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


  1. Hi Mandy, I would like to get in touch with you about interviewing you for our new podcast The Nanny Podcast. I would like to get in touch with educator at your college who would be interested in being interviewed. I am planning to come to Bath in April or May if I can get a few interviews scheduled. I run www.rivieranannies.fr a nanny agency based in the south of France and Monaco and we are launching the nanny podcast https://thenannypodcast.com/about/ It would be great if you could email me at rivieranannies@gmail.com Thank you. Best,
    Hanna Schaer