As 2021 draws to a close and we can see 2022 peeking over the horizon, we want to take some time to be grateful for everything this year has held.
First and foremost is our charity of the year, Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT). From rehabilitation opportunities, a range of therapy options, family funding and so much more; CBIT provides an incredible service to families across the UK who are in desparate need. As a company, we have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about this charity and raising vital funds to support their work. Thanks goes to each of our children and their families for taking part in sponsored walks, fundraising opportunities and coffee mornings. Your support has helped us to raise almost £1500 for this amazing cause!
Whilst we were all hopeful that Covid-19 would stay in 2020, that has of course not been the case. We cannot thank each and every one of our staff members, children and their families enough for helping to keep Little Hands a safe place throughout the stages of this pandemic. Operational plans, enhanced cleaning arrangements, group bubbles, vaccination passports, virtual meetings and so many more phrases have become part of our daily conversations and have made nursery experiences a little different. Your patience as we respond to government advice (or law changes!) and your support to implement each safety measure has meant no closures during 2021 and as much normal practice as possible. We are even more hopeful still for 2022 and hope that our roundup next year doesn’t need to include the ‘C’ word!
Something we haven’t done since 2019 happened in 2021…a face to face (not virtual!) event with our families outside of the setting. Our Stourbridge Branch were able to visit a local park with a group of children and their families to explore the environment, take part in a nature hunt, play in the park and share some snack before walking back to nursery. This was a great opportunity to engage with parents in ways that we haven’t done for such a long time. It gave the children opportunities to explore road safety, observe new outdoor spaces and see the changing seasons. Sadly, the weather had other ideas for our Amblecote Branch’s planned walk… however, that didn’t stop them engaging in an additional parent workshop and considering more events like this throughout next year.
Our staff are the most incredible key workers and they have shown commitment, expertise and professionalism like we have never seen before… and that was before a global pandemic! To say thank you and show our appreciation in as many ways as we can, we have launched our Employee Wellbeing Strategy. This strategy includes additional annual leave for staff, access to hundreds of discounts, a plethora of wellness tools within the Perkbox account and much much more. Little Hands strives to continue providing an outstanding service to each of our families at each of our settings and this begins with staff who feel appreciated, are motivated, inspired and can utilise their skills and passions to facilitate the best level of child development and care.
The wellbeing of children is also paramount for Little Hands and we have begun putting together a strategy which outlines the ways in which we promote childhood wellbeing and the plans we have to develop the way we do this for the future. Keep an eye on your emails and our social pages to find out when this is launched.
Speaking of things that are already promoted.. .Little Hands have achieved a Sun Safety award for the second year in a row and proudly display this in both of our settings and within our Parent Prospectus. Both settings are also very happy to have re-qualified as ‘Gold’ settings for the Dudley Healthy Settings award, meaning we have held this accreditation for 2 years also. Of course, it’s not all about the certificate. Little Hands engages with accreditations that will raise the quality of our practice, educate our choices better and ultimately provide the best environment for children when they are away from their home.
Little Hands has been engaging with the Department for Education on a Communication and Language initiative for the past couple of years and this has been an incredible opportunity to further increase the quality of our practice and the outcomes for children. The Early Years Professional Development Project (EYPDP) project is running throughout both branches and has allowed multiple team members to achieve a Level 3 qualification in Communication and Language. Other staff have achieved a Level 4 qualification in Communication Friendly Settings and our Stourbridge Branch has now received their Communication Friendly Setting status! Amblecote are working toward this accreditation and plan to achieve their status early in 2022. It is so rewarding to know that children’s Communication and Language can be better supported and prepare them for incredible future outcomes.
Whilst we continue to celebrate the outstanding practice already available in each of our settings, the wonderful staff, children and their families; Little Hands will continue to consider what else the Company can do to meet the demands of this ever changing world. The most recent effects of this promise has meant some changing job roles. Joe Groom, previously our Amblecote Branch Manager has become our Head of Learning and development. Joe’s new role allows him to take a lead in delivering our high-quality training programme, as well as working alongside our early years leaders and educators to support and refine the observation, planning and assessment processes to the highest level. Aimée Cooper, previously our Quality Improvement Leader has now become our Head of Business Development, who works alongside our teams to successfully promote our ethos and continue to develop our outstanding and innovative early years settings. Aimée’s role allows her to take a lead in aspects of our work such as administration, communications, marketing and employee engagement. Both Aimée and Joe continue to be led by Dale Ramsey, our Company Operations Manager, and they all work collaboratively each week to ensure our nurseries continue to operate at the highest possible level, and promote the highest expectations for all children and our staff teams.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, children and families for their continued support. We are extremely excited for everything to come in 2022 and all of our future adventures! Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.