Allowing our children to play their part during this pandemic by protecting their friends and family through good hygiene practice is their own superpower and who doesn’t want to be a superhero?

The sudden lockdown in March that led to the closure of schools and colleges has meant that our teachers, and students of all ages, have been some of the most affected by the Covid19 pandemic.
In this series of articles, the Tees Online is highlighting the extraordinary effort put in by our educators and students in this most peculiar of years.

Next up, we have some sound advice from an Early Years Educator.

It’s an unsettling time for us all right now, isn’t it? Speaking to friends and family about the changes occurring seems to be a way of making sense of it all for most of us. But what about those who can’t quite comprehend what’s going on and more importantly, why it is happening? What about those too young to understand? All across the country, early years educators are creating resources and learning tools to help those young children.

In our setting we would normally carry out activities to show how germs spread. We used to do this twice a term through the glitter experiment in which a group of children and staff would sit round a table and a member of staff would place their hand in a pot of glitter then shake hands with the person sat next to them, the ‘handshake’ would be spread round the table and the children would watch how the ‘germs’ (glitter) transferred from person to person, as well as the surfaces and toys they touched.

As a group, we then discussed what we thought could be done to help stop glitter germs being passed from person to person. By allowing the children to lead this conversation and introduce their suggestions, they were more likely to follow their own guidance as opposed to being told what to do by a member of staff. Giving them this visual and physical representation of how germs spread and what can be done to help combat this helped to highlight the importance of hand washing in order to stop the spread of germs. However, due to coronavirus it hasn’t been possible to do this new term because we want to stop unnecessary physical contact to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

In order to protect the children in our care, we have increased the amount of wall displays on the importance of ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ to help promote good hygiene practices. To reduce the amount of people entering the building, children are collected at the door by a member of staff and sanitise their hands before entering the nursery. Staff also have their own belt bags which contain pens, tissues, hand gel and a first aid kit to help limit the amount of shared products within the setting. We have used our best endeavours to remove all soft furnishings and toys that can’t be cleaned thoroughly with ease (soft bodied dolls) and have adopted a colour coded system that is operated on an 8 day rota, using toys and resources that have been coded a particular colour one day, cleaning them throughout, then again at the end of the session before putting them away for 8 days as a different colour is used each day.

United as a setting, we firmly believe that by educating children about how the measures being put in place are to help protect us in a way they can understand is vital for their development throughout the coming months. Listening to any concerns they may have about the changes and helping to support them in any way possible is what we should all be doing with children, whether it be at school, nursery or home. Allowing our children to play their part during this pandemic by protecting their friends and family through good hygiene practice is their own superpower and who doesn’t want to be a superhero?

Early Years Educator

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