Eilidh’s nursery are shortlisted for a nursery award on Friday night. I wrote a commendation for them to use as part of their submission. Fingers crossed for the whole team…
By the time Eilidh was born 3 years ago, Rory had already been attending Wellside Kindergarten for 2 years.
In those 2 years we watched Rory grow from our wee baby into a confident, courteous and smart young boy. Rory loved nursery and we loved that he loved it. It never crossed our minds that things would be any different for our second child.
We found out that Eilidh had Down’s Syndrome shortly after her birth. It was a very confusing and frightening time for us as parents as we faced into a new world that we weren’t prepared for. We had a thousand and one questions.
I remember clearly being in the nursery when Eilidh was only a few days old and asking the manager if they would still accept her, despite her disability. She just looked at me, surprised by the question, and answered “of course we will”.
Those few words were hugely significant and important to us. We needed to know that everything would be ok, and Susan and Janelle took our questions in their stride. As well as providing excellent care for children, the best nurseries also provide support to new parents who, despite the brave faces, are really reaching out for support.
Eilidh LOVES the nursery. She squeals with delight on arrival, shouting “HIYA” at the top of her voice as she comes in the door. All of the staff know Eilidh and seem genuinely happy to see her. I rarely get a few steps into the room before she is stolen out of my arms for a cuddle.
Without batting an eyelid, Wellside do so much to make Eilidh feel included… From teaching Makaton throughout the nursery to promoting World DS day activities they have really taken Eilidh to their heart.
What means the most to us as parents is that the staff celebrate Eilidh’s every achievement as if she was their own daughter. She is given every chance to keep up with her peers and her additional needs are recognised through small things such as having a chair to stand on to paint like her friends, or having a table at the right height so she can join in snack time.
The nursery have taken the lead in Eilidh’s Team Around the Child meetings, bringing together all of her support and care workers (from outside of the nursery) to set goals and discuss progress. The nursery have been pro-active in making early contact with specialists who will support Eilidh in the future, to ensure the nursery does everything to best prepare her. Wellside don’t have all the answers but they are passionate to learn and that is more than we could ever have hoped for.
It should be expected that nurseries meet the standards required for children with additional needs but, in every aspect, Wellside go way above and beyond standard, and this is why I commend them for this award.
I have written these few words, but another way to get a feel for how Wellside operate is to check out this blog and video that they created for some charity work I was doing in support of World Down’s Syndrome Day… it says it all really…
30th August 2016