What has been happening at Hungerford Nursery School and the Family Centre during Covid 19?
The Nursery School
On 27 March, the Nursery closed for most children due to the lockdown instructions from the government. We are currently running an inside nursery for anywhere between 12 and 18 children every day. These children are either vulnerable or the children of critical workers such as those working for the NHS, the care services or in food industries. Two of these children are from another setting that has closed.
The children cook and take part in normal nursery activities and enjoy learning in our amazing environment – it is like being part of one multi-age family. We also have continued to offer all our children hot lunches.
We also run a virtual nursery for the other 115 children. This uses a private Instagram page and our website to keep the children and parents connected. All staff are contributing to this and producing materials for the children to use at home to continue their learning. Staff are videoing stories and other activities on Instagram every day and there is a daily timetable. We have also put together learning packs for children and so far have delivered several packs to the children. Feedback from parents so far relating to the online instagram learning and packs has been very positive:
“Thank you very much for all the help and ideas on how to keep S busy. It’s been so good having a visual reference for S for her daily routine. S watched your Little Red Riding Hood video and had fun making up her own stories.” SD
“R has really enjoyed the tweezer challenge from his activity pack.” RK
“Thank you for the activity pack. It’s really helpful and M is enjoying it so much.” MW
“F is loving the stories and singing you ladies are doing, so a massive thank you.” FS
“Can you pass on my many thanks to the Hungerford Nursery team for all the work done on virtual learning. I have really struggled with W’s day and was beginning to lose faith that I could keep him happy, busy and learning during this time until I went onto your website today. Thanks again. I am now looking forward to tomorrow rather than being apprehensive about it.” WC
“Just thank you all so very much for the support you are giving us. The Instagram video learning and the packs are fantastic. I know all the teachers have their own families and we are all worried at such a strange time but they have been truly amazing each and everyone so thank you so much.” AP
The Family Centre
The Family Centre is now working completely from home and is doing imaginative things. For example, one member of staff is creating bits of video for families that usually attend our ‘PEEP’groups – do have a look on Facebook at the sock sorting! Our Family Support Worker is continuing to offer virtual family support while our Co-ordinator is keeping contact with families and creating a family community online. Our baby group has a zoom conference once a week. There is a parenting helpline so parents can ring in for support and guidance using the usual Family Centre number.
Many of you will recall that there has been a long-running campaign by all maintained nursery schools to ensure that our funding in the future: this continues and is being spearheaded by Early Education.
Our immediate concern are to ensure that the business-rates holiday which has been announced for the non-maintained nursery sector is extended to maintained nurseries such as ours (West Berkshire Council has indicated that this is likely to happen); and that additional funding promised to schools should also include maintained nurseries (we are seeking further clarification on this).
So, as this quick summary shows, life has been different and also very busy. Like almost every other organisation, we’ve had to re-invent how we operate. Unlike many others, however, because of the nature of our work we can’t completely separate ourselves from the outside world. Even more so than usual, every day is different.
For more information on Hungerford Nursery School please visit the website by clicking here.