At Tops Day Nurseries, staff are given the opportunity to undertake Respectful Childcare training in order to be able to implement a consistent amount of respect across all ages, from babies to school aged children.
There are 3 key principles to respectful child care;
- primary care giving,
- freedom of movement, and
- respect for infants confidence and competence.
Primary care giving is focuses on the reciprocal relationship between a small group of children and individual teachers or caregivers. It is important that primary care should not be confused as taking over from a parent and for this reason is often relabelled as Key Person approach.
It is important that children are given the opportunity to learn how to react during care routines, such as nappy changes, getting dressed, face and nose wiping, hand washing, sleep routines, meal times etc. Children are able to learn through these activities if staff carry them out respectfully. For example, if a child needs to have their nose wiped and is refusing to let the staff member help, it is more respectful for the staff member talk to them and demonstrate what they are going to do and show empathy. By doing this, the child will be more willing to accept help, opposed to an alternative method of going up behind a child and cleaning their nose without warning, for example. Some settings have ‘tissue stations’, where Pre-school children are able to help themselves to a tissue and use a mirror to blow their own nose. This gives the child self-confidence to know they have the option to do it on their own or are able to ask a member of staff if they need it.
Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement is essential for children’s developing minds and emotions as well as their bodies. Staff are taught to never interfere with natural motor progression, but they do encourage this development in subtle ways.
Babies are encouraged to build their tummy muscles by placing toys out of reach, meaning they need to stretch to grab items, and this also counts as one of the first parts of physical development.
It’s also important that babies have tummy time. During this time, babies have to look up, left, and right to see people and objects. Moving their head around helps the development of their skull, as well as strengthening their neck, shoulders, and trunk. Later on, these muscles will let them sit up and their eye muscles will also get stronger as your little one looks around.
Babies who don’t get much tummy time may be slower to develop than babies who do. This means that it may take a little longer for them to reach major milestones, such as rolling over, sitting up, or crawling.
Respect for confidence and competence
The third aspect of respectful childcare is having respect for confidence and competence. One of the main factors a nursery practitioner can engage in is involving children in the process of activities.
Whether it is changing a nappy, washing hands, changing clothes or taking part in activities, children benefit from commentary, for example ‘can I change your nappy’ and at meal times staff can talk to the children about where the food comes from.
Babies benefit from being offered choices, this helps with behaviour when they are given the option to do something distracting during a tantrum. Inviting children to engage and waiting for a response allows them to acknowledge their competence and value. It is also important for staff to be trained in having the knowledge to interpret children’s body language and gestures, and respond sensitively to them.
All staff at Tops Day Nurseries create a strong belief for all care givers in the setting through shared goals and are always able to support without interfering.