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Travelling Fellowship: Research study in New Zealand and Germany


FSFRebecca
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WChurchill, a tutor in Initial Teacher Education at Manchester Metropolitan University, has

been awarded a Travelling Fellowship for 2016 to visit Germany and New Zealand to research

best practice in early years care and education.


She would like our help:



The aim of the project is to learn and most importantly disseminate good practice to best effect.


W Churchill says "One of my thoughts was to have a two way interaction where FSF members can get in touch with me before and during my travels to enable the project to become a collective adventure. This allows for a multitude of lenses observing and experiencing early years education and care in situ. I will post my thoughts as I go along and the tone would be one of a practitioner rather than researcher learning about other practices to open our eyes perhaps to other possibilities. I have visits to universities, kindergartens and a family to learn not only about the Te Whariki curriculum but also how Reggio Emillia principles have been interwoven with the New Zealand approach to early years education and care. In addition, during my travels I will learn more about a highly successful programme called 'Baby Watching.' It is a schools based programme which reduces children's anxiety and aggression by increasing understanding and empathy. Through the programme the children feel safer, more focused and ready to learn. For me there may also be a research element too"



She's very excited ... and so am I!


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Hi

 

I'm so excited that I have finally got around to introducing both myself and my fellowship to you all.

 

I have been awarded the fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to travel to learn about best practice in early years. I shall be travelling next week to Germany and then July and August I am travelling throughout New Zealand.

 

I aim to use this forum to let you know about my findings along the way. It is however much more than that as I want you to join me, virtually that is! I think collectively, with your hands on wealth of experience we can learn together.

 

I am currently a tutor at MMU working with teaching students and schools. I have been a teacher/EYFS co-coordinator (mostly early years) for over twenty years. This forum has been invaluable to me and I really value any contribution you will make during my travels. I plan to post most days with observations and reflections. You might want to add your thoughts or ask me to look out for things like planning processes, lesson ideas. I don't want to limit the potential for us all to travel together.

 

I will be back soon to update you with more details of my travel plans. I can't wait to hear from you.post-13401-0-46366900-1465838131_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Kia Ora... and congratulations. What a fantastic opportunity. It sounds very interesting and I look forward to your posts. I was lucky to visit a children's centre in NZ last Summer whilst on holiday and it was amazing. It's in Raglan and called 'Let's Grow' EY centre. Stunning setting and Te Whariki deeply embedded within their philosophy and curriculum. Best of luck on your endeavours.

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Kia Ora apple

 

Thank you for sharing this. You are clearly very committed going to a children's centre on holiday. I have a jam packed itinerary which I will share closer to the time.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you found. Any surprises, good/interesting practice, anything you think we do better etc.

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I went to London last week to do stage one of my Baby Watching training. It was so lovely to be with like minded people. We watched a Baby Watching session and it is so clear how the children can learn empathy from the sessions. The programme also reduces aggression and anxiety. For a better explanation visit the site.

 

 

http://www.base-babywatching-uk.org/

 

What I love about the programme is it's simplicity and doesn't cost (aside from a small training and mentor fee). You just need a mum or dad to bring in their baby once a week until the baby is about 8 months. I would love to see this in more schools in the North West.

 

Next week I have the huge privilege to visit Germany to meet Dr Karl Heinz Brisch who was one of the founders of the programme. I will spend some time with a lovely lady who has been doing research into the programme. I will head to Frankfurt where I will meet the architects of the city wide project introducing Baby Watching to all schools in the City. This is something that I am really keen to learn more about.

 

One of the issues I hope to discuss is whether there is a place for Brain Development being taught to our teachers especially early years teachers. I'd really love to know your thoughts on this.

 

 

Don't forget, I would really like this to be a collective forum learning process so any thoughts, questions are really welcome!post-13401-0-91413600-1466115491_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

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haven't had a chance to look at the site yet but will certainly do so later. Just wanted to say that brain development is taught to NVQ 3 students...my lovely colleague is doing this unit now. Personally I would like to see all teachers /heads and social workers do a day in nursery....it might help them to have an insight in to what we actually do in our job and the opportunities we have with the parents and children.

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I agree finleysmaid that all staff should have some understanding of the eyfs which

would increase appropriately according to their role. I am very interested to hear

about the unit that your friend teaches. Do you think that would be possible?

