Friday, 7 April 2017

Norland student helps deliver her friend’s baby!

Preparing for birth is a magical time, from decorating the nursery, to preparing the overnight bag. There is one thing however that cannot always be controlled; exactly when the big day is going to arrive.

Norland student, Lauren Sherrin of Set 39 shares her remarkable account of how her invaluable experience at Norland College prepared her to facilitate one of life’s greatest moments.

“It was the day before my friend Chantelle’s due date and I received a surprise phone call at 6:30am. Chantelle called to inform me that her labour had started and asked if I would be her birthing partner. I made my way over to pick her up and to take her to the hospital. However, things happened far more quickly than we had anticipated - Chantelle’s waters broke at 7:30am, she was 39 weeks and six days pregnant and was at home with her five other sons. Chantelle’s mother, who was also there, acted quickly and called the hospital to let them know that we were on our way, but little did we know that the baby wasn’t going to wait!”

“Once Chantelle was settled, I sat serenely by her side and prayed hard that the baby would be born healthy and strong. For minutes I vacillated between excitement and anxiety that the baby was going to arrive any minute. Together, myself and Chantelle’s mother acknowledged the bizarreness of the situation and accepted the absence of the luxuries we would have had at the well-planned hospital birth.”

Norland College student Lauren Sherrin with newborn Harry
“As soon as we realised that baby was on its way, and that we weren’t going to get to the hospital in time, I swiftly called 999 for some advice and, with the paramedics still on the phone, moments later I delivered baby Harry. He arrived at 7:42am weighing 7 pounds and 15 ounces, a beautiful baby boy. There was no time to hug Harry because, as we checked him all over and swaddled him in blankets to our concern he was not crying or breathing. Initially I was worried that something was very wrong, but the paramedic instructed me to rub the baby and blow all over him. After an agonising couple of minutes and to my huge relief, baby Harry cried and I passed him to his mummy.” 

“The ambulance arrived at 9am and the paramedics joined us with their equipment to have a check over baby Harry and Chantelle. To our relief Harry was a happy and healthy baby and Chantelle was doing well, which is all we could have wished for. Before we were taken to the hospital I was asked to cut the cord so that Chantelle and Harry could be taken safely to the ambulance – it was a great honour.”

“I stayed with Chantelle and Harry at the hospital for a further twelve hours where the staff ensured that there were no further complications before being discharged. When telling people in the hospital about the delivery, they expressed how brave I had been, but all I felt was the joy of having been part of such an amazing experience.” 

“Although Norland College does not include midwifery as part of our training, it has given me the confidence to handle crucial, real-life situations such as this. Helping with Harry’s birth has provided me with an amazing experience and an insight to what Midwifery entails.”

At Norland College children are at the heart of everything we do. The BA (Hons) Early Years Development and Learning degree and the Norland Diploma offer graduates a wealth of employment opportunities in order to establish a lifelong career working with children. 

Lauren Sherrin began training at Norland in September 2015. Visit our website for information on how you can apply to Norland College.

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Should we hide our emotions from children?

Claire Burgess, Head of Research, Consultancy & Training
Twitter: @belles28

We all experience a range of emotions each and everyday.  Some can be quite overwhelming, whilst others influence how we approach the people or the environment around us. But what are emotions?  The Oxford Dictionary (2016) defines them as “a strong feeling derived from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others” and “instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge”.

Being instinctive, emotions are present from birth through to death, we cannot stop ourselves from feeling or experiencing emotions as they are part of our makeup, they are part of being a human being. So why, as adults, do we sometimes feel the need to hide our emotions, particularly from children? As children develop and grow they will start to experience different emotions when faced with different circumstances, they need to learn how to recognise and manage these new feelings to help them to manage their reactions to them and to others.

