Hi, we are a infant and toddler centre for children aged 6 months to 3 years. I have recently been reflecting on how we "handle" the childrens needs for their security/ comforter items. It has been our preactice to encourage whanau to bring these items as they assist in the settling in and may be used for sleeping or in times needing comfort. As the children grew older we would suggest these items were in their bags and only used for sleeping or if they needed them they would be sitting on the couch resting. Oue reasoning was that the teddies etc in hand sometimes meant they were unable to particpate fully in other expereinces, there item could become dirty/wet and then be unavailble for sleeping or comforting or lost! Also many children find it difficult when other children are interested in their special toy. I
All seemed ok with this until recently one little guy (17months) became very needy for his teddy and it felt to me we were not respecting his preferences, he clearly requests his teddy and is keen on interacting with other experiences with it alongside. It got me thinking as i observe one other child very busy about her day constantly with a centre baby doll alongside her, we have no problem with that and wouldnt dream of restricting where she plays so is this sending a mixed message to our little guy?
I feel we are not respecting his current need, at home he as access when he likes to his teddie. He often is happy to have his love of the texture and warmth of soft toys met by our selection but when he needs his and wants to play I am torn, would love to hear other peoples thoughts and reasoning!
A very interesting topic to be discussing and one I can relate to in a previous experience. We had a similar situation and as a team we discussed this to great length. In the end we went back to our philosophy statement which stated that individual children's interests, needs would be met. We were also a centre that wanted to be a home away from home type of setting! We spoke with the child's parents and it was decided to allow this child to have his teddy when he requested it and then we encouraged him to put it in a special spot when he was ready. This worked for us as a team and over time the child wanted wanted his teddy decreased
I find this an interesting discussion and wonder why it is an issue. Children's contextual cultures must be recognised and catered for if the child is to have a sense of well-being and therefore belong. Having tiems from home that enable the child to feel safe and seen is very important and should not be dissuaded. I know there is difficulty in ensuring the item is not lost, broken etc and that another child might want it, but, when a child wants a toy that another child has we look for something to satisfy the need. It is easy to side track toddlers into something else. If it got dirty or wet, we wash and dry it, when the child is not using it, we put it away in a safe place. The item is named and all staff know about it. Botgh of the two previous posts have also identified good reasons about not prohibiting comfort items from home i just added my ideas.