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our team

where nurture meets nature

We are a diverse team of experienced teachers and childcare professionals who are passionate about outdoors education.


We found there wasn't a Pre-school setting in Bristol that allowed our toddlers and children the opportunity to be outdoors in nature, taking risks, exploring and discovering wonder for themselves. We saw first hand in our teaching careers the power that a forest school approach could have on children's well being.  We wanted to be able to offer this opportunity to all those growing up in urban Bristol, who may otherwise find it difficult to access nature on a regular basis. 


"The staff are truly exceptional and make such an effort to engage with each child and really get to know them and develop their sense of self-worth"

Preschool Parent

management team


Lizzie Staite

Co-Founder, Manager and designated safeguarding lead

Lizzie lives in Bristol with her husband and three young children. She is an infant school teacher and a qualified Forest School Leader. Lizzie taught reception classes for eight years where she was Science coordinator and ran the forest school program. Since having children, Lizzie has been working as a childminder and started Little Foxes Forest School with her mum Julie in 2014. When traveling Lizzie loves exploring wildlife, most notably the orangutans of Borneo and hump back whales in Canada. Lizzie loves baking, walking and exploring new places.


Janie Ankers


Co-Founder and Manager

Janie also lives locally with her husband and two young children.  She too is a qualified primary teacher and a level 3 Forest School Leader. Janie has taught in schools in London, Singapore and Bristol for 10 years as Head of Outdoor Learning and Head of Reading.  Janie is a qualified childminder and has consulted on phonics.  Janie is never happier than when outdoors.  She loves to run, swim and travel and has trekked to Everest Base Camp as well as travelling the length and breadth of India. She loves great food, painting, music and to spend quality time with family and friends.  

Julie Wheeler


Julie lives in Downend with her husband David, she has three children and four grandchildren. Julie worked as a teaching assistant in reception classes before starting Little Foxes Forest School with Lizzie. She loves to travel with her husband and has recently started sailing. Julie loves to spend time outdoors being surrounded by nature. She enjoys music, looking after her garden and days out with her family.

Julie is now enjoying her retirement after planting the seed and helping Little Foxes grow from the start to what it is now.

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Grace Burman


Grace lives on the outskirts of Bath with her husband Matt and his two children Fin and Noah. After completing a BA is Business and Psychology she went on to study Early Years and Childhood Studies at University of Bath which sparked her love of working creatively with children and her passion for the outdoor education.


Prior to Little Foxes, Grace has worked in a variety of early years settings over the last 6 years, including an outdoor kindergarten so has lots of hands-on experience of working in outdoor learning environments and has also undertaken Forest School Leader training. Grace loves going on adventures with her family and enjoys peaceful dog walks around Bath and beyond. Grace currently works in Mini Foxes with her own key group, as well as Co-Managing the setting.

Amy Ackland


Amy lives locally with her husband and two young children. She is a qualified primary school teacher and Forest School leader and has taught in schools in and around Bristol for twelve years. 

Amy enjoys gardening, camping and exploring the local area with her family and their dog - Otis. Amy recently bought a campervan and is busy planning lots of trips.  Amy has been working at Little Foxes since September 2018.  She is a key worker of ladybirds group, as well as Deputy Managing the setting on Wednesdays and Thursdays.


Marina Liso

Deputy Manager

Marina currently lives in Horfield, but she is from a small village in the North of Spain. Some of her favourite memories growing up there are playing with her friends at the village’s river, making dens and watching the tadpoles grow. She attended a very small rural school there, inspiring her to become a teacher.


She moved to Bristol in 2015 and today, Marina is a Qualified Early Years Teacher and has a Masters degree in Pedagogy. She is always keen to learn something new and loves nature, going on long walks in the mountains and having picnics. She enjoys cycling to work everyday and has a big environmental conscience, trying to reduce the use of plastic in her life. Marina also loves travelling, cooking, learning about different cultures and spending time with family and friends.

little foxes BUMBLEBEES team


Emily Smith


Lead Practitioner for Mini Foxes

Emily came to work with children through a love for the outdoors and the natural world, with a background in environmental education, and is a Forest School Level 3 leader. She has worked in a variety of settings, including schools, nurseries and for a residential bushcraft camp, but her passion lies with the under-5s. She loves their enthusiasm, joy and wonder, and is passionate about encouraging a lasting relationship between children and nature. 


