The word ‘primary care-giver’ has never really sat right with me, I feel that the meaning behind it is simply how teaching in an infant and toddlers space should be. However sometimes when we add this label to it, it can often become confusing and I have witnessed this happening in a previous centre where children were put into groups chosen by the teachers and it really didn’t ever sit well with me. I personally believe it is important to foster and support those natural attachments that children develop to a certain teacher, and responding to these in a way that supports children to develop strong connections with caregivers, rather than forcing a relationship on a child who may not be comfortable with it.
In my experience working with infants and toddlers, and as a mother, I feel that when a new child starts in the centre, they often react to the unfamiliar environment by becoming what others would describe as ‘clingy’ and often struggle with care moments and play time, however to me I feel this is a natural reaction to a new space and it is often at this point, that young children will develop a special bond with a key teacher and this is something we support in our everyday practice by knowing our infants and being there in the moment. Personally, I believe that respect is key and this is something you can see clearly in our practice at Our Kids. Many of our infants have developed strong, secure attachments to a specific teacher and we respect this by having flexible routines and rosters where teachers are available to perform care moments (nappy changing, bottles, sleep) for these children, if necessary and we are each aware of these relationships and support these.
This is Vai and since starting at Our Kids, her and I have had a very special relationship and in the early days of Vai settling, she would cry if she saw me or cry during care moments being performed by other teachers. As a team, we responded by acknowledging this and being flexible with our routines so that we could swap for me to be there for Vai when she needed me. After a couple of weeks Vai became more familiar with the environment and other staff and while we still have a strong connection, she is comfortable with all staff throughout care moments and in playtime.