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The Early Years Practitioner’s view of Babigloo Music for Babies in Covid:

We've been privileged to work with so many professionals at Babigloo and in the current Covid situation the need to adapt, be flexible and engage in the technicalities of working with families has been essential. As part of our Youth Music funded programmes in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Dorset the role of the Early Years Practitioner based within Children's Centres is an essential aspect of our partnership work.

Our methods are intense and engaging, maintaining eye-to-eye contact with babies 0-12 months. our work is focused on Music and the Baby and so it's not always possible to respond to the social and emotional needs of the adults in the room.

Here Michele Mannouch (herself a performing Tamborine player!) from the YMCA Bournemouth team within BCP Council's early year provision shares her experience of working with Babigloo during Tier 2/3 and Lockdown situations (September 2020 - April 2021). But of course there's her colleague Hazel Blake, Jenny on Reception and Ali who manages the centre as well as the parents at the other end of the Zoom experience with the difficult task of engaging their little one as well, all involved to bring music to babies:

My experiences of Babigloo.

I was asked within my role as an Early Year’s practitioner for YMCA children centre to support Babigloo. I had never heard about Babigloo and was interested to find out about the sessions they offered. I decided to see if there was anything online where I got an idea, not really understanding how and why the babies were so focused and engaged.

Our first course started on 5th November this was with the parents coming into the children centre and Colin and Michele on Zoom. The first session was about helping the parents feel relaxed, encouraging them to try the movements and to use the props that had been brought over by Colin and Michele earlier in the week.

After a couple of sessions, the parents could see how engaged their babies were, hearing the hello song, tidy away song, and the goodbye song. One parent commented how she felt emotional when hearing her name being sung.

There was a sense of calm and quietness during the sessions, listening to live/ recorded music. Parents cuddling their baby while they moved to the music, understanding when their baby had had enough.

I remember in one session how the babies were so fascinated, engaged watching water dripping on to their hands, arms (to the 'Echo Waltz' by Sviridov). They were so quiet, so focused on the sensation of the water on their skin, whilst having some beautiful music playing and then the quietness. It was amazing and the parents noticed this.

Babigloo were then able to come into the children centre for two sessions, it was so interesting to see how Colin and Michele engaged with the babies using movement, sound, and music.

The last course has been on Zoom, with the parents joining on Zoom.

I have been amazed and interested to see that the babies and parents are still able to benefit from the sessions. Young babies looking towards the screen to look for the sound they could hear, toddlers who the first week were running round, now sit engaged clapping their hands, moving their bodies, arms and feet to the rhythm of the music they are hearing. Babies going to sleep while listening to the music.

To see the parents engaging with their babies, sharing smiles, responding to their baby’s sounds, lots of eye contact. I have seen so many benefits of Babigloo for the parents and the babies. My only disappointment is that I haven’t experienced Babigloo before Covid. I look forward to this. Michele Mannouch Early Years Practitioner for YMCA Children Centres.