What has it been like for nursery children at one provider this week?
PUBLISHED: 17:41 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:41 05 June 2020
A nursery provider has said it is keeping “life as close to normal” for children as it reopened closed settings.
Busy Bees had kept more than a quarter of its settings open throughout the coronavirus crisis for key worker families and vulnerable children and has been working behind the scenes to open all centres, including Ipswich Pinewood, which reopened this week. Ipswich Rushmere has remained open during the lockdown.
The provider, which also runs nurseries in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, said there was no playdough, sandpits or water games, but plenty of reassurance from staff and outdoor play in smaller groups, and no floor markings for children’s play areas or timed toilet breaks.
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It said its health and safety plans focused on dividing children into close friendship groups, limiting the number of people children come into contact with, reducing the space that children can explore and increasing the time spent outdoors.
All children and staff are having their temperature checked upon arrival, and those families waiting to enter the nursery will be asked to stand two metres apart at drop off and pick up. Regular temperature checks for both children and team members will continue throughout the day, as will frequent handwashing and disinfecting of communal areas.
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A spokesperson said crucially they would “keep life as close to normal for children, with team members advised to cuddle their key children if they become upset during the day and to only wear face masks for temperature checks”.
Emily Brimson-Keight, head of safety at Busy Bees, said: “There is much speculation about how life after lockdown could look in nurseries and schools, and parents are understandably very anxious.
“The biggest priority for us is, and always will be, the safety, welfare and happiness of the children in our care. That’s why we have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to open all centres since they first went into lockdown, and we are constantly sharing ideas and looking at best practice to ensure personal and emotional wellbeing for children and team members.
“We’re committed to providing the best start in life for children, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in – which is why we’re proud to have kept over 100 centres open to provide crucial care, education and support for the children of key workers during the Covid-19 crisis.
“Now the lockdown is being relaxed, we’re keen to offer assurance and debunk the myths about the new normal for parents at this unique time, and are confident our plans ensure the safety and crucially, the development and happiness of children.”
Busy Bees is also using its safety mascot Safety Buzz to help promote safety, health and wellbeing in all aspects of children’s lives both at home and whilst in nursery.
As part of its plans for life after lockdown, Busy Bees will also continue its school readiness programme for those children starting school this September using the time they still have left at nursery to prepare them for school.
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