Early Years settings are staying open during lockdown for all children, so you shouldn’t see any change to when they can be there. This includes childminders, nurseries, pre-schools, maintained nursery schools and school nurseries.
If your child is in reception, they can only be in school if you’re a critical worker or they are ‘vulnerable.’
If your child has a social worker then they are expected to be at nursery or pre-school, as long as they don’t have underlying health conditions that put them at severe risk. Children who have an EHC plan can be in nursery or pre-school too, but some young children with a plan are staying at home. The main message is that if your child can be safely cared for at home, then they should be.
Nurseries, pre-schools etc should physically be open to take in children but some may not be open if they’re very short of staff. If that’s the case, then the school and local authority will work together to make sure there is another local nursery or early years provider where your child can go.
What about social distancing – how would that work?
For very young children, keeping two metres apart from anyone else is going to be extremely difficult! Nursery and pre-school staff and childminders will keep their distance as much as they are able to, while at the same time making sure that children safe and well cared for.
Staff will need to be especially careful about hand washing for themselves and for the children they care for, including using songs, stories and games to help children remember and understand. Make sure that you and the staff are taking steps to stop children sharing food, drink, cups and utensils.
Equipment, toys and surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected often. Ask the nursery staff or your childminder what they’re doing to make sure they and your child are as safe as possible and if you’re worried about anything speak to the staff.
Useful resources for very young children
The Professional Association of Early Years and childcare have shared some information aimed at very young children, which may help to explain what’s happening.
Don’t Worry, Little Bear!
This story on the Early Years Story Book website, is to help explain Coronavirus to children and to assure them that everything will be okay.
Pips guide to Covid-19
A Better Start Southend publication which offers another way of talking to children about Coronavirus and the current situation the world is facing.