Communicating with families and the community
Conducting visits to settings in times of social distancing
How can early years providers welcome and connect with prospective parents in these times of social distancing, staggered start times and strict guidance?
Richard Knight from the Early Years Alliance North of England Service Hub has some tips in this blog post.
How to do settling-in sessions during the coronavirus outbreak
The common settling-in process might involve lots of short visits and play sessions so that parents, carers, practitioners and child can all get to know each other and share that all-important information before the child starts with you.
But it is inevitable that just like everything else, settling-in sessions will need to look different in this new way of life we are all adjusting to.
Read our blog post which is full of tips and ideas of how to settle in children in these times of social distancing.
Playing and learning at home
The Alliance has produced a variety of resources to help families continue their children's learning and development at home during the summer months.
There are more than 100 videos of songs, rhymes, activity sessions and children's cooking sessions plus videos specifically to help parents nurture their children's development.
Please feel free to share the link with your families.
Talking to children about coronavirus
It is inevitable that even very young children will pick up on the levels of anxiety around them about the virus, even if they do not fully understand the context of the current situation.
Therefore, it is important that early years practitioners respond to any concerns that children express in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner.
- The Children's Commissioner has created a free, downloadable Children's Guide to Coronavirus. The guide aims to answer children’s questions about coronavirus, tell children how to stay safe and protect other people and how to help them make the best of their time at home.
- The Alliance also has a blog post you can read called How to talk to children about coronavirus.
- There are government guidelines on COVID-19: supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
The government has published guidance for parents in which it says on the issue of parent fees during closures:
"We are asking providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents".
As with any widespread infection that could pose a threat to their children, parents may be understandably concerned.
Social media and word-of-mouth in a community can sometimes be a source of misinformation, particularly if you hear of cases of coronavirus locally.
You can reassure parents who are worried by sharing up-to-date information and advice from reliable sources.
While you will probably have your own social media policies in place, it would be sensible to advise any staff - whether working or furloughed - to refrain from sharing sensitive information online which may cause undue distress or unnecessary concern.
It is important to note that any content shared on social networking sites could potentially end up in the public domain, even if it appears to be ‘private’ or is on a closed profile or group.
Your staff should always be aware of wider implications of sharing such information in their personal networks.