Emily has previously volunteered protecting sea turtles in Greece and a conservation project in Madagascar. In her spare time, she likes to explore forests, moors and coasts; knit, dance, and bake. 


Jess Redfern

Jess joined our team recently to cover Lizzie's maternity leave.  Jess has over 7 years experience as a primary school teacher, (most recently at Ashley Down School in their reception class) and over 11 years experience as a Mum of three. 


  She loves family, camping, being by the sea and she's absolutely passionate about play.  She's great at keeping our children engaged and enthralled with her warmth and energy.

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Katie Stone

Katie is at home when in nature. Living a stone's throw away from Snuff Mills, she spent her childhood playing in woodland. This interest continued into adult life, going on adventures with her family, gardening, and growing vegetables. 

Her zest for education began in India, when teaching about sustainability and empowering young women to break away from traditional paths. Upon her return, Katie became a childminder for a family with three young children, supporting development in term time and fun outdoors in the holidays. 


Katie then went on to become an Operations Manager, responsible for managing a large team. After solidifying where her values lie, she decided to leave and return to teaching. Her passion for nurturing others, guiding how best to support the environment, and the positive impact nature has on an individual's wellbeing naturally led her to Little Foxes Forest School.


Catherine Sadler

Catherine has lived in Bristol for 21 years with her husband and 3 children. She enjoys being outdoors in nature, walking, cycling and spending time growing vegetables and bee-friendly flowers on her allotment.  She feels it is important for children to have opportunities to connect with nature, to help them develop a love and appreciation of the natural world. Whilst recently studying Early Childhood at UWE, she was naturally drawn to the forest school movement, directing her studies towards this area of education. She finds working with young children highly rewarding and she is very pleased to be part of the Little Foxes team.


Catherine works across both the Little and Mini Foxes teams and helps out with tea club.

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Roy Macias


Roy is a qualified Early Years Teacher living in Bristol with his wife and daughter. He has ample experience working with children outdoors at summer camps in Mexico, France and the USA. Roy was born and raised in Mexico and volunteered for several years supporting families in underprivileged areas of the country.


He qualified as an Early Years Teacher at the University of Gloucestershire whilst working full time at a private nursery.


Roy enjoys traveling to new places and he often unleashes his creativity in different ways, such as: painting, cooking new recipes, or writing his  Early Childhood Education blog

(Box of Ideas)


Roy has a dream of writing and illustrating children’s stories.


Tori Strachan-Ward
Lead Practitioner for Little Foxes

Tori lives locally with her husband and 3 children.  Tori is a Forest School Level 3 Leader, she has been a qualified childminder, as well as working with rural communities for several years. Before joining Little Foxes, Tori spent time volunteering with the SS Great Britain Trust, the One Tree Per Child Project, and the Avon Wildlife Trust.   


As well as being one of our key workers, Tori runs photography, geocaching and orienteering enrichment activities for the nursery and she's also a dab hand at sewing.


Hannah Summers

Hannah is a born and bred Bristolian and lives with her partner, two young children and two middle aged cats!

She has worked at little Foxes since 2018, complementing her role as a registered, qualified Childminder, of over four years.

Before the arrival of her twins, Hannah obtained a BA (Hons) in Theatre Design and went on to work in Costume for TV/Film production. This included working on some well-known Children's shows, such as 'In the Night Garden' and 'Zingzillas'!  She relishes opportunities to utilise her creativity within teaching.

A keen runner and happy-camper, Hannah embraces the energy, adventure and physicality involved in nurturing and inspiring children in the great outdoors.

Yasmin Mohamud

Yasmin was born locally and has memories playing and exploring in Stoke Park herself as a child.

