Case Study Example: Care

This is an example of how the Cycle of Reflection can be applied

Cycle of Reflection Tool [pdf]

Mother – Gemma
Louise & Joey- Practitioners
Mason – Child aged 2 years 6 months

What was the experience? Mason and Gemma arrived at the nursery. Mason was holding Gemma’s keys. When they enter the room Gemma picked Mason up. They went straight over to Joey and in what appeared to be a familiar routine, Joey handed Mason his own key fob and then Mason returned Gemma’s keys to her. Gemma then turned to Louise who asked Gemma how Mason had slept the previous night. Gemma said, ‘He was coughing again all night’. Louise asked, ‘Did he sleep through it all?’ to which Gemma commented, ‘No he was a bit up and down’. Louise then said to Mason, ‘Oh no you still got a cough?’. She then held out her hands and said to Mason, ‘Can I have a cuddle?’ and as he bent forward, Gemma lifted him upward towards Louise and she reached out to take him. Louise asked Gemma if Mason had had breakfast and she said, ‘No’. As Gemma moved toward the door, Louise told Mason what choices there were for breakfast and she proceeded to name the list of cereals. Joey then said, ‘We got in hoops especially for Mason’. Gemma reacted with an ‘Ah’, a smile and reached over to stroke Mason’s head. Gemma said to Mason, ‘Have a good day’ and bent in to kiss him. Louise said to Mason, ‘Are you going to say good bye to mummy? ‘Gemma then responded with, ‘Bye, see you later’. As Gemma reached for the door Louise suggested to Mason, ‘Shall we wave?’ Gemma asked Mason, ‘Are you going to look out of the window?’ Louise joked with Gemma about the key fob, ‘This is a better key because it’s got a better key ring’. Gemma went out of the door, turned her head, blew Mason a kiss and said, ‘See you later’. Altogether the adults said, ‘Byeee’. Louise went over to the window with Mason still in her arms and said, ‘We’ll go and see’. As they stood looking out of the window Louise pointed left and right and asked, ‘That way or that way? Other children arrived and as Louise turned her head to welcome them Mason also looked in their direction. As they waited for Gemma, Louise chatted with Mason as they tried to guess which way Gemma would go. When Gemma appeared Louise said, ‘There she is’. Mason’s eyes lit up as he pointed toward his mother. She looked up, smiled and waved to Mason as she walked away.

Where did it take place?
07:45 in the toddler room with one other practitioner.

Why was your attention drawn to this experience?
I was watching the children arrive at nursery and was struck by the way in which Louise managed the separation process for both Mason and Gemma.

Gemma always drops Mason off at nursery at exactly the same time every day which enables this ease of separation and as a consequence the routine is well established and familiar to all parties.

What was your immediate response?
The handover of Mason to Louise appeared to be easy but as I observed this ease I realised that it was only possible because of the attention to the intricate detail which can only occur through familiarity and strong, reciprocal relationships which seem to me can only happen over time.

Implications for practice.
Mason has been attending the nursery regularly since he was a young baby and as such he is familiar with partings and reunions with his mother. Yet, it is only the predictably of the minute detail which matters most to Mason and affects how secure he is throughout the remainder of the day. Witnessing Mason’s arrival has highlighted the need to avoid moving staff from one area of the nursery to another when there are staff shortages, particularly at the beginning and end of the day. These organisational dilemmas will be discussed at the next senior managers’ team meeting.