As preschools and nurseries begin to reopen their doors I'd like to celebrate leaders and teachers for your resiliency and grit. I know that a good number of nurseries will not be reopening as, sadly, they simply did not survive. As leaders move forwards, sustainability will be key and you will find that your role as leader will have to evolve to meet the very specific and very different needs of all stakeholders. Here are some certainties:
Things have changed for you and your family; as a leaders it's time to reframe your own context and adapt to a multitude of new requirements put in place by licensing authorities and the government.
Your staff may have changed both by their experience during lockdown and also in deciding whether or not they choose to return. In any event you will be dealing with a different team, be that physically different, ie new members; or emotionally different.
Parents will have made so many choices. Some will return, some have opted to move, possibly prematurely, to 'big' school; others may be homeschooling. There may be new families joining your establishment. Some much has changed and will continue to do so.
The beloved children who have such absorbent minds, will also be affected by the circumstances imposed by the pandemic. They have not been exempt from all the transitions. It will require additional and sustained empathy and sensitivity when dealing with them. New regulations, new routines, a somewhat different physical, attitudinal and emotional environment in preschool.
As early childhood practitioners navigate decidedly new territory here are 7 tips to keep success within view:
Be mindful of your well being, the well being of your team and of all the other stakeholders in your preschool/nursery.
Place effective communication at the top of the list. Remember it's better to over communicate rather than not communicating enough.
Have a system for taking on board any feedback from team members, parents, children. We are all in this together!
Create a checklist that is reviewed daily to keep the entire nursery on task. Share the vision of the nursery with key staff.
Stay up to date with all government guidelines, procedures and advice; ensuring that your team is also up to date and on board with all the changes. The words 'hygiene', 'safety' and 'sanitisation' will be in constant use.
Implement a system for tracking everyone (adults and children) who access the nursery, covering the time each person is on the premises and who he/she has been in contact with.
Remember to take good care of yourself and be accountable to at least one other person.
Share your reopening stories with me either by commenting below or email email@example.com
I'm really looking forward to hearing from you.