Thanks to the hard work, sacrifices and commitment of everyone living in Victoria, children will be able to return to childcare centres in Metropolitan Melbourne from next Monday 28 September. The thresholds set for this to happen seemed almost impossible a few weeks ago. However,we can all be very proud, relieved and excited knowing we are on track to reopen early childhood education services as planned in the state’s Coronavirus roadmap.
Let’s take a look at what this means for centres and for families.
Centres: How to ensure you’re a COVIDSafe Centre
Owners, directors and educators are no doubt overjoyed to be able to welcome all their children and families back to childcare centres. We know how much passion and dedication our industry has for everyone in our communities and for the work we do for children’s development.
While we are all getting back into doing what we do best — giving children the very best start in life — it will look a little different than it used to, and it’s vital that we are meeting all the requirements and regulations to be COVID safe.
All centres will need to have their COVID Safe Plan in place to operate. According to the Victorian Government guidelines, this plan must outline:
- Your actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
- The level of face-covering or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
- How you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
- This plan must demonstrate how you will meet all of the requirements set out by the Victorian Government. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees.
Click here to access the Government’s template and official guidelines for this COVIDSafe Plan for early childhood education.
Children and Families: Easing the transition back to care
As of this Monday, parents and carers will no longer need to be permitted workers or apply for permits for their children to attend childcare centres. While many children (and parents) will be looking forward to returning, others may be feeling anxious or unsettled as they make the transition. This might be related to fear due to the pandemic or simply getting used to a change in routine. Here are some tips to try that can ease the transition for children and for parents:
1.Get your goodbyes right: You can even practice saying goodbye in the car on the way to childcare so that everyone is ready.
2.Make sure you do say goodbye: Sometimes it can seem like a good idea to slip away when a child is distracted but if possible it is better to continue to work on a consistent farewell routine. And try not to make it go on for too long. A cuddle, a kiss and a goodbye wave “See you soon” is perfect.
3.Forecast the days: Don’t spring childcare on a child last minute. Talk about what’s coming next in a child’s life so they have a sense of awareness about what is happening. Maybe write the day of the week on a whiteboard on the fridge with a drawing that shows what the day will consist of.
- Use a comforter: To help children feel safe when their parent leaves, a small token item can be useful. A badge is a good idea or a keyring hanging on a child’s bag. Something that reminds them of home.
- A happy pick up routine: The reunion of carer and child should be happy and reassuring. A cuddle and some quality time after pick up is ideal to show children that the end of the childcare day is always a happy time to enjoy.
Working together in a new normal
While things won’t be quite as they were before, working together as a team within our communities will help us all to flourish as we reopen and resume early childhood education.
We can’t wait to welcome back and support all our beloved families and continue providing quality education and care to the youngest members of our communities.
Do you have any other tips or suggestions on how to ease the transition so we can add to our list? Please share HERE.