Pre-schools feel 'forgotten about' during lockdown, says teacher
Pre-schools have been “forgotten about” in the rush to reopen mainstream education during the coronavirus crisis, a teacher has claimed.
Pre-schools began increasing the number of children they were able to accept this week, while still observing social distancing guidance laid out by the Department for Education.
However, Tammy Batchelor, manager at Roydon Early Years, in High Road, said that the guidance had focused solely on primary and high schools, at the expense of pre-schools such as her own.
“We feel the Government has only focused on primary schools, and forgotten about pre-schools,” she said.
“They only gave us the guidance last Friday (May 22), with the expectation that we would open on Monday (June 1).”
Despite the Government acknowledging that rules will be much harder to enforce at pre-schools – where children are typically aged between two and five – staff at Roydon Early Years have made sure to follow the guidance as closely as they can.
Miss Batchelor added: “We’re only having a maximum of 10 children, where we would normally have 20 or 25, and we have staggered start and finish times.
“We’ve done as much as we can, but, with children of this age, it’s hard to keep them a safe distance apart. We won’t be telling children to keep two metres away from their friend and, if they get upset and come to one of us, we’ll still cuddle them.
“At the end of the day, this can’t go on for months and months, so at some point we need to get some normality back for the children. We’re teaching them to share and take turns, and you’re almost going against that by trying to keep them safe.”
Since the lockdown began, the pre-school has been taking care of a small handful of children, whose parents are key workers.
Miss Batchelor said: “It’s just one day a week, and it’s been nice to have some semblance of normality.
“Our little group of five have been lovely, and the children have loved it here.”