Stepping Stones Nursery
110 West King Street
Covid - 19 Procedures
The spread of Covid-19 across the world has had a devastating effect on society and what we consider to be ‘normal life.’ Having endured a period of time when life has been far from ‘normal’ we are now at the stage where thanks to the progress that has been made in suppressing the virus we can take steps to get our lives back on track as much as possible.
We appreciate that everyone’s lives have been turned upside down and we acknowledge that returning to a ‘normal pattern by your child attending nursery is crucial to your child. However, it is only natural that you may have some fear and anxiety about your child returning to nursery and that is totally understandable. It is our responsibility at Stepping Stones Nursery to ensure that parents and children feel confident that we have everything in place and have completed all relevant risk assessments to ensure the safety of your child.
In this document we will detail our plans for opening and ask parents to please contact us if they have any questions.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: Guidance on reopening early learning and childcare
Stepping Stones Nursery staff are due to go back full time from 10th August 2020 to organise the nursery and get everything ready for children returning. Children will be welcomed back from 17th August 2020. Argyll and Bute have confirmed that 1140 funded hours will recommence and due to the size of the nursery we will not be required to separate children into ‘bubbles’.
In line with guidance:
• This has been completed and considers all risks identified in respect of COVID-19.
• It has been completed by considering all the relevant guidance from Health Protection Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive
• Our Risk assessments will be reviewed regularly and as circumstances change. Stepping Stones Nursery is ensuring that we will implement pragmatic and proportionate control measures which reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practical level.
The council's early years team provides a helpline for parents, carers, and providers of childcare services. This helpline will remain open from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday, to provide support.
If you have a query about childcare provision, ideas for learning, or simply want a chat during this unsettling time, contact the team on 01369 708 503 or email [email protected]
Children and Staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding)
• As shielding will be paused from 1 August, there is an expectation that children and staff who are shielding will be able to return to childcare in August, unless given advice from a GP or healthcare provider.
• People in this group should refer to the latest advice on the need to shield
• Staff who have underlying health conditions will wish to be aware of the specific guidance in order to inform discussion with their employer and/or healthcare team
• Similarly, parents/carers may wish to have a discussion with their child’s healthcare team if they are unsure or have queries about returning to settings because of a health condition
Cleaning Practices and Ventilation
• All cleaning will be carried out in accordance with COVID-19 – guidance for non-healthcare settings and Infection Prevention and Control in Childcare Settings guidance
• This will include an extension of the cleaning regime that has been used in childcare hubs, with items such as tabletops, chairs, doors, light switches, banisters, equipment sinks, and toilets being cleaned more regularly
• There will be routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and hard surfaces, including the equipment that staff use
• Toys and equipment accessed by children will be cleaned each day using standard detergent and disinfectants that are active against viruses and bacteria
• Resources such as sand, water and playdough will be used with regular cleaning of the equipment used
• Children should be discouraged from bringing toys from home to the setting – some children may require a comforter; therefore, you should consider how to safely manage this to ensure that children are supported in their transition from home to the setting
• A full cleaning regime will be completed every afternoon at the end of our daily session
• Any soft furnishings such as blankets for rest/nap times will be used for individual children and will be washed after use
• The opening of doors and windows, where safe to do so, will be encouraged. This increases natural ventilation and reduces contact with door handles
Enhanced Hand Hygiene
• We will ensure that handwashing facilities are accessible for children
• We will have a supply of antibacterial hand gel available to parents and staff at the entrance to the setting and as required throughout the nursery where hand washing may be delayed
• Staff will ensure enhanced hand hygiene measures are in place including washing their own hands and the hands of all children
• Staff and children will be required wash their hands with soap and warm water, frequently, for 20 seconds – children will be supported as required
• Handwashing will be encouraged on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, after toileting, at regular interviews throughout the day and when moving between different areas
• Where possible taking account of ages, children will be encouraged not to touch their face, by using distraction methods and keep children busy, rather than making this an issue
• Children will be encouraged to use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze, and these will be disposed of immediately and appropriately
• We will never share water in a communal bowl when washing hands
• Staff will ensure all children dry their hands thoroughly
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
• The use of PPE by staff within the nursery will continue to be based on a clear assessment of risk and need for an individual child or young person, such as personal care where staff come into contact with blood and body fluids. Where the need for PPE has been identified it will be readily available and staff will be trained on its use as appropriate
• Gloves, aprons, and a fluid-resistant surgical mask will be worn by staff if a child or young person becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 and needs direct personal care
• Gloves and aprons will be used when cleaning the areas where a person suspected of having COVID-19 has been.
