements. As a leader, in tandem with my managers, I try to epitomise this style
of care and I have built individual relationships with staff, parents and children.
With three care rooms that cater for three age groups in both centres, our ethos is
to provide a warm, safe and welcoming environment and to become an extended
family for our children, somewhere parents feel happy and content leaving their
most valuable person.
We are approachable, flexible and willing to listen, and we implement changes
requested by our parents and children. Understanding that the needs of individuals
may differ and allowing for their input is crucial. Our care plans are always evolving
and adapting to our children’s needs to ensure they feel loved, cared for and
supported. We work hard to build children’s confidence and self-esteem, prepare
them for life ahead, our job is so vital in building a stable, nurtured person.
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 2010
»Based in Ibrox and
Mansewood, Glasgow
»Services: Homely and personal
childcare for children aged 6
weeks to 5 years old
»No. of employees: 24
»Age range: 6 weeks to 5 years
Smiley Stars Nursery
Doing something I love
Until 2001 I was building a career
as a civil engineer but going on my
maternity leave and the challenges
of looking after 2 children were
great. I decided to attend an HNC in
Childcare course at my local vocational
college to become a better mum and
I learned a lot over those two years.
In 2005 I gained a master’s degree
in Information Management from
Strathclyde University, I gave birth to
my third child and I was diagnosed
with cancer. Being diagnosed with
cancer made me begin to re-evaluate
my priorities and ambitions. I decided
to pursue my real passion, childcare.
In 2010 that opportunity presented
itself in a small nursery in Ibrox,
Glasgow which was struggling to
reach its capacity. I saw that it had
the potential to improve and offer
a better service. My qualifications
as a civil engineer in construction
management gave me some of the
necessary experience to manage a
team and maintain an office, while I
learned several skills through working
alongside my professional and
passionate staff. In 2010, 26 children
used our service, but after a strategic
recruitment programme, improved
environment and a new layout,
we were able to accommodate 39
children a day. We have always been
careful to take on new children at a
sustainable rate, and we ensure that
we can still provide the best possible
level of care for every new addition.
To create an efficient working
environment, our technological
systems have been renovated and
modernised. We are a hardworking
team we have gained the required
qualifications to enhance our practice.
I take pride in our ongoing personnel
development to deliver high standard
care. We thrive on hard work.
This year we celebrated our eighth year
in business and expanded to another
site in Mansewood, Glasgow and
our team has grown to 24 members
Stable staff allow for happy
Our staff are our greatest asset and
their dedication and hard work has
allowed for our success. They are
highly motivated by their work and
their enthusiasm is infectious. Several
staff have been with us since 2010,
and this consistency provides a stable
presence that children can rely upon,
allowing them to be more comfortable
and expressive in their learning.
Creating a working environment
where staff feel able to challenge
common practice and senior leadership
is a vital aspect of development and
improvement and I try to foster an
atmosphere where this is understood.
Our learning environment is also
supplemented by the apprentices, who
grow and learn with us. As well as
adding their contribution.
Having fun is vital
Staff are
motivated by
their work and
enthusiasm is
Highlighting best practice
Parents commonly remark on the
importance of our team ethic, and they
notice how it has helped to establish
a homely atmosphere. Our staff
understand that care is a very personal
experience, and this allows us to stand
out from the crowd.
Adjusting to legislative
The Scottish Government has pledged
to offer 1,140 hours of free childcare to
children between three and five years
old by 2020. This is currently being
piloted by local authorities in some
of their nurseries. Until the scheme
has been rolled out fully by 2020
it will prove challenging for private
providers who offer 600 free hours
in the interim, as parents and staff
are being tempted to move to public
care services, allured by the prospect
of free childcare and higher wages
respectively. This is affecting childcare
organisations across Scotland, and soon
many will be unable to compete.
In our view, a more prudent approach
would be for all sectors to be working
together for the best interest of
Scottish families and their children
where the main aim is to provide
a variety of affordable quality care
and foster an environment where all
providers are to prosper to suit families
individual needs, as one size does not
fit all. The potential disruption to the
care of young people that could follow
an exodus to publicly funded providers
could be vast, and despite the cost
advantages to parents, the loss of
continuity of care, could impact on
the child’s emotional wellbeing due to
disruptions in attachments.
We aim to continue providing our
service for many years to come and
we have seen the benefit we have
brought to a number of stakeholders
in our community. If this is to continue
to be possible, we need to be offered
support during this delicate and
potentially damaging transition.
Our staff
that care is a
very personal
experience, and
this allows us to
stand out from
the crowd
Activities are always

This article was sponsored by Smiley Stars Nursery. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.