She's always known she wanted to work with children and went on to gain a Level 3 in Early Years. When a nursery she worked at started running forest school sessions she really got to see the vast benefits outdoor learning can have for children. This sparked her interest in wanting to experience a forest school herself and she hopes to work towards a Level 3 Forest School Leader qualification.

Yasmin enjoys crafting, cooking with friends, music and has recently taken up rollerskating as a hobby.


Adele Barnard

Adele was born and raised in Frome, Somerset. From a young age she has had a passion for the outdoors, nature and music.  Adele has spent time travelling across Asia and working in Canada where she embarked on many outdoor activities and skied frequently.


In September 2014 she joined a charity called Globalteer, which is a UK registered charity providing safe homes for vulnerable children where she worked as a teaching assistant in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This was when she realised her passion for teaching. This newly found passion matched with her love for the outdoors led her to desire a career within the forest school sector.


Adele is currently studying for her Level 3 diploma in childcare, with ambitions to also qualify in bush craft and forest school teaching.  Adele loves spending as much time as possible outdoors, she's a keen climber, hiker and is very excited to join the Little Foxes team.



Stacey Parsons

Stacey is a mum of two young energetic girls and she is apassionate Early years practitioner. Stacey has over 10 years Early Years experience working predominantly within community settings. She holds a BA Honours in Early Childhood Studies. Stacey loves to watch children grow in confidence and courage and takes great pleasure in supporting them on their fascinating little journeys.  


In her spare time Stacey loves  spending time outdoors with her family going on walks through the woods, camping and spending time at the beach. She also adores tasting delicious food and experiencing different cultures.


Mischa Brockbank

Mischa grew up in Bristol and fell in love with the local scenery and wildlife from a young age.


Her most treasured childhood memories are of exploring the woods and creating stories about the magical beasts that might live there.


Mischa has moved to Little Foxes from a large nursery setting; she is currently studying towards her level 3 Early Years qualification and is passionate about sharing

her love of the natural world with the next generation.


Outside of work, Mischa loves cooking nutritious vegan food (using foraged ingredients where possible) and has a passion for all kinds of arts and crafts, including painting, knitting and creative writing.

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Vicky Smith

Vicky is Bristol born and currently lives locally with her husband, 2 children and 2 cats. She worked in retail before having her 2 children and now enjoys working in early years education. Vicky has experience in early years education and supporting children with additional needs.

When not working she can often be found exploring the local green spaces and parks with her family. She is an avid reader and takes great joy in learning new things and sharing that knowledge.

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Emma Dowty

Emma grew up in Bath before moving away to study Psychology at university. Since graduating, she has worked in the mental health field as a Community Support Worker for the charity Mind. 

Emma has always loved the outdoors and until recently was living semi off-grid in a yurt in some woodland just outside of Bath. In her spare time, Emma enjoys travel, music (she plays the flute and piano), walking, wild-swimming, and cooking delicious vegan food!  

Emma is currently completing a Level 4 certificate in counselling skills with the hope to go on to become a registered counsellor or counselling psychologist, perhaps specialising in child or eco-psychology. She’s a strong believer in the importance of play, creativity, and nature for children’s (and adults!) development and wellbeing. 

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Hazel Stark

Hazel lives in Bristol with her two young children and two kittens.

Before coming to Little Foxes, Hazel obtained a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology with Development Studies and went on to work with refugee and asylum seeking communities for over a decade. This included managing a charity for refugee and asylum seeking women, advice and advocacy work with the British Red Cross and family support work with the Syrian U.K Resettlement Programme.


Hazel has a diploma in Dramatherapy and believes that imaginary play, creative movement and physicality are fundamental to developing self-esteem, emotional integration and empathic social relationships. Hazel is passionate about nurturing deep roots of love and connection to the natural world in young children. She is a trained children's yoga teacher, focusing on exploring different eco-systems through yoga and story-telling.


In her free time, Hazel enjoys yoga, cycling, teaching and playing in a community samba band and folk group as well as adventuring with her young children.


