Disclaimer: This interview with Leanne the Manager of Bramley Wood Day Nursery & Pre-School, Bracknell is a paid promotion with Complete Childcare.
How does it feel to have your nursery open again since lockdown?
Amazing! Throughout lockdown we remained open to care for both vulnerable children and children of key workers, the team and children embraced spending time together by making ‘pocket hug’ key rings for our friends at home to let them know we were thinking of them, making funny and/or informative videos on social media and keeping our neighbours from the residential home company from a distance, by chalking messages on our carpark floor (previously our Pre-School have visited them regularly).
Since June we have welcomed the majority of our children back and they have all adjusted very well. It is great to hear the nursery full of happy children continuing their journey with us again.
Have the children been excited to be back?
We were all a little apprehensive at first about how the children would feel returning to nursery, but they have completely surprised us! Although we had the initial tears at the door from a few children they have all settled well into the ‘new normal’ and that was our main goal post lockdown.
What have the children’s favourite activities been since you have returned?
Our Pre-School really enjoyed our outdoor classroom. We moved all our activities outside for 11 weeks and even enjoyed mealtimes in our large garden; our Pre-School leader is Forest School trained, so we even had BBQs on our fire pit!
The children loved the sunshine and all of the wildlife that came with it such as bees, flowers, squirrels and butterflies. We even braved the rain with welly boots and smiles, finding the biggest puddles we could.
We celebrated being together again with lots of parties in our bubbles and even put together a quiz for the children.
We used information from a questionnaire we sent to parents to find out what the children had enjoyed doing during lockdown, before incorporating similar activities in the nursery.
What changes have you made to the nursery to ensure you are Covid Secure?
Complete Childcare nurseries have taken many precautions to ensure the safety of the children, parents and the nursery team. Each nursery has a very detailed risk assessment tailored to each setting. To summarise, we have taken steps such as rigorous cleaning, kindly asking for no parents or visitors to enter the setting, the use of PPE, staff training and good personal hygiene for anyone in the setting.
The children have also learnt a lot about why we wash our hands through use of stories and activities.
We follow all guidelines around sickness, and we have found our parents and nursery team to be very understanding, exclusion periods for sickness have always been followed as part of nursery life.
Do you communicate regularly with the other nurseries and share best practise?
Virtually yes, within Complete Childcare we have a weekly meeting with our Nursery Support Team and managers from all the settings. This is where we share ideas on practise and seek advice if needs be. I have also been lucky enough to attend some Early Years Alliance forums and speak with managers and owners from different settings. I found it helpful knowing we were all experiencing similar situations and had a platform to discuss solutions.
Are all the staff adapting to the new changes?
The team have been very supportive and understanding when adapting to the new way of nursery life. They are each confident they understand the policies and procedures, and everyone wants to ensure the safety of the children and their colleagues; they have gone above and beyond!
Like the children returning, I feel some of the team were also a little apprehensive, but once they saw the children, their colleagues and all the measures put in place to keep everyone safe, it was as if no one had been away.
In this photo are some of the staff at Bramley Wood Nursery holding their ‘lockdown hero’ awards which they received for their continuous work since lockdown began in March 2020.
Is social distancing working well with parents and how do you communicate with them?
We have continued to communicate with all our parents both throughout lockdown and now via e-mail and social media platforms. The social distancing works well, as we ask parents to handover their children at the entrance to a member of management wearing PPE and the same is carried out at pick up time too. Throughout the day parents can see what their children are up to using an App, they can also send messages via the app directly to a key person. If we have any messages for the parents then a member of staff can call or e-mail them throughout the day to have a discussion, this avoids any prolonged handovers at the beginning or end of each day.
We sent out an activity pack for parents to complete with their children at home, based on their age but also on what they would be doing at nursery at that time too.
We send out a weekly memo to parents to let them know what activities we will be carrying out at nursery as well as important messages, this also encourages parents to call us with any questions.
Contact the nursery and pre-school
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