When a child or staff member becomes ill
Please refer to enclosed factsheet
Test and Protect
• The Manager and staff are aware of Test and Protect arrangements should someone become unwell. If a member of the staff team has symptoms, they will contact the NHS to arrange to be tested at 0800 028 2816 or www.nhsinform.scot. You can find more information on the COVID-19 Test and Protect webpage
• All parents will be asked to mention childcare arrangements if contacted by or contacting the Test and Protect service
• If a parent/carer or staff member is contacted by a contact tracer and told to self-isolate for fourteen days, the staff member/child must leave the setting to self-isolate at home straight away and, if possible, wear a face covering on route and avoid public transport. The Scottish Government has published advice for employers on how to support people who are asked to self-isolate and this guidance will be followed
• We will keep clear records of children, adults, and staff the nursery to help to ensure rapid response and contact tracing should a positive case occur
Maximising use of our Outdoor Space
• We will try to use this space as much as possible across the day
• Staff will take the necessary precautions to protect children from the elements, including suitable clothing, head coverings and sunscreen
• Where outdoor equipment is being used, we will consider appropriate cleaning between groups of children using it
Physical Distancing between staff
• Individual physical distancing applies to staff, parents (as well as any other adults who may attend the setting), and any external contractors/delivery people
• The default position is that adults in the nursery will be supported to stay 2m apart wherever practicable and appropriate
• Staff will be required to take breaks individually
Meal and Snack time
• It is important to ensure mealtimes are a relaxed and enjoyable time where children can socialise, all the while having practical approaches preventing the spread and control of infection
• Staff will follow usual good hygiene practices when preparing or serving food/assisting children with packed lunches. There is no need for additional PPE at meal and snack times
• We request that parents provide a named water bottle for their child which will remain at nursery and be cleaned at the end of each day
• All crockery and utensils used will be washed in the dishwasher in line with Environmental Health
• We will be maximising the use of the outdoor environment for dining where appropriate
• Children will be supervised and spaced to ensure that there is no sharing of food
• Parents and carers will be encouraged and supported to limit the number of settings their child attends where possible
• For children who attend multiple settings, either ELC settings or childminders, personal date may need to be shared with these settings to assist with any Test & Protect process. All records will be GDPR compliant
Drop off and Pick Up
• We will be implementing staggered/allocated drop off and pick up times, so that not all children are arriving at the nursery at one time
• Where possible we will take account of start times for other children in the family who may be attending a primary school locally
• Parents arriving by car will be encouraged to park further away from the nursery and then walk with their children to avoid congestion or use active travel routes where feasible
• Car-sharing with children from other households is discouraged
• We encourage staff, parents, and carers to plan their journey to and from the nursery to minimise pressure on public transport and the road network through walking or cycling where possible
• Where it is not possible to maintain physical distancing between adults, such as when parents drop off and pick up young children, staff will wash their hands after the child is safely in the playroom
• Arrangements will be made if a child is distressed for their parent/carer to comfort them while minimising the risks of them coming into contact with other children or staff indoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am concerned my child will have ‘fallen behind’ in their learning
On return to nursery, all children and young people will have their current learning and developmental achievements reviewed to enable them to move on and have the correct teaching requirements made available
I am worried about the effect that lockdown has had on my child’s mental health and I am concerned about how they will be going back to nursery
We fully understand that this has been a difficult time for everyone, especially children and young people. There is a dedicated team of educational psychologists on hand to talk to anyone who feels that their child could benefit from some emotional support at this time. If you would like some help or advice from one of the team, call 01546 605524, Monday 9.30am until 12noon, Wednesday 4.30pm until 7pm and Friday 9.30am until 12 noon
What will happen if circumstances change and pupils cannot return to nursery full time?
If this happens, we will follow any advice issued to us by the Scottish Government and will keep parents informed of plans. In Argyll and Bute, our ELC staff had previously put a huge amount of effort into preparing for a blended learning approach in our schools, so we are ready to use this if required
I am concerned about my child transitioning into a new nursery without having been properly prepared for this?
Children and young people are often more resilient than we think. Information about this new environment and the reassurance you provide at home will be of great help. Talk with your child about what they are looking forward to and what they might expect to happen in the first few days and weeks. For some, moving to a new school or nursery may be more challenging. Staff at Stepping Stones Nursery are working putting in place strategies and approaches that will help this transition to be as positive as possible. If you have specific worries, please pass discuss with the Nursery Manager, Mo, when your child starts
How will Stepping Stones Nursery keep everyone safe?
The nursery will be following guidelines to keep children and staff safe as detailed in this document. The nursery will be cleaned more often, and everyone will be washing their hands much more regularly. Playrooms will be well ventilated, and children will have more time for outdoor learning.
What can my child do to help keep themselves and everyone else safe?
All children and staff will follow the following hygiene practices:
• frequent washing/sanitising of hands for 20 seconds and drying thoroughly, and always when entering/leaving the building, before/after eating and after using the toilet
• avoid touching their faces including mouth, eyes, and nose
• using a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze
What about physical distancing?
Nursery school children do not need to distance themselves from each other. However, wherever possible, staff and other adults should stay 2 metres away from each other
What about their school clothes?
Nursery uniform/clothing should be washed and cleaned as normal. We will have a selection of Stepping Stones t-shirts for sale when you child starts
What if there is an outbreak of coronavirus at the nursery?
We will be on the lookout for potential outbreaks. This means that if you or your child shows symptoms of coronavirus you should book a test immediately. Your family must then follow self- isolation guidelines. We have plans in place if there is an outbreak. Health Protection Scotland will also prioritise outbreaks through “Test and Protect”
What if there is an outbreak of coronavirus in Helensburgh?
If there is a local outbreak of the virus which affects Stepping Stones Nursery, there will be a discussion between the Manager/Owner, the local council and local health protection teams, and they will decide what action needs to be taken. They might decide to temporarily close the nursery.
Will my child’s education be affected by all this?
There are no planned changes to the delivery of the ELC curriculum. At first Stepping Stones will be focused on supporting children’s health and wellbeing. This has been a difficult time for all of us, and particular for children, and it may be necessary that initially staff focus on helping children feel secure, happy, and settled, which will then support their learning.
What if my child has been shielding?
We expect all children, and staff who have been shielding to be able to return to nursery in August, unless given advice from a GP or healthcare provider not to
Can I visit Stepping Stones?
There are still physical distancing restrictions in place for parents and families and therefore we will not be encouraging visitors. We understand that this might make you feel less welcome, but we will still want to hear from you. We encourage as much involvement from parents as possible.
Will all the usual toys be out?
Maybe not, staff are working hard to decide what stuff we put out, it may be that certain toys are not able to be used just now
Will I be able to take my child’s artwork home?
Of course, we want you to take your child’s great artwork home