 

 

Very exciting as I am visiting the home of Baby Watching tomorrow and I am currently inMunich. It hasbeen so hectic to get here trying to get all my work done! A quick sigh of relief to get here and be able to do a little background reading before tomorrow. Tomorrow I hope to hear more about Baby Watching and the research that is currently surrounding it. It's beauty is it's simplicity and effectiveness in teaching empathy and

sensitivity whilst reducing anxiety and aggression.

 

I shall be back tomorrow to share my findings. If anybody has anything you think I should ask then feel free to share.

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Just arrived in Frankfurt after my meetings in Munich. I won't say too much as shattered but will fill you in hopefully tomorrow. It was a privilege to meet such dedicated and knowledgeable people . One of the points that resonated with me was an issue about on-going professional development for practitioners re their own emotional development. I didn't think this was something that I had encountered.

 

I will fill you in tomorrow but your thoughts always welcome.

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I was thrilled and very privileged to visit the home of BASE Babywatching in Munich yesterday. I have seen sessions in London for myself and can see clearly why it promotes empathy and sensitivity reducing anxiety and aggression. I have also read other's first hand experiences of it.

 

Perivale Primary school Group Leader

 

We have had two sessions and after our first session the mum, who is also a teacher in the school, asked if I heard D talk. I have to confess I didn't, however, she mentioned he had uttered a couple of words which is something he never does in a group or in front of adults as he is a selective mute. Week two he did not stop talking. The school are blown away by this.

 

http://www.base-babywatching-uk.org/

 

What was fantastic to see yesterday was the research results for the Babywatching programme which took place in Munich. Jeannette Hollerbach who was very much involved in the research and its organisation talked me through the very positive findings indeed. The impact of the programme is very clear to see now not just anecdotally (though supremely important in itself)but scientifically evidenced. Our discussions led us briefly to brain scans and how for some of the children at the clinic when they arrive and when they leave, it was fascinating to learn of the physical differences in the brain as a result of therapy.

 

I was nervous about the meetings as my background is educational and not psychology or neuroscience. My knowledge is limited but I do want to know much more. Jeannette was extremely sensitive and answered all my questions and gave me all the time I needed. I had a tour of the department and was even taken for a vegan lunch. Here the founder of the programme, Dr Brisch joined us and again spoke and explained the programme and much more to me. On my tour of the department it was very clear that I very lucky to have had some time with Dr Brisch as he was clearly in great demand both within the university, nationally and internationally. His presence conveyed to me his passion for Babywatching. He is speaking at a conference next March in London discussing attachment. This might be my Christmas present to myself as I will definitely be there

 

What was clear from the visit was the commitment to children and their emotional wellbeing. It has also fuelled my interest in education as a multidisciplinary profession that would do well to draw upon neuroscience and psychology. The capacity and emotional well being of teachers was also a very interesting discussion. When I mentioned that I have not had any emotional CPD Dr Brisch wondered if itwas assumed that teachers are empathic? It left me thinking.

 

Today, in Frankfurt I am visiting Babywatching in a Nursery school and then the projectleader for the BASE Frankfurt project (2012-2015).Jeannette has set the bar high for mytravels and subsequentlearning.

 

I would love to hear any thoughts from members about their thoughts on the programme.

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ooh thank you Cait. I will have a good look tomorrow as I have arrived late to Osnabruck. I had such an interesting visit today observing Babywatching and discussing the impressive huge roll out of the programme in Frankfurt. I will share my thoughts tomorrow after my visits to Babywatching in a nursery and primary school.

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http://www.scnlh.org/the-wellbeing-workshop.html Is this of any use? My sister runs these courses and aims them at high stress professions like teaching and dentistry

Cait this looks really interesting - I too hadn't fully considered the emotional state of the practitioner as much as I should. I think we all expect staff to 'get on with it' and whilst we support one another through ups and downs in our personal lives the impact that it has on the children in the setting can't be underestimated. When I did the PEAL training a few years ago it sharpened my focus on what parents go through before they come to the setting - which in turn impacts on the children and we were trained to identify, manage and support parents and children through challenging times - it is a natural extension to think about how staff emotional well being also impacts. Perhaps when we, as EY leaders look at staff CPD we should look at including such emotional support for staff as much as we provide support to teach staff tor recognise Coel! I will think hard about how I can provide CPD for my staff that looks after them - I think perhaps paying for them to go on meals out and on fun trips isn't necessarily where I need to be looking! Thanks for heads up!

