Welcome to my blog about my experiences working in early childhood. I have called it Nurturing Forests because I believe that raising children is not a isolated activity but takes a whole community.

As early childhood professionals, we are actively involved in this process but we also need to work closely with the children, parents, community as a whole and other allied professionals.

I hope you enjoy my site. I also have a facebook site of the same name where I provide links to useful sites for teachers, parents and others interested in the early childhood: www.facebook.com/nurturingforests

Monday, February 14, 2011

Warm Responsive Care

Not sure if it has happened to you but frequently on prac placements and now at work I face the issue of being disapproved of by the other carers for providing what I call 'warm responsive care' to the children

For example
- I will cuddle a child if they are crying
- I will let the children make choices
- I work hard at making toileting and nappy changing a fun interactive experience
- even sometimes following the interests of the child

At its most extreme I have been criticised for:
- picking up a crying baby
- cuddling a unsettled child with downs syndrome because it is "spoiling" him
- being over-supportive of a new child because "they need to learn to play with the children not the adults that's not what we are here for". This particular discussion also included being told that the only reason you would spend time with the children is because it is a ego boost (go figure - who thought that's why you talk to children in care!)
- looking after a child who had decided he had 'lost' all of his friends because they were going on to primary school and he wasn't
- i could go on and on..... but won't - it'll get boring and it will turn the post into another rant.

Louise Porter has a excellent book that talks about guidance and how to provide quality responsive care to children. I can't recommend it enough see link to the left.

I also recommend any thing about the Reggio Emilia method and the Curtis and Carter books (see the bottom of this blog for links).

As part of this is the issue of controlled crying, personally I think this is such a big issue that I will reserve it for another post where I can provide you with the most up-to -date research - in summary - do not do it!


  1. Hi Wendy-I couldn't agree more about controlled crying. As a new mother almost 10 years ago, I was almost convinced to distrust my own instincts and came scarily close to doing so. Thankfully on the third day post sleep centre visit I came across a wonderful article on how CC interferes with the breastfeeding and bonding relationship between mother and baby. I went in, picked up my poor distressed son who'd been crying for over an hour (as had I!) and never looked back. I have run parenting groups and websites promoting gentle parenting techniques, and as a child care worker have practises the same. I'm incredibly passionate about ensuring children are treated with respect and their basic emotional needs are taken care of. (Hence why I'm about to commence study to become a child psychologist as well as continuing to study a Diploma in Childrens Services).I too have run into people on my pracs who told me not to pick up distressed children for fear of 'spoiling' them :-(

    Great blog by the way, glad I found it :)

    told me not to 'spoil' the babies/children I've picked up, held and comforted :-(

  2. Wendy, I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog. I agree with your positive, nurturing approach to child care. I'm sorry but I think those who critisize for offering comfort and care to small, upset, and scared children are just plain wrong!

    Yes there is a place for stepping back and letting children establish their relationships, etc. but they are small, immature beings and need guidance from responsible, caring adults.

    By providing nurturing, protective care we are teaching the child to self nurture, and helping the child be calm is providing neural pathways that lead to problemsolving.

    I just think you're so much on the right track. Kudos to you!

  3. Thanks guys... I agree that warm responsive care is the only way to go and it is really reassuring to see those themes coming through new National Curriculum for Australia.

    @Spiralmumma - I'm glad you went back to responding to your child. Educating carers on the issue of controlled crying and its impact on child was a very strong interest of one of my old lecturers at Macquarie University, Shirley Wyver - she dedicated a whole class to it. She also does some great research into the benefits of risky play. I studied Psychology in my first round of university with the aim of being a child psychologist - it is a great field and is getting a lot more respect - However, I recommend you talk to the universities to make sure you go to the one with the focus you are looking for. Eg. Newcastle (where I went) is very research based - read here lots of compulsory statistics - where I have heard others are a lot more clinically based so are more hands-on with clients driven