Reach for the stars: family support during lockdown

Our nursery might have been closed during lockdown, but we’ve been finding ways to stay in touch with the children – to encourage them to keep learning and fulfil their potential.

Enjoying nurseryDebs, the Lead Practitioner of Attainment at our Child and Family Centre, has been posting short videos on Facebook to help children with their learning. Feedback from the parents has been positive and they are enjoying being part of their children’s education.

“One of the boys in nursery has absolutely loved seeing a friend who is in his key group signing on Facebook (in a video we’d taken pre-lockdown),” says Debs. “Another family told me how they are grateful for the videos because they hadn’t known the words to a song their child sang, but seeing it on Facebook has meant they are now able to sing along.”

We have also delivered home learning packs to the nursery children and every child in nursery has been sent a hand written letter encouraging them and letting them know we are missing them. Debs says, “Parents have been sending in pictures of things their child has made from the learning packs. I have also been phoning families each week to see how they are getting on.

“It is so important to stay connected to the children and families we work with during lockdown because we want the best for them. We want them to know they are valued and not forgotten about.”

Closing the gap

We have been seeing results in the nursery thanks to having had a Practitioner for Attainment in post for the past two years. Staff know the strengths of the children and are also aware of the areas where they need more encouragement. We have seen children grow in confidence and their love of learning increase. Children from low-income households traditionally do less well at school than those from financially better-off homes. Debs’ work at the Child and Family Centre helps us to give children the best possible start in life. She works with staff and children to improve literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.

Debs says, “Messy play, which can involve things like shaving foam, playdough and painting, helps develop motor skills. We’ve seen a child get so excited because they managed to write the first letter of their name in shaving foam. There was another child who was very shy and wasn’t interested in messy play. Through being given lots of opportunities and encouragement they began to investigate and explore and now absolutely love painting and playing with playdough.”

Summer plans

Our family holiday club is going well. We’re meeting up with families for socially distanced games outside and to enjoy picnic lunches together. Spending time with families gives Margaret, our Adults Worker, and Dads Worker James a better idea of what the needs of individual families are.

Our nursery will reopen for the new term in line with government guidance and we hope to start other groups around the same time.

Read our magazine 

This story first appeared in Connect, our regular magazine. Read Connect here (pdf). 

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