Carmen Atomulesei's Pinocchio offers Romanian tots fun and educational games, English and Romanian courses and traditional Romanian food too!
29-year-old Carmen Atomulesei saw her dream come true: she manages her own kindergarten for Romanian children in London. After working eight years as a volunteer in a day care centre in Bacau and three more as a teacher in London, nurturing her love for children, Carmen decided to open her own kindergarten. She admits that this has become a part of her life, a place where she is surrounded by children whom she loves dearly.
Read this article in Romanian: Grădiniță românească în Leytonstone
“I’ve worked with children of all ages and I’ve always wanted to open a kindergarten. I’m not sure whether my dream would have come true in Romania. Great Britain offers so many opportunities and chances to fulfil your dreams.”
Carmen has been in London for three years. Until she got the chance to go her own way, she worked as a teacher for another kindergarten. “After a while I realised I was able to run my own business. I’ve had to really work my way up to the top but I must admit it was all worthwhile. I’m very happy that I have the chance to do what I like best.”
Is it hard to open a kindergarten in the UK?
”Not at all, in fact the legal system is quite flexible. And it is definitely much easier than it would be in Romania. However, you have to do your job responsibly so that you gain people’s trust and respect. Rules are definitely different and expectations are so much higher than in our country. ”
The kindergarten that Carmen runs is called Pinocchio and it is located in Leytonstone, only a five minute walk from the underground station. It is open Monday to Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parents who wish to bring their children to Pinocchio kindergarten have to pay £450 per month or £22,5 per day.
“We provide children with three meals a day and two snacks; we offer fun and educational games and activities, as well as English and Romanian courses. We established high standards and we make sure we live up to them. Therefore, children are being supervised without interruption and they are never left on their own.
“Our childcare staff hold excellent qualifications and we are all here to make sure children receive love, care and proper education; and we manage to create a very harmonious and family like environment. Therefore, we are able to receive babies as young as four months old. We are aware of the fact that most parents have to spend extra hours at their jobs and they need to know that their little ones are safe and well taken care. Thus, we adjust our schedule according to the parents’ needs.”
Carmen admits it’s not easy at all to have to split between family and work. “The kindergarten closes at 7 p.m. But my colleagues’ work and mine is not done. It is at that time that we start cleaning and cooking. We decided to offer Romanian traditional food and we want to make sure it’s always fresh. Children need fresh and healthy food.”
Only after all these aspects are taken care of, can she turn to her personal life.
“I am very happy that my family understands and supports me. I don’t have children of my own yet, but I sure have the ones at the kindergarten and I love them all equally.”