Recently I was delivering a training session to a group of Australian students on the importance of communication skills when working with children and families. We began by looking at non-verbal communication and our body language.  I asked why this was an important part of communication and one of the delegates responded by saying “it helps us show our emotions”.  This led us on to a discussion around why this is something that children need from the adults around them. We recognised that we needed to demonstrate emotion so that children were able to learn to recognise different emotions. However, when I asked the group whether we should let children see us when we are feeling sad or if we should let them see us cry, this was met with a resounding “no, absolutely not”! When asked why, the group were in agreement that crying was a sign of weakness and that we would not want children, or anyone, to see this because as practitioners and parents we are there to support and reassure them and not make them feel unnerved or upset by how we are feeling.

I felt these were strong statements which I could not let pass without challenging them. Why is it not ok for children to see negative as well as positive emotions from adults? How will children learn how to manage their emotions when the adults around them view portrayals of negative emotions as a sign of weakness? If children are constantly met with adults who are happy and positive at all times, do we leave children open to feeling vulnerable and abnormal when they feel anything but?

I am not saying we should share and display to children all emotions we are feeling and reasons behind these, particularly in times of real crisis or when topics being dealt with that are too complex for a young child to understand.  However, we know all too well that even our newborns are attuned to adults’ emotions from birth, in fact even within the womb. As much as adults like to think that they can hide certain emotions from children I question, can we really? “Psychologists say that there are 412 separate emotions which humans can feel, each of which we express on our faces.” (Morgan 2013:34).  Children might not know what is wrong but surely they are able to use those instinctive skills to recognise when those key adults around them are experiencing something that has changed how they are behaving or that they are ‘just not themselves’.  If they are able to instinctively pick up on a change within the adult, by not showing and talking through the negative emotions is this going to unsettle and worry our children even more? 

We all know that feeling of walking into the office or someone’s home and sensing an ‘atmosphere’.  It makes you question what has happened prior to your arrival and you either want to make a quick exit or you change your behaviour and approach. You may find yourself talking to fill the silence or trying to make people laugh as you want to find ways of making the situation more comfortable and support those around you, even if you don’t know what has triggered an emotional response. 

When we try to hide our emotions from children I think that we can see this compensative behaviour in them.  When we are under stress or upset, through emotional contagion they can sense this, they may for example become louder and sillier or quiet and feel a need to be closer to us.  By not acknowledging our feelings with the child, that they are already acutely aware of, is this leading to them feeling worried, upset or anxious but with no true understanding of why or how to handle the situation or their own emotions? Also are they learning that when they feel like this, the best way to handle this is to clam up and try and hide their true feelings? If this is the case, could this lead to emotional inhibitions later on in life?

It has been well documented (Wilkins and Kemple 2011, Devon 2016) that there are increasing number of men who are feeling that they are unable to show their true emotions and feelings for fear of showing ‘weakness’. This is leading to anxiety, depression and, in the worst case, suicide.  Is it because we are all trying to maintain that true ‘stiff upper lip’, showing that we can cope with anything that life has to throw at us?  Phrases such as ‘man up’ are used in the context that by showing negative emotions one is weak and suggests that individuals need to put those emotions to one side and show the world what it wants to see. But even with a ‘stiff upper lip’ this doesn’t stop us feeling the emotion, just potentially inhibits our ability to deal with and overcome these feelings with the support of others. Why is it not socially acceptable to show that sometimes we need someone to talk to or that we are not coping in a certain situation? It is human to feel vulnerable at times and perfectly acceptable for us to want someone to show us compassion or empathy.  How will our children learn to be empathetic or compassionate if they only ever see people who are happy and who hide negative emotions?

