On the 1st June we reopened our outstanding nursery and were extremely happy to be back in our natural environment so we can maximise on the face-to-face interactions with the children. We supported our children during the closure period through our online learning that involved a weekly pack of activities supported by recorded and live teaching sessions. It was great seeing our children make progress through these methods. Following our reopening, we implemented a “blended learning approach” where both remote and on-premises learning takes place. However, the physical environment itself and our processes had to change to accommodate the highest standards of infection control and risk assessment.
Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, we had robust risk assessment policies and procedures in place. Our health and safety practices are second to none, as recognised by Ofsted as well. These are always reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they stay in line with our activities, aims, and children numbers.
However, during these challenging times, we have changed these to reflect the increased risks due to Covid-19. We have therefore used, as our minimum basis, the so-called hierarchy of measures as identified by the Department for Education: (a) avoid anyone with symptoms, isolate suspected cases as soon as possible; (b) follow good hygiene and cleaning procedures; (c) ensure regular handwashing and educate children about it; and (d) keep social distancing amongst teachers and their bubbles of children, as well as between all adults in the nursery.
Examples of how we implement the “hierarchy of measures”
- On arrival at the nursery, we have cones situated at the front of the building for parents to wait with their child, observing the 2m distancing rule.
- In order to explain some tricky concepts in a way that does not alarm or confuse children, we have bubbles blowing from our bubble machine and illustrations from our favourite Julia Donaldson stories. These include child-friendly information on social distancing and keeping clusters of children separate from one another.
- We have implemented “bubbles” across the nursery and allowed the children to create their bubbles’ names focusing on smaller groups of children.
- By having smaller bubble groups we have found that children have been able to socialise with peers again in a safe way. We have also set challenges throughout the day in different areas to ensure that we ustilise all areas and spaces inside and out with each bubbles group.
- We have 3 large outside areas to support learning and development outdoors promoting a healthy and active lifestyle to our children . We utilise our outside space to its maximum and use initiative like The Daily Mile to offer children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, confidence and independence.
As a team, we recognise the effect of the closure on the emotional well-being of our children and as a result, we will be focusing our curriculum on well-being and relationships as well as preparing our older children for the transition to school. The pandemic has really highlighted to the team that although these are unusual times it is important to remember that although the way we interact with the world has changed, one of the things that has not and should not be changed is the basic human need for social contact. This need has really shined through upon our children’s return with their engagement, excitement and desire to explore and learn.
We continue to provide a rich curriculum to our chidlren as we provide access to a wide range of specialist classes and workshops for children ithat nclude music & movement, drama, sports & physical education, language & storytelling, natural mathematics and information technology classes.
Finally, we are now offering out of hour visits from 4.30pm along with live virtual tours to go through any questions and further information. We hold a zoom session for all new parents and have allocated individualised “stay and play” sessions for all the families joining us in September. For more information see our FAQs page, and book your visit now to see us in our environment.