With the government announcing plans for welcoming all children back to early years settings, there are a number of things you can do to prepare for the safe and comfortable reopening of your nursery or childcare centre.
While you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with navigating your way through the new normal, the best thing you can do to combat your worries is to be prepared.
Read on for the essential tips you should be following.
Cleaning and hygiene procedures
Though cleaning and hygiene has always been significant at childcare centres, it’s now more important than ever. Once all children are back in the nursery, ensure that all frequently touched surfaces, door handles, equipment, toilets, and toys are cleaned thoroughly throughout the day. You might want to consider closing 10-20 minutes early to allow extra time for a deep clean at the end of the day.
Depending on the size and layout of your premises, you’ll need to work out how the area can be used to keep small and consistent groups of kids together throughout the day (as well as to keep groups apart from each other too). You might want to consider area dividers, as well as to keep some rooms empty (and disinfected) to reduce risk, should you need to immediately switch.
Account for new expenses within your budget
With extra cleaning and hygiene conditions in place, you’ll need to invest in cleaning supplies, masks, gloves, gowns, and thermometers should you feel it appropriate to take a child’s temperature. It’s important to note however, that in the UK, you do not need to take children’s temperatures every morning or throughout the day.
Reducing physical contact with and between parents and staff
It’s imperative that you organise drop-off and pick-up procedures in order to reduce the contact between parents and employees. You’ll need to work out a system that limits the amount of people entering or vacating your centre. Effective ways to do so include limiting drop off and pick up to one parent or carer only, staggering pickup/drop off timings and by arranging for children to be safely collected/dropped at the door without their parent or carer entering the building. If possible, create a “drop off” point for parents to pull up and drop off their kids with your members of staff on hand to greet them.
Train your staff & inform families/ carers
With restrictions regularly changing, you’ll need to train your staff and inform family and carers of what to expect upon the reopening of your nursery. When it comes to hygiene and safety, all staff members need a real chance to comprehend all of your new protocols so that they don’t accidentally forget to put them into practice. Be sure to keep communication levels high with parents and carers – email them with important new rules and policies and send them a handbook that includes every single change.
While you might feel a little on edge now, that’s completely understandable. However, by preparing for every scenario and communicating regularly with your day care community, you’ll be able to set up yourself and everyone around you for a successful journey ahead.