Session Leaders

The Budokwai Babies and Toddlers Team

Meet the Session Leaders ....
All our staff are fully CRB checked and have experience working with children. Most of our team have stayed with The Budokwai for many years and are still enjoying it!!



In Katie's gym classes, your child will not only learn about balance, co-ordination and movement through exercise and races, but also through music, dance and song. Children will also work on interaction skills within their peer-group and have lots of fun along the way. The freedom that they have in our secure, fully cushioned dojo really gives your child that sense of independence that they don't have in the park.


George has worked at The Budokwai for over ten years as a Session Leader for the JudoGym classes. Prior to that he was a manager for a mobile creche company called 'Nipabout' with children ranging from 0-16 years. He trained as an actor and has worked extensively in theatre and he brings this energy to his classes, making them lively and fun.


My name is Lee Gonzalez and I have been involved in the Budokwai since joining the club myself as a child many, many years ago. I have taught children at this club now for over 20 years and been involved in "babies and toddlers" and "judo-gym" sessions since they were first launched here over 15 years ago. Still, after all these years, I am passionate about my job. The satisfaction I get, from the triumphs and achievements of the wide variety of children I meet, more than compensates for the challenge of keeping all their different personalities happy and safe while they learn new skills.

Experience has taught me to keep the emphasis on fun (being a big kid myself helps), whether it is learning to take your first steps or mastering the art of a judo technique. The fact that I also teach mini, midi and junior judo classes, which children can move on to later, means I have the privilege of seeing many children progress through to their teens and often into adulthood (yes that does make me feel old). Another reason I am still passionate about my job is that I get to work alongside many talented and inspirational people. Along with the feedback from children and parents this enables me to continue my own learning and maintain enthusiasm, even on the more challenging days.


My name is Clara and I recently joined the club. I have ten years experience working with children and art studies background. Particularly as a UNICEF volunteer I gained experience organising educational activities with specific topics targeted at children and families.I am interested in interacting with children through painting, drawing and singing which are first steps to build their self esteem and creativity.
During the art sessions I would like parents and nannies take part in the activities as to create an even more nicer and constructive environment.


I am the latest member to join the Budokwai team. I have worked in the independent, state and voluntary sector and have 20 years experience working and teaching young children covering all areas of the national curriculum.

My particular interests are language development through song and drama and giving children the opportunity to experiment and build self esteem through art.

You will find me in the art classes on Mondays and Fridays.


My background is in the arts and my training was at Chelsea School of Art. I have been working in the Babies and Toddlers Art sessions for the last 3 years and it really is a pleasure. I love seeing the children engage in the projects that the Babies and Toddlers Art Team develop and watching their confidence and sense of achievement mature as time goes on. I feel that my role is to encourage the children to make marks, experiment and explore through artistic means and really to have fun. In terms of art, whatever they create cannot be wrong and creativity is just a really valuable tool for their development, helping them to concentrate and gain in confidence.


My name is Ayeisha and I work in the art class for Budokwai Babies and Toddlers which I enjoy very much. We have different themes every week which the children are able to take home and keep. Before I started working here I worked in private nurseries with babies. I have always enjoyed working with children. I have also worked in after school clubs and as a Teacher Assistant. I have qualifications in NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Child Care. I have a child of my own aged 3 who is in nursery and enjoys it very much. I myself, enjoy spending time with my family and being a mother to my child.


Lucia started teaching music in 2007, when she spent seven months in Malawi, setting up choirs for adults and children, and teaching music in a local school. She then trained as an opera singer at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and now works as a music educator in England and Ireland with companies such as Streetwise Opera and Northern Ireland Opera.

Lucia holds fond, (albeit very hazy) memories of the music classes she went to as a young child and believes they have had a big impact on her life. She is a strong believer in introducing children to music from a very young age. Her classes at The Budokwai incorporate well known nursery rhymes, classical and world music, and her own compositions. The classes with babies have strong multi-sensory elements and there is always a mixture of singing, dancing, musical instruments, bubbles, parachute, coloured materials, mirrors and puppets. Because the dojo is such an amazing space, there is plenty of time for the children to explore it, have races (for the older children) and play with the development - enhancing toys.

Learn more about Lucia's work and experience from this extract of Music Teacher Magazine published in December 2014: