Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Your Place


Tuesday 16 June 2020

While the next few weeks, as we approach the reopening of many settings for babies and young children, and later on, the school-age children, will be anxious and stressful, I’m sure there is a tinge of excitement too. Actual children in our actual rooms again, rather than all the virtual and digital connection we have had for the past few months! Who knew on March 12th that it would be the end of June (and for many the end of August) before some kind of normality would resume for educators and families and most especially the children?

There is much to think about when reopening. Health and safety concerns in abundance: do I need extra washbasins, who uses sanitiser, what about masks and face coverings, how many families are returning and when, do I open for the same hours as before???

In this Scéalta blog let's have a look at some things to think about in your environments.

We need to take all steps possible to keep the environment clean and Covid free. We must also be cognisant of the fact that this is primarily a space where children’s well-being is paramount, a place where they explore and think. And we know that children do much of this exploring and thinking in a sensorial manner. Fortunately for us, the guidance from DCYA, while encouraging settings to minimise the use of soft toys etc, accepts that children have comfort items. So have a think about how these will be managed.  Make sure parents know that they must be washed frequently and when being stored in the setting, make sure they are kept in individual, clearly labelled baskets or cubby holes and kept away from items from other homes. Wash throws, cushion covers etc from cosy corners every day and remove immediately if they have been coughed on, sneezed on or mouthed. If the equipment is shared (e.g. a second group in the day), these items must be replaced between sessions.

Involve children in the management of this. Have attractive signs to remind children about regular handwashing, and chat about why we are washing our hands more. Involve them in risk assessing – for example, when did we last clean this, what do we need to send to laundry in his room?

Resist the temptation to replace natural materials with plastic toys and equipment.  Writing about natural materials, The Curiosity Approach says ‘Nature offers us so many magical things that stimulate children’s imagination and creativity, cultivates curiosity, awe and wonder. The way we think about materials we bring into our settings can really reflect how we think about the children we serve; what are the children capable of? How will they connect with the materials? Natural materials are so open-ended their potential is limitless.’ Some natural materials can be disposed of at the end of each session/day, some can be sprayed with a suitable disinfectant and wiped down and some can be washed in a dishwasher. Read the instructions on the cleaning products you use. Some sprays are to be left on items for a little while so they can take action, others are to be wiped off immediately, while other items may be immersed in a sterilising solution. 

Reduce the amount of equipment in your room to make the task of cleaning a bit easier, but avoid the space being too minimalist and sparse. It is important that children can still feel comfortable and occupied in the setting.

Use the outdoor area as much as possible. In the outdoor area, children are naturally more spaced out, so a degree of physical distancing happens naturally. Having what the Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care settings refer to as ‘transition’ space can be useful. This is a space immediately outside the door that has a sheltered area. This can be used for play, storage, changing into or out of outdoor clothing. In addition, a covered area in the garden provides shade on hot days and shelter in very wet weather. Check out the ideas featured in the Universal Design Guidelines here.

Maintaining hand hygiene outside is also important. Do you have a space where a washbasin could be installed? Can you source a temporary handwash area?  This article from Juliet Robertson of Creative Star Learning has some good suggestions.

Where will a child or adult who may be unwell, especially if they display symptoms of COVID, rest until they can be collected? The DCYA recommends a separate area if possible, but if this is not possible, this area must be at least 2 metres away from other children and adults. This area should have someplace a child can sit or lie comfortably, with some books or items to play with if they wish. Have some masks, gloves and gowns for the educator waiting with the child to wear. It is vital that this PPE is used in a sensitive way and that no child feeling unwell is scared by the sight of an educator gowned up. Having some masks in the home area will help with familiarity and I have seen some tiny masks for dolls. Having these in the environment will help children become familiar with this new aspect of their lives. When the child or adult has been collected, ensure this area is thoroughly cleaned, including the materials used by the child and adult.

It’s a whole new challenge that a few months ago seemed to be a complete flight of the imagination. We would love to hear your ideas on how you are approaching this challenge of welcoming back the children and families. Please, feel free to share your thoughts and plans below. 

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Counting(1) Art(6) preschool settings(1) Reading Time(2) outdoor play(7) Yoga(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Obesity(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Sustainable(1) presentation skills(1) AsIAm(2) Proceedings Journal(1) Jenga(1) Sculptures(1) Builders(1) Line-ups(1) Children's Book Club(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Scéalta Blog(106) dublin(2) Advocacy(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) Investment(2) communication(4) early years research(3) Map(1) keep in touch(1) Learning journals(1) National Awards 2019(1) children development(1) imotion(1) Síolta QAP(1) E.coli(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Funding(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Celebrations(4) behavioural science(1) Change(1) Touch(1) babies(7) IGL(1) UNICEF report(1) Sleep(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Leaders in Practice(1) Communicating(1) outdoors(4) annual conference(1) partnership with families(1) Children's Voice(1) Buddies(1) Infection Control(1) Budget 2019(2) Time(1) Breathing(2) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) worries(1) developing motor skills(1) ECEC Setting(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) learning bias(1) baby room(1) upskilling(1) budget(1) MECPI(1) Book Club(2) Culture(2) Learning through Storytelling(2) Pre-School Services(1) movement behaviours(1) aistear blog(3) iOS(1) Syria(1) Through the looking glass(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) listen(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Youtube Series(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) play pods(2) Relaxation(1) Summer(2) guardian(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Performance Management(1) Online(1) CIT(1) Looking Forward(1) Winter(1) Thanks(1) preschool(4) child-centric(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Magic(1) Pobal(1) curiosity(3) Maynooth University(2) COVID-19(18) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Norway(2) Inspections(1) Leadership(1) Consent(1) social media(2) Exploratory Play(1) Iraq(1) Treasure Chest(1) healthy eating policies(1) Imagination(3) Reopening Childcare(1) natural environment(1) Irish guidelines(1) Qualifications(1) Human Resources(1) European Project(1) Blocks(1) meals(3) Brain(1) Queues(1) under 3's(3) family time(1) eating(1) story time(2) United Nations(1) Mantra(1) Recycle(1) Wonder(1) ERASMUS+(3) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) quarantine(2) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) ICBN(1) dogs(1) built environments(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Diversity(1) Engagement(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Performing(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) food(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Recycling(2) learning hub(2) Window(1) Easter(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) routine(2) TRAP(1) learning(19) Laugh(1) grandchild(1) Weather(1) Family(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Music(3) Supernanny(1) Halloween(2) Mindfulness(3) value(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) Motor neuron disease(1) lockdown(1) gender bias(1) Small World Play(1) Visitors(1) multi-generational community(1) structure(1) staying connected(1) Awards Night(1) homeschool(1) Childhood(2) Thinking(1) Thank you(1) Sustainability(3) Large Doll Play(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Light table(1) early childhood(1) Competent(1) ears(1) Grief(1) Inter-generational(2) Staff Motivation(1) preschools(1) Lego(2) Research and Professional Learning(1) animals(2) University(1) playleader(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Social Skills(1) Montessori(3) Cognitive development(1) play therapy(1) Interests(1) Belonging(3) Trade Unions(1) early years learning(1) Child mental health(1) transitions(10) maternity health(1) Arlene Forster(1) early childhood educator(2) Home Corner(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) interacting(2) Primary School(3) UD(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) respect(5) Prexit(1) Mental Health(4) social media policy(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Maths Week(1) Digital(1) Early Years Education(1) Running(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Masterclass(2) Ceremony(1) role playing(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Giraffe(2) Kindness(1) World book day(1) Cork(1) scéalta(58) Certificate(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Upcycling(1) emotional environment(2) Limerick(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Shoes(1) Arithmetic(1) Self-regulation(1) Sweets(1) Workplace well-being(1) PIP(1) Loss(1) Awards 2018(3) Behaviour(3) online training(1) Siolta blog(8) Reggio Children Network(1) CPD(1) RTE Investigates(1) Childcare(3) Titles(1) Affordability(1) Positivity(1) Covid pandemic(3) Laughter(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) ECCE(7) Together Old and Young Programme(1) School Age Childcare(2) bonds(1) Vietnam(1) Super Shed Stories(2) experience(1) play(37) Storytelling(8) Italy(1) Scents(1) responsive relationships(1) women in research(1) Names(1) Irish(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Gardening(1) curriculum(7) Employee(1) Support(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) friendships(1) Nordic model(1) learners(1) UK Government(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Vertical grouping(1) The Jelly King(1) Maynooth(1) UN(1) Environment(2) Fee Play(1) Communications(1) Drawing(2) Looking Back(1) democracy(1) Quality(4) Arts(1) Independence(1) International Narratives(1) research(8) memories(1) Little Buddies(1) partnership(1) Book Review(1) purpose(1) Fantasy play(1) dining(1) Confidence(1) Children(8) Self-Esteem(1) Mixed age groups(3) Craft(1) Research Seminar(1) New Appointments(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) trust(4) risk assessment(1) environments(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) DES Inspection(1) Japan(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Magnavacchi(1) Xbox(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Dance(1) Shapes(2) Loving