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ooh thank you Cait. I will have a good look tomorrow as I have arrived late to Osnabruck. I had such an interesting visit today observing Babywatching and discussing the impressive huge roll out of the programme in Frankfurt. I will share my thoughts tomorrow after my visits to Babywatching in a nursery and primary school.

I've just been through the website via the link you provided - it looks amazing. I'd be really interested to hear about how it might work in a nursery environment - My initial feeling is that it would be a wonderful opportunity for the pre-school group in their last year at nursery - empathy with the younger children in the nursery and also more confidence and increased sense of self and their 'place' in the world in preparation for 'big school'. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think.

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I totally agree. We need to be looking at emotional burnout in our colleagues. How many times do we hear 'I'm really ready for a break' without looking at the underlying cause? Do childcare/teaching staff say it more often than other professions?

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Thank very much for your comments Cait and Rebecca. Interestingly, yesterday I met the project leader who rolled out Babywatching on a large scale in Frankfurt. When she was discussing the programme one of the initial and influential factors was the impact the programme had on staff and not just the

children. It was felt that staff were more empathic and in tune with the children whilst also more in tune with themselves. The discussion at the Frankfurt nursery also included a mentor and group leader.After the session there was a very in-depth and lively discussion in German which was summarised

appropriately and sensitively for me after. That particular session was hugely beneficial for particular children and staff. The mentor and Frankfurt programme leader were so enthusiastic about the

programme that I ended up on a much later train which is quite a story for another day.

 

I have been privy to much anecdotal evidence of the impact of Babywatching. My extremely efficient

(thanfully) hostess in Munich and Frankfurt was charged with writing the report after the project's research completion. She went through it with me in great detail. All the evidence has been quantified

and presented comparing before and after results. There is too much to discuss in detail here but the findings are very positive indeed.

 

Today I was collected from my hotel by a hugely charismatic and energetic Babywatching trainer. I

hadn't realised that the programme is quite established here in Osnabruck. Unfortunately the schools

are on holidays so we travelled to Munster. I saw two sessions and met with a headteacher who had

rolled out the programme on a significant scale in her previous school. I asked her what she noticed

and she said 'softfaces' when referring to some strong boys. She felt this carried over into the everyday life of the classroom.

 

In the previous setting that I visited, the kindergarten manager told me about another professional whoused the outdoor area with younger children saying that she noticed the older children who traditionally dominated the space were far more interested and considerate to the younger children post

babywatching. I have also heard many instances of children being able to say how they feel e.g. not

just a simple 'fine' but being specific. One story I loved was a boy who helped to pick up a boy who

had fallen over whom he was not particularly friendly with. He said 'I know how you feel.'

 

Consistently I have been told that this programme is of benefit to all children. I have watched groups from 10 - 25 children, mixed aged groups from 3-6,groups with children aged 7. I watched a dvd with

teenagers. A number of groups had inclusion children in them. One example that was pointed out to me

was a child who had presented happily was able to express himself which led to therapy. I have also

been told of an account of an elective mute who spoke during a session.

 

My final part of today was to watch some videos of Babywatching that took place in old people's homes. Here the programme was carried out with people with dementia whose feelings had been affected by their condition.It was felt that there was a very positive effect on their feelings. Obviously memory was

affected by dementia but one participant who couldn't remember such things as to go for breakfast

could remember what day the baby was coming in! Interestingly there has been tv and radio interest with two of the films I say being aired on popular tv.

 

One thing that was interesting was all the mums whose sessions I watched absolutely loved the programme and coming into school/nursery. I asked the mum today how she felt as her baby was at the age to

finish and she said she felt so sad (and looked it) as she loved coming in.

 

What I have liked about the groups that I have seen is how easy it is to put into place once it has

been established. I have seen the children putting out the chairs and once the children are settled and ready a child has helped to bring the mother and baby to the group. It is highly sustainable if

compared to other programmes. As a teacher in the past, I would initially find another thing to do too much at times but this needs no planning (there is initial training), a mat and a reliable mum/dad withtheir baby.

 

Rebecca, when I was on my training I met a lady who does babywatching with her 3 year olds and she was very positive. She is collecting some information for me! Is this the sort of thing you were looking for. Tomorrow I am in a kindergarten 3-6 so let me know if you would like me to find anything out.

 

I know many of you are extremely busy at this time of year so I won't go into the beautiful walks

around Munster and Osnabruck which were finished off with the most impressive ice-cream!!!

