After a 10 week closure, it was time to open the doors of Birkbees again. How
to do this safely was the main question. We had to look at controlling entrance
and exit, cleaning, communication with parents and staff, use of rooms and
redesigning spaces as well as policies and procedures and the all important risk
First came the building, a deep clean followed by a one way system for arriving
and leaving nursery. The rooms we were opening had a makeover, minimising
toys and equipment and relocating furniture to allow some kind of social
distancing. Signs were printed EXIT LEFT, ONE PERSON IN THE LIFT, STAY 2
METRES APART etc and displayed around the nursery. Using government
advice and with the help of updates from the NDNA as well as Public health
England, we began to put together a comprehensive folder of new policies and
risk assessments covering every area of working alongside coronavirus
restrictions whilst remaining safe and well.
Communication with parents had been key throughout the closure. I sent
regular email updates to everyone and kept them informed of what was
happening as well as sending worksheets and activity ideas for them to do at
home. I also spoke to all our parents as regularly as possible, all 175 of them!
Some families were enjoying the family time but others were struggling and I
felt I was able to help by offering support and advice and on a few occasions
seeking help for them from outside agencies.
So, everything was in place and we opened on 1 st June. Only a small percentage
of our parents chose to return. All had been sent a video of our new system for
entering and leaving which parents shared with older children and, along with
a letter I emailed about how to talk to your child about coming back to a
slightly different nursery, parents said this really helped. It must have done
because amazingly nearly all the children breezed back in as if nothing had
As we now approach our fourth week, we find that much is the same as
before. Children playing happily, activities planned and observations
underway. Then we realise that parents don’t come in to the building, a lot of
equipment has been put away, we are working in small groups and tables seat
2 instead of 6. The sight of staff disinfecting door handles and frequently
touched areas is also a reminder of what’s going on in the world.
We have worked with schools to do transition but in a new way and meetings
for safeguarding, looked after children and SENCO are taking place by Skype or
Each week we have a few more children taking their place back as parents go
back to work.
The main thing is that we all remain safe and the children get to be children
again, learning and playing at Birkbees.