Helping children and parents return to early learning centres at Level 1

By Kim Bone, Group Curriculum Manager, Chrysalis Family of Early Learning Centres

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We know that our parents and whanau communities have suffered throughout the lockdown with redundancies, reduced work hours, slow restarts, major losses in their own businesses and jobs, change of careers, new jobs or additional part time jobs, and so we wanted to support them all through this time.

We believe that above all, we have been entrusted to be your closest partners for your child’s journey, and so we are not going to let you down in your time of need. We want to be there for you now, just as you will be there to support us throughout all your child’s preschool years.

WE DO NOT WANT TO WIN, IF IT MEANS YOU HAVE TO LOSE”, and so we will do whatever it takes to rise together like the tide so we can all come out of this alive, as survivors and thriving again one day.

Click here to find one of our multi award-winning centres near you in Avondale, Blockhouse Bay, Manurewa, or Tauranga and you can even enrol online to receive our offer.

“We do not want to win, if it means you have to lose”

Staying connected with children…

So how do we as adults, ensure that we have prepared children so that they will feel safe and settled when re-establishing routines and going back to educational settings?  Being able to reassure children that they will be safe is important.  This means that as adults we need to role model positive behaviours.  Young children are very intuitive in picking up anxiety in the adults around them.

If you are still based at home, you or your child may be sensing the missed opportunities that are happening at preschool, daycare or kindy. Talk to child about going back to see their friends and teachers at childcare. Photos on our Facebook pages show that most of our children are now back and in action in our “Hyper Clean Centre Bubble” environments, as we wrote about in a previous blog.

Our teachers are also staying connected with you during online broadcasts of our daily mat times via Zoom.

Meet Corobear, a window bear in the 2020 NZ lockdown. Coro became bored, so Sarah, an ECE teacher at Chrysalis living in his bubble decided to read to him (and all our Chrysalis children) the story of “How Maui slowed the Sun” by Peter Gossage.

Re-establishing old routines and creating new ones…

If possible, returning to a similar routine as you and your child had prior to going into our Level 4 rāhui.  This may not be practical especially if you own circumstances have changed over the past six weeks.  Getting out your child’s school bag, giving it a clean and asking your child to choose a change of clothes for their bag will give them a sense that they will be returning to see their friends.

With routines changing again, some children may feel like that have no control over certain situations, so having strategies to help children keep control is important.  Allowing them simple choices e.g. do you want to wear your blue sweatshirt or red vest to preschool today?  Would you like Mum or Dad to help you to do the dinosaur puzzle or Duplo when you get home this afternoon? Shall we have peas or corn with dinner tonight?

Supporting our teaching teams…

Over the past few weeks, our teams have been in constant contact with each other via many platforms.  We have also had the opportunity to attend some valuable personal/professional development on well being and mindfulness, fostering resilience and team building, to name a few. In fact we are proud to have sourced and averaged at least one workshop or seminar or learning experience EVERY SINGLE DAY during lockdown for our colleagues!! (For a full list please see our website https://www.chrysaliscare.co.nz/our-professional-development/).  We have also been very mindful of our teachers to ensure that they feel safe and secure in returning to work and have helped to address these concerns by giving them empowering learning experiences over this time.

In the first few weeks back under Level 2, we opened to welcome children back with extra precautions in place, like temperature checks at the front door, regular sanitising during the day and wiping down furniture and resources and toys.  We feel confident in the robust policies and procedures we have in place that will keep everyone as safe as possible (safer than almost every other workplace and even homes!!).  These will be available for all parents to view, please speak to one of our teachers and they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Supporting our Local Community…

We are promoting businesses and workplaces and especially so if our parents and whanau are connected to these and we are also promoting our local neighbourhood businesses, including office supplies, florists, butchers, hairdressers, pharmacies, cafes, etc.

Finally, remember we are stepping into our ‘new normal’.  We are all unsure of what this means and what it looks like.  But as a small team of a few dozen families or as a larger team of five million people, we are definitely getting there.

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