Case Study Example: Love

This is an example of how the cycle of reflection can be applied

Rainee – Practitioner

Eva – Child aged 21 months

What was the experience?
Eva was asleep on a mattress on the floor. Rainee knelt down beside Eva. She bent right down to obtain eye contact. Rainee gently stroked the back of Eva’s head while quietly calling, ‘Hello’ in a sing-songy voice. Eva reciprocated by lifting her head up, looked at Rainee, rocked back on to her knees, rubbed her eyes and moved her head from side to side before lying down again. Rainee lowered her head to maintain eye contact with Eva. Eva reached out for her teddy which was at the top of her mattress whilst Rainee continued to stroke Eva’s head and talked to her until Eva was fully awake. Eva pointed to something on the other side of the room and Rainee said, ‘What’s that?’ Eva got to her knees and then stood up. Rainee remained on her knees so that she maintained eye contact. Eva said ‘Oh, Oh’, which Rainee echoed followed by, ‘I’m awake, I’m awake’. Eva appeared to be unsteady on her feet so Rainee, who was still kneeling, supported Eva by holding her hand. Eva sat down on Rainee’s knee to drink a cup of milk, which was bought in by a practitioner. Rainee put her arm round Eva’s back to support her whilst gently stroking Eva’s leg. Rainee continued to talk in soft tones when responding to Eva’s cues.

Where did it take place?
In the toddler sleep room in the presence of 2 colleagues and several other toddlers.

Why was your attention drawn to this experience?
Eva had been asleep for longer than was usual for her and the practitioners decided it was in Eva’s best interests to be gently woken. I was drawn to this because of the way in which Rainee deferred to Eva throughout the experience.

Rainee’s role is to cover for staff over lunch; this means that she is a regular and consistent figure at this time of the day for Eva. There was evidence of a comfortable and familiar feel to their relationship. The appropriate and gentle manner in which Rainee woke Eva up demonstrated her understanding of the individual needs of Eva.

What was your immediate response?
I was struck by the unhurried manner in which Eva was woken up and the way in which Rainee was completely aware of and absorbed in the best and most appropriate experience for Eva. The ease with which Eva accepted Rainee and the gentleness that Rainee afforded Eva reminded me of the way in which a parent might wake a child if they were in their own home. It confirmed for me the need for practitioners to be flexible so that they can work at an individual child’s pace and not be driven by the organisational routines of the nursery. This appeared to be the normal approach for this room as all the other practitioners were working in a similar manner. To me this was an example of professionally loving practice.

Implications for practice.
This is an example of good practice which is going to be shared at the next whole staff team meeting and included as a case study in the Fennies new parents handbook.