Updated: Jul 31, 2020
It’s encouraging to hear about the success stories linked to reopening preschools in a number of countries around the world. Some countries have yet to start the process of reopening their preschool doors and with this in mind I thought to share some questions that you can consider to enable success, when you restart.
To put this in context, here's a useful quote:
“ECE services resuming for the first time need to think about working differently, to minimise the risk of the spread of Covid-19” New Zealand Education
The content of this quote may not be new to anyone, but it is comforting to know that some other preschools have gone before you and opened safely. Proverbially, you are not alone at this time.
Here are 3 'starter' questions for you to consider:
HOW WILL YOU?
Manage the risks of restarting part, or all, of your preschool services?
Ensure that all staff are kept safe from exposure to the virus?
Gather information on the wellness and well-being of your staff and children?
There are a number of answers available to these questions. It's been said at the moment - there are more questions than answers. However, this is the reality of most leaders within early childhood education and that simply has to be okay.
My recommendation is not to start answering the 3 questions immediately.
Rather, do some research of your own, to find out what the current guidelines are within your own country or state, regarding reopening preschools (this includes early childhood education centres, kindergartens and nurseries).
When reading through the guidelines make notes in a designated notebook/journal as you go along:
Highlight what is important
Write out anything that is unclear
Create a list of questions
There will be some leaders who do not have any guidelines; or your guidelines may be inadequate. Your next step will be to look at a system that is similar to yours and familiarise yourself with that system, as a temporary measure. It may take some time for some countries/states to come up to speed with the relevant procedures. Meanwhile, you can read through some existing best practices in other preschool communities. Collaboration is key at the moment.
With respect to the starter questions, here are 3 research-based answers:
1. To manage risks, create coherent and robust risk assessments that can be reviewed regularly.
2. To keep staff and/or employees safe from exposure to the virus, review and update your infection control policy.
3. To gather information on the wellness and well being of staff, children and other stakeholders, establish a communication plan with a sustainable way to provide updated information. Some countries have apps for this, but another suggestion will be using shared Google docs.
I've worked within the early childhood education industry for over 20 years, so I know the landscape well.
I'm interested to know whether you have any questions that may need answering at this time. I am providing support to leaders within early childhood education.
Email me at: email@example.com
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