Tapestry is about capturing the magic of a child's early years experience, and recording children's learning in a way that is easy, fun and affordable.
We’ve thought carefully about every single aspect of our online learning journals, to make it easy for you to track children’s progress – as well as providing parents with special memories to treasure.
So who’s behind Tapestry? We’re a small but growing team coming from a variety of backgrounds; teaching, business, event managing, digital hypermedia storytelling, gym instructing, the civil service and more. Most of us are based on the South Coast in the UK but we’ve recently set up shop in Melbourne, Australia too!
As well as Tapestry, which launched in 2012 and is used by 17,000 educational settings in 40 countries, we’re also behind the Early Years Foundation Stage Forum (FSF). This online community and support network, launched in 2003, is made up of thousands of teachers and practitioners just like you, who are dedicated to early years education. It is from this pool of expertise and shared experience that the idea of Tapestry was born and continues to evolve.
We’re passionate about providing interactive, integrated resources for educators. We’re extremely proud of Tapestry, and believe it will continue to transform the way children’s activities and experiences are recorded and how progress can be tracked and celebrated.
We’d love to hear what you think. We develop and adapt Tapestry according to the needs of those who use it, so if you have an idea of how we can improve we’d like to hear it!
We love the enthusiasm our customers have developed for Tapestry. We intend to continue to innovate and refine our offering to maintain this enthusiasm, as well as to develop new areas in line with the feedback and regular communications we receive from our ‘weavers’. Our ambition is for Tapestry to feel as fresh, new and exciting as they found it to be on their first encounter with it.
To work with educational settings to materially improve their working environment, to save them time and allow them to focus on the most important aspect of their day – their time with the children in their care.
We believe in mutual trust and respect within our team. We also believe that this naturally leads to a positive relationship with our customers, and through prompt and personal responsiveness and support, will do whatever we can to facilitate the service they offer to their clients.
Who are we?
Helen avoided full-time work for many years, following her ambition to be a perpetual student. After a degree in Linguistics, Music and Astronomy (probably the only person to have studied this particular combination of subjects) she gained a D.Phil from Sussex in Experimental Psychology. At the grand old age of 28, she thought she'd better get a proper job, so completed a PGCE and became a primary school teacher. After the birth of her second child she opened her own nursery, which she managed for ten happy years. She was amongst the first to achieve Early Years Professional Status (EYPS), and tutored students on early years courses at Brighton University. She has also been a local authority EYFS advisor and an early years Ofsted inspector.
When it comes down to it, the FSF is basically all Steve’s fault - if you need someone to shout at at any time, he’s almost certainly the one to look for. After working with Ericsson for many years while watching his wife Helen (see below) set up a nursery, he decided he wanted some fun as well.
Having heard about how hard it was to make contact with other early years managers and staff, for support, advice, or just to exchange ideas, he came up with the idea of an online community for early years providers - or, as he put it at the time, a way of ‘joining the dots’. Since then he has spent his time dreaming up other little projects, like PRAMS and Tapestry, and then handing them on to better people to do all the heavy shifting.
The FSF became successful very quickly, being joined by hundreds (and then thousands) of enthusiastic ‘dots’ of which he is, of course, one. Fourteen years down the line, here he still is. Older, slightly more battered, but very happy to be a part of the FSF community.
Andy was rescued from self-employment by the FSF in 2015. After a short adjustment period where he tried to fire colleagues and take over the company, he now spends his time improving and maintaining Tapestry. He is also, in the opinion of all his colleagues, a really kool dood.
Dan has been with us since early 2017, and in his previous incarnation was a serial developer and caretaker of bespoke websites, maintaining around one hundred of them. Since coming to the FSF he has learned more about the daily activities of children than he really expected to, having developed the care diary function in Tapestry. Hopefully, one day he'll put this expertise into practise by, well, having some of his own. In the meantime he's very happy to reliably enjoy full nights of sleep. When he's not on callout duty...
Des joined FSF Development Team in 2018, he is currently rewriting the Tapestry application from scratch for Android devices. His goals are to make the app much more modern and feature rich, with the Care Diary and Register being the first new content. Being a competitive person Des has also set himself the ambitious goal of drinking more tea than Emily. When not working Des enjoys playing with his old motorcycle, hang gliding and real ale.
Emily joined The FSF in 2016 after completing her Bachelor's degree in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. She now works as the Product Support Manager, where supplied with as much tea as humanly possible, she oversees the team that assist our lovely customers with all their Tapestry needs. Emily’s other very important role is to try and supply baked goods for the office whenever possible.
Having grown up watching the FSF and Tapestry flourish into what it is today, Jamie joined the family business in 2018 after a short career as a personal trainer in a gym; the early morning starts and late Friday night shifts were enough to put anyone off exercise for life! Having studied Psychology at university, he found cognitive learning and development the most interesting module and so it was a perfect fit to join the Tapestry team and discover more about educational technology.
