As part of our 25th anniversary celebrations, we have interviewed some of our longest serving members of staff, to find out what is was like to work at Tops all those years ago! Our first interview was with Maria Thomas-Luker, our Administration and Communications Director who has been working for Tops for 25 years this year.
“I joined Tops Day Nurseries as a Nursery Assistant back in 1990 so its fantastic seeing the company celebrate 25 years. I have so many memories of my time here, and being part of the design team for our 18th birthday rebrand is one of my biggest achievements; it was such an honour to be asked and the whole day and re-launch was very emotional, I was so proud to work for Tops. I came into work on the morning to find birthday cards through the door from neighbours, and to see our new logo swinging on the sign outside made me cry, I thought I’d burst with pride.
I remember one day we were showing the children how to make popcorn right under a smoke alarm which set off the fire alarm. The fire service arrived and our popcorn making activity turned into a ‘look inside a fire engine and pressing the siren button’ activity. The children had a fantastic time and we practiced our fire evacuation procedure!
We also had a burst pipe one day and a member of staff came to my office to tell me we have some water leaking through the ceiling. I expected a few drops, but when I went in the room water was literally pouring through the ceiling. One child said to me “Is it raining inside?!”. The children wanted to stay and stand under the water!
I also remember reading a story to about 30 children and I was on a small chair. We had a few visitors at the nursery and everyone was listening, it was very quiet and one little girl who was sitting right in front of me was stroking my legs as I had tights on. You could hear a pin drop when all of a sudden the little girl who was stroking my legs said in her biggest clearest voice “YOUR LEGS ARE ALL PRICKLY!”
Since joining the company I have achieved my Levels 2, 3 and 4 in Childcare and my Level 7 in Management and Leadership. I really enjoy working for Tops as I love being part of such a fantastic team. We all have such amazing strengths as individuals but together as a team we achieve so much and I’m always so proud to say I’ve worked for Cheryl for 25 years. It’s like being part of a very special family.”