Profile - Margaret Peart

I am the Principal of First Steps Nursery School which has been based in Dore Old School since 1989.

Originally from North Wales, I moved with my family to ‘downhill’ Dore (Vernon Road) in 1981 when my husband was relocated to Sheffield with the Manpower Services Commission. Previously I had worked as a welfare officer at an employment rehabilitation centre in Surrey and as an advice worker with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Once settled in Sheffield, I continued working at the CAB while looking after a young daughter and was also Secretary of Sheffield Free Legal Information Service.

In 1982 Lynne Stuart and I started Holiday Fun, a programme of activities for school-age children: everything from abseiling to water sports as well as art, crafts, music,
history and day trips. In 1989 we opened First Steps Nursery School to provide high-quality early years education in the village, working together until Lynne died in 2008.
Nowadays, the nursery school team of early years teachers and practitioners iswelcoming back children of past pupils.

I have a keen interest in the creative arts. I am a member of Sheffield Oratorio Chorus and a regular at Opera North in Leeds. I was a member of the organising committee of the Dore Millennium Play in 2002, a community project which attracted Local Heritage Initiative Funding and told the story of Dore’s history through a series of playlets written by playwright Caroline Small. One way or another, about 1000 people were involved in the project, either as performers, helpers, audience members and the age range of those contributing was from 4 to 91 years! One outcome of the project was the establishment of the Dore Oral History group which still continues to record the memories of those who have lived and worked in Dore.

Recently I have become involved in the campaign to prevent the unnecessary felling of Sheffield street trees and I was one of the organisers of the 2018 Sheffield Tree Festival. This was a day of reflection and celebration with tree and bird walks, music, art, writers and expert discussions.

I enjoy walking and learning more about all aspects of the natural world. During the spring, early on Sunday mornings, I and friends may be seen recording the numbers and species of birds that can be found on streets in ‘downhill’ Dore. I am keen to ensure that the natural environment in Dore is protected and that young and old are given the opportunity to learn more about the trees, plants and wildlife on our doorsteps. As someone said recently: if you want to save the world, start in your own
back yard.

Along the way I have picked up a degree in psychology from the Open University and I’m currently finding out how hard watercolour painting is.