As I mentioned on my previous blog, nowadays I am working as a Nursery Assistant in a nursery whilst doing my Early Years Education Course. Being an assistant I go from one room to another and providing help wherever and whenever needed. As I said before I am gaining more experience than I can handle.
This last week I had to spend more time than usual in the babies room which provided me with amazing insights – now they see me and they greet me with immense smiles – and plenty of food for thought since inevitably, I keep comparing what I read with what I see and I imagine how I could help them develop naturally in the best possible way.
Well yes, I say “I imagine” because being an assistant I am there just to do that, not to say what I think and what could be done to help / improve and make it better for the little ones. Between the state-of-the-art equipment together with the age appropriate toys – sufficient to rival any toy shop, believe me on that one – that is not difficult at all, just requires time.
But time is something that gets completely lost in the midst of cleaning, feeding, changing nappies, filling forms, more cleaning, nap time, more feeding, more cleaning, more forms to fill (directly proportional to the amount of feeding, naps and nappy changing) and so on and so forth until the evening draws to a close and there are no more babies left because they have all gone home.
I’m sure by now you must be wondering…but what about the babies? Well, the babies are there crawling, walking, babbling, crying or sitting in between the nappy changes, the food and the nap. The carers are there not only to care for these primal needs in a baby aside from having an extra pair of eyes in the back to watch them so they do not fall or injure themselves.
The carers as well are there to educate the little ones in basic life skills since they have to start to learn how to socialise, how to be together at circle time and how to play together, respect each other and schedule in between some unguided exploration amongst dealing with complex emotions.
So you may say what is wrong with this picture? Everything seems to fit the description of any nursery in the planet if anything a pretty good one. Children are fed, entertained, changed, put to sleep and controlled. What else?
What else. Some questions, is the answer to the “what else”. Question yourself: does a baby know all this malarkey of socialise of being together at circle time and being sat amongst their peers?
Does a baby need to learn “basic” life skills? This raises the question of what do we think, culturally and as a society what a life skill is…