Many students spend their summers nannying in the UK and abroad in order to help fund their studies at Norland. Whilst this has been made more difficult this year due to the pandemic, the challenging circumstances have also provided students with valuable development opportunities.  

As well as volunteering with her local church both at home and in Bath, second-year student Holly has also been nannying with a family whilst they enjoy their ‘staycation’.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Holly and I am in Set 43 (each year cohort at Norland is known as a set) and have just started my second year at Norland. Before joining Norland, I completed a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Children’s Play Learning and Development at Chelmsford College.

What have you been doing during lockdown?

During the nationwide lockdown that began in March, I have been doing a variety of things. Like many people in the country, I did more baking! I baked banana bread and also tried out new recipes, which I am very much looking forward to using with my future charges. I also developed my sewing skills and have learnt how to make dungarees and made many pairs for friends and family! After completing the virtual Norland placements, I appreciated having some time to stop and re-charge my batteries and enjoyed some beautiful walks in the great outdoors and had some fun with photography. I also supported my church whilst back home by recording a weekly storytime for children and supported them by keeping them connected with the elderly. I’ve also developed an online holiday club with my church in Bath.

an image of some dungarees

“I have learnt a lot that I will take forward, including the importance of having time to rest and re-charge, the power of taking a deep breath and smiling.”

How have you found working during lockdown?

Nannying during lockdown has definitely been a different experience but a very insightful and a fabulous opportunity. I have been working away as a holiday nanny with a family on their ‘staycation’. It was a great opportunity to work alongside the parents whilst also helping the children understand why their parents were working from home. Throughout my time with the family, I helped the children understand and process the situation in a child-friendly way. The whole experience enabled me to appreciate the small things and the fun that can be had within the home environment. I was also able to be resourceful and creative in the planning of activities to ensure that a time of enjoyment was had with the correct and safe considerations. Working during the summer also highlighted how heat can affect a child as well as the importance of staying hydrated and having regular meals.

How has your Norland training helped you during this difficult time?

I have been able to put my knowledge of a child’s emotional development and the basis of emotion coaching to good use whilst working away. My Norland training has also enabled me to have the self-belief and confidence when interacting with parents and the children. The things I have learned so far in Food and Nutrition classes have enabled me to have the confidence to try new recipes and cook with a passion whilst nannying. Using the knowledge from the Communication, Literacy and Language module and particularly the guest lecture on stories has really helped me when sharing stories virtually with children whilst also insuring interaction. It also developed my enthusiasm and understanding of the importance of stories. Building upon my previous practice, Norland has developed my love and appreciation for proper planning, preparation and presentation.

Is there anything you’ve learned during lockdown about yourself or about nannying that you will take forward with you in future jobs?

I have learnt a lot that I will take forward, including the importance of having time to rest and re-charge, the power of taking a deep breath and smiling. I have also come to further appreciate the power of taking some focused time to have conversations with children and supporting them in this way. I have personally developed my confidence and learned to accept challenges in a different way. Something I have also developed is my understanding of how effective simple activities can be and the endless possibilities within simplicity, such as a pen and paper. Often a simple way to support a child is through planning, consistency, and routine, and I have seen the benefits of this during the lockdown period and therefore will continue to embed it into my practice.

an image of a child's hands playing with stickers

“We have been physically apart but socially connected, through regular communication.”

How has Norland supported you during lockdown?

The support from Norland has been above and beyond. We are so lucky to be part of such an outstanding place. The support has been in all areas – personally, academically and financially. Through regular check ins, there has always been someone to talk to and the Norland family is truly one of support. We have been physically apart but socially connected, through regular communication.

Finally, this time last year you were about to start your Norland adventure! How do you reflect on your time so far and what advice do you have for Set 44 students who are just beginning theirs?

My first year at Norland was a whirlwind! It was better than I could have ever imagined, and I’ve come further than I thought was possible. Over the year I have developed and found my love for learning. The year has been challenging, unforgettable and absolutely incredible whilst also being very rewarding. It has been full on and fabulous all at the same time and everything has been a learning opportunity.

To Set 44 students, I’d say smile and enjoy it, go for every opportunity. Jump in with both feet (or shinny polished brogues!) and immerse yourself, have an open mind and be prepared. Ask for help when you need it – so many people are there to support you! Preparing and batch cooking your meals will bring joy at the end of a long day. Always be willing to listen and learn and last, but not least, one for the female students: always keep a spare pair of tights and a few hair pins in your bag! They will be a life saver.

To see what I’ve been up to in picture form and to continue to follow me on my Norland adventure, please take a look at my nanny account @holly_the_nanny_

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