Helen Wong

Helen has lived in Bristol for 20 years, after moving here for university. She lives with her husband and son. Helen holds a Master's Degree in the Psychology of Education and has worked in a secondary school for deaf children for the past 13 years, but the call of the forest was strong, and last year she completed her Early Years Educator Level 3 Diploma alongside her Forest School Level 3 training, and now joins Little Foxes as a Dedicated Practitioner. Helen enjoys running, particularly with This Mum Runs, and spending time with friends and family.


Stacey Marsh

I live with my 3 children and have been a qualified forest school level 3 leader for nearly 7 years. I was a Childminder for nearly 12 years, after my first child. After getting my qualification for a forest school leader, I decided to incorporate that into my Childminding career and became an outdoor Childminder. I then ran my own forest school groups for home educated children and early years groups, before joining Little Foxes.


I have always enjoyed being around nature, and knowing the importance it teaches children. I love camping and being outdoors with the kids, for mini hikes, wild swimming, bike rides. I still continue to teach my children about nature and do forest school activities when we are out and about and camping.


playgroup and our organisers

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Claire Smith  
Nursery Chef 

Claire lives locally with her two young children and their pet giant African land snail, Luna. Claire has a degree in Tourism Management, and her career history is in Marketing. She has always had a passion for cooking, and following on from a career break to raise her children, she embarked upon a role in a nursery school kitchen. For the past couple of years she has enjoyed being responsible for providing healthy and nutritious meals to children with a variety of dietary needs. In her spare time Claire likes to walk, cycle, camp, cook (and eat!). She also loves to travel the world. Her favourite country to date is Indonesia, where she trekked through the jungle and saw Orangutans, dived with manta rays, and thoroughly enjoyed sampling all the local cuisine. 

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Shirley Lau  
Kitchen and Domestic Assistant 

Shirley and her family were coming from Hong Kong in mid-2022. Back in 2017, she
resigned from the position as Senior Secretary of the renowned CPA firm Deloitte, and has
been taking up the role of stay-at-home mother to take care of three young children. Shirley
has a keen interest in not only cooking but also exploring the food with fresh, natural and vital
ingredients to keep her family members healthy and strong. In her spare time, Shirley likes
home gardening. Before moving to Bristol, she rented a small piece of farmland in the suburb
of Hong Kong for the kids to enjoy gardening and to promote their awareness of sustainability
and going green. Besides, Shirley was an active parent volunteer enthusiastically assisting in
the activities organised by the kindergarten / primary schools where her children studied in.


Nadia Porter

Playgroup Lead

Nadia lives in Bristol with her partner and his teenage daughters. She also has a grown-up daughter who has just returned from university in Sweden.  Nadia is a primary school teacher and has worked in various childcare and education settings across Bristol for almost 20 years.


Nadia loves being outdoors: running, exploring in woodlands or wild swimming. She is also a qualified yoga teacher and loves acquiring different skills and trying new things.


Nicola Lester

Office Manager

Nicola is a mum of three and born and raised just outside of Bristol. She grew up in a small village and spent her childhood exploring fields, forests and rivers near her home with her brother. 


Nicola is really passionate about nature and our local wildlife and loves to garden and grow her own veg and cut flowers. She is also particularly fascinated by the creatures that visit her garden and loves to photograph and paint them. She hopes to pass her passion for gardening and nature to her children, just as her parents and grandparents did to her. Nicola loves to spend time with her children outdoors and being creative and has volunteered for their local Beavers group in her spare time. She is really excited to work with the children adventuring and learning new things and helping the local community. 


Her biggest goal in life is to someday own chickens and have a bigger vegetable patch or allotment. She would also love to go on a summer adventure in a campervan driving around Europe with her family.

register your interest

If you are interested in your child joining Little Foxes click here to find out further detailed information about how to get them signed up.  

Frequently asked questions

Would you like answers to any further questions?  Hopefully we can help you on our frequently asked questions page.

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