Covid 19 Information
Our preschool is committed to keeping our children, families, staff and wider community as safe as we can during the Coronavirus pandemic. We have remained open during the pandemic and have implemented a number of measures including enhanced cleaning, hygiene routines and social distancing systems. All the children have amazed us at how well they have adapted and they are all superstar handwashers! We regularly review our Covid 19 risk assessment to ensure we remain Covid secure, this can be found here on our website.
Covid-19 Risk Assessment
Guidance from the NHS states that the main symptoms of coronavirus are:
A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
A new continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms
If your child or a member of your household are experiencing symptoms of COVID -19. Please book a test immediately, do not bring your child to preschool.
If your child is going to be absent please inform preschool by phoning 01928500004 or emailing Mandy Blythe at email@example.com
Our preschool during the pandemic - Lockdown January 2021
During lockdown starting in January 2021 our preschool remains open as normal, we are supporting families and children who have chosen not to attend preschool, by sending home weekly activities and by inviting the children to join in with video storytime calls twice a week. All our staff are phoning parents regularly, to keep in touch with their key children and families and just to say 'Hi, how are you doing?', such an important question in such difficult times.
Our preschool during the pandemic - 1st Lockdown
Examples of Home Learning During School Closures March – July 2020 Supporting 42 families
At the beginning of school closures it was agreed by the staff team that we wanted to continue to support Vicarage Lodge children and families with home learning activities however we didn’t want parents to feel under pressure to complete them so right from the start it was made clear to parents that all activities were optional.
The system used to send activities home was via email and Tapestry. Both these systems were already embedded so it was an easy process for the manager to send out daily emails with activities attached and then encourage parents to respond with photo’s and video’s of their children via Tapestry, which could then become part of the child’s learning journal.
Responsibilities were shared amongst the staff team, with the manager organising and sending out the daily emails, the deputy managers checking and responding to parents on Tapestry and the whole staff team completing the online activities to be sent home. Individual staff strengths were utilised, with the Manager initially role modelling story videos to be sent home, until confidence grew in the staff team. Some practitioners who were strong, confident story tellers immediately took to recording story video’s, others who were less confident at being filmed began by recording videos of cooking activities, as these were areas in which they normally excelled however within a couple of weeks all practitioners were completing story videos. The feedback from parents about this was excellent, it meant so much to the children being able to watch their key person read them a story!
The format of most daily activity emails was a story with a related activity attached. These were varied and have included activities to cover most areas of the curriculum.
One of our children joining in with a home activity linked to the book The Smartest Giant:
Tuesdays and Thursday were Maths Challenge days, one such activity was sent home through the post and contained a balloon, after speaking to one parent and being told the child had burst his balloon, we personally delivered another one (maintaining social distancing!). This was the feedback from the parent via Tapestry:
After Mrs Blythe came and delivered (child’s name) another balloon after his burst in the garden, he was so happy, his little smile lit up the room when I came in and told him, he had been very upset that morning because he couldn’t come to the shops with mummy, this whole situation hadn’t really phased him until now, so it really cheered him up! Thank you, it really touched us that you would go out of your way for us, it just shows how something so small can really change someone’s day! As you can see You totally turned (child)’s day around!
We also sent home videos of a member of staff using Makaton, she had trained in this just before closures and had started to teach the children in preschool as part of supporting a child with SEND, so the videos helped to embed this learning and also support the child with SEND.
Feedback was highlighting that some parents were interpreting home learning as their child sitting completing worksheets, in order to support these parents, our lead Language and Communication practitioner developed a newsletter and series of activities to promote learning about language, letters and sounds through play.
Our practitioner, who last year trained in Mine Conkbayir Applying Neuroscience to Early Intervention, took the lead in sending home information to support mental health and self-regulation, in the form of newsletter, links to other websites and support agencies and also a member of staff creating yoga videos to support mindfulness.
We put a system in place whereby if we had not had contact from a family for over a week, they would either be contacted by email or phone.
SEND – Our children with SEND were supported by the SENCO with individualised weekly activities emailed home and weekly communication, either by email or phone to parents.
Parental Support and Involvement
Initially there were some technical issues re how to email the videos to parents, however a parent offered to train the Manager on how to do this on Dropbox and after a few teething problems it was all up and running.
A parent offered to look after our fish during the closures and sent videos of the fish enjoying their holidays, which were then sent out as part of the daily activity emails.
A parent who speaks Spanish videoed herself and her children giving some simple Spanish lessons to be sent out vis the daily emails
A parent who regularly comes in to preschool to do music workshops with the children, continued to record these as our Music Workshop Videos which were sent out with the daily emails every Friday.
Parents took part in sending video ‘Hello’ messages from their child, which we then sent out by email to the other children. This proved extremely popular and supported those children who were missing their friends.
Children who were due to start in the summer term were also included in the daily emails, feedback from their parents was that it was really going to help their child to know all the staff when they eventually start preschool.
Feedback form parents during lockdown was excellent and kept our spirits up:
We have really enjoyed doing the activities you have been sending through and found them very helpful. They have also given a strong starting point to continue with other activities. Charlie has also enjoyed seeing his teachers and knowing you are still in contact.
Craig and Rebecca
(child’s name ) and (child’s name) really loved listening to the story and looking at the illustrations, thank you Mrs Wallace. (child’s name) answered all the questions via video.
Re Language and Communication Newsletter:
Thank you for this, I have found it a very useful read and I am trying to do things with (child’s name) where he is learning through play and expressing himself so I will definitely be using this.
Vicarage Lodge Staff and Committee would like to say a huge Thank You for all the support parents, families, colleagues and the wider community are giving to us during these unprecedented times.