Talking about a revolution: Carrington Day Nursery

We heard about Mary Barlow and her work at the The Totem Pole in the Spring of this year from another manager at a networking meeting.  We were reflecting at the time that our baby room wasn’t flowing as we felt it should be and that the outcomes for our youngest children could be better.

We arranged for our manager, deputy manager and myself to spend an afternoon at The Totem Pole and knew immediately we had come to the right place. 

I set up Carrington Day Nursery 24 years ago with such passion and, over the years, with all the many changes in the industry, I realised I had lost touch with my personal belief about what childcare should look like. Somewhat because I was too busy jumping through whatever hoops were required of me at that time.  Mary and her colleagues at The Totem Pole have developed  a way of working within the EYFS, but in a holistic, totally child centred homely way. I certainly felt like I had come home that afternoon.

The next step was to take our whole team to spend a day learning about what underpins this approach to childcare so that everyone understood what we wanted to achieve.  We took a picnic and had a thoroughly inspiring day looking at things from the children’s perspective, we came away with a wealth of ideas and 24 nursery nurses itching to get started!

During our weeks closure at the end of August we made some significant changes to the baby room provision, incorporating ideas we had taken from The Totem Pole that we had adapted to make our own.  The response we got from our families when we re-opened was overwhelming which was wonderful, but the most important of all was the children’s response to their new environment. They really enjoyed the new space and flow and there was a totally new sense of calm. 

I couldn’t recommend Mary and The Totem Pole too highly, the chance to talk to her and reflect on our practice and involve our whole team has been nothing short of revolutionary.

Tina Mclachlan

Carrington Day Nursery, Nottingham