Should you keep your child in care during the pandemic?
COVID-19 continues to cause major disruption to families across the country. We understand this because all of us at Guardian are facing the same challenges. While you are doing your best to protect the health and wellbeing of your family, maintain your employment, and manage daily life as best you can, you might be wondering if at this time, you should pull your child or children out of care.
Care supports a child’s social and emotional development
Routine, familiarity, consistency, these are foundations of the care environment that support young children to feel safe and secure. When they feel safe and secure, they will build relationships and form valuable friendships, engage in new activities, regulate their behaviour, and learn and practice the social and emotional skills that build resilience.
Disruption has the opposite effect. If the weeks and months of COVID-19 restrictions felt like a lifetime for us as adults, imagine what it was like for children. A short time away from that environment can seem like an eternity. Children are not born with the social and emotional skills needed to recover from difficult experiences. These skills need to be taught, learned, and practiced in the safety and security of supportive relationships. Children will feel a sense of belonging, laying the foundation for other types of learning, because when a child feels they belong, they feel they can be brave and curious in their learning. They can be themselves.
Care is the foundation for success in school and life
Throughout the early years of a child’s life, social and emotional development go hand-in-hand with the development of their problem-solving ability, literacy, and numeracy skills. Put together, these core skills are the foundation for a successful transition to school and developing a life-long love of learning. An environment that nurtures and supports those skills from a young age lays the foundation for a child’s future health and happiness and to reach their full potential.
Think about this: a child’s vocabulary almost triples between the ages of three and five. There is no better place to support this development but in a care environment where children are interacting with each other and engaging in learning activities that spark their curiosity. Our early childhood education professionals develop activities and programs that support children to thrive. As they play, learning activities re-create real-world scenarios, like pretending to visit the shops, that support real learning outcomes. Exploring, learning, and engaging with the world around them with confidence is the best preparation for formal schooling.
Care is dedicated to protecting the safety and wellbeing of children
Children have a right to an education and they benefit most in a face-to-face learning environment. That means education centres should remain open wherever possible to support children and provide educational opportunities. All Guardian Centres practice and promote evidence-based COVID Safe behaviours at all times, irrespective of the level of COVID-19 community transmission. The burden of stress and anxiety for families is reduced when they have certainty and confidence that places of education are doing all they can to minismise interruptions and keep children, families, and Teams safe. We are committed to doing everything possible to support ongoing education during the pandemic.
We are doing everything we can to protect children and families
Nothing is more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of children, families, and our Teams at our Centres. We have implemented several COVID-safe practices across all our Centres. These include:
- Wellness checks for everyone entering the building to ensure they are symptom free. Anyone with symptoms is to remain at home.
- Drop-offs and pick-ups are conducted outside the Centre to avoid people grouping close together.
- Appropriate physical distancing for adults where possible.
- Regular cleaning of surfaces and rooms by professional cleaners using COVID certified anti-viral cleaners
- Increased outdoor activities where possible, and indoors, increasing ventilation with open windows and fans.
- All air conditioning units are set to use 100% fresh air.
- We are working to reduce the grouping of children from different rooms and age groups.
- Rapid Antigen Tests have been ordered and will be available to potential close contact Team Members to reduce the risk of people being asymptomatic while at work.
- Hand sanitising stations and antiseptic wipes placed throughout the Centres.
While these are challenging circumstances for all of us, Guardian is committed to providing a safe, secure, and positive environment where children and grow and thrive.