Many Early Learning and Care settings all over Ireland opened their doors on June 29 after many months of unexpected closure. Amid all the work and stress of reopening the most common feedback we have seen is the joy and laughter of seeing the children back with their friends playing in settings again. In this section we have gathered some Reopening Stories to showcase how members of Early Childhood Ireland helped children and families with this transition back to a new normal. We hope it give ideas and reassurance to members who will be reopening over the coming weeks.
Anne Macken Video Diary and Blog
In these two videos and Scéalta post Anne Macken, Manager of Happy Days Community Creche in Tipperary shares her thoughts about reopening. Episode One features Anne discussing her planning ten days before reopening. In Episode Two we hear again from Anne about how lovely it is to have children back and how their relationships with each other stood the test of time.
In her Scéalta post this week, Anne looks back on their preparation, planning and the early days of reopening and decides that yes: They were ready! Read more
Nead na Óg
Avril Stanley works in Nead na nÓg, a community-based preschool and after school service, within a community centre, Slí Burca , in Galway. She describes how ‘open, two-way, and clear communication between management, directors, the team and parents, from the onset, was the key ingredient to enable us to reopen’. Read her story here
Banteer Community Childcare
Banteer Community Childcare is a large setting, based in rural North Cork. In her Reopening Story Mary Murphy, the Manager relates their plans and thoughts ahead of their June 29th reopening in Pre reopening thoughts which you can read here. They made videos of the pods so children could see any changes to the room they would be going to on return. You can see one such video here and one for the school age children As access to the various pods was now going to be different, they made videos to show how each group would access their rooms like this one. Finally, you can read about how it all went in Mary’s Story here.
Carraig Briste and Killegney
Carraig Briste and Killegney Early Years settings are based in Co. Wexford. To help children and families with the return to creche after the Covid 19 closure they made this video to show everyone the new procedures and remind them of the fun ahead. Owner Orlagh Doyle says ‘We find a lot of the new guidelines really suiting best practice and our love of outdoor play has really come to the fore too.’ Watch the video here https://youtu.be/63cNBhYQEM4
Cheeky Cherubs Early Years Schools, Cork
Cheeky Cherubs Early Years Schools in Cork decided to use the concept of a ‘Social Story’ to help children and their parents to become accustomed to some new ways of doing things at the crèche. The Social Story concept was designed by Carol Grey in 1989 to support children with autism in new situations and challenges. In our Covid 19 world using this concept can be a very valuable way to support all children adapt to the rapid changes in their world.
Teachers wrote and illustrated a story called Today is the Day, which was sent out to families in advance. Read Today is the day here.
Cheeky Cherubs developed a Reopening Roadmap to provide parents and families with the information they needed regarding how their child’s early learning and care setting would be reopening. Read the Roadmap here
Sharon Skehill: Reopening - Seeing joyful faces
The children are at the centre of everything we do. Am I nervous about re-opening this week? I don’t think I am. I know that we have done everything we can to minimise risk to children, their families and the staff. I also know that those children coming back to us this week will be greeted with joyful faces and huge hearts. We will be grand!” So says Sharon Skehill about reopening her setting in Galway. Read More
Lee Herlihy: Reopening Childcare: Reimagining it as it could be
Lee Herlihy takes a look at what really matters most for the children as she planned reopening her setting in Cork. She says ‘I didn’t want the children to see worried, stressed, anxious adults. I wanted them to see familiar, welcoming happy and relaxed adults, excited to show them how this space, their own space, still belongs to them’. Read More