I really appreciate what music does for young babies and children
An important part of our Youth Music funded Babigloo music for babies (0-12 months) programmes is the role that the Early Years Practitioner plays in making observations, supporting parents - and therefore the Babigloo team - in delivering inclusive and immersive music sessions for everybody involved. The list of these specialist workers is long and we are always conscience of how the EYW role compliments the music and artistic inputs our sessions provide. Hazel Blake is one one of those people and we asked her to reflect on her observations of our programmes over the last 18 months - during Lockdown, coming out of Lockdown and 'fully back in the room' together. Hazel's observations are made over two YM funded programmes and one programme commissioned separately by #SoundstormMusicEducationHub and #BCPEarlyYears
What differences have I noticed from seeing Babigloo sessions run during the Pandemic to seeing the eight-week sessions run now, out of the restrictions of the pandemic?
My name is Hazel, I work for YMCA in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP Council) area. My job role is an Early Years Practitioner for YMCA run Family Hubs (previously known as Children Centre’s). In my job role I see the child’s main carer(s) as the ones responsive to their child’s needs. My role is to help support parents and carers by giving guidance into their child’s learning and development needs. I mainly focus on children under five years of age. I was introduced to Babigloo in the Spring of 2021. My work colleague Michele and I were given the opportunity to be a support for the families that attended Babigloo when it was being delivered at Townsend Children Centre. Unfortunately, the pandemic meant that the guidelines regarding how we could work completely changed. Some of the changes that needed to be made were:
- Face masked needed to be worn,
- Face-to-face meetings were not allowed,
- 2-metre distancing needed to be in place, and
- many rules and regulations changing on a weekly basic (please see the Babigloo Music for Babies Evaluation Report October 2021 for more detailed regarding this period).
In this article I wanted to share the differences I found from the time when families were engaging over Zoom, to now being face-to-face: no masks, or social distancing and being able to -safely- join in with the whole 'Babigloo experience'.
What I observed during the eight weeks of April – July 2022
Babies where given the time they needed to process what was being asked of them by Babigloo. Examples of this include:
- Babigloo gave all babies the time to watch the action they were doing.
- When taking items away, Babigloo reacted to babies becoming upset by acknowledging their shown emotions, along with reassuring babies.
- I observed the babies emotional need being met. Giving parents opportunity to see good practice of positive attachment techniques.
- Parents were observed listening to the music and supporting spontaneous movement by following their babies’ impulsive movements to the music/sounds heard.
It was during Session 3 that I they noticed a difference in the length of shared attention the babies gave during the session. From the two sessions before this I had seen the babies attention shift from one object or person to another, as they became easily distracted. From this session onwards the babies had learnt how to keep focus, this was down to the Babigloo team understanding the babies development needs and responding to the cues they gave. Parents were also seen taking their time to wave and say 'Thank you' to all the staff as they left the session room.
He’s developed in confidence with other adults and children as well as having the opportunity to play instruments, listen to a variety of music genres and experience communication through sound and song
What differences had I noticed from seeing the sessions run during the Pandemic to seeing the 8 week sessions run now, out of the restrictions of the pandemic?
From my point of view, I felt the Babigloo team worked to the same standard as I had seen previously. The biggest difference I found was mainly to the parents. Also I observed the difference of focus that the babies held.
Examples I observed of this:
- In week 2 a child became upset, the mother picked the child up and comforted them. A member of Babigloo came over and supported the child. This worked and the child became distracted by what the Babigloo team were doing and the child’s upset was short lived. Over Zoom this would not have been possible.
- Babigloo came into the waiting area of the Children Centre, to start the session, they were singing, dancing, moving, and interacting with the families as a way to welcome them. Babies gave good meaningful eye-contact with the Babigloo team. All parents were seen smiling and immersing themselves into the positive experience. One parent who held their sleeping child was still included and this was positive to see. Babies giving meaningful eye-contact could not be done over Zoom.
- While waiting for Babigloo to start, four parents talked amongst themselves regarding Portugal (the work of Professor Paulo Lamiero and SAMP-Sociedade Artística Musical de Pousos) and recalling how Babigloo started/came about. One parent asked me if I was going to become trained in Babigloo. Over Zoom this would not have been possible.
- A parent shared that she still cannot get over how her son is happy to be picked up by Babigloo staff and yet when they were at a family wedding at the weekend he cried every time someone, other than mum and dad, held him. After some thought, mum realized that it was because the staff were respecting her child’s wishes by looking out for his responses to being held. Babies being held by other people could not be possible over Zoom or when needing to social distance.
During my reflection I realised that there was something from the previous Babigloo cohort that I did miss this time around. Which was, when the Babigloo team repeated back the babies and adults name, during the hello song, they previous played around with the sound of the names. I liked the focus this gave and how “noticed” the person hearing their name felt.
Overall, I have discovered that Babigloo provided two main things for Families:
an enriching learning environment for all the babies to build on their communication and language development.
Empowering parents to discover the pleasure and benefits of sharing music with their babies.
Babigloo's repetoire can be found on Spotify here: Youth Music funding allows us to employ professional musicians - see their view of Babigloo here: Claire Jones Rob Lee
Two Evaluation Reports are available for our previously funded Youth Music programmes:
2018-2019 Full face-to-face programme
2020-2021 Delivery during COVID 19