Our birth…

‘The brain is flexible, sensitive and malleable. It is deeply influenced by the opportunities in the outside world.'
Gopnick (2001)

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.

We wanted to share knowledge about babies’ brain development combining this with practitioners and parental experiences of living and working with babies and infants. Threading brain development through three themed sessions, balancing amazing information with fun activities and creating resources to be used practically in settings and attuning to babies using the infant observation activity ‘Discovering Me’ stimulated energy in people to go forward and make changes. Change was immediate and sustained.

The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© provides people with a framework to take away that develops their practice creatively, enhances relationships with babies in their care and builds connections in the brain through play and interaction.

From the outset, there was enthusiastic commitment to the project, a belief that it represented fantastic opportunities for learning that would sustain change. Key features underpinned the design of the three sessions and follow up visits that comprise The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project©: 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.

The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© Parents Course was devised by:
Veronica Lawrence, Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist Early Years; Claire Stevenson, Early Years Consultant; Suzanne Richer, Educational Psychologist
Northamptonshire County Council

Our early development…

In 2007 we saw sparse training for under 2s, heard “Babies don’t do anything really”, saw inexperienced and undervalued practitioners hidden from the rest of the setting working in Baby Rooms. Increasing practitioner's knowledge about babies’ general development and mainly babies' brain development and their vital role in this is a way developing quality provision for babies. During the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© practitioners and babies became visible, status rose and resources were assigned to Baby Rooms in settings.
 

Babies love joining in with laughter and conversation so much more than playing on their own with fancy toys.

Our future…

 

“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.

Success - bringing together parents and babies who showed that what was being described was spot on. Babies preferred faces; they loved black and white images and they wanted to be played with.

Foster carers and supervising social workers course.
Using the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project© practitioners course with a crèche for the babies is the latest development.

Information for Practitioners»
Information for Parents»

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

Meet the Authors

Veronica Lawrence

Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist (Early Years) – Northamptonshire County Council Educational Psychology Service
BA Hons (Dunelm); Postgrad. Dip.Counselling in Education Settings; Cert. Ed.; MA; Cpsychol; HPC registered.

Babies are fascinating, funny and to be loved. My passion for focussing on very young babies in child care came from seeing the experiences of infants, families and workers and realising that I had an opportunity to help expand their knowledge base about babies.

As a psychologist and a mother, I was observing a gradual detaching of the nurturing experiences, emotionally and physically, by adults from infants through many modern day experiences. In day care settings, observing and recording may be completed at the expense of quality interaction with babies and toddlers. Home life revolves around lots of parents rushing around. The notion of the good baby being the one which is quiet and undemanding needs to be challenged. Babies and being with them can be so much fun. Babies want you to be with them.

Claire Stevenson

Early Years Consultant – Northamptonshire County Council, Learning, Skills and Education
Early Years Professional Status, BA in Early Years, Early Years Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree, Advanced Diploma in Working with Under 3's, Specialism in Working with Babies and Young Children, BTEC National Diploma in Nursery Nursing.

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I have always thought that babies and young children are inspiring and full of imagination That's why I trained as a nursery nurse and began working in child care. Now I know even more about how our brains grow I am astonished by the capabilities and immense possibilities of all babies. I am passionate about babies getting a good deal and I really want more people to understand how amazing babies actually are.

Suzanne Richer

Educational Psychologist Northamptonshire County Council
BSc Hons Psychology, DAppEdPsych, Chartered Psychologist, HCPC Registered

I enjoy a broad variety of work with children and young people of all ages but I am particularly passionate about the first years of life and how babies interact with their world. I completed a doctoral thesis related to the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project and developed a great interest in the body of research around infant brain development and how the kind of early care and experiences can impact on development.

I have a baby son and a daughter. She attended nursery in a wonderful baby room four days a week. I saw first hand how important the quality of experiences provided in baby rooms is for brain development, and how nurture and care shown by practitioners allows babies to thrive and reach their potential. This is why I am passionate about the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project.

 
 

Contact The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project ©

Email: vlawrence@northamptonshire.gov.uk
Write to: The Northamptonshire Baby Room Project, One Angel, Angel Square, Northampton NN1 1ED
Telephone: 01604 364770
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