A couple of months ago I fell over and yes, I cried (as much as I tried not to). Apart from the huge amount of embarrassment I experienced, it hurt! The people around me offered support in making sure that I was ok, asking “where did it hurt?”, what could they do to help and comforting me physically with a hug.  This got to me to thinking about children; falling over is an emotional experience, whatever age you are, it causes physical pain, embarrassment and shock. When we tell children to “jump up”, “it’s ok”, “it didn’t hurt” – are we sure?  How can we judge if something hurt or not, be it physically or emotionally, when we have not directly experienced it?   This then takes me back to the question, can we teach emotion or is this something that we need to feel, hear and experience first hand to gain a full understanding? Often we cannot control what emotions we feel in a given situation and having someone tell you that an emotional reaction you are having is inappropriate may make you less willing to display these emotions to that person again, but will not stop you feeling that way. As the Oxford Dictionary defines emotions as “a strong feeling derived from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others” one’s reaction to your emotions may well contribute to more negative emotions that you are then even more reluctant to show. 

Denham (2007:3) states “children’s emotional competence supports their growing social competence, and vice versa.” We should be showing children compassion and empathy when they are feeling emotional, for whatever reason. Valuing these as emotions that they are allowed to not only have, but also display, can help them learn that an emotional response to a situation is not a ‘weakness’ but more just a signal that they too are simply human. This could aid their emotional development but also emotional intelligence (Rose, Gilbert and Richards 2016), a life skill which can benefit us as humans in our careers and in social situations.

Not only should we not be afraid to show children our negative emotions, but we should value it when they display signs of feeling vulnerable or upset. I have witnessed many times when we want children to display certain behaviours, we say that they are a ”big boy or girl” when we don’t expect them to cry when mummy or daddy leaves them at nursery or school that day.  There are times when I hate to say goodbye after a lovely weekend with family and I have to return home or go back to work, those emotions are there and we feel them regardless of how old we are.  Emotions are no more or no less significant depending on our age and we all as humans have a right to display these emotions and have those closest to us support us at those times of vulnerability. This helps us to support each other, develop emotionally and grow emotionally closer to our loved ones.

So, when asked should we hide our emotions from children? I say no! We should be willing to share and discuss when feeling any one of the 412 emotions (Morgan 2013) that come with being human. This will enable them to learn that this is normal but also develop the understanding and compassion to be emotionally intelligent adults.

This article was first published in Early Years Educator. Click here to subscribe.

For more information about Norland's Research, Consultancy and Training department, visit our website


Denham, S.A., 2007. Dealing with feelings: How children negotiate the worlds of emotions and social relationships.  Romanian Association for Cognitive Science., [Online]. Volume XI, No. 1 (March),, 1 - 48. Available at:  [Accessed 4 August 2016].

Devon, N. (2016) The male mental health crisis is real – so why is it still being ignored? [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4th August 2016]

Morgan, N, 2013. Blame my brain The amazing teenage brain revealed. 2nd ed. London: Walker Books Ltd.

Oxford Dictionaries. 2016. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 August 2016].

Rose, J., Gilbert, L., and Richards, V. (2016) Health and Well-being in the Early Childhood. London: Sage.

Wilkins, D. and Kemple, M. (2011) Delivering Male, effective practice in male mental health  [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4th August 2016]

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Etihad Airways and Norland celebrate the graduation of the 2,000th Flying Nanny

Etihad Airways has celebrated the graduation of its 2000th Flying Nanny, continuing its relationship with Norland, the respected UK-based higher education college which specialises in ‘early years’ education.

This Norland approved training ensures that Etihad Airways’ highly trained cabin crew members who transfer to become Flying Nannies, can combine their service and hospitality expertise with an appreciation of the childcare skills required to ensure outstanding service and inflight care for the airline’s younger guests.

The bespoke training programme, devised by Norland specifically for the Etihad Airways Training Academy, provides cabin crew with the skills to support families on longhaul flights.

Linda Celestino, Etihad Airways' Vice President Guest Experience, said: “Flying with a young family can be daunting, even for our most experienced guests, and the Flying Nanny role demonstrates our understanding of their needs and our unwavering commitment to making the journey as relaxing, entertaining and comfortable as possible - for both parent and child.”

