Meet the 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.


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’!


Rachael Logan – Nursery Manager
Rachael is our lovely Nursery Manager 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.

Annie Kawai-Calderhead – Educational Lead
Annie is our Educational Lead and is a former primary school teacher. Annie has a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology and a PGCE from Cambridge University where she specialised in Early Years. Annie uses her considerable teaching experience to develop and maintain our unique Farm School curriculum.

Room Managers

Deputy Manager – Leanne Jones

Leanne joined the Mini Explorers family in the summer of 2017 and quickly established herself as the nursery’s firepit-cooking expert! She and Rachael work alongside each other and love dreaming up new and exciting adventures for our Mini Explorers to enjoy. Leanne has a BA (Hons) in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Childhood Studies.

Labradors – Laura
Laura is Room Manager for our busy 3-5-year-old pre-school room. Laura is most likely to be found outside, exploring the farm with our children (she’s the one who is normally covered head to toe in mud!). Laura enjoys nothing more than helping the children take care of our yummy kitchen garden, and loves encouraging them to experiment with our delicious home-grown food. Laura is currently finishing her Level 6 Degree in Early Childhood Studies.

Dalmatians – Rhianna
Rhianna – who is our former pre-school Room Manager – took over the role of Room Manager for our toddlers in March 2018. Rhianna has a fantastic ability to spot a muddy puddle at a hundred paces, and is normally the first one to make a splash! Rhianna and her toddle-tastic team are always creating fun and exciting learning opportunities for their energetic little band of children. Rhianna has a Level 6 Degree in Early Childhood Studies.

Hoppity Hares – Charlotte 
Charlotte is our Room Manager in Hoppity Hares, where she works alongside Claire. Charlotte has ten years of experience in Early Years, having previously worked as a nanny and also as a room leader in another nursery. Charlotte loves messy play and exploring the great outdoors with the tiniest of our walking Mini Explorers.

Baby Bunnies – Donna
Donna is the very gently Room Manager for our tiniest pre-walking Mini Explorers. Donna has over fifteen years’ experience of nursery settings and also has her very own 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!

Illustration of a hill

The UK's first Farm School Nursery
"Never work with children or animals they told us. You know what, we love working with both!"