Although Early Childhood Education and Care settings are currently opened for children of essential workers and vulnerable children, more children will be returning this Monday, the 8th of March on a phased basis. I can only imagine the excitement this Sunday night as more children are reunited with their key workers and their friends!
This particular transition of returning to ECEC settings is unique given the recent and ongoing stressors and unknowns. Even very young children sense when there is stress in the environment. During this time, perhaps a little link to home so that children can revisit when parents are missed during the day may ease this transition, for example, parents could send in a picture or letter, to be kept in their child’s cubby. This is also an acknowledgment that parents are valued as the primary educator.
Every time an Early Years Professional comforts a child, they are planting a seed that has potential to blossom into social, emotional health and resilience further down the road. Early Years Professionals may never get to really see what that seed grows into, but right now we know just being together and present with children in this transition is enough.
From very early in life, children have a natural desire to move, explore and play, starting with very simple peek-a-boo games as a baby and becoming more complex as role play and imaginative play as children grows. Providing opportunities for play, relationships and connections are what matter. Paring back your day and allowing the rhythm of the day to flow makes every possible interaction, valuable and meaningful for the children, between the children and educators and between the children themselves. Allowing enough time for play and truly following the children enhances children’s social, emotional, physical and communication skills. When children are truly engaged with play, they can help make sense of the world around them.
It has been a privilege to work with Early Years Professionals in the North west region of Cork City adapting creativity during this pandemic, whether it is keeping their doors open throughout lockdown for some children, or connecting remotely, nurturing those relationships with families via WhatsApp, phone calls and zoom meetings etc. The enthusiasm and passion of those Early Years Professionals is infectious and there is great anticipation to see the children face to face again.
Early Years Mentor
Let’s Grow Together! Infant & Childhood Partnerships CLG
Address: HSE Building, Harbour View Road, Knocknaheeny, Cork
Office: 021 601 0656
Mobile: 086 0480949