Claire Burgess, Head of Research, Consultancy and Training at Norland (left), Etihad Airways’ 2000th Flying Nanny, Isabel Moya Guzman (centre) and Linda Celestino, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Guest Experience (right)

Flying Nannies were introduced by Etihad Airways in September 2013, and are onboard to provide an extra pair of hands and to allow parents more personal time while they entertain the children.

Claire Burgess, Head of Research, Consultancy and Training at Norland, who has been delivering the training at Etihad Airways’ headquarters since the Flying Nanny initiative began, commented: “This milestone reflects how successful the Flying Nanny programme has been for Etihad Airways, and it proves that Norland’s expertise continues to make a positive impact on the passenger experience.”

In September 2016, the airline introduced a new Flying Nanny Kit as part of a new range of ‘Etihad Explorers’ children’s activity packs, to keep its younger guests occupied while onboard. The kit promotes greater interaction between nanny and child and contains an extensive range of fun items including Origami, games, pom-poms, flight certificates, tools for magic tricks and face-painting, and a ‘Flying Nanny stamp of approval’ which the nanny can use to reward children during their in-flight activities.

For more information about Norland's Research, Consultancy and Training department, visit our website

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A job that can change the world

Mandy Donaldson, Vice Principal, Head of Academic Services and Registrar

It’s a bold thing to say, but something I firmly believe in: “When you work with babies and young children, you can change the world!”
The early years of a child’s life are so important. They are not just a time when the child is being prepared to learn – they are learning at a faster rate in the early years than at any other time in their lives. In fact, they are learning sponges, soaking up new experiences through their senses and processing it all in order to make sense of it. Their brains are already sophisticated learning machines and the experiences they have within those first few years actually make a difference to the way their brains work. As Conkbayir (2017) informs us, babies’ brains are shaped by their early experiences and they need lots of emotional, social and cognitive stimulation to ensure healthy growth. In fact, there is a strong link between emotions and brain development and, when the needs of babies and young children are met positively and sensitively, by adults who are attuned to their needs and wants, the conditions for healthy brain development are created. Every positive response and interaction creates a pathway in the brain that sets a blueprint for how that child will manage their emotions in the future; a loving, responsive and nurturing environment can have a life-long impact on personal, social and emotional wellbeing, underpinning the conditions needed for learning.
As a nanny, you are in a prime position to really make a differ
A degree from Norland is a degree with a difference
ence to the lives of the babies and children you work with. This is the time when children are learning about themselves, their families, their world and their place in it. Nature and Nurture combine most potently in the early years, as genetic factors combine with the people, places and communities supporting them to grow, learn and live, to shape the developing brain. During these critical years, the foundation is being laid for a child’s learning, as well as physical and mental health; will he be confident or unconfident? Will she know that she is loved and therefore have good self-esteem, or will she feel unworthy and unimportant? Will he feel accepted and valued or feel unwanted and insignificant? Will she feel that she belongs or be lonely? Will he learn to eat well and be fit and healthy, or will bad habits be instilled from the very beginning? The answers to these questions will define the life of that child and it is the responsibility of all those involved with children to ensure that their physical and emotional needs are met, so that they become confident, articulate, healthy people with high levels of self-esteem, resilience and self-regulation. We can’t teach children everything they need to know for the future, but we can give them the skills and strength to ensure that they can adapt, learn, take risks, bounce back from failure and have a positive outlook on life.
If we get the early years right, we can change the world! We can minimise poverty, delinquency, poor health, poor achievement and the welfare state. We can create a world where there is respect, tolerance, forgiveness, friendship and love. So what do we have to do to get it right? We all have to do our bit. We have to recognise that children have an emotional bank account and that positive experiences are the deposits and negative experiences are the withdrawals. When you are a nanny, this means supporting your charges’ development and learning in an environment of love and acceptance. Be a role model for positivity and make sure that the emotional bank account of your charges is always in the positive.

