Please see feedback from Mrs Holt on her time in school with the children accessing the emergency childcare provision last week.
I’ve been privileged to have been in school all week supporting the team from EdStart and Technola, who have been providing expert care for those children needing somewhere safe to be.
I thought I’d do a short write up of our strange and unusual, but great fun, week to give you all an insight into how St Luke’s childcare provision has been working.
First the health and safety bits... The children all sanitise their hands upon entering the building and go straight to the big hall, where they each have a seat, spaced out with the regulation 2 metres front, back and sides. The children’s water bottles have been sourced from their classrooms for use in the hall and are cleaned in the dishwasher every night. They each have their own set of equipment, an iPad, guitar, football, tennis racquet, badminton racquet, tennis ball, shuttle cock etc, which are marked with their initials. They use only their own items and after each session, these items are sanitised. Hand washes are done at all transition points of the day; before and after all activities, whenever groups change rooms, before and after eating and before leaving for the day. The children are being gently reminded to keep a 2 metre distance from others. I’ve asked them to imagine Mr Rolt lying down on the floor between them at all times! The children all display a very human desire to be close to their friends and it’s really heartbreaking having to keep reminding them to keep their distance, but our reminders are working and by the end of the week, most are managing their social distance conscientiously and independently. If I can speak as a parent, I have absolute confidence that our children can access this provision and have fun whilst being kept safe and separate. The staff also are all adhering to distancing guidelines. We have arranged it so that no more than 2 people are in the staff room at any one time and standing 2 metres apart has become second nature to us all. The caretakers and cleaners are working so hard, constantly wiping down doors and handles and all touchable surfaces and the rooms we use are all cleaned with the specialist equipment the school purchased in the wake of the Norovirus breakout. I’ve felt very safe being in work and want to thank everyone for working together so thoughtfully and responsibly.
Now the fun bits... For the most part, we’ve had 2 roughly equal groups, one from the upper school and another from the lower. In the mornings, one group goes into the community room and the other outside, there is then a short period of ‘free time’ when the children are together in the hall and the equipment is cleaned. Then the groups swap over. Another period of free time precedes lunch and then the same rotation happens again in the afternoon.
In the community room we have been doing all sorts of fun activities. We’ve learned about building in Minecraft, done treasure hunts, taken guitar lessons, printed patterns with grated chalk and water and then made butterflies with our patterned paper, made frozen chalk from cornflour, water and food colouring which we played with outside and observed how it changed states. We’ve made bird feeders and painted a huge rainbow on the window to share happiness and support with our community. We’ve made (and scoffed) pizzas and created a bug hotel after taking a nature walk outside, around the school. We’ve used graphic design programs, music making apps and had fun with the Spheros. As well as doing some extreme colouring and collage.
I’m bound to have forgotten things we’ve done, but you get the idea... it’s been so lovely to be able to do so many varied and interesting things with such small groups who have appeared at all times stimulated and engaged.
Outside on the yard there has been football and tennis, badminton, basketball, dancing, exercise challenges, races and competitions. Judging by how sweaty and in need of a drink the children are when they finish, everyone has been enjoying the physical activities and getting plenty of exercise. The children have all been doing daily challenges and have enjoyed being videoed, like proper YouTube stars!
The children in our care have all been extremely well behaved and considerate to each other. I’ve been especially moved by how siblings have looked out for and supported each other. What wonderful families we have at our school! All the children have arrived and left each day with big smiles on their faces, which is, when all’s said and done, what it’s all about.
It’s been incredibly strange and weird being at school, but not really being at school, but our amazing children have taken it in their stride and have established new routines and a new kind of normalcy. I don’t know how long this situation will last, but so long as it does, I can offer absolute reassurance that the children who access St Luke’s’ emergency childcare provision will be kept safe, stimulated and happy.
Much love to you all, and to your families at this bizarre time.