Joe joined the (then much smaller) FSF product support team in July 2015 after a variety of successful endeavors elsewhere. Once he'd finished tidying up the garden he went inside to see what was going on with all those computers. After a year of working at the FSF he was surprised to learn that there were five days in a working week, not four, and moved to full time employment. We haven’t the heart to tell him his colleague Andy fired him only months after joining the company. As well as Product Support Joe is in charge of electrical appliance safety and staff Christmas entertainment. Two things he has never managed simultaneously but is aiming for this year.
After graduating in English Literature (the sole aim of which was to read as many novels as possible, a habit she has never managed to kick) Jules qualified as a teacher and taught in schools and nurseries. She had a children’s picture book published, wrote articles for the Foundation Stage Forum in the UK and managed to acquire a family and too many pets. The Tapestry team finally agreed to take her on for real in 2018 and she provides product support as well as working in an education advisory role. She also answers to ‘Juliet’.
Kawsu joined the the team as a web developer in February 2019 to support the evolution of Tapestry. In his past life he has been involved in developing engineering, financial, medical, and telecoms software. He holds a bachelors and a masters degree in computer science and has worked as a visiting lecturer in computing at the University of Brighton. He spends his spare time recording music including jazz, reggae, techno, african, blues, and indie, although not all at once!
Kirk also came to us via the route of his son's school using Tapestry. A 'Creative Technologist' he weaves rich media and web development together in new and inventive ways. Previously producing innovative digital storytelling products and platforms, we're looking forward to seeing how this can be applied to Tapestry's rich media journals. His passions include photography and video.
Lauren joined the Foundation Stage Forum back in 2014 to help support the growing number of Tapestry users after coming to the conclusion that she probably wouldn’t make a very good spy (her other obvious career path). She now spends most of her time keeping track of what is being added to Tapestry when and contributing to various projects. When she’s not at her desk you can usually find Lauren looking for snacks or for a dog to play with.
Louise joined the very small FSF team part time back in 2008, spending the rest of her week moonlighting as a school secretary. After a very brief hiatus (18 months) working full time in school, Louise was lured back in January 2018 as part of the product and customer support teams, finally enabling her to leave school and embark on life as a proper grown up!
Louise is often joined in the office by her mad dog, Eric, who brings chaos and much hilarity to the team.
Matt became part of the FSF team in 2009, after completing his degree in Computer Science. His primary activity was looking after and entertaining Finlay, the office dog, but he still found time to create PRAMS. In 2011 he escaped and was able to obtain a masters degree in Computer Games Programming before being recaptured in 2012 and put to work on the new Tapestry application. Firmly shackled to his desk he tended to Tapestry, bringing it through numerous changes until it became the system it is today. Aided by Rebecca H, he managed to gnaw through his chains and together they fled to Australia in 2017. Matt continues to work remotely for the FSF, and in his spare moments likes to brew beer, prepare tasty things to eat and get outside in the sunshine when possible.
Olaya joined Tapestry in August 2017, having moved to England from the Basque Country in 2014. After completing her MSc and testing the waters of event management, she found her place among us. She writes tutorials, tests new Tapestry features, but, mainly, she will respond to any and all of your questions, so if you have had a query recently, it is quite likely that you have come across her exotic name (pronounced ‘oh liar’ or ‘Oh-Leia’, depending on your love for Star Wars. She will respond to both), and ‘American Spanglish’ accent if you’ve happened to talk to her on the phone! Olaya is currently translating Tapestry into Spanish, and coordinates and manages all exhibitions, conferences and other events we attend. Multitasking at its best!
Rebecca H was first informally introduced to the FSF and Tapestry via Matt K, where she became devoted to the office dog – Finlay. Then in August 2016 after completing her Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics, she made her relationship more formal by joining the FSF as product support, Emily’s fellow tea guzzler and linguistic sage (not the herb). She currently resides in Australia, spending much of her time concocting patisserie, watching sausage dogs and investigating Hindi through Bollywood lyrics.
Sue began working at the FSF way back in 2005, and has the scars to prove it. She looks after customers as the customer service manager, and anyone who looks after one of the FSF local authority schemes will undoubtedly have had a lot of contact with her. Prior to this her career included customer services roles with HSBC before moving to do UK and Export sales for a large manufacturing firm. Once her children were in school Sue worked in Helen's nursery for several years, having achieved her NVQ Level 3 in Early Years Care and Education. In her spare time (we don't give her much of that) she plays a mean round of golf and cares lovingly for her dog Billy.
Tim has had a varied career, including at least these three elements: he was an IT manager in a local newspaper organisation; he holds Early Years Teacher Status and built a childminding business; currently he looks after the FSF's IT systems and is a member of the product support team. All this still leaves him time to cycle more miles than it can possibly be good for anyone to complete.
Tom joined us in 2015, having previously been a deputy director for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). He's an engineer by training and has a PhD in the subject, which makes him very handy when it comes to, for example, getting the new FSF fridge to work. Tom came to us through an increasingly common route - his son went to a nursery using Tapestry and liked the product so much he thought he'd join us and make it even better. He currently looks after the Tapestry iOS and Android apps, but has his finger in many different FSF pies, including being responsible for preparing us for GDPR compliance.