Given the importance of the early years, it’s ironic that the work of nannies and other early years practitioners is so undervalued, when it is, perhaps, the most important and wonderful job of all. In what other job do you get to change the world? What I mean by that is that a nanny is employed to care for, nurture, support and love a child. He or she will become part of that child’s life and will therefore influence who that child becomes. Yes, it’s a hard job – both physically and emotionally. Your arms and your heart will ache. But it is also the most rewarding and interesting job on the planet! Training to be a Norland nanny takes those rewards to another level. Our students work very hard but they leave us as highly qualified graduates, with the skills and knowledge needed to be the very best practitioners that they can be. Not only that, but we take all our students into our family. Norland College is not a place where we wave goodbye to you at the end of your course. We support you throughout your career as an early years specialist. We can place in your jobs all over the world and we are always at the end of a phone to support you through challenging times. 

Once a Norlander, always a Norlander!

Visit our website for information about applying to Norland College.


Conkbayir, M. (2017) Early Childhood and Neuroscience, Theory, Research and Implications for Practice. London; Bloomsbury

Friday, 17 March 2017

Norland Choir returns to the Mid-Somerset Festival

On Saturday 25th March the Norland choir will be returning for the second consecutive year to perform at the prestigious Guildhall, Bath as part of the Mid-Somerset Festival. This marks the fourth choir performance of the 2016-17 academic year.
Norland Choir performing at Set 37's graduation ceremony
in November 2016
Founded in 1902, The Mid-Somerset Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the country. For a full fortnight each March, the Mid-Somerset Festival hosts classes in Creative Writing, Speech & Drama, Music and Musical Theatre. To conclude the two-week festival, a concert is held to celebrate some of the best performances in each discipline.
At Norland Choir’s debut appearance at last year’s festival, they performed two contrasting pieces; ‘Love Call Me Home’, Peggy Seeger and ‘Like a Singing Bird’, Bob Chilcott, they achieved a distinction and finished in second place. Norland Choir will be competing in the Adult Ladies’ category against seven other choirs on Saturday 25th with an ambition to improve on last year’s performance. 
Under the stewardship of Choir Leader Grenville Jones, the Norland choir has evolved considerably over the past nine years, nevertheless, the choir ethos still remains that all are welcome and auditions are not held; all that is required is a love of singing and a commitment to rehearsals.
Elizabeth Kerry, Events Manager and Norland Diploma Lecturer commented “We are thrilled to be attending the Mid-Somerset Festival for the second year running. The choir has continued to flourish following the new additions from Set 40 students who joined us in September.”
In addition to this performance, the Norland Choir will be performing on 18th March at St Swithin’s Church for the Goldies charity. Founded in 2008, The Goldies charity aims to reach the lives of hundreds of elderly isolated people across England and Wales. “Singing can provide a dose of escapism, it is a wonderful way to unite members of the community and bring joy and friendship to people’s lives; singing should be on prescription,” says founder Grenville Jones.
Follow the choir’s progress on social media by following us on Twitter @NorlandCollege or Like our 'Norland College' page on Facebook. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

What happens when it comes to an end?

Claire Burgess, Head of Research, Consultancy & Training
Twitter: @belles28

We often talk about how to find and interview for a nanny to join your family but we also need to talk about how you handle the situation when the time might come for your nanny to leave.

The process of a nanny leaving can be for many reasons and can be after a short or a long period of time. Regardless of any reasons we need to understand that the process needs to be handled with care and consideration for your children, your nanny and for you.

When you have a nanny, you invite them into your home and ask them to care for your most precious possessions, your children, whilst also making the nanny part of your home, family and general day to day life. You experience the highs and lows of raising children with them and you build a relationship with them that is unlike any other employee/employer situation.

There are many reasons for the employment of your nanny to come to an end, it can be the end of their contract, that your childcare needs have changed or that the nanny’s own circumstances are changing. As a worst case scenario there might have been  a breakdown in your relationship with your nanny leading to the employment coming to an end.