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post-13401-0-92656400-1466763672_thumb.jpgBack home now. Yesterday I visited a kindergarten (3-6)years old with a Krippe (1-3) years old. It was a purpose built building which made me reflect on some of our early years settings that are not quite so suitable that some of our practitioners and children attend. It was so useful to see the different ways that BW is carried out though there is a very clear structure as training is consistent. There were 23 children in the group aged 3-6y ears old with 3 staff. The group leader felt that the younger children learn from the older children. There were two classes with children aged 3-6 years with 3 staff.

 

Whilst reflecting on my visit to Osnabruck and Munster, it became clear to me that the passion and commitment of Christoph who coordinates the work was key to its success in the region. He is the pivotal contact, mentor and trainer. He has involved a very interested media and there is a clear solid foundation for the programme to build. I felt this is also true of the programme in pockets of the UK. I amnot aware of the programme in my area,(North West) which I would like to investigate. I will contact B.A.S.E UK and discuss my ideas with as they are the real pioneers of the project in the UK.

 

I would be very keen to know if any members are interested in the programme.

 

I will be back tomorrow with some findings from a school in Brighton who have the programme in their school.

post-13401-0-19787400-1466763722_thumb.jpg

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Well I am at Manchester airport about to embark on the second leg of the fellowship. I do hope it is as successful as the first as I have come back with ideas for Babywatching in Manchester or the North West generally. I hope to get a group of interested schools together and take it from there! This is under the guidance/lead of BASE in Germany and more specifically in London who have some superb trainers and mentors. Fab to be around such passionate people. Its one of my motivations for the education system to become increasingly multidisciplinary.

 

I'd love to know if anybody would be interested or like some more information. A couple of people have already got in touch which is very positive and exciting.

 

I arrive in Auckland on Saturday 12.30 local time which does seem a bit weird as I have already left! I am visiting nurseries who work within the renowned Te Whariki curriculum whilst also visiting some Maori pre schools. I am meeting parents from different cultural settings and two universities that train early years teachers.

 

Interesting to see that Conker liked the coat hooks. I should have taken more photos. Do you think this is something you would like? As I say, I want my journey to be yours too as you have so much experience.

 

See you on the other side!!

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Hi, not sure how this works but I'll give it a try. Really interesting to read about the impact on child and adult well-being in the baby watching classes. This could be amazing in the challenging schools I visit as a University tutor.

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Well I had my first meeting in NZ today. It was supposed to last an hour and ended up being 3 hours. Itwas with a lovely school teacher, Louise who has taken time out from with her own children. We met as

her children go to a really interesting school which even by NZ standards is unique. Needless to say the conversation opened up to other pertinent issues as we progressed.

 

The school in Auckland has 3 bilingual units which is like running separate

schools. The units are Samoan, French,Maori and the Kiwi Connection unit which speaks English. The Maori culture permeates all sections of the school. It has a long history of being a community focused school that serves and reflects the community.

 

Louise told me that the children have opportunities to come together such as playtimes. As I expected she explained that children do tend to play with children from their own classes. Funding for schools is based on your 'decile' which categorises the community in terms of economic strength education etc. The lower the decile the more money the school gets. Higher rating schools have to rely on donations and fundraising and Louise felt that this works well. The higher the decile the more contributions/ donations from parents they get.

 

We also talked about the ERO inspectorate. Although still feared, the process is more consultative, The department has a general focus for that year, the school can choose a focus and the inspectors willchoose a focus for that particular school. All three areas for inspection are known well in advance.

 

I asked how the Maori culture and language has received such prominence and longevity which I felt was unusual for a British colony. Apparently it goes back to the treaty of Waitangi which accorded/protected rights for the indigenous population. Louise told me that the British colonisation of NZ was not very smooth with fierce and successful renitence for the Maori people. The spirit of the treaty is stillhonoured today.

 

The children start school here in the school year they are 5. However, if they are at the younger end of the year (year runs from January to December) they go into year 0 for a year and then the next year they go to year one. This I found interesting. Within the cultural units, children have a base class

but are mixed for some subjects, maths and literacy. this means that children are being taught in mixed aged classes with the school having two age divisions. Again interesting

 

I am grateful to Louise for kick-starting my adventures in NZ and hope to meet

up again next week.I will try to fit in more time so I can learn more about this school. As always I really value your thoughts and contributions.

 

After the meeting I drove North for 2 hours as tomorrow I am visiting a Moari immersed kindergarten. post-13401-0-77413800-1467645576_thumb.jpgReally excited about that. Photos tomorrow.

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