Instructor of the Month: Francesca

Jun 19

Congratulations to our Instructor of the Month for June 2024: Francesca. Francesca trained with us and now teaches baby massage, baby yoga and baby reflexology.

We had a live Zoom interview with Francesca which you can view below. It is a great way to learn more about people running successful baby-led businesses.

You can also read on for an insight into Francesca's journey to becoming an instructor and her experiences 'out in the field'!
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Name: Francesca Speight

Lives: I live in Morley near Leeds in West Yorkshire 

What do you teach?
I teach baby reflexology, baby massage and baby yoga classes. I am also qualified in preschool yoga but I’m not currently running those classes.

How long have you been an instructor?  
I have been an instructor with my qualifications from To Baby and Beyond since 2020 but have been a baby class instructor since 2014 when I qualified as an STA baby and pre school swimming teacher. I stopped that once the lockdowns hit. 

What made you want to become an instructor? Have you always been an instructor? 
I started off in an office and, while I’ve worked in some worthwhile businesses such as the charity Guide Dogs, it’s not something I feel suited me for the long term. 

I had been training to be a counsellor at college and was working as a counsellor for Beat Bullying, the children’s charity. At that time they ran platforms that children could access to chat but also access trained adults like me for sessions. They lost their funding in 2013 so I had to find work. I had a 3 year old by then and couldn’t find anything that would pay much more than the childcare would cost so I started cleaning and ironing; again, not something I wanted long term.

Then I saw an advert for the swimming job and that was it: parent and baby classes! I knew I’d love it and I still do. Even more so now it’s my business. I also found that once I became mum to three children childcare was never going to be affordable so creating my own world seemed the best option. The odd time there’s a training day or I carry on running classes through the shorter holidays, they just come along! 
What’s your favourite part of your job?  
There are so many ‘favourite’ parts! The excitement of planning and taking bookings, meeting the new families and babies, and starting off each class as everyone gets to know each other. Also when parents come back to me for all the courses and building those friendships and seeing their babies grow and develop. I love when mums make friends and stay friends; I get sent photos of mums on a night out, for example, with the caption, “Zen Babies is responsible for this mess”!

How do you keep your skills up to date? 
I’m always on the look out for CPD opportunities at To Baby and Beyond and have enjoyed the masterclasses. I check out other pages and practice ideas and songs at home! 

What qualities do you think are important in an instructor? 
To be an instructor I think it helps to be able to wing it. Have your plans, of course, and if all your behind the scenes work is done, well it’ll be easier but always be ready for babies to change it up and wing it a bit! I feel you need to genuinely enjoy being with mums and babies. I’m a chatty and confident person and definitely learn on the job! 

Do you have a top tip for students and instructors?
A top tip might be to be ready to wing it! Also from a business point of view, have a plan so you can enjoy a family-work balance and not feel like you’re on your phone all the time. Have set admin time. 
Have you had an amusing experience in your work as an instructor? 
The amusing stories are usually when I mess up! I did the Humpty Dumpty song as a submersion song in swimming, got to the end of the song and realised I hadn’t told them to submerge! On a very busy day of a lot of back to back classes, I sang the goodbye song at the start of a class. 

There have been funny moments when we have done “hello baby” in baby yoga and, as they’ve all been swung forward, a baby has vomited in a long line, all the way across my circle centre so across the mat and all the toys! Again, just wing it, swap the mat and remove milky toys! 

Who would you most like to teach on one of your courses and why? 

I have had the Emmerdale cast in my swimming classes which was great fun but I also really love it when someone I already know comes to class because it’s me. It’s so lovely to give that support and experience to friends.

Totally random but a mum who had attended all my classes last summer moved to China and has been in touch to ask if we can do a Zoom course as there’s 47 Beijing Dragon baby club mums and no baby massage courses so I’m working on that! 

What are your plans for the future? 

I have teamed up with a small local business called The Little Biscuit Pottery Painting Studio. Allison and I have started to run annual pregnancy and beyond baby events; this Saturday will be our second (more details here). We gather anyone with a small local business in pregnancy, babies, children and wellbeing and get them together in one place to showcase their super businesses but also raise money for Candlelighters (see below for more info).

Allison also gives a discount card to anyone that books my courses and we support each other on social media too. I feel it’s important to be friends even with those in direct competition as you can sometimes work better in the same place if you’re on speaking terms!

I don’t plan to take on a teacher yet. I have plans for September and am number crunching plans to double my income for this year and again next year. 

I will carry on providing classes at my local Children’s Centre too as they contract me and I invoice them. It’s great as they do all the leg work and I turn up and do the fun bit but it also means the classes are accessible to everyone as they only charge the parents a small amount. 

Thank you Francesca: this is a brilliant insight into how you became an instructor and how your work life has panned out for you! 

You can find Francesca on Facebook and Instagram.


Candlelighters is a charity based in Leeds. They support families facing children's cancer in Yorkshire. They get involved in all sorts of different projects to help ordinary families who are facing extraordinary circumstances. You can find out more about them here.
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