The staff teams from Midford Road and Oldfield Road nurseries in Bath have taken part in a socially distanced training day held hosted and run by the director of both nurseries, Amy Parfitt. The day focussed on supporting wellbeing, developing deeper understanding of childhood experiences, sharing information about the nurseries’ new action research project and thinking hard about the value of play.
“As a company we have always placed the wellbeing of our staff as one of our highest priorities, both because we value them and because we know that children will pick up on the emotional states of the grown-ups caring for them,” said Louise Phillips, acting manager of Oldfield Road Nursery. “We are always ensuring we create the best environment for our children to thrive and become confident, resilient people with strong mental health, and supporting our team is a powerful way to do this.
“We know how hard the global pandemic has been for all our families and staff to navigate, and with the change in the season we spent the morning focussing on ways our team can support their own mental health and increase wellbeing.
“We want our staff to have walked away with some good tools to support them with their mental health and wellbeing, at work and at home.”
Other parts of the day were spent discussing ways to develop the team’s play-based ethos and initiating a research project, led by Midford’s deputy manager Katie Victor-Trott, exploring how to create even more beautiful, meaningful records of the children’s time at nursery.
The teams discussed their own childhood memories and how they can aim to provide space for the children to create memories such as those from within their time at nursery. This included a big focus on being outside and creating their own games, something encouraged across both nurseries. The teams’ memories were jogged by enjoying childhood-favourite sweets and drinks and asking each other questions about their favourite childhood memories – with favourite bedding proving to be a big hit!
In the afternoon, the teams took part in an exclusive Zoom call with Denita Dinger from Play Counts/Kaleidoscope Play School in the US, who shared how her love of play have evolved, along with powerful insights into involving parents in embracing the power of play.
“Denita was very inspiring and reaffirmed that our approach is powerful and that play truly is the best possible way to learn for young children, and probably for adults too!”, said Victoria Burns, manager at Midford Road Nursery.
The day also gave the teams a chance to look back on their recent developments prior to the training day. In late September, some of the team attended Zoom training with Anna Ephgrave, the founder of the In The Moment Planning approach to early years education which is follow across both nurseries. They have also begun to collaborate with Mine Conkbayir (award-winning lecturer and trainer with a PhD in early childhood and neuroscience) as part of a larger research study into supporting children’s ability to self-regulate and creating an environment which supports all children to overcome early trauma. This has been identified by the teams as something that is likely to be incrasingly important as the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown becomes apparent.
For more information about the Midford Road and Oldfield Road nurseries, click here.