Even though we have already moved into Phase 2, many parents are still unsure about the safety of their children in childcare. Should we still be worried?
Childcare Centres: Is it Safe yet?
We have already moved into Phase 2 after the end of the circuit breaker, and some of us may still be pondering about sending our children back to childcare and preschool. Is it a concern for you and what does it take to have peace of mind when sending our children back? Do you think it’s too early as the pandemic is still raging across different countries and you are worried about your children’s well-being?
Since the circuit breaker, childcare centres have been doing their part by ensuring that safety measures are in place to keep their staff, children and parents safe. But is it really safe yet? Serious About Preschool spoke with some parents at Chiltern House Preschool to understand if parents should be worried about sending their young children back to school or even starting preschool now.
1. Detailed communication plan with parents
When it comes to combating anxiety, nothing beats eliminating uncertainties on the school’s part by providing assurances to the parents. Chiltern House Preschool created a child-friendly eBook to help their children understand more about the virus and how they can play a part in fighting it. The eBook covers topics such as what the virus is, what it can do to us and how we can fight it.
Chiltern House believes that children should be educated on what they should do when they are unwell, so that they can help themselves and others keep the environment safe to learn and play.
2. Reinforcing strict temperature checks
Used to having temperature checks twice a day? Schools are stepping up the frequency to 3 to 4 times a day for both staff and children now that temperature screening is part of Singapore’s collective measures to tackle the virus. However, all parents and school operators agree unanimously that the first line of defence should be at home where parents take the responsibility to check if their child is feeling unwell and keeping them home instead of taking a chance by sending him/ her to the centre.
3. Staggered timings
Staggering drop-off and pick-up timings of children is another safety measure to tackle Covid-19 in Singapore. This is to reduce interactions among the parents and children during arrival and dismissal.
4. Avoiding interactions between staff and children across classes
As an added measure mandated by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), the pre-schools must ensure that teachers are limited to teach 2 classes and that interaction between the children is within their own class. All communal activities have been stopped. These precautions are important so that any potential transmission of the virus will be limited and not spread across levels.
5. Masking up
Staff and children aged two years and older should wear masks or face shields. As children may not be used to wearing the masks at all times due to it being uncomfortable or stuffy, the teachers at Chiltern House Preschool take pride in educating the children on the importance of mask wearing. We are happy to have our parents as our partners to work with us on encouraging their children to wear a mask too!
6. Safe distancing
As we know, safe distancing is an important measure to contain the virus especially for people who are unaware that they have the virus and are asymptomatic. The floors at Chiltern House Preschool look like hopscotch playgrounds now as boxes were created to serve as guides for social distancing!
“The children are so cooperative! Once they reached the classroom, they will immediately look for their own boxes with their own names tapped on the floor. It’s their normal way of life now.” Laughed Mdm Ng, parent of Chiltern House Preschool Mountbatten.
7. Constant education on the long battle with Covid-19
Children are kept well informed about the pandemic situation and what is expected of them. Many premium preschools, such as Chiltern House Preschool, have not only been keeping in touch with them during the circuit breaker but have also been sending the children educational materials to catch up on learning. The children have been progressing well academically and managing well emotionally too.
While some parents are still concerned about the safety of their child when returning to school, there are also parents who are looking forward to sending their child back.
“I am glad my son can return to school, he missed his friends and teachers even during home-based learning as there are some things that cannot replace classroom dynamics,” said Audrey Tan, whose son is in K1 this year.
Lionel Lim, whose daughter is in K2 this year is worried that his girl will not get a smooth transition to P1. “I just want her to be ready for P1 next year, I am so glad that they can go back to school now!” sighed Mr Lim.
With safety measures being emphasised in childcare centres and parents playing a part in monitoring their children’s health before attending schools, there is no compelling reason to keep ourselves and our kids from stepping out and embracing their new chapter in school.