12th August 2021
Baby and Me
Blog by Vicky Frayard, Corby Producer at Made With Many.
During February and March 2021, we delivered online sensory play sessions for newborn to pre-walking babies and their grown-ups in Corby. The sessions were designed to create time for parent and baby to bond whilst engaging in relaxed sensory and movement activities and support baby’s development. The sessions were led by Anna Daly, early years dance specialist, and supported by Pen Green Centre staff.
Having a baby is a challenge at the best of time. However, throw a global pandemic into the mix and it’s whole different kind of challenge. I was about 28 weeks pregnant when the first UK lockdown was announced and what followed in the coming weeks, was a mix of confusion, isolation and the complete unknown. My baby’s first year has been a mix of lockdowns, waving at family through windows, mask-wearing and distanced activities. It was really important to me upon returning to work at the start of January lockdown, that we offered something tailored to the development needs of newborn babies and some vital connection time for new parents. We had previously worked with Anna Daly when she brought her show ‘Duvet Dancing’ to Corby in 2019 so I knew she’d be the perfect facilitator to deliver the activities. It was an absolute delight to work with Anna again, and our wonderful partner organisation Pen Green (special shout out to Linda and Claire!)
Anna Daly said:
“I really enjoyed working with Vicky and creating the ‘Baby & Me’ sessions for families with Made with Many. A few things stood out for me, in particular the collaboration between dance artist, creative producer, early years community setting (Pen Green) and the families involved. We had shared aims, with the families at the centre. In terms of emotional well being, easy engagement, connecting to local support and facilitating positive bonding at home.
The time and space for all voices to be considered was key as was reflection on each session, so the activity felt relevant, appropriate and moving with the participants together. Unlike some online arts delivery, the tone of these sessions was very much, no pressure to do/perform, please come as you are. If you are late, if baby is sleeping, if the dog barks, it’s all fine. It was important to say and repeat this, so parents at home with their lockdown babies, felt they could turn up without too many expectations or added stress.
For me, as a dance artist, it really allowed me to focus even closer on what is it about the work that really counts. What is the essence of what we can offer through play, movement and connection, particularly when we are not in the same space. How do we do less in a way that encourages more of the yummy stuff? I felt very proud that together, we were able to offer something special, social and soothing for lockdown new parents and their children at home together.”
Following feedback from the group, we created 2 short videos to help with creating at-home sensory spaces for your baby to play in. They are available to watch below and we hope they are a useful introduction to sensory movement play between you and your baby.
Thank you to all the parents and babies who took part in the sessions; it was wonderful to meet and connect. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
We are launching a new early years group in September, so watch this space!
This project was made possible with funding from HM Government through the Loneliness and Isolation Fund. Find out more about the other projects supported by this fund.