Anna Buck


Anna has three young children; William who attends Bideford College and Edison and Beatrix, both attending St Marys School. 

Prior to her time studying Anna spent 15 years working at the North Devon Journal gaining many skills and qualifications in marketing. After the birth of Beatrix in 2013 Anna decided to pursue a career in Education. 

Anna took up a place at Petroc College studying Teacher Specialist Support in 2015. The course provided Anna the opportunity to study a selection of Early Years provisions in Sweden. She witnessed the culture of Swedish Preschools, whereby children play outside at every opportunity, even in the depths of winter they are bundled into their wet weathers, hats and gloves and are encouraged outside. This was the trip that Anna describes as her `epiphany'


The trip highlighted how outdoor play had so many benefits for young people and early learners. Being a mother of three in the modern world of games consoles and interactive toys, Anna could appreciate how easy it had become to overlook the importance of outdoor play. Anna also knew at this point that she owned a piece of land that would accommodate such a provision back in Devon.

As part of her studies Anna also spent a year supporting the Head of Foundation, at her local primary school, St Mary's School. This highlighted the need for a before and after school facility for the school of which she has created at Muddy Boots. The placement also provided Anna with an in depth insight into the continuum of education and highlighted the sensitivity of the transition process from pre-school to foundation class.


In August 2017 Anna completed her level 7 Early Years Teaching Qualification with the University of St Mark and St John whilst plans were being completed for the school project. Since opening its doors in January 2018 the school has continued to grow and develop through much reflective practice.


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Catherine Smith


Cath has worked in Early Years since she was 19. She has recently completed her Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies with a Merit. Cath is a Level 3 Forest School Leader. Catherine recently completed training to become a THRIVE community champion. She is also able to carry out Lets Talk More screenings through her role as a Lets Talk More Champion.

Cath had a baby in October 2020. Currently on maternity leave, Cath is enjoying the cuddles and quality with her daughter before she returns. 

Kim Chard


Kim completed her Foundation Degree in Early Childhood in which she gained a Merit.Kim has recently completed her level 3 Certificate in Forest School whilst on day release from Muddy Boots and practices forest school influenced activities with the children regularly. In 2018 Kim ran the London Marathon For CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) A charity that is close to our hearts at Muddy Boots. Kim has two very active boys, who run for Bideford Blues.

Anna Brown

Early Years Practitioner

Anna started doing voluntary work at Instow Preschool nearly 5 years ago, after being made redundant and making a decision to follow a new career path . She was soon hired and has since gained her Level 2 and 3 diploma in Early Years. She has 2 children and when time allows she trains for triathlons.


Nicola Emery

Early Years Practitioner

Niki moved from Bristol in 2001. Niki has an NVQ level 3 in Childcare.  She has been a Teaching Assistant for 10 years and can't imagine doing anything else.

Niki is extremely creative, with a love of crafts and singing. Niki can often be seen whizzing to and from Muddy Boots on her electric bike.

Vics Cripps

Admin Assistant

After starting a family, 2 boys and a dog. Vics has been working in administration and accounting for her family business. She is thrilled to be part of the Muddy Boots Team.

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Laura Brown
Early Years Practitioner
Laura has a level 2 in Childcare and Education. Laura has three active boys and two dogs that keep her busy on her days off. Laura has a love of being outdoors and long walks. Laura and her family love football, and Laura is often found pitch side cheering her boys on. 

Alice Hammett

Early Years Practitioner

Alice is qualified primary school teacher, with her initial degree in Art & Design.

Alice is a mother to two girls. They also have 2 rescue dogs called Ollie and Stan. 

Alice also runs 'Moo Music Bideford, Barnstaple and Bude', interactive music sessions in the local area. 

Laura Wyatt
Early Years Student Practitioner
Laura is completing her final year for her Early Years Educator Level 3 Diploma. She has a daughter, who attended Muddy Boots, and is a true wood-kid rebel.
Laura enjoys family walks and going to the beach.