SENNIES is a Special Education Needs childcare service which sources, trains and supports SEN childcarers.
At Scott Dunn, we are dedicated to ensuring every family has the opportunity to enjoy all aspects of their holiday regardless of ability. We have partnered with SENNIES, a Special Educational Needs (SEN) childcare service that helps families and businesses to source, vet and train quality SEN childcarers, also known as ‘Sennies’. SENNIES is run by Georgia, a neurodivergent ‘Super Sennie’ with over a decade of professional and personal experience within Special Educational Needs in both the private care and educational sectors, who classes ADHD as her superpower.
How SENNIES childcare works at our Explorers Kids Clubs
This partnership enables us to provide specialist 1:1 childcare support within our Explorers Kids Clubs for children with additional and/or special needs.
After consultation with the SENNIES team to fully understand your child’s individual needs, an experienced ‘Sennie’ will be matched with your child, based on your child’s needs, to help ensure they have the best experience on holiday. Your personal Sennie will aim to keep your child engaged in the group and only get involved in activities and conversation as and when needed. However, for children who find the environment too overwhelming or find it more challenging to take part in group or specific activities, your Sennie will be able to take your child on their own adventure, prioritising your child's needs and creating an adjusted individual schedule as required. This may include things like more sensory play, and more or less time at the beach or by the pool.
This is the first partnership of its kind and SENNIES and Scott Dunn are dedicated to ensuring that all families have the chance to enjoy fulfilling and memorable holidays. Both Scott Dunn and SENNIES understand how integral 1:1 support is for many children, even for some without SEN, and we are proud to offer this service as we look toward an inclusive future.
Why Explorers kids clubs?
You’re a parent – you’re exhausted, and you need some well-earned down time. And that’s exactly what’s on offer totally guilt-free, at our Explorers kids club destinations, Med, Alps, UAE and Indian Ocean. Ultimate luxury for you and unparalleled excitement and activities for your children, in an environment where children are safe, happy and encouraged to feel independent.
SENNIES testimonial - Giedre’s family trip to Daios Cove, Crete
Having autistic 5-year-old twins, a family holiday was at the bottom of our to-do list. Going to another country and trying to ensure your kids stay safe and adjust to different climate, food and surroundings, was just too much. Quite frankly, it would certainly not be a holiday to any of us.
When Sarah Beecham (Head of Service at Scott Dunn) asked me to trial the kids club with a SEN trained nanny, I was over the moon – with a ‘normal’ holiday out of reach for us, I was so proud of Scott Dunn for trying to make their holidays more inclusive and accessible to others
I completed the form about my girls’ needs, which allowed SENNIES to find the best match for us. A few weeks later, we met our Sennie Ria via teams call to discuss the upcoming holiday and chat through any queries we had. It was great for Kenzie and Zara to see Ria before our trip, so her face would be familiar once we arrived at the hotel.
We got caught in the Gatwick Airport school half-term madness with queues outside the airport. Luckily, we had arranged special assistance, which allowed us to check in and jump the queues at security, with assistants helping us all the way through. Gatwick prides itself as being a SEN friendly airport and even has a sensory room, which can be booked in advance with only one family/party allowed to use it at the time. Although I had booked the sensory room, due to busy departures and our flight departing at 7am (the sensory room opens at 6am), we did not get a chance to visit it. We were allowed to board the flight first to make sure we were settled before everyone else boarded.
The flight was my biggest fear – having flown with the girls last year and other travellers on board not being very understanding, I was worried about the 4-hour flight to Crete. However, while travelling on the aircraft full of families with children, everyone was friendly and helpful.
We were met by a driver in Crete and smoothly transferred to our hotel Daios Cove. Upon arriving at our room, we were pleasantly surprised – we were given a room with seaviews and an infinity pool, with a welcoming note from Penelope, the Scott Dunn resort manager. The room was set up with two rollaway beds for the girls along with their Explorers Kids Club bags with Scott Dunn rash vests, bottles and hats. After ordering some food to our room, we took the funicular down to the beach and explored the area together. The funicular, or as my girls referred to it the ‘train’, was a very exciting experience for them and they did not get bored of it throughout our stay.
After a long day of travelling, the girls did not settle in the new room very easily. Eventually, they both fell asleep with me in the big bed (which was probably big enough to fit all four of us) and daddy ended up on the rollaway bed.
The next morning, after breakfast, we took the girls to the Explorers Kids Club. Ria was already waiting for us – Kenzie and Zara did not even turn back; they were so excited to explore the new play area and all the different toys! Just like in every unfamiliar place with my kids, I was scanning the room and making sure there were no escape routes – the setup was perfect. I left the girls at the club with ease, knowing that SEN nanny, who is highly experienced in working with autistic children and understands their needs, would be looking after them. We spent a day at the beach completely relaxed, knowing that our girls were well looked after, and they were having fun.
We went to pick them up at 5.30pm and they just ignored us – they were having fun. When Kenzie eventually spotted me, she just took my hand and wanted me to join her rather than leave the club! After dinner and a quick walk on the beach, we went back to our room to get the girls ready for bed. They were so happy and content, falling asleep without any issues.
With the girls settled at the Explorers Kids Club, Paul and I were brave enough to visit and explore the local town during our stay, leaving the Diaos Cove property. Before we went on this trip, I was adamant I would not be leaving the resort in case my girls needed me. But they didn’t – Kenzie and Zara were happy and safe, giving me confidence to have time away from them. Ria was great – kept me updated on their time at the club, taking them swimming, baking cookies together and making sure fussy Zara ate some of her lunch.
Having time away from the girls during the day gave us a chance to relax, but also not to feel guilty for not spending every minute with them. They were happy and content and still spending evenings with us, which always included visiting the beach, throwing sand in the water and looking for seashells. It was a perfect balance.
Time away gave me a break I so desperately needed – to switch off and for once in five years actually relax, knowing Kenzie and Zara are well looked after and making great memories of their own.