Well, our first month trading is now complete – and we’ve loved talking to lots of you about your experiences as leaders in the nursery sector. One thing that has stuck in my mind are comments during recent conversations at the NMT Midlands Agenda about how you completely believe in outdoor play, how Ofsted reward you for supplying great outdoor space and that many of you are investing heavily in creating great outdoor environments for your children. In fact at the NMT Midlands Agenda we sat next to Timotay (www.timotayplayscapes.co.uk) and heard about the amazing outdoor spaces that they are creating for nurseries in the UK and further afield.
I’m on a learning journey and I aim to challenge myself at all times to learn as much as possible from all situations. This month has made me really think, provoked further by a few comments from nursery managers combined with my Neuro Linguistic Programme training (that I’ve got running alongside Rock & Rain). The comments that have stuck with me are that I’m hearing that some staff members just don’t seem to be interested in taking children outside. It’s a battle to get them to take your children outside. I really feel for both the resistant staff members and the management team! I know how hard it is to get my children ready for playing outside…toileting, appropriate clothes on, ‘where’s my coat?’, ‘where are the wellies?’, ‘I can’t find my gloves’, ‘suncream on’ multiply this by 30…I can only imagine why it can feel like taking the children outside should go into the ‘too difficult’ pile!
With my NLP hat on, I realise that we all have to take responsibility for this behaviour. The physical and emotional environments we create for our children will form them as they developed during childhood. I also know that what we ‘know’ is comfortable, and changing to some other way is uncomfortable. If we think about the simple equation of ‘cause and effect’, we are the cause of whether or not our children play outside. If we allow ourselves as parents, managers or carers to take the easier path, avoiding the hassle of taking children outside, we’ll never change as individuals and our children will miss out. Without change there is no growth in us as people. It is our own development journey (as parents, carers, managers) that we need to take responsibility for. If we challenge ourselves to change, if we try new things and get the rewards available, we’ll expand our comfort zone, build our confidence and what was once uncomfortable, will become comfortable!
At Rock & Rain, this is exactly what we have done. We aren’t experienced entrepreneurs. We’re just passionate mums who want to give nurseries an option to buy more durable affordable waterproof gear to get more children outside. We know that when our children play outside in the wet and muddy weather in our suits, the tone of the conversation switches from (before the suit) “keep out of the puddles”, “be careful of the mud”, “don’t get those clothes mucky”, “please listen to me when I ask you not to climb on that mucky tree”…..to (with the suits on..) “go for it”, “get as mucky as you want”, “see if you can make mud angels in that puddle”, “see how high you make the water go when you jump in that puddle”….have freedom…have fun….be children!!!
As a parent, I know which conversation I prefer! Which conversation results in more enjoyment for me observing (and also joining in at times when the puddles are particularly tempting!!) and for my soggy but happy children.
We hope that you find that having a simple tool, like our bright and colourful waterproof suits, available in your nurseries, empowers your staff to enjoy the fantastic outdoor spaces you’re creating for your children, whatever the weather!