At Little Hands the well-being of our team, children and their families is a high priority. In this blog post we will describe the different methods we follow to promote well-being in our everyday practice.
Promoting the well-being of children?
In our everyday practice all staff make sure that they promote the well-being of children. During circle time, the practitioners give time for children to express how they feel. The practitioners use Makaton sign language whilst labelling the different emotions we all might feel throughout the day. For younger children, during circle time we use decorated wooden spoons to help visualise emotions. Practitioners use Makaton sign language whilst labelling the emotion and showing the suitable wooden spoon.
At Little Hands, we have books where children are able to learn about the range of different emotions. Story books describe characters that children might relate to and model emotions including strategies to help deal with our emotions in a healthy way. For example, The Very Hungry Worry Monster or The Rainbow Fish.
Having a healthy and balanced diet plays an important role in the well-being of children. At meal times we offer healthy and hearty food options to the children and they have the opportunity to try different types of fruit and vegetables. In the rooms there is a water station accessible to the children throughout the day. Our practitioners consume only water and no fizzy or sugary drinks in the rooms. Being a role model encourages the children to mimic healthy choices. Here at Little Hands Daycare we offer a rotating menu which includes a range of delicious meals which are healthy. Children are encouraged to self-serve their meals during this time practitioners within the room will have conversations about what we can see in our food, what it tastes like and encourage overall Communication and Language development as well as positive social interactions between peers. We also speak to children before their meals to ask if they are feeling ‘hungry’ and then once they have finished their meal we will ask the children if they are feeling ‘full’ to increase self awareness of our bodies and changes that naturally occur throughout the day.
Children enjoy being outdoors and exploring the world around them. They visit the garden at least twice a day. This is very beneficial for their well-being. Children can enjoy fresh air, observe seasons as they change, use their bodies to play, explore and develop their physical abilities. All areas of learning and development are incorporated into play which occurs outdoors as often as indoors. Practitioners and parents work together to ensure that children wear suitable clothes for all weather.
At Little Hands we are proud of our key person system which creates strong relationships with the children and their families. The key person gives a detailed daily handover that gives time to the parent/carer to express their thoughts and ideas. We use this time to chat with the parents/carers and gain a rounded view of the child and hopefully build strong relationships with families.
Last but not least, we are very proud of our ‘’Emotion coaching’’ training. This training is offered to all the members of staff before they start working at the company. This training offers valuable information about coaching emotions. The practitioners are shown how to acknowledge the emotions of children when the children express them. Because of this children feel respected and valued. They feel listened to. We highlight the benefits of this approach to parents so they can follow the same approach at home as well.
How do we promote the well-being of the team?
At Little Hands we actively promote the well-being of the team. Every day branch managers check in with practitioners to communicate openly and ensure successful plans are in place for the day. It is really important that the team member can have the time to discuss their thoughts and feelings.
Room leaders make sure that their team have their feelings noted and concerns listened to.
One way that Little Hands recognises the high quality practice and achievements of our team is within our supervision process. During appraisal meetings, managers and practitioners have time to discuss progress and professional development. It is an open and honest discussion, making sure that the practitioners feel confident to express any thoughts and ideas.
During company meetings, there is a ‘shout out’ ceremony. It is important to the well-being of the team as their achievements are recognised and celebrated in front of their colleagues. Every term a questionnaire is sent to all the members of the team via email. The questionnaire asks for suggestions, ideas, and thoughts the team may have.
At Little Hands practitioners can access a ‘well-being basket’. This basket is situated in the kitchen/staff room and there is a range of different snacks and healthy options for anyone who has forgotten their lunch at home or not had time to prepare their meal. A basket of personal hygiene items is also accessible for anyone who may need it in the bathroom areas.
Mental Health Week is celebrated by the nursery and is an important opportunity for the team to focus on their well-being. Every day during that week there is a focus on a different theme. E.g., healthy breakfast options.
Last but not least, we would like to mention the importance of our well-being coordinators. The well-being coordinators are always available for anyone who needs support or just needs to be listened to.
Mental and physical health is something we take seriously for practitioners, children and families. If you would like more information on how we can help, or you have ideas we can use for the benefits of our nursery community, then you can speak to our staff at any time.