by Eleanor Smith, Service Manager, Keith.
When we re-visit our own childhoods, we think about climbing trees, jumping streams, scaling rocks and all the other adventures we entailed. These memories are the ones we remember, why? It is because of the emotions we felt. We experienced fear, anticipation, excitement, and thrill and then that fantastic sense of achievement.
Children actively seek challenge, and it is a fundamental part of their development. It is our role to provide opportunities for risky play and allow children to have these first-hand experiences. Through a simple activity such as the ladder, children felt these emotions, they supported each other, and celebrated each other’s achievements, creating a memory that will last a lifetime.
Making a difference
I joined Flexible Childcare Services exactly three months ago today when the restrictions for Covid-19 were just beginning to lift, and the Government were setting out paths for early years settings to operate safely. Families had experienced the emotional rollercoaster that had swept over them during the lockdown, with changes in their support systems, work situations and missing friends and extended family. This had an immediate effect on our young children. In normal circumstances, opening a new setting in itself would bring challenges but here I was faced with how to support children through their transitions into the setting while thinking about how their wellbeing had been effected during this unprecedented time.
Bronfenbrenner discussed in his eco-theory of the five ecological systems that interact and influence all aspects of a child’s life. I had been studying this through my BA in childhood practice. I found this along with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs an invaluable tool in thinking on a deeper level about the needs of both the children, families, and staff team in my setting.
We have spent the first few months with children’s wellbeing at the heart of everything we have done. Supporting families through emails, phone calls and videos to ensure they connected with us as a team and felt included in their child’s care and learning.
Although currently, we are a small staff team, I feel each bring our own set of strengths and experiences. We respect each other, take time to praise and encourage while also discussing how to further develop practice and set goals for both the short and long term. I am a highly experienced Manager with high expectations of myself and of the team; however, I also know the importance of taking care of staff wellbeing by understanding individual circumstances, supporting and empowering them to reach their own personal goals.
Since starting with the company, I have been introduced to a team on all levels, who have taken the time to welcome me, support me and celebrate my achievements in setting up our Keith setting. The ethos of the company is in tune with my own thoughts and aspirations, and each member has the same dedication and passion for providing a service that genuinely supports our families and children. I am excited to be part of the future of FCSS and be an integral part of its growth and successes.
Our setting is an absolute joy to be in, where children are valued and supported, celebrated, and nurtured. Where a sense of magic and wonder is created for the children through creative spaces and open-ended resources. Using the Hygge approach allows for a relaxed atmosphere, where moments are captured, and memories are made. Taking a photo of a special moment, a smile, a face full of glee that has just accomplished what they set out to do, after trying many times. Taking time to listen to the story that a child has made up and being on their level and embracing our inner child.
So, our aims for the future are simple, to ensure our children know that they have adults around them who champion them in whatever choices they make. To understand their individual needs and take them on a journey of discovery, progression, and magical moments. To build resilient, confident individuals who will have assurance and acceptance of their individual personalities and life choices. Finally, to continue to build relationships with our families to enable us to support them wherever we can.