The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© began in January 2007 with practitioners working in early years settings in East Northamptonshire. Since then, there has been a massive growth in interest about the work across Northamptonshire, the UK & Europe.
The aim was to share knowledge about infant learning and development, bringing together recent research information, especially about babies’ brain development and combine this with practitioners and parental experiences of living and working with babies and very young children.
Threading brain development through three themed sessions, balancing amazing information with fun activities and making resources to take away stimulated energy in people to go forward and make changes.
What The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© provided people with was a framework to go away and develop things and be creative about how they can enhance connections being made in the brain through play and interaction.
From the outset, there was a strong and enthusiastic commitment to the project and a belief that it represented opportunities for learning for all those involved. We agreed on some key factors: being flexible and democratic in our approach; open and genuine discussion if real learning were to occur; creating emotionally containing training tuned to the needs of the delegates; facilitation rather than teaching. These underpinned the design of the three sessions and follow up visits that were to comprise The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project©
Our early development…
The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project started as a way of looking at developing quality provision for babies in private, voluntary and independent sector nurseries by focussing on increasing practitioner's knowledge about babies general development and in particular babies' brain development. The project was aimed at providing a balance of information around baby brain development, opportunities for creating resources to be used practically in settings and giving practitioners opportunities for reflecting on their interactions with babies.
Babies love joining in with laughter and conversation so much more than playing on their own with fancy toys.
“That question, How do you know your baby’s ready to play? – I never thought about that before.”Parent's comment
Parents noticed the changes being made to the places their babies went that had completed the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project©. Parents began to ask questions. Practitioners described the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project training they were doing. Parents then said they would be interested in having similar experiences. From this developed the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© – Parents Course. Designed to increase parents knowledge about baby brain development and this importance of interaction for babies .
A key message for parents is that having you is what babies want more than anything else.
Parents loved the course. A crèche was organised close by to them, themed as close as possible to the three sessions. As well as the quizzes, DVD and information sharing, parents and practitioners made resources with the babies.
What was great about the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© – Parents course was being able to bring together parents and babies who often showed that what was being described was spot on. They did prefer faces; they did prefer faces; they loved black and white images and they wanted to be played with.
The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© Parents Course was devised by:
Veronica Lawrence, Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist Early Years;
Claire Stevenson, Early Years Consultant
Sharon Ryan, Early Years Adviser
Northamptonshire County Council