Looking back at over 5 years of the Beautiful Beginnings Parent and Child Group
The Beautiful Beginnings Natural Playgroup has met weekly in Maryport for over five years. The group was founded in 2011 by Hatti Burt and Clare Cooper, local mothers who wanted to create a community which would support mothers, fathers and children on their natural parenting journey.
Weekly sessions at The Settlement brought together families who were interested in following their own hearts and instincts in parenting, and over time created a nurturing, supportive and welcoming community which held the space for many families to come together and share the parenting path.
Valuing time spent in Nature, over the years the babies, toddlers and children spent time exploring the garden, collecting leaves, sticks and flowers. We planted seeds, sung songs and had many adventures amongst the wildflowers and trees over the years.
The tiny saplings we planted from the Woodland Trust have now taken hold and made a beautiful contribution to The Settlement’s woodland. So lovely to remember that the children and toddlers were so involved in the digging, planting and watering, and these trees will grow up tall and strong alongside our children.
Craft, recycling and creativity were always high on our agenda, as was parents being involved and creating alongside our children. The beautiful crafts were often made with collected natural materials and recycled objects and are testimony to how the spark of creativity lies within all of us. Some of the most beautiful and interesting creations came forth when we didn’t have a fixed plan, but left out the materials and watched as the children brought to life images from their own imagination.
Alongside creating a gentle and inspiring for our children to play, we set out to create community; to create a sense of friendship, love and connection where we all love and care for all of the children and meet them all in gentleness and with respect. Knowing that other parents will respond to your own child with gentleness, patience, respect and an understanding of the needs underlying behaviour is wonderful and brings such support and sustenance to the parenting journey.
As well as supporting one another in our parenting, so too did we support one another on the wider path of mothering; we held space, listened and offered suggestions as women shared the challenges of breastfeeding, pregnancy, labour and sleep. We created Blessingway ceremonies to mark the sacred time of pregnancy and to offer love, strength and support as mothers approached birth. We remembered the babies we had lost and supported one another through these times, remembering the little babies who did not make it into our arms, yet live on in our hearts.
Like all aspects of mothering and of life, Beautiful Beginning is feeling the winds of change; as the needs and interests of our children grow and change, so too do we as parents adapt. I am currently training to be a Forest School Leader and it is my hope that the energy and community of BB will continue to grow and move forward as we develop into a Family Forest School. I hope you will join us on this journey.
Thank you to all of the families who were the Beautiful Beginnings group over the years; you always brought your love, wisdom, honesty and energy to make the group a welcoming and nurturing place for all.
Thank you for creating the community which has embraced us on our parenting journey and given our babies and children a truly beautiful beginning in life; to be loved and enjoyed by a small tribe of their own.