Where it all began…
Our saying has always been that we pride ourselves on being a home from home setting and a little family. We decide that we wanted to bring this to life even more and start a journey to making our environment match what we believed in. We had always been a bright and colourful nursery to make us stand out from the crowd, which we both loved and embraced. However, we felt that maybe if our surroundings reflected a more homely feel then this would enhance wellbeing in both staff and children and make the environment an even better space in which to learn and enjoy which in hand would provide the best possible outcomes for the children.
Once we had discussed the possibilities we started to get very excited about what we could achieve and wanted to get the input from both the staff team and the parents to see what they felt about the approach we were looking for.
Staff Training Day
Wellbeing is very important to us as a setting and we feel that having hygge embedded in our day to day life would help all the staff team to feel valued and supported.
We introduced a wellbeing champion to help support staff and have a go to person if they were struggling or just having a down day. This encouraged staff to talk to someone if they needed it. The wellbeing champion is there for the team with tips on how to manage their wellbeing as well as little treats to let the staff know they are valued.
We often treated the staff with little gestures such as breakfast, sweets and pamper packs; these were well received and made the staff feel happy.
Hygge Training Sessions
As part of our training day the wellbeing champion incorporated a hygge session into the day for the staff so they could get an insight into what hygge is and how we wanted to bring it in the setting. We thought ‘my perfect Hygge day’ was a good starting point with the staff as it gave them chance to think about what they enjoy doing and what helps them to feel Hygge! It was so nice to see how each one differed. There were lots of discussions about what day to day things stressed them out and how these could be overcome. The training session really help them to think a bit about how looking after their own well-being and taking out a little time to do something that helps them to relax could have a positive impact on them as a person and the setting as a whole.
Staff’s Perfect Hygge Day
The whole staff team enjoyed sharing their perfect days with the rest of the team and it gave a real insight into all the different things we all enjoyed doing!!
We also got the staff to send in pictures on International Hygge day of them doing something ‘Hygge’ they really enjoyed sharing their pictures! Baking was a big hit.
We invited the parents to attend an online parent group to let them see what our plans involved and the improvements we were looking at making. We made a mood board of lots of inspiring images to help them capture our vision and help them to understand the reasoning behind the changes! Although some of the parents were unsure as they liked the brightness of the setting they started to understand the journey we wanted to take and knew that we had thought about ensuring we get the right balance and making sure the children were at the centre of any decision we were going to make. By the end of the group they were as excited as we were to make that next step…
The parents really got on board and were looking forward to the changes we were making.
Educating the staff team
As the staff were so use to incorporating bright and bold into the environment and experiences they offered we needed to support the team with making these changes without upsetting anyone… not everyone likes change and can struggle to embrace it so we made sure we guided those who may struggle and ensured it was a positive experience for everyone!!!
(who doesn’t like spending someone else’s money!!)
The staff from each room researched lots of environments taking on board what we had already learnt from the Hygge approach and took some time to think what would work well within their rooms. We had group discussions on wall colour, flooring and carpet before looking at what resources would complement the setting.
Staff Room Transformation
We decide to surprise the staff and Hygge the staff room to give them inspiration and show them our vision for the rest of the nursery… our staff room is not very big and was a wash of policies, memos and a basic overflow of nursery life!!
We looked at how we could make this a cosy and comfortable place for the staff to enjoy while they were on their lunch break. After some hard work from the management team we fell we did them proud and couldn’t wait to unveil the transformation!
We removed all the work related stuff and repainted the room in a lovely grey tone and added a photo gallery of nights out we had had as a team and funny selfies we had all taken during lockdown, we brought fairy lights to put round the photos and a little lamp as there was soft lighting rather than having the big main light on all the time.. shelves with plants and reed diffusers finished the look and some cushions and blankets to make it feel homely… the transformation was incredible and the staff loved it, they instantly felt more relaxed and chilled out when they went into the staff room which really helped them to understand what we wanted to accomplish within the whole nursery. They absolutely love it (We struggle to get them to leave after their dinner break is over!)
The use of the warm tones and the soft lighting made the room a relaxing and chilled environment for the staff to really enjoy their break time. With some well being treats to go with a lovely cup of tea!!
We decide to trial our vision on the bathrooms too.
Our Bathrooms had always been areas with a big jungle or under the sea themed displays with lots of colour dominating the space, these were lovely to look at but took up a lot for the staffs time and for parts of them to fall down moments after they were put up. we decided that time could be spent In far better ways and actually on reflection these displays did make the bathrooms look quite small and cluttered.
Bathroom makeover…. The children loved the light and airy space with the Ivy and plants around the room!! This inspiration for the bathrooms made us determined to complete the journey!!
Time to Implement
The staff’s input was key to making the rooms both warm, inviting and cosy. We asked them to think about a wish list for their rooms incorporating what we had discussed such as the colour scheme and the restructuring of the rooms. Everyone was very excited about the journey we were taking and wanted to ensure the rooms we are welcoming for the children. We worked really hard over several weekends to get the impact we wanted, staff’s enthusiasm was shining through and they couldn’t wait to welcome the children into the room and see how the changes we made inspired the children’s awe and wonder….
How amazing does everywhere look!
Our Early Years 1 room now feels light and airy with lots of natural resources and investigation for our babies.
The babies loved all the new resources and the items we had collected to add to the environment. They were so engaged and busy investigating all the exciting areas.
Early Years 2 room with a welcoming environment made the children feel more relaxed for our Toddlers.
The children seemed so much more relaxed and calmer in their new environment.
Preschool 1 room inspired by loose parts and more open-ended resources.
Preschool 2 room- Fabulous reading and relaxing area and self selection…
Our Preschool children embraced the room from the moment they entered after the transformation. They were amazed by the changes and were eager to investigate further…. The fun was about to start!!!
After all the hard work the rooms looked amazing. We were so pleased with what we had achieved and the reactions we got it made it all worthwhile. The investigation and curiosity that was taking place inspired the staff to feel so confident in extending play and made the experiences on offer super inviting. It was like the whole setting had come alive in a calming and relaxed way.
This journey has taught us so much and will help and support us in new ventures in the future. We overcome challenges such as the struggles with change and making sure we got it right for everyone.
We believe that the balance we have achieved incorporating areas of colour, light and investigation with the added abundance of natural resources has helped us to create the warm and welcoming environment that all the children parents and staff can thrive in and fulfil their full potential even more than before. ❤️