Our Team

Portrait photo of Headteacher Kath and Managers Ash and Bernie

Headteacher Kathleen O’Shea and Managers Bernie Dawson and Ashley Geraghty

Our warm, caring staff are one of the stand-out features of PolkaDots Nurseries. Many of them have been with us since our earliest days, staying as we’ve grown, and our diverse team reflects the communities nearby that our nurseries serve.

All our staff are fully qualified, with the majority holding a Level Three Early Years Practitioner Diploma or higher. Every staff member is trained in Paediatric First Aid, Makaton signing and Safeguarding (for which they also receive regular training to keep up to date with current best practice). Perhaps most importantly, all our staff are mothers themselves.

We’re very proud of our team’s professionalism and all the hard work they do each day. Their enthusiasm and pleasure working with children create PolkaDots’ warm, welcoming environment.

Polkadots is a fantastic nursery. The staff show endless dedication, care and support for my son’s wellbeing and development. They have supported me through key milestones such as toilet training, walking and speech delays. Bernie, Niki, Sian, Lucy, Faisa, Sam and Kath have become an important integral part of mine and my son’s lives. My son looks forward every day to spending time with them and I couldn’t trust anyone more than I trust them. I highly recommend Polkadots. They are like a family.”

Carmen Esposito, May 2021, Google Review 5 stars

Child playing with building blocks with staff member
Staff member teaching child to use Makaton signs

Our Headteacher

Photo of Headteacher Kath

Kathleen O’Shea is a qualified teacher with 30 years of experience. She is an Early Years Specialist with enormous SEN experience gained working both in a variety of schools and as an Early Years SEN consultant for Barnet and Camden. She’s also a Regional Makaton Trainer and brings her signing skills to the nursery – she teaches children and staff to sign as a fun way to develop language and communication skills. Kath is also an excellent musician, meaning PolkaDots is a musical nursery with lots of singing sessions (often combined with Makaton signing, which the children love!) Click here to find out more about our other Enhanced Curriculum Classes…

Our Managers

Our Managers Bernadette and Ashley are two of PolkaDots’ longest serving team members. As well as their many years of childcare experience, they bring with them great organisation and sensitivity – plus huge amounts of energy and imagination that inspire all our staff and children

Photo of PolkaDots' Cresswood Nursery Manager Bernie

Bernadette Dawson

Cresswood Manager

“Hello my name is Bernadette, Manager of PolkaDots Cresswood, but I’m also known as Bernie. I am a mother of two children aged 15 and 11 years, so I have experience both as a parent and as an Early Years professional. I have worked in Early Years for the last 23 years, having gained an NNEB and completed the first half of a Level 4 Early Years Advanced Practitioner Certificate. 

Early years has always been a passion of mine, giving children the best start in early education. Children inspire me through their enthusiasm for learning and their drive to take on challenges. I have experience working with children with various different needs and strive to ensure they are included and supported to gain the best development for each individual child.”

Photo of PolkaDots' Athlone Nursery Manager Ashley

Ashley Geraghty

Athlone Manager

“Hi I’m Ashley, Manager of PolkaDots Athlone. I have been a member of the PolkaDots Team since January 2015 starting as a Nursery Practitioner, deputy manager and being promoted to Manager in 2018. I previously ran my own business as a childminder for 10 years before joining PolkaDots.

I am a mum to two boys aged 10 and 13. I love spending time with my family, we are great lovers of the outdoors and enjoy travelling and our adventures together. My favourite thing to do is curl up with a good book and a cuppa. I’m a big foodie and enjoy cooking and baking too.

It’s a joy working with children, watching them grow and progress. Seeing their achievements makes the job all the more special.

I love my team – we’re all one big happy family here at PolkaDots!”

Our Team

Cresswood Hall

Photo of deputy manager at PolkaDots' Cresswood

Niki Soteriadou

Deputy Manager & SENCO

Staff member photo

Lucy Ronan

Staff member photo

Faysa Hirsi

Staff member photo

Sam Reeves

Athlone Hall

Photo of SENCO at PolkaDots' Athlone Nursery

Alaya Rahman

Deputy Manager & SENCO

Staff member photo

Hollie Sinnott

Staff member photo

Carly Heim

Staff member photo

Leanne Bonnard

Staff member photo

Amy Rivers

Staff member photo

Lisa Ronan

Find out more about how we run our nurseries or have a peek inside our settings!

Child at PolkaDots Nursery with magnifiying glass
PolkaDots@ Cresswood

Cresswood Hall, Gillies Street

Kentish Town, London





Athlone Hall, Athlone Street

Kentish Town, London