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Quarantine Children – Learning to adapt during lockdown

By: YVONNE O'KEEFFE

Monday 25 January 2021


Learning to adapt while maintaining positive child & family interactions during the lockdown

During the first lockdown from March through to the end of June 2020, the team at Cottage Childcare, Killavullen designed a unique weekly template as a means of staying connected with the children and families of our service. This template was filled with fun activities which helped each child’s holistic development. Each week a teacher also read a video story to the children so the children could see our faces. These stories were read from all sorts of settings, from a sitting room to a field on the farm or from a back garden with the Nagle mountains in the background. This was then shared on our private Facebook Page.

The children uploaded their activities either through FB, WhatsApp or Messenger. The positive feedback from families was fantastic and really motivated us to extend on this. An Post brought out free postcards at the time and we were able to source one for each of the children in our setting. Each key worker wrote an Easter message to each of their key children and we synchronised postage so all children would get them around the same day. The children got a lovely surprise to receive post when the days were becoming a bit repetitive not being able to leave home.

As another means of communication, we designed our own Bitmoji Teachers and posted these with a letter to each child. This was a huge hit and us Bitmoji teachers got to go on lots of adventures with our preschool children such as bicycle rides, fairy trail walks and watching the girls and boys playing games.

As the year was nearing an end, we felt it would be nice to showcase all the fun we had during the lockdown, so we made a video called Quarantine Kids with a collection of images and videos from March-June. It was beautiful to see this time compiled into one video and to see just how much interaction and connection we created over the closure.

Our new school year began again in late August and we divided our preschool into two Play Pods with two staff in each pod.

This had been working really well but sadly by January 2021, with the increase in COVID-19 cases we find ourselves in a further lockdown.

This time we decided to try something a little different, so we have set up a Seesaw account. This allows all teachers the ability to set fun, age-appropriate and educational weekly suggested activities for the children. All families have gotten on board and so far, one week later, we have received really positive feedback from families. Children have said they are feeling part of the gang as we are two play pods as one on the Seesaw page.

Overall, I feel by providing these fun new ideas for the children and families, it has given us ALL a reprieve from what’s been going on in the world, even if just for a little while!

What lies ahead, no one knows but we will continue to ensure learning is fun and interesting for the children and help give them some structure and involvement with their preschool and teachers, albeit from a distance, until we get back together again ❤

Thanks to all the staff for their commitment and dedication. It is amazing what can be achieved!

 

Biography

My name is Yvonne O’Keeffe and I am the owner/manager of Cottage Childcare which is situated in the quaint village of Killavullen, on the river Blackwater, Mallow. We opened in 2013 and provide a preschool service to the village and local area.

I have been in the childcare sector for over twenty years now, I have gained my QQI Level 6 and am an Inclusion Coordinator. I have seen many changes along the way. I began my career as a classroom assistant in a primary school and then travelled overseas working in childcare facilities in Australia. When I returned to Ireland, I continued to gain lots of experience, both personally and professionally and in 2013 successfully opened my own business. I employ three staff and am really enjoying bringing my knowledge and experience to my learning through play service.

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