Attachment led practice is the ethos at Lullaby Lane’s two nurseries in the west of Glasgow. Director Pauline Scott tells us why strong relationships are the key to its success.
Relationships come first – all the time you hear about children experiencing great learning opportunities but they cannot do that if they are not secure in their environment.
The thing that builds that secure environment is relationships. The children don’t think of the staff as people employed to look after them; they see them as people who support them and the children develop deep relationships with staff.
At Lullaby Lane we have an unlimited ‘getting to know you’ period when children first come to the nursery so they build relationships. We do photo albums of the nursery staff the children will be seeing so parents can speak about them and ask families to bring in photographs that remind children of home.
If families want we also go out and visit them in their home, if we feel the children need that, to help build a relationship in a secure environment. We believe you’ve got to talk about home or that can be unsettling for the children
All the children start with one key person and we make sure that person is there at both drop off and pick up times which are very important stages of the day – so even our rota is based on attachment theory!
We are very child led and the children’s interests initiate a lot of activities; we do a lot of play in the moment. It is about what the children are interested in and where we can take it.
Our staff need to be really skilled observers, they can facilitate and create the environment and resources for the children but they have to learn to sit back and see what the children do with the resources.
Lots of the resources are open ended to try and drive imagination and creativity. We are trying to get the children to find their way and enjoy learning and the way to do that is to captivate their imagination.
We have deliberately kept our rooms quite small as we believe that helps build relationships between staff and children. There’s a real sense of connection and from that the children gain the confidence to be able to explore and use their imagination so there is lots of wonderful learning. The children can push themselves and take risks physically and in relationships.
Reflecting and improving
Our team is very reflective in their practice, they take lots of opportunities to step back and think about what went well and think about how they can support the children and support each other.
They have autonomy to try things and they really feel part of something. I have a real passion for it and they know that I will put everything into it as well. We are building a strong leadership team so I have been able to take a step back and that helps people flourish as well.
If children are in an environment where adults have strong relationships the children will feed off that.
We want to share our ethos and learning with families and run joint staff parent workshops and a lending library for staff and parents. This means parents feel part of the nursery and it feels like family care rather than just child care. We are trying to create a community and the families really support that.
The key skill is reflective practice – we strive for excellence.