Amazing child care services doing amazing things
Amazing child care services doing amazing things
Early childhood education and care services continue to operate during the COVID-19 outbreak, unless closed for public health reasons, but with large numbers of families choosing to keep their youngsters home, many services are taking an innovative approach to staying connected with families and keeping children engaged in their learning.
Services both large and small have responded quickly and positively to the changed conditions and have started offering a range of resources to educate parents about COVID-19 and support them to educate and care for their children at home.
The wonderful thing about these offerings is that many of them are being made available to all families, not just those who are enrolled with a specific service.
We are delighted to highlight some of these initiatives below, and please drop us a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) if your child care service is going above and beyond to support you in these unprecedented circumstances.
For a month from 1 June 63 Busy Bees early childhood services across Australia will light up the front of their buildings to symbolise our emergence from COVID-19 into a different world. Families are also being invited to participate by lighting up their front yards and sharing their images via #lightUPwiththanks.
Guardian’s Learning Exchange is a vast repository of fun activities for preschool aged children, which has been developed and curated by Guardian teachers and educators to help children and families stay connected and have fun. Children and parents can choose to enjoy an outdoor adventure, try a new recipe, do a science experiment and lots more.
To help children and families make sense of the Coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, Kids Club have produced a wonderful animation, which is voiced by a child and explains how the virus is spread and what children can do to keep themselves safe.
Kids Club have also produced a survival guide for parents which includes stacks of activity ideas, learning resources and ways to keep children happily occupied.
Goodstart Early Learning have launched Goodstart@Home, which is freely available to currently enrolled Goodstart families and available to other families upon registration. Goodstart@Home was developed by a team of early education experts and focuses on providing simple play-based learning activities for preschoolers of every age.
In addition to the above CELA (Community Early Learning Australia) recently showcased Inaburra Preschool, which has introduced a range of amazing initiatives designed to bridge the gap between families and their preschool. These include 15-minute Zoom preschool sessions incorporating songs and stories as well as electronic resource packs for families, offering a range of templates, activity suggestions, music resources, art ideas and more.
A large number of centres which belong to the G8 Education family are involved in a campaign called the Kindness Initiative, which is focused on increasing acts of compassion and connection in the communities where they are located.
Centres are engaged in a wider range of different activities, for example, Community Kids Golden Square, in the Victorian city of Bendigo, had developed a close bond with residents at a nearby aged care home. While visits are on hold, the children have created colourful and inspiring artworks which have been emailed to the home to help raise the spirits of residents.
At Creative Garden Pakenham in south-east Melbourne, staff delivered a bundle of food and essentials like nappies and wipes to a mum who is single and at home with her three autistic children who have had to self-isolate as they have compromised immune systems. Until the Coronavirus took hold, the three-year-old twins and two-year-old daughter were attending the centre four days per week.
First Grammar in Bankstown has been busy supporting its community via a range of initiatives including a beautiful rainbow trail, dinner packs and by offering Zoom catch ups once a week with their families.
G8 Education also recently launched Community Cubby an online resource offering expert tips on play-based learning, physical activity suggestions, recipes and strategies for maintaining health and wellbeing for children and families. While Community Cubby was initially established to support parents dealing with the challenges imposed by COVID-19, it will be a permanent fixture and will be added to over time.
Montessori Academy has launched a free @Home Learning Hub to help families which have made the decision to educate their children at home. The portal delivers hand-on educational activities that families can participate in using simple everyday items, in addition to an abundance of free resources including detailed guides on how to work from home with children, sample lesson plans for learning at home, and a set of curated video resources for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with printable worksheets specifically designed for each age group.
Nido Early Learning School Lakelands is bridging the gap between children attending care and those staying at home by using the Storypark platform to deliver story and mat time videos to children at home, and children attending care are drawing pictures and posting them to absent friends.
Bumblebee Early Education Centre Goonellabah has been posting videos for parents and children on its parent portal to extend learning opportunities for those at home. Content includes music, stories, gardening, language and art and craft activities for children to try. In response, parents have been emailing back videos of their children which are shared with children attending the centre.
In addition, in lieu of visiting aged care homes, the service has started a pen pal system which enables children to scan and send artwork and messages to their elderly friends.
Bethlehem Preschool and Kindergarten Woongoolba has created weekly learning kits, with activities, books, games, science kits, puzzles, art supplies, and curiosity kits. These kits are updated weekly and the service even offers delivery services to ensure equity of access.
Narnia Christian Preschool and Early Childhood Centre in Waratah has been uploading daily videos, offering enrolled families the opportunity to participate in songs, dancing, and STEM activities. Dress up days are on the cards for next week and the service is also offering a drive through Mother’s Day stall, to share some love with all the hard-working mums in the community.
Little Miracles have been busy creating video content, this includes online learning for children at home, which is freely available to all families and a series of educational clips for to support parents and educators during the challenging circumstances presented by the Coronavirus lockdown.
Green Leaves Early Learning have been very innovative and busy in the range of initiatives they have introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. At Waverly Gardens children have been busy creating original ‘happy’ art to add to care packages being sent to local aged care homes.
At Pelican Waters and Chapel Hill educators are creating videos of activities such as slime making, reading, yoga, hand washing, playdough, and language practice to ensure children continue their play based learning, even while at home.
While at centres in Moonee Beach and Albany Creek educators are creating Children’s Care Packs, which include a range of sensory, imaginative, crafting and creative activities for children at home to try.
In recognition of the financial struggles many families are experiencing right now, Green Leaves centres in Ashgrove and Forest Hill have placed community tables loaded with essential household items outside their premises and encouraged families to either help themselves or donate what they can.
Finally, Gemma an educator at Woden Valley Child Care has written and illustrated a picture book called Coronavirus and Me: An explanation for 3-6 year olds, which she has made freely available to all early childhood educators. The book can be downloaded here. This wonderful book uses beautiful illustrations and a gentle story to teach children about the virus.
Many early childhood services are doing it tough right now, which makes these extraordinary efforts, all the more extraordinary. On behalf of all the families and communities who are benefiting from these efforts, we say a very big thank you!
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Tuesday, 02 June 2020
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