We have always been committed to ensuring the safety of our staff, children, and parents through stringent safeguarding measures. The covid-19 pandemic has taken this to a whole new level. We have considered guidance from Public Health England, NHS and the government when planning a specific risk assessment, which is reviewed every term. Derwent Stepping Stones has remained open throughout the pandemic.
It has been vitally important that the service we deliver ensures children received the same high-quality childcare and early education that they always have. We appreciate that their experience outside of nursery has been different to normal and given the age group we work with they have little understanding of why this is so. Also, parents have shared concerns with us that their child may not be comforted when needed due to social distancing. We reassure parents that we will not be practicing social distance from our children, they will be comforted when needed, scooped up when upset, personal care needs met as always and that every one of our children needs that extra cuddle right now.
Each site works within the safety measures of the organisation where they are based, and we have added additional measures where needed. Examples of how we are minimising risk of transmission include:
Face coverings – all staff and visitors to the setting are required to wear face coverings in all communal areas and on handover between children and parents.
Social distance – always maintained between adults.
Cleaning – additional cleaning of toys, frequent touch points, communal areas, and our hands.
Handover points – we are very fortunate to have excellent outdoor space accessed directly from the nursery rooms. Most handovers between children and parents can be undertaken outside.
Parent declaration – we ask each parent/carer to sign into an agreement with us that they will follow the current guidelines including isolating if someone in the household has symptoms. We support parents to understand the rules and act if parents do not comply for the safety of everyone using our service.
Activities – we have needed to review the activities we have on offer for children; however, our resourcefulness and creativity has allowed us to still offer the same opportunities, just in different ways. For example, we have water play with baby bubble bath on offer for most of the time and put different resources in the water, washing our hands, having fun, and learning at the same time.
Bubbles – we have created childcare bubbles which consist of a group of staff and children and these bubbles are always maintained. Staff and children do not mix at any time. We have created additional staff room facilities to ensure staff do not mix.
Sanitiser – there is a sanitiser station on entrance to the building for parents to use on arrival, the children also love having a go as they leave!
Minimise adults on site – we ask for only one adult to bring and collect children, only essential visitors are allowed to be on site, session times have been amended to reduce busy times and staff will work from home if able.