My blogs are usually about the children, our amazing environment and the wonderful experiences with nature our children are enjoying. But something that I feel I haven’t given enough attention to is the incredible team I have surrounding me.
I am humbled on a daily basis by our educators. They are some of the most wonderful, intelligent and passionate people I have ever met. I feel as though every school or nursery has one or two phenomenal teachers. Those stand out teachers who you remember for the rest of your life and who have a real impact upon children and the setting. At Little Forest Folk, we’ve somehow lucked out and ALL of our team are exceptional.
Being an early years practitioner is amazing. It’s inspirational, hilarious, exhausting, rewarding and draining. The myth of working in the early years being an easy option if you can’t think of any other career couldn’t be further from the truth! Working with these incredible young children at such a formative stage of their development requires dedication. It needs vast quantities of patience and humour. It needs passion, energy, flexibility and creativity.
And our staff have these in bucket loads. They are passionate, dedicated, awe-inspiring, kind-hearted and loving. Nobody working at Little Forest Folk is doing this for a job. This is their passion. It’s their purpose. And we love them for it.
I watch them play all day, revelling in the mud and sticks. I watch them patiently sitting with a 3 year-old tying knots with rope onto sticks to make a bow and arrow and sit biting their tongue for far longer than I would be able to, not offering any assistance but simply their presence, their loving support and a suggestion here and there. I see a child giggling in sheer delight as she is rolled across a meadow inside a tyre…absolute heaven for her…..then I hear the staff discussing how great an opportunity this is for this child as she has a strong rotational schema and so is now IN a circle, turning around in circles – nirvana! I see a practitioner enjoying a lengthy conversation with a 2 year-old who doesn’t yet speak English, through drawing pictures to each other, body language and shared experiences. I see our staff carefully observing the children as they play and throwing in a provocative question or comment to stimulate and challenge the play to a higher level of learning. Our practitioners amaze me with their skill, their dedication and their positivity. I want to be like them.
It looks as though our teams play all day. And they do. But that play is based in such purpose for all children and adults alike. Our staff feel a deep drive to teach children how to think, not what to think. And oh, how they love these children. It gives me such a warm feeling inside when I come across 2 practitioners on their break, or at lunchtime. This is their time to relax, to recuperate and to regain a bit of energy to jump back into the rest of the days fun. And yet what are they almost always doing? Discussing the children and the funny or amazing things they have done that day. They are like proud parents to each and every one of our children. I hadn’t realised previously that this level of commitment to a setting was possible.
How do the children reward this love and dedication? They just adore these practitioners right back. They throw their arms around them, they shout their names with grins on their faces, they share their secrets with them and share their discoveries about their magical world. They miss them when they go on holidays and yet they don’t cling to them as they’ve learned an inner strength, confidence and level of independence. The children don’t need the adults, they just love them. My favourite comment ever about one of our practitioners…..’L is so cool, his farts don’t even smell!’ epitomises why young children are so fantastic and why, gosh I love this job.
Our practitioners make me want to be a better mum. And they teach me how to be a better mum. They are changing the world through changing the lives of our children and families.
Thanks guys for being such an inspiration!