With the help of our parents and carers we have successfully re-opened on Thursday, 3 September. Both our returning and new children have settled in well and adjusted brilliantly to the new procedures. Well done children!
We have been closely following the government guidance for Early Years settings and we have developed specific COVID-19 policy and procedures to keep all our children, their families and Polstead staff safe. We will review these procedures regularly and update you of any changes. We will see how these work in practice and we may adapt them as we feel necessary. The full and more detailed COVID-19 Policy will be available on our website but below we wanted to put as much information as possible to inform you of the new procedures so that you and your children feel prepared for the start of your Polstead adventure.
Arrival and drop-off
We are operating a one-way system. Families proceed down the alleyway and wait by the garden gate, which will be open from 9 to 9.30 am. If a queue forms in the alleyway please remember to keep a 2m distance. We recommend that parents and carers wear a mask when dropping off and picking up. When the gate is opened families go through the gate into the garden. A member of staff will greet you and ask you to place your child's water bottle and lunch bag (if applicable) onto a trolley. You and your child will then be asked to wash your hands in our new outside sink. Parents/carers will then carry on through the garden round the corner to the garden double door.
At the garden double door, the new entrance, we will take your child's temperature using a non-contact thermometer. If the temperature is 37.8 degrees Celsius and above your child won't be able to stay. We will ask you to take your child home and get tested for COVID-19. If their temperature is fine, you will say good-bye to your child and use the gate on the right to exit via the Anchor's outside seating area. Your child will apply hand-sanitiser and enter the setting. We will recheck the children's temperature at 11.50 am. Staff will also have their temperature checked on arrival and rechecked during the day.
If your child stays for the morning session only we ask you come to collect at 12 pm. Please wait outside the main building, do not come down the alleyway. A member of staff will come out and see who has come to collect and then they will bring your children out to you one by one to ensure social distancing.
If your child is staying for the afternoon session we ask you come to collect between 2.30 to 2.45 pm. This will enable us to clean toys and surfaces and prepare the setting for the next day.
We have had to temporarily remove all soft toys and furnishings to minimise the risk of contamination. We are asking you NOT to bring any toys from home into the setting. We are also stopping our 'Polstead Library' so children will NOT be able to borrow our books to take home. There will be NO bookbags.
Cleaning and disinfecting
Enhanced cleaning of furniture, toys, books and resources will take place during set-up and throughout the sessions using appropriate cleaning products and methods. Certain surfaces, door handles and switches will be disinfected.
If your child requires a regular or occasional nap after lunch, we will provide washable plastic mats which will be spaced 1m+ apart. You will have to provide a blanket and small pillow for your child which will be kept in the setting for the duration of their weekly attendance. Then it will be send home for thorough washing ready for the next week.
Bubble and distancing
Following the government guidance we are allowed to be one Bubble. 2m spacing will be marked on entrance outside. Inside, play & learning areas will be spaced out.
Visits & access
At the moment, parents and carers are not allowed to enter the setting, only to drop-off and collect their children. Visits from parents considering taking up places at Polstead are still welcomed but unfortunately tours will be conducted by staff with parents outside the building looking in through the windows.
Due to the restricted access to the setting and controlled drop-offs and pick-ups, any communication will have to be done via email and phone. For example, when your child has had a good day we will 'give you a thumbs up' at pick-up. If there is anything we need to talk to you about we will email you and arrange a phone call chat if necessary, i.e. in case of accident, behavioural issues, settling-in, etc.
Suspected case of COVID-19
As we head towards the flu season, we expect children to develop symptoms which could indicate COVID-19, such as high temperature or cough. We have allocated a space where we can and will isolate a child with symptoms, but they will need to be collected as soon as possible.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must get tested and then isolate unless they are in receipt of a negative test result, in which case they can return to the preschool. At this point, the rest of the setting, as we are one Bubble, would not need to isolate unless displaying symptoms themselves.
If someone in the setting is in receipt of a positive COVID-19 test result all close contacts of the child or staff member would be required to isolate for 14 days and will also be asked to get tested. As one Bubble this could mean the whole setting may need to close. However, we are working closely with the Thames Valley HPT (Health Protection Team) who will guide us through a rapid risk assessment to confirm who needs to isolate and if the preschool needs to close.
We understand that settling-in and separating from a parent or carer can be hard and stressful. In the past, we would ask parents/carers to stay for the first couple of sessions but due to the current situation and the government guidance to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading we had to change some of our procedures. One of these relates to the access to the setting, not allowing parents/carers inside the building.
This means you will have to leave your child at the entrance. Their Key Person (a member of staff assigned to look after your child) will be waiting for your child ready to greet them, take them in and distract them with plenty of toys and activities.
It is very important that you stay calm, encouraging and positive. When you are passing your child over to their Key Person, after the child has their temperature checked, tell them "they will have a nice time, they are alright and that you will come back soon." Then please leave.
Based on years of experience, we know that separation mostly does not happen without tears. Children need to learn that they will be alright while their parent/carer is coming back. Normally, we would have asked you to come back in an hour the first few sessions, but we have reduced this time to 30-45 minutes if you felt more comfortable with that. After the agreed time you would come back and take your child home. We will review their settling-in on daily basis and extend their time in the setting as we feel appropriate. By keeping their time short to start with we are ensuring they do not have to wait too long for your return and have an enjoyable time which should allow them to learn more quickly and thus settle-in faster.
Following the government guidance we are not allowing children to bring toys in. If your child has a toy they cannot part with we can make an exception. If the toy was plastic instead of a soft toy it would be more practical and easier to clean. Hopefully, you already have at least two of the same toy in case it gets lost. This way, one of them can stay in the setting and only be taken home for the weekend to be washed. At the end of your child's day we would clean the toy (if plastic) or spray the toy (if a soft toy) with Dettol fabric spray and leave to dry overnight.
At the beginning of next week, we will send you an email informing you who your child's Key Person will be with their photograph attached.
I hope you find this information helpful and that you understand the procedures we have to follow in order to ensure everyone's wellbeing and safety.
Under the NHS Test & Trace Scheme it is very important that you inform us if your child attends another childcare setting and/or has a shared childcare e.g. nanny, childminder. It is necessary for us to be able to inform them if we have a positive COVID-19 case and for them to let us know too.
Please help us create an environment that is both nurturing and safe for your children and the staff caring for them.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: 01865 428 586
- emergency: 07795 360 821