What is it like at preschool post lockdown?
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all adjusting to a new normal. Many parents may feel anxious and uncertain about using childcare provision given all the media coverage and seemingly endless government publications. So, just what is it like in settings now?
At Southwater Village Hall Preschool parents and carers will notice that we now stagger the start and end times of sessions to reduce large groups congregating outside, and make social distancing that little bit easier for everyone.
The first activity of the day is hand washing. Lots of fun is had singing songs and foaming bubbles to make this activity an engaging one. Handwashing is now a far more frequent affair and goes beyond the usual toilet, lunchtime, and messy play scenarios.
Two independent rooms now operate, each with their own outdoor play ground to allow only the same staff and children to mix each week. Children freely access toys and resources as they explore and discover with their friends without the expectation of social distancing. Whilst staff socially distance from one another we do not distance ourselves from the children or wear face masks. We continue to offer the same level of engagement, contact and care we have always done. Whether it is a grazed knee or a child missing Mummy and/or Daddy, TLC and comfort is always given.
Children play and learn outside as much as possible. Many of our indoor resources are moved outside to create a stimulating and challenging environment that goes beyond physical play, whilst benefiting from being out in the fresh air. This year we have a brand new and dedicated large play ground with climbing frame, roundabout and swings.
Cleaning has become second nature to us all. It is a big part of the new normal. Resources and equipment are carefully selected to ensure they can be cleaned effectively. We plan activities tailored to the needs of each group of children, so resources are rotated between the two rooms after a thorough deep clean to enable children to have access to all that preschool has to offer.
We place additional focus on children’s social and emotional development. We recognise children need support returning to preschool having spent a prolonged period of time at home. We help and encourage children to form strong relationships with the staff and children so they feel safe, secure and settled.
Since their return, children continue to make friends, laugh and learn together without restriction in a Covid-secure environment. We plan carefully to ensure that revised procedures affecting the adults do not affect the children. For the children it really has been business as usual at preschool, where learning is fun!
We are a term-time setting offering lunch link to enable children to stay and play all day. We welcome children from two years four months and offer universal funding for three and four year-olds. Enquiries for September and January are welcome.