Regardless of the reason, and how you might feel about it, it is vital to recognise that your child(ren) will have built a relationship with your nanny, they will have shared times together and will have adapted to having that person in their life, just as you have. If your nanny is leaving in difficult circumstances, you need to ensure that this is not conveyed to your children, they do not need to be involved in the issues that might have arisen between you and your nanny. Work with your nanny to ensure that what’s happening does not have any negative impact on the child(ren).

We need to have empathy for our children in this situation. They may be asking questions which need to be answered, to help them feel safe and secure going forward. Your child(ren) might have lots of questions such as “is my nanny leaving because I did something bad?” “Does my nanny not like me anymore?” “Do mummy and daddy not like my nanny?”. Take time to sit down with your child(ren) and answer their questions, let them share their feelings and reassure them that everything is going to be ok. It is important that you maintain a positive approach when you are around your nanny and the child(ren) so that the child(ren) are not drawn into any issues that you might have with your nanny in relation to their employment.

However you feel, always give your nanny and child(ren) time to say goodbye, this is really important for both parties to put closure to the relationship that they will have shared. We need to make sure that we respect their emotions at this time and appreciate that they will want to work through how they might be feeling about the situation. 

As we mentioned earlier, the nanny and employer relationship is unlike any other employment situation and, when it comes to leaving a position, it can be very difficult for the nanny to come to this decision. As an employer, try not to take a nanny leaving personally; if your nanny has made the decision to move on you, need to remember that it is natural for people to move on from their jobs. You need to feel positive that you have had this person in your children’s life and that you make sure you manage the situation keeping your children and their wellbeing at the front of your mind.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Norland College celebrates 125th anniversary in 2017

The world famous and prestigious Norland College is celebrating its 125th year of educating and training the very best early years professionals during 2017.

Norland College’s Principal, Dr Janet Rose said that “Norland’s 125th anniversary year marks an exciting new era for the College in a modern world.”

As the new Principal at the college, Dr Rose is driving the College’s new direction and focus: “We often use a phrase at Norland, which is ‘the College is steeped in history, but focused on the future.’ Whilst we are incredibly proud of our heritage and origin, we are constantly looking forward to ensure our training and education is ahead of its time and relevant for the careers our students will go on to pursue. There is an ever-increasing demand for Norland graduates who enjoy guaranteed employment opportunities.”

2016 saw the biggest intake of students in the College’s 125 year history with 92 undergraduates embarking on the four year degree and diploma course including the arrival of more male students than ever before. The Norland Curriculum is continuously updated to reflect a changing society including a focus on early years mental health as well as learning about cutting edge research on early brain development and neurophysiology.

Norland College was founded by Emily Ward in 1892 at its original location of Norland Place in London, before moving on to Chislehurst in Kent and Hungerford in Berkshire before finally settling in Bath in 2003.

Dr Rose continued: “Whilst many of the founding principles of Norland have remained the same since Emily Ward started the College, our students are training and working in a very different world and our teaching and curriculum reflects this; but at the centre of everything we do, just as it was 125 years ago, is the health and well-being of the children we care for.”

Dr Rose added: “I would say 2017 is the year that Norland College will build upon its reputation for being more than a Nanny College; we are developing our Consultancy Department which will continue to forge partnerships with leading organisations around the globe. The college is also establishing a Research centre which will explore a wide range of aspects related to early development. We will launch our ‘widening participation’ and social mobility campaign to encourage students from a more diverse range of backgrounds to study at Norland College.”

2017 will also see Norland College move its higher education provision from London Road in Bath to a new site in the city in Oldfield Park. “We have outgrown our existing premises and our new site will enable us to provide state of the art facilities to study the combined Norland undergraduate degree and Diploma.”

Plans to celebrate Norland’s 125th anniversary include a world record breaking Pram race, digitalising our archives and publishing 125 activities to do with children aged one to five.