Fluffy Ducks Childcare :Our Hygee Journey
My name is Rhonda and I am a registered childminder based in Lancashire. I have been registered 21 years and have achieved Ofsted outstanding in my last two inspections. Whilst achieving this grading came with happiness for all my hard work, it unfortunately came with consequences. Pressure to maintain this, to be more like a nursery. To spend every minute of the day focusing on “What can we do now”, endless paperwork and planning. Expectations that I had created for myself. Gradually over the last 2years this has taken away my passion for my job, it has left me feeling my home is not my home, undervalued for what I do and dreading each day as it came
Last year I found the Hygee accreditation through Facebook. The more I looked into this, the more I felt I needed to change, even if that meant changing how I work, the look of a nursery setting, losing my grading on my next inspection. I needed my business to become an extension of my home … calming!
The course changed my outlook to my setting, it made me reflect about my own wellbeing as well as my families. It helped me create a vision for what I wanted to become and so we set about making those changes, within my home, garden and within me too. Step by step, we took away the bright colours, the notice boards and the plastic toys. We created invitations to play and focused on the children’s needs and interests, rather than what I wanted them to do. We added plants (something I never had as I am a more minimalist person in my home), crates, home décor and soft lighting. The change in me became more apparent and slowly I started to find my passion again. The happier I became the more I changed my home, making it more cosy and relaxing. Somewhere I would still feel at home on weekends and holidays.
We had always gone for walks and to the play park, but finding Hygge and listening to the webinars, we started to do more outdoor activities, collecting nature, building dens, flower printing, kitchen play in the woods, using nature to create activities. The children are more engaged and we find them to be calmer due to the change. We go out in all weathers, excited for what we can find to do. We no longer lead by a timetable or time, we see where the day takes us, we don’t rush, if we are not home for dinner time, we don’t worry … because we are all having fun.
Loving how the changes have made us feel, we set about making changes to the garden area. We wanted to take away the signs, bright colours and make this feel more like nature. We painted the summerhouse and took away the home corner. We made it into a beach house. We added a mud kitchen area which the children have loved. We use mud, loose parts, nature we have brought back from the woods. I never pictured myself with one of these, due to the mess, but now I feel more relaxed and I embrace the mess as it shows how much the children are engaging and using their imaginations. The children are encouraged to help clean up afterwards and they enjoy washing it all down.
My passion has returned for my job. I am happy, my family is happy and although my parents have always been happy, they too have engaged more with the new things we do. This inspired us to build an outdoor room at the back of the house, to still feel the fresh air as we play. The children are blossoming within our reformed setting … a place of calm.
Making the changes is hard to do. Questioning if what you are doing is the right thing. The hardest thing for me was “Ofsted” and not having that “nursery look” as a childminder. I reflect differently now. My setting is for me and the families I work with. I’m happier than I have been in a long time and this reflects in my work in the early years. My home feels like a home. I will continue my journey and development as for me this is just the beginning, not the end. Hygee has helped us change our setting in many ways. We have finally wilted down the plastic toys and we now use more open ended resources, loose parts. We use the seasons to create magical play and we recycle things to extend play. Our parents donate resources that they think we can use. Book play is a large part of our setting and the children love the simple invitations they explore.
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