Sponsor Scoop: Baby Love Groups
Baby Love Groups based in Swansea is the kind sponsor of the Events and Party Services Category at the 2021 awards. We spoke to Claire, founder of the programme, to get the inside scoop on her business, how she's managed throughout the Covid-19 crisis and why she felt it was important to support our awards.
Tell us about your business
BABYLOVE groups is a rainbow bright, laughter filled developmental program created and founded 10 years ago by myself; Claire Walby-Kettle (BA hons, PGCE, PgDip Early Years, CACHE level 3). The purpose? To create a community supporting families with tiny people bump to pre-school, helping parents, especially Mums to build their “The Mama-tribe,” whilst holistically developing little ones in a chilled, friendly and laughter filled environment. When creating the Babylove I relied on the extensive training and professional experiences I’ve had as early years developmental expert to create the meticulously planned Babylove program. Babylove holistically develops the cognition, physical skills, social interaction, imagination, creativity, communication, autonomy, musicality, confidence and love of learning in little ones new-born- 4 years. The heart of Babylove is friendship and laughter, weaved around these essential ingredients classes overflow with; BABYLOVE infant signing system, Mummy meditation, baby massage, creativity, imagination, music and movement, dancing and marching, sensory wonder, puppets and props, baby and toddler socialising and mayhem! Our infamous BABYLOVE chill out, bubbles, parachutes, love and laughter, outdoor exploration, creative, messy and arty play. Our age appropriate classes currently include; BABYLOVE simply massage, Tinies, Tweenies, Toddlers, and Beach Babies. For our amazing parents we also have our social evenings and days; helping to build the Mama Tribe and Papa Posse! Exciting developments are coming to BABYLOVE in 2021 when the classes will be extended to further support Mums at this incredible time of matrescence.
What has been your proudest moment in business?
When I considered this question I thought of all the ‘business’ focused responses I could and possibly should give; the waiting lists for classes, the high end venues who request to partner with BABYLOVE, the wonderful staff I have trained and employed, the community initiatives such as partnering with care homes and running multi-generational sessions etc.. But in my heart the proudest moments all come back to the consistently wonderful, often humbling feedback I have received from hundreds of Mums over the years. Comments such as this one from new Mum Sam with Baby Hunter, “Claire, you and BABYLOVE helped me to become more confident as a mum, by helping me to understand my baby and his needs more than I did before. Just the simplest of achievements as the weeks went by, felt amazing” (June 2020). I could go on but I will finish with one final quote from a wonderful new mum Sharon with baby Grace, “BABYLOVE is a must for every little one, Claire has a holistic approach to engaging with both the little ones and the families so this will work on many levels to help babies grow and parents to feel more confident… the welcome we've had at BABYLOVE has been so wonderful we really feel at home now.”(July 2020).
What advice would you give to anyone entering the kid’s activities
I have so much advice I could share, where to start!!?? If I had to choose one piece of advice it would be to ensure you fully understand the benefits of what you are offering to families and children. It is undeniably an incredibly fun, high energy, wonderful environment to work in but it really does come with responsibilities towards parents and little ones. Working with children and families is a true vocation, it is a real honour to share this time and we must constantly evaluate and review our practice, keep our knowledge updated and make sure we always offer the best, developmental experiences.
Covid-19 has impacted the entire industry, how have you ensured the
survival of your business?
I became an overnight oracle on social media, Zoom, live video sharing so that within a week, BABYLOVE at home was launched. This became a real community where existing and new families could reach out for friendship, support, guidance. Each week a new timetable came into being that included weekly classes, bedtime stories, coffee and catch up video chats, fortnightly social evenings. To ensure everyone got the most out of BABYLOVE at home, every Monday I had a Facebook live coffee and catch up where I suggested homemade resources that would support sessions, this became quite a ‘Blue Peter’ moment and parents really rose to the challenge. Classes were recorded live and could also be re-watched. For isolated new Mums I recorded Simply Baby Massage, an infant massage video tutorial that parents could access. Other than the baby massage video tutorials, this was all offered fee free or donation only. Alongside this I was working hard behind the scenes ensuring I was ready to re-launch classes, setting up online booking procedures, covid-19 policies and procedures, risk assessments, surveying family’s needs, building a new web site, re-writing curriculums to reflect new guidelines and ensure safety was paramount.
What led you to sponsoring the Wales Children’s Activities and Services
It is so important that Children’s Activity Providers and Children Services are recognised, celebrated and rewarded for all the wonderful good they do. There are so many marvellous childcare providers, activity providers and play school leaders who work tirelessly scaffolding childrens development and supporting parents, often with little economic rewards. It is wonderful that these essential professionals can be identified and celebrated. For too many years, working with children and families has been regarded as ‘just playing’, it is fundamental that this attitude changes and the benefits of supporting children, babies and families is acknowledged. I am proud to celebrate everyone who works with children and I am using the Wales Children activities and Services Awards as a platform to ‘shout from the roof tops’ about this amazing group of people and their achievements.
We'd like to thank Claire for her support and wish her all the best with the imminent reopening of her wonderful classes. Thank you Claire!