Tuesday 3rd December, 2019

Creating Community in Pre-School

< Back to listing


“It is all about creating community for our children and for our families.”

That is how Yvonne Burke, Romsey Mill’s Pre-School Coordinator sums up the basis of her team’s work.

 Up to 40 children attend Romsey Mill’s two Pre-School settings, which prioritise families who are in receipt of 2 year old funding, and others who would benefit from more support.

Yvonne said: “We have a very diverse group of children and families, including several who have been part of Romsey Mill’s Young Parents Programme, which supports teenage mums and young dads.”

Yvonne said: “Our Pre-school offers warm, caring settings where all young children explore, play and develop. But our Pre-School isn’t about using programmes. We are about building community and relationship with families and parents.”

Yvonne describes one fundamental way that they look to grow community in their engagement with the children. She said: “We place great emphasis on ‘Kind words and kind hands’ in the children’s play and interaction. We encourage them to be kind to each other, to be friends, and to learn that we don’t hurt our friends. The process takes time, but we know this is something that the children then take home to their families.”

Yvonne said: “We love the children, our ‘little people’, but we also want to be able to engage with their parents.”

“All parents have needs, so we try to meet our parents where they are, hoping to provide encouragement and support. Many families feel vulnerable and isolated, and need reassurance at times. Having someone to listen and show belief in them is invaluable.”

Yvonne said: “Our Pre-School staff do a lot of listening to parents and let them know that we are always here to work alongside them. In doing so, we hope to create community in which they can thrive, as well as their child.”

According to Yvonne, the links that the Pre-School has with the different areas of Romsey Mill’s work are really beneficial. She said: “Romsey Mill Pre-School feels, and is, a valued and integral part of the wider Romsey Mill team. We are all creating community.”

Yvonne said: “Many families already have a relationship with our Young Parents Programme, and there are also strong links with our wider support for young families, through the Little Millers group and Susan Condie, Romsey Mill’s Family Worker. Her input is fantastic, spending time with some of the families, as she is someone else who they know and trust, who can listen to them and care and offer support, directly or through the courses that Romsey Mill runs.”

Yvonne concluded: “Emotional security is so important for the child and the family. If the emotional security isn’t right for the family or for the child, it will have an impact on the child’s learning and development.”


"HOPE. Your gift, our presence."

Nearly one in five young people disagree with the statement that life is ‘really worth living’.* For them hope is fragile.

Throughout the year, the team at Romsey Mill is present and alongside many disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, in places across Cambridge city, South Cambridgeshire and in Hampton, Peterborough.

Across all of Romsey Mill’s work, our presence with young people and families helps them to:

• Overcome isolation and challenge

• Develop relationships and skills

• Grow more resilient communities and

• Build hope for their future.

How you can help

Making a donation would help us to maintain our presence with vulnerable young people and families in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and help them have real hope for their future.

Any donation that you can make will help to make a positive impact the lives of all those with whom we work. Thank you!

Donate to Romsey Mill