Changes to ways of working due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Following a period of closure, we are very happy to be open again to a reduced number of children. 

In order to keep our children, staff and families safe, we have made a number of changes to the way we operate, while trying to keep as much as normal for the children as we can. These changes have been made with regard to guidance from the Government, Hampshire County Council and the Early Years Alliance.

Main changes:

  • Preschool has had to move to the Community Centre temporarily, with the children in Preschool and Playgroup are in entirely separate bubbles which do not mix, using separate entrances and toilets. Staff are working in one bubble only, with the exception of the manager who is the only person to move between rooms.
  • Hand washing has become a key part of our routine, with everyone washing hands on arrival, between activities, before food and before they leave, made fun with songs. We have also incorporated a lot of water play into our day, from outdoor car washes to the children helping wash indoor toys, all the time talking about the importance of hygiene.
  • All surfaces which are touched often, such as door handles, are cleaned regularly through the day.
  • Our session times have changed to 9am to 3pm, or 9am to 12pm to minimise points of contact.
  • As much time is spent outside as possible, with each bubble in their own area each day, fenced from the other. The areas are rotated across the week, and all equipment is cleaned each day.
  • The toys and resources available to the children have been reduced to ensure everything they use can be appropriately cleaned after use. Everyone must wash their hands before a new item is made available for use, and staff note exactly what has been used in the day so it can be cleaned at the first opportunity.
  • No toys can be brought in from home, to minimise the items moving between us and home.
  • No adults are allowed into the building except staff.
  • While young children cannot, and should not, be expected to maintain a 2m distance from other children within their bubble, spacing of children occurs where it can, such as spacing chairs out at carpet time, and staff are expected to model social distancing between themselves where possible.
  • At drop off there is no possibility of a quick chat between parents and staff, as we need to maintain distance between the adults. Parents can either call or email if they would like to discuss anything, or if there is something urgent to be shared at the start of the session,  write it down and hand over.
  • All parents and staff have read and signed a document outlining their responsibilities to ensure the safety of everyone at the setting.  It is absolutely vital that we all play our part and follow the procedures we have had to put in place, in order for us to be able to open safely.
  • The doors have to be locked at all times other than pick up and drop off, so parents must be prompt for pick up and drop off.
  • Children now bring their own water bottle to eliminate the sharing of cups.
  • All parents have been asked to share their family's experiences during lockdown so that staff can better understand how to support children. The situation has made it necessary for there to be a greater focus on talking about emotions and being sensitive to the needs of the children, as this has been  a challenging time for all.

 

But within all of these changes, it's vital to give the children as normal a time as possible, and have as much fun as we usually do.

© 2020 by Overton Playgroup. Photos courtesy of Overton Photography Club - John Hodge and Amanda Hepburn

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