Meet our Team

Steph Pybus
Founder and owner Steph is the beating heart of Mini Explorers and is often the first point of contract for any new families to the nursery. Often seen running about the farm with a phone in one hand and a notepad in the other, Steph is always knee-deep in one project or another. From recruiting flocks of pregnant Herdwick sheep, to re-developing the mud kitchens, Steph is on a never-ending quest to make Mini Explorers an even more exciting and dynamic setting for our children.

Steph Pybus

Farmer Mark
Mark Pybus, or ‘Farmer Mark’ as he is known to our children, is our resident farmer and agronomist. When he’s not zooming about the farm in his distinctive black Land Rover looking busy and important, he can often to be found talking to small groups of Mini Explorers about his work, and enlisting their help to plant trees, move chicken sheds and mend fences. There are always jobs to be done!

Grandad Bobby
Proving that Mini Explorers really is a family-affair, Grandad Bobby is one< of the many characters you will hear your children talk about. Grandad Bobby is our resident maintenance guru and groundsman. He helps the children with many of their gardening projects, and oversees the landscaping of the Crabtree Hall grounds. Whilst the children know him as Grandad Bobby, he will be more familiar to many parents as ‘the man on the mower’!



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Rachael Lattimer – Nursery Manager

Rachael is our lovely manager who has been with us since 2013 and is responsible for the day to day smooth-running of Mini Explorers. Rachael is always on hand to answer questions and queries from parents. Whenever she can sneak away from her desk she loves to spend time outdoors on the farm with the children and animals. Rachael has a BA (Hons) in Early Years, and with two of her own children at Mini Explorers offers a unique perspective that is both personal and professional.

Laura Turner – Deputy Manager
Laura is our fabulous deputy manager who works in both the main office and downstairs with the children – we like to keep her busy! Laura has a thorough working knowledge of Mini Explorers having joined us in 2016 as a Room Leader. She quickly earned promotion to Room Manager and now Deputy Manager. Laura holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years.

Kelly Hawkes – Educational Lead and SENCo
Kelly has a BA (Hons) in Early Years and is QTS certified. She believes passionately that every child is unique and therefore their learning style, experiences and emotional needs are individual too. She works tirelessly to support and guide our Early Years Team to promote a child-focussed approach. As SENCo, Kelly also supports Mini Explores with any additional needs, often working in partnership with outside agencies to ensure every child achieves their full potential.


Room Seniors

Farm School 2 – Chloe

Chloe is Room Manager for our busy Farm School 2. Chloe is most likely to be found outside, exploring the farm with our children (she’s the one covered head to toe in mud!). Chloe enjoys helping the children take care of our yummy kitchen garden, and loves encouraging them to experiment with our delicious home-grown food. Chloe has completed her Level 6 Degree in Early Childhood Studies.

Farm School 1 – Nichola

Nichola has been with Mini Explorers since 2014 and is a much-loved part of our DNA! Nichola manages our Farm School 1 room alongside her team of six Early Years Educators, and is always the first to dive headlong into new outdoor adventures with the children. Nichola has completed her Level 6 Degree in Early Childhood Studies.

Toddlers – Sarah

Sarah is our Toddler Room leader who took over in March 2020. Sarah is an enthusiastic and creative team member who loves to mastermind creative opportunities for our toddlers.  Sarah and her toddler team love going out on walks to explore our farm, and making big splashes in our muddy puddles! Sarah holds a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies.

Hoppity Hares – Charlotte

Charlotte heads up our Hoppity Hares class where she and her lovely team look after our oldest babies as they gain confidence on their feet and begin to fully-explore and appreciate the beautiful surrounds of Mini Explorers. Charlotte has just started to work towards her Level 4 in Early Years to help further her knowledge of the youngsters in her charge.

Baby Bunnies – Donna

Donna is the very gentle Room Manager for our tiniest pre-walking Mini Explorers. Donna has over fifteen years’ experience of nursery settings and has her very own little Mini Explorer! Donna and her lovely team enjoy getting messy and encouraging our Baby Bunnies to explore with all their senses, especially through edible play. Donna and all our baby room team hold specific baby training, so they are all very knowledgeable and are always on hand to answer your questions and queries.

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Yorkshire's award-winning Farm School Nursery

WINNER: Best Rural Education or Training Business, UK Rural Business Awards, 2019
RUNNER UP: Outstanding rural diversification project, UK Rural Business Awards, 2017

Sing and Sign Affiliate Nursery