A farm-based day nursery has taken outdoor learning to a new level as part of a raft of measures to protect children, staff and parents from Coronavirus.
Like all children’s nurseries across the UK, High Bank Day Nursery re-opened on Government guidance from Monday (1st June).
Prior to lock-down, the Stapleton-based nursery, which is rated as outstanding by Ofsted, had started to erect a large polytunnel to be used by all the children as part of its emphasis on outdoor learning.
But with the need to socially distance children and staff as much as possible, this polytunnel has now been turned into a dedicated ‘room’ for the older pre-school children in the nursery.
This has freed up space in the main building so the younger children can be looked after in smaller groups.
This has also meant that parents can drop off and collect their children via four different entrance ways, further ensuring social distancing can be maintained.
Lesley Thompson, Owner of High Bank Day Nursery, explained: “As soon as the Government announced nurseries could re-open from 1st June, working with our staff and parents, we began to look at the measures we would need to take to ensure High Bank was as safe as possible.
“This included completely rewriting our infection control policy to take into account Coronavirus, so some of the simpler measures have included installing extra hand sanitisers at the entrance to the nursery, keeping windows open for better ventilation and staggering start times for staff and children.
“But we have also went much further and turning the polytunnel into a full-time classroom for the pre-school children is a good example.
“This had intended to be another outdoor learning space for all the children but now it gives the pre-school children a dedicated space away from the main building, which in turn has given us much more space inside for the other children.”
High Bank Day Nursery, along with its sister nursery, Little Ladybirds Day Nursery in Stockton, is the first early years’ provider in the country to undertake a specialist infection control course designed specifically for children’s nurseries in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The course has been written by Sharon Egdell an infection control specialist in the NHS who is also currently advising the London Ambulance Service on its policy related to Covid-19.
Lesley added: “Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our children, staff and parents and all the measures we have put in place following the re-opening of the nursery are designed to ensure this remains the number one priority now and in the future.”Covid-19, high bank day nursery, PPE, safety, social distancing