August saw the introduction of our “Stay & Play” mornings with young parents. Our objective was to offer a safe and inviting space to engage children in learning and development in their first 1000 days, while simultaneously educating their parents on nutrition and childcare.
We knew before we started that this would be no easy feat. A few weeks in and we can confirm that this task is fraught with challenges.
How do we go about changing a parenting style that has been entrenched through the many years that many of these young mothers have been on the receiving end of beatings, punishment and verbal abuse themselves? They want a better life for their children. They’re just not sure what that looks like or how to achieve it.
Whilst grappling with day to day survival, the unemployed mother scarcely has the energy to consider putting healthy meal options forward. Often, they’re not lucky enough to have any meal options!
Living in their parent’s homes, they generally lack the confidence to make their own parenting decisions and enforce them, and bend to the will of their parents.
And so we have put a foot on the path, a very long winding path, down which we will travel with these parents to overcome obstacles, provide gentle guidance and above all lead by example in providing the stimulation and nurturing environment that the next generation requires to live to their full potential.
While success feels a long way away for us right now, we know that just showing up, listening and calmly demonstrating new options, the wheel is turning, albeit slowly, for the next generation.
To speed this process up we need to empower and develop the young parents so that they can take charge of their own destinations and chart a new and different path for their children.
This month, we also started another workshop for teachers, investigating hands-on methods for Mathematics in Early Childhood Development. We invited teachers from Lavender Hill into the beautiful environment of Blue Moon Montessori School in Heathfield, filling the teachers with inspiration and new ideas. This workshop runs over three weeks, demonstrating ways to engage all the child’s senses in learning and becoming proficient in numeracy; building a solid understanding as the foundation for future learning.