Relationships(2) Exercise(1) dining experiences(1) Infectious diseases(1) Snakes(1) blog(56) QRF(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) timekeeping skills(1) Facebook(1) risk(2) Stress(2) Plastic(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) early life(1) College(1) Workforce(1) Family wall(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) TUSLA(1) Graduate(1) Confident(1) Educators(2) Our Little Seed(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Your place(1) Reflective Practice(1) Sport(1) Frustrations(1) Meal time(1) Academics(1) Aistear(132) Online Research Symposium(3) art of the relationship(1) scientific and artistic processes(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Valentine's Day(3) Mealtimes(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) man up(1) Covid19 crisis(1) First 5 strategy(1) Identity(5) Autism(4) Decisions(1) educating(1) UK(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) child safeguarding(1) Smiles(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Body Language(1) Meet the Members(1) parents(7) linc(1) Routines(2) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Wesco(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) children’s learning(1) refugees(1) Love(3) Pedagogy(2) social science(1) Time Out(1) Mount Everest(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Inspiring Practice(1) education system(1) UNCRC(2) INTO(1) Spiders(1) Traditions(2) journey(1) educarer(1) Rituals(1) peer group(1) overhear(1) Painting(1) Playschool(1) Equality(1) outdoor environment(1) christmas(9) outdoor space(3) Albert Einstein(1) Pen green(1) Celebrate(1) Policy(2) science(3) Visual Impairment(1) Croatia(1) DCYA(6) reopening(1) reading(6) Maths Week Ireland(1) Malaguzzi(1) quarantine kids(1) Kindness Challenge(1) STEM(3) apps for children(1) Wilenski(1) Fabric(1) Santa(2) Síolta(139) listening(1) Early Learning and Care(2) Sequins(1) Plants(1) Participation(2) Professionalisation(5) Buddy Bench(1) Graduation(1) Mo Scéal(1) Glitter(2) Exclusion(1) Margy Whalley(1) Pretend Play(1) Training(3) Traffic Lights(1) AIM(2) Potential(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Wrapping paper(1) Document Learning(1) Early Years(1) collaboration(1) First 5(1) Eritrea(1) Engineers Week(2) code of ethics(1) mental health problems(1) RIE philosphy(1) show and tell(1) World Health Organisation(1) an post(1) Sessional service(1) Treasure(1) Academic Skills(1) ECIAwards20(1) play pod(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) NAEYC(1) Kilkenny(1) Inspirational(2) Snacks(1) books(5) Research Conference 2019(1) ReCreate(2) life long learning(1) Iceland(2) play stories(2) Role play(1) Settling in(4) Budget 2018(1) SAC(1) Rich Documentation(1) EECERA(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) annual awards(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Reggio(1) Trick or treat(1) gender stereotype(1) Snack Time(1) Anxiety(2) National Pyjama Day(1) education(2) Wendy Lee(4) Orla Kenny(1) Skillnet(1) National Holiday(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Impact(1) Whole Group(1) racism(1) childcare services(1) coronavirus(1) Event Guide(1) stories(3) COVID-19 crisis(1) ECEC(4) Care routines(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Return to Work Training(1) research submissions(1) primary education(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Community involvement(1) inspiring interactions(1) pablo(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) reopening ireland(1) Patterns(1) Opportunities(1) National Awards 2018(2) Workplace Relations(3) Playdough(1) Death(2) TOY Programme(1) keezy(1) Exit interview(1) Mayo(1) early childhood ireland research(1) Children's Rights(3) Christmas Creativity(2) Flowers(1) risky play(2) Decision Making(1) Nonverbal(1) GDPR(1) Child Care(1) Europe(1) bloom app(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Horizon 2020(1) Games(2) relationships(18) COVID(3) conference(1) Exploring(1) Trigonometry(1) Health(2) phone apps(1) Engineering(3) Feeding(1) Challenges(1) Trade union(1) Growing up Outdoors(2) Aldo Fortunati(4) Early Years Educators(3) Penguins(1) Well-Being(10) Mathematicians(1) Regulation 23(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Capable(1) Twitter(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Gratitude(1) Covid response(2) community(5) Learning Stories Award(3) Seanchaí(1) ELC(1) child-centred approach(1) child led(1) Kids Own(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Women(1) CCTV(1) Awards(2) Fire Safety(1) development(9) emotions(2) Interactions(3) supportive environments(2) Awards 2019(1) Creativity(7) toddlers(3) Design(1) emotional well-being(1) youdoodle(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Adoption(1) HR(1) Bereavement(2) june29(1) Return to Work(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Creative(1) Covid-19 lockdown(1) Kerry(1) Elders(1) democratic citizens(1) Magda Gerber(1) Budget 2020(1) Unesco(1) San Miniato(4) EM Standing(1) Inclusion(3) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) pets(1) Intention(1) Maternity Leave(1) Administrative Burden(1) Children's Research Network(2) creche(1) early years settings(1) Universal Design(2) Oireachtas(1) Digital Devices(1) Learning Journal(2) Mud kitchens(1) SPICE Framework(1) Empathy(1) Maria Montessori(1) science week(2) Interaction(1) Maths(6) feisty(1) Mark Twain(1) Socioemotional development(1) documentation(4) mushrooms(1) Teamwork(1) awards 2020(1) Afghanistan(1) Favouritism(1) continual professional development(1) Degree(1) early year’s classrooms(1) Learning Stories(9) Reggio Emilia(2) Seas Suas(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Biting(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Appreciation(1) STEAM(1) Anthony Semann(1) Care-giving routines(1) NCCA(4) Self Help Skills(1) planning(1) Photographs(1) Building Resilience(1) Learning Story(1) Leargas(1) Leprechauns(1) Nutrition(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Party(1) Inter-generational learning(2) MA(1) worldbookday(1) EECERA 2016(1) Study Trip(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Story(2) conversations(1) Children and families(2) Technology(3)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine