No playdough, sandpits, or water games, but plenty of reassurance from staff and outdoor play in smaller groups, and no floor markings for children’s play areas or timed toilet breaks. That’s the life after lockdown plan for a Harrogate nursery provider, which reopens its nurseries this week.
Busy Bees provides childcare and early years education and has confirmed that its health and safety plans for its Busy Bees nurseries in Harrogate won’t require children to play in hoops as some schools have suggested.
They say they will focus on dividing children into close friendship groups, limiting the number of people children come into contact with, reducing the space that children can explore and increasing the time spent outdoors.
All children and staff will have their temperature checked upon arrival, and those families waiting to enter the nursery will be asked to stand two metres apart at drop off and pick up. Regular temperature checks for both children and team members will continue throughout the day, as will frequent handwashing and disinfecting of communal areas.
Crucially, the childcare provider, which has 378 centres across the UK and Ireland, will keep life as close to normal for children, with team members advised to cuddle their key children if they become upset during the day and to only wear face masks for temperature checks.
The nursery provider, which has kept over 100 of its centres open throughout the crisis to support key worker families and vulnerable children, and one of the largest providers of childcare to the NHS, has looked to its colleagues around the globe including, Australia, North America and in particular south-east Asia for learning, and is confident its measures will be enough to protect families in its care.
Busy Bees is also using its safety mascot Safety Buzz to help promote safety, health and wellbeing in all aspects of children’s lives both at home and whilst in nursery. The Safety with Buzz programme is unique to Busy Bees and provides a range of activities and information for educators and parents alike to use to educate their child in a positive way and is designed to help children understand risks and make good decisions on how to stay safe.
Emily Brimson-Keight, Head of Safety at Busy Bees, said:
There is much speculation about how life after lockdown could look in nurseries and schools, and parents are understandably very anxious. The biggest priority for us is, and always will be, the safety, welfare and happiness of the children in our care. That’s why we have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to open all centres, including those in Harrogate, since they first went into lockdown, and we are constantly sharing ideas and looking at best practice to ensure personal and emotional wellbeing for children and team members.
We’re committed to providing the best start in life for children, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in – which is why we’re proud to have kept over 100 centres open to provide crucial care, education and support for the children of key workers during the Covid-19 crisis.
Now the lockdown is being relaxed, we’re keen to offer assurance and debunk the myths about the new normal for parents at this unique time, and are confident our plans ensure the safety and crucially, the development and happiness of children.
As part of its plans for life after lockdown, Busy Bees will also continue its school readiness programme, for those children starting school this September using the time they still have left at nursery to prepare them for school. All of this will be supported by Busy Bees’ digital learning programme Unleashing Potential (UP) which helps to bridge the gap between nursery and home learning.