The latest government advice has called for all nurseries and early years providers across the UK to close their doors to all but, ‘vulnerable children’, as well as those of ‘critical workers’ for the foreseeable future. While this means far fewer children will need care as they’ll be at home with their parents, what about the ones whose parents are part of the relatively extensive list of critical workers?
Below, we sift through the latest advice to try and give you some clear guidance on how you can continue to care for these children, whilst staying in line with government policy and protecting the health of your community.
On March 24th, Boris Johnson announced a range of strict new measures for the whole population, to try and curb the spread of coronavirus. These measures include:
Because of this, taking the children for trips to outdoor spaces like parks, the beach or playgrounds is not permitted and the overriding recommendation is for people to stay inside as much as possible.
If you’re lucky enough to have your own private outdoor space, of course it’s important you utilise that as much as possible to stop children feeling cooped up inside.
Social distancing, the practice of keeping apart to limit the spread of infection is recommended across all areas of society. But how can this work with lots of children in an early years setting?
The Department of Education recognise that it’s challenging to implement social distancing when working with young children, however some of their main tips include:
Keeping parents involved in open communication about your efforts and encouraging them to help out by keeping these hygiene practices going at home is also recommended.
The Department for Education recommends that anyone in a vulnerable health group should practice ‘shielding’, meaning they should stay at home and avoid contact with anyone who may have the virus as they are likely to become severely ill if they contract COVID-19.
Within your setting, ensure that people from these vulnerable health groups are asked not to work, and strongly advise critical worker parents of the risk involved should their child have any underlying conditions.
As you and the children will need to stay within your setting, it’s really important to have activities prepared which keep physical interactions to a minimum. If your setting has an outdoor area this would be ideal and you could consider trying out some of these activities from Sue Cowley. Otherwise, you could try out her recommendations for some fun indoor activities with some adaptations to keep resources separated.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.