Working at a Children’s Nursery throughout a Pandemic
Hi, I’m the Nursery Manager at Keeley’s in Croydon. I’ve worked in Childcare for 10 years and at Keeley’s Nursery in Croydon for 4 years. My passion for being a childcare provider has never been greater. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have remained open and tried to adapt as best as possible to continue to provide reliable and safe childcare services in the face of uncertainties and continuous changes to government guidelines.
Throughout the past year, we have continued to take on new starters, and so alongside making sure safety is key (which I’ll go into in a moment), it has been our priority to focus on settling children into Keeley’s Nursery and their new environment. Wellbeing within the nursery environment is at the heart of our core values.
In relation to Covid, we tend to stay away from the word being used explicitly. Children may already be aware of the virus, in most cases they are, yet when we put in place measures to manage the nursery under these circumstances, we tend to focus on hygiene… We like to instil routine and encourage general hygiene with things like washing hands and binning tissues.
Since government guidelines were introduced, we immediately created a system to Bubble Group the children. We also have separate doors for entry and leaving our premises. We also have a system in place whereby if anyone has travelled to the nursery using public transport, as well as hand washing on entry, children and staff also have a change of clothing and change of shoes. By doing so we aim to reduce chances of the virus spreading had anyone been exposed to it. Although we have little science to go by on this, I have continued in this practice being in place because so far we have had (touch wood!) a very low number of cases reach our nursery. In fact, since March, we have only had 1 instance of being informed that a member of our nursery has been in contact with someone who had tested positive. In this instance, we put into practice what we’d planned to do in the case of any positive cases. And our system and communications with parents and staff was fully in force, and we managed to successfully liaise with all parents and carers and staff, keeping everyone informed, ensuring isolation periods were carried out for those necessary; we are thankful to say that there were no further cases of Covid. And through analysis of our records of attendance and bubble groups, coupled with good communication, we managed to contain the situation and minimise impact on the Nursery being affected.
Feedback from the parents and carers was very positive about our communications and how we handled the situation. For this I am very grateful.
In all honestly, for myself and for staff there is a lot of uncertainty. As Early Years providers, we are in contact with children under 5yrs of age, to include infants, therefore changing nappies forms part of our work… We accept that this will mean close contact with children, but ultimately, we are realistic in that this forms part of our services, we are caring and proud to be able to support Key Workers and parents throughout these times.
Throughout the past year, I feel very lucky as a manager to have such a wonderful team in place. Many of our staff are parents themselves, and many have been put on Furlough and/or had their hours changed to part-time, and many have taken the role of being cover staff. To come in in the event of staff shortages. All Keeley’s staff have shown amazing support to each other. I know any one of our team would be here at the drop of a hat, with one phone call. I have an amazing team of 12 staff who all support each other. Every day they make me feel grateful and proud.
The last year has brought great uncertainties, and it is tough. But I love my job. Being able to continue in what I love to do. Also, being there for critical workers and allowing them to continue in their work… I feel privileged to be able to do that.
Nursery Manager, Keeley's Nursery Croydon
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