The Baby Room NING was set up in September 2009, but has so far been exclusively for participants in the Baby Room Project - a year-long project run by Dr Kathy Goouch and Dr Sacha Powell of Canterbury Christ Church University, funded by Esme Fairbairn.
The project involved working with a small group of baby room practitioners in Kent to look at their practice, run development sessions and affirm the worth of their work, as this part of the early years workforce is often overlooked in relation to support and professional development.
The NING proved a successful method of enabling practitioners to provide mutual support and find useful information. The research team has decided to open membership to other baby room staff from September, as part of plans to widen the project's scope.
The first stage of the Baby Room Project culminated in a conference at Canterbury Christ Church University this month. Speakers included Dr Jools Page of the University of Sheffield, who explained her research into mothers' perspectives about daycare for their babies and the importance of 'professional love'; Dr Peter Elfer, who looked at the need for baby room practitioners to have emotional support; and Liz Attenborough of Talk to Your Baby, who highlighted progress in getting new parents to understand the importance of communicating with babies.
Baby room practitioners interested in joining the Baby Room NING can send an e-mail with their details and NING in the subject line to email@example.com. Membership is free, by invitation only and will start in late September.