Nursery installed webcams to reduce distress of parents
Published on 03/02/16 Sue Learner, Editor

Burstead Bears in Essex, took the decision when it opened nearly 10 years ago, to install webcams to reduce the distress felt by parents when they first left their children at nursery.

Webcams were first used in nurseries in America but they are becoming increasingly popular in British nurseries giving parents a snapshot of their child's day.

The Billericay nursery has installed a webcam system where the parents can log onto the viewing system via a unique password. Parents can only log onto the site on the days and times that their children attend the nursery, only one person is able to log on at any time and parents are restricted to just five minutes static camera viewing before being logged out.

"We understand that when parents first place their children into a nursery that it can be a very distressing time for them, so when we opened the nursery we decided to install a secure viewing system that would offer parents peace of mind that their child is safe, happy and being well cared for," said nursery manager Rachael Robinson.

The nursery, which also uses a video entry system, finds that "new parents to the nursery begin logging on three to four times a day until such time that they have the knowledge and confidence that their child is safe and happy, after which they tend to use it less and less".

Burstead Bears holds the Gold Award for Good Food & Healthy Eating

"It's intended for peace of mind and that is precisely what it offers. There's nothing quite like being able to see your child when you are at work, whether that be in the UK or even abroad, to make sure your child is well and happy.

"During our recruiting process candidates are advised that they will be on camera for parents to view. To-date we have never had an objection by our staff about being on camera, perhaps this is due to the calibre of staff we recruit, as they tend to be proud to show the care they are providing," revealed Ms Robinson.

She has worked in childcare for 15 years, with her inspiration to work with children coming from her mother who was a childminder. "During my adolescence I found it quite natural and easy to build a rapport with the children my mother was caring for and loved helping her wherever I could. I still have the same enthusiasm and love for working with children today as I did all those years ago," she said.

Prior to Burstead Bears, she worked at a few nurseries. "After gaining several years' experience I really wanted to build a nursery where children could feel safe and secure in a warm and loving environment, also in a setting where children could excel in all areas of their development and this remains our ethos.

"We are the only nursery in Billericay to be rated Outstanding by Ofsted and in 2014 we won a award for the Top Recommended Nursery in the East of England ahead of 940 other nurseries.

"Running a nursery has been much more rewarding than I expected. It took a little while to build up when we first started, but having put everything into it and more, it eventually grew to the nursery it is today.

"This being said, we are continually looking for ways to improve and never rest on our laurels, or take anything for granted. We are in an ever changing environment and need to adapt to the needs of our children, irrespective of their background, culture or special needs," she added.