Nursery World Awards 2021- Health & Well-Being
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Meadow Lane Nursery, St Ives, Cambridgeshire
Meadow Lane Children’s Nursery is a Reggio Emilia, nature-inspired setting based on a farm, where staff have created a happy and warm environment for all.
Hands-on experiences in the farm, vegetable garden and atelier allow children to become confident, happy learners who are inspired to love and respect nature for years to come. They also develop excellent independence, risk-taking and resilience skills.
Children spend most of their day exploring the outdoor learning environments through hands-on experiences., led by their interests.
The on-site farm and growing experiences give children moments of awe and wonder, while a café and kitchen garden full of home-grown food make the setting wholesome and homely, with children eating healthy, nutritionally-balanced meals with plenty of variety throughout the day.
A pop-up farm shop opens twice a week to parents and the public. Children help prepare food such as jams and well-being items such as handmade soaps and candles, and help serve customers.
The management team is intentionally situated at the front of the nursery with no door, to encourage staff and families to come in and have open conversations at any time.
If families have had long periods away from nursery during the pandemic, they receive ‘safe and well logs’ to fill in to keep in touch and help staff understand what support they can provide on the child’s return.
While parents have not been able to come into the setting, seed and book swap boxes have been set up in the entrance area where families can donate, swap or take seeds or books.
‘Staff Star Moments’ are awarded to members of staff who have gone above and beyond in their practice. Colleagues nominate staff who are recognised with a gift and a display in the staff room.
A well-being station in the staff room provides practitioners with resources including calming balms, scents and oils, adult colouring books, self-help books, podcast recommendations and a well-being scrapbook for sharing feelings anonymously. Healthy breakfast options are also available.
A new outside staff eating area has been set up, and the bike and buggy park has been revamped to encourage cycling and walking.
Kindred Healthy Steps initiative, Kindred Nurseries
In 2020, Kindred launched its Healthy Steps initiative to look after the physical, mental and nutritional well-being of all staff and children at a difficult time.
The nursery invested in training 19 members of staff to become Level 4 qualified Physical Activity and Nutrition Co-ordinators (PANCos), and trained 20 mental health first aiders (MHFA) and 20 MHFA champions.
In one setting, an MHFA helped a member of staff with serious mental health issues to contact their GP and access Kindred’s Employee Assistance Programme. A manager supported a parent with post-natal depression.
To ensure all staff had access to advice, the group held Q&A sessions on Zoom on well-being and mental health throughout the pandemic.
Each nursery manager has a specific well-being budget to use for their teams. This can be used on healthy breakfasts, team nights or well-being baskets.
Managers share mental well-being and healthy snack tips through the team Facebook group and newsletter.
'Supporting Physical Development in Early Childhood', Open University
Open to early years settings, services and projects that have worked to improve the physical health and/or emotional well-being of children, families and staff.