Before joining the Townhouse team, my passion for early years was cemented in the hustle and bustle of a busy toddler room. I would never have thought that any age of development would capture my heart like that of a chatty and cheeky toddler.
However, joining the Townhouse team offered me the opportunity to work with our youngest children in the baby room. Being welcomed and valued as an important part of the baby room team has been wonderful and I have developed a new found confidence working with the babies.
Seeing my colleagues make sure the highest priority is given to making sure the babies are happy and emotionally secure has reinforced everything I believe working with young children should be in a high quality nursery setting.
On joining the team, I was truly inspired by the patience and dedication of staff during the settling in process for new children. There is a regular practice of home visits to help settle new children which is hugely successful in getting the relationship off to a great start between family and nursery from day one.
Two of the team who will be working with the family take along some lovely resources and use play to build attachments with children whilst supporting parents in putting together a document called “My Unique Child”, giving information that nursery need to know to help them best support and tailor care that reflects and complements home. But most importantly home visits are where relationships begin to blossom.
When the time comes for a visit to nursery, every visit is personal to each child and family, with time given for babies to feel safe and secure in their new surroundings whilst building nurturing relationships. To further support our families, their child’s key person will invite the family for a meeting six weeks after their start date, called the “How are we doing meeting”. This focuses upon how their baby has settled. We then go on to share and celebrate our children’s progress during parents’ evenings that further strengthen these important partnerships.
Being a baby room practitioner at Townhouse is never the same as the previous day but it always exceeds my expectations. The “professional love” relationships that staff share with our babies is nurturing and inspirational. (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/professional-love-early-years-1.543307)
The care given to each of our babies is unique and the bonds that have been built are special. Every day starts with a warm welcome. The adults will always be heard to ask “How are you today?”, listening to verbal and non-verbal communication to ensure children are best supported and their needs are met.
My favourite part of caring for babies is in the care routines; the closeness of bottle feeding, the warm-hearted soft touches during sleep routines and the gentle encouragement for weaning babies during our sociable meal times.
As you enter the baby room you will find inviting and creative learning opportunities where messy play and sensory experiences are embedded in the routine as a vital element of how young children this age experience the world and learn.
Being covered in paint, finding couscous in your socks and having gloop in your hair is really quite typical of being a baby room practitioner! At Townhouse we place a great emphasis on teaching and learning. We plan daily experiences that really capture the awe and wonder in our babies and through our observations we are in tune with every child’s unique learning experience and plan to enhance this, supporting our babies to thrive in all areas of learning.
Our Key Person system allows us to spend time during individual or small group activities that respond to babies’ interests, developments and next steps in learning. We place great emphasis upon facilitating the building blocks of development where children begin to build relationships, become mobile and start to coo and babble as early communicators. It really is awe inspiring to see babies learn, develop and grow at such a pace where they learn many new things every day. But, personally the best sound in the world is when we hear our babies laugh, gurgle and belly-chuckle. There’s nothing quite like it!
Through our baby room environment, we allow babies to explore as we create stimulating activities indoors and outdoors that extend valuable learning opportunities. A firm favourite is exploring making marks through chalking or using water and paintbrushes. I love to watch our babies as they explore the garden, make mud pies, fill and empty to create sandcastles in the sandpit and water our growing strawberries and beautiful flowers.
We love to take our younger and non-mobile babies out into the community where they can explore our local park, feed the ducks at the pond and watch trains as they pass through the village.
We recently visited the Townhouse allotment; a real sensory feast! Using our eyes to see, noses to smell, hands to touch and ears to hear all the wonderful things around us. Our children could see the growth taking place between visits, they were able to smell and touch plants and flowers and were truly fascinated by the environment at the allotment as they helped to care for our plants by watering them and showed curiosity in the different scarecrows that protect our plants.
Every day, we give personalised feedback to parents about their babies’ day at Townhouse. We try to convey in a brief chat all the important information about sleeps, bottles, meals and nappies and we try our best to share the all the special moments that have taken place in a fun-filled, busy day together.
It is a lovely time of day to see our mummies and daddies so happy to be reunited in cuddles with their baby. Warm smiles and genuine affection are shared between staff and parents as we continue to build strong relationships that hold each of these children at the centre and make sure we care for them just as their families would want us to.