How Yorkshire Montessori has adapted to Coronavirus

Covid-19 is a serious illness and before we could reopen, I needed to create a plan to minimise risk within our nursery, for our children, families and staff teams alike. 

A united front

For our policy to work and for Coronavirus to stay out of our doors, it has to unite home and nursery. The plan starts at home with everyone washing hands when leaving, wearing face-masks where it’s necessary, arriving at nursery and washing hands again. Parents are not coming into our buildings for now, but our relationships with the whole family remain strong and everyone is embracing doorstep hellos and goodbyes. Just one parent or carer advised to drop-off and pick-up for now, minimising any points of contact. We’ve kindly asked parents to do as much as possible at home to help, including applying sun cream in the morning so we only need to top up throughout the day

How do such young children adapt to the new rules?

We must never underestimate children, whatever age, because they are natural and eager learners and will understand anything presented to them in the correct manner. We’ve always discussed safe procedures with the children in an age-appropriate way, respecting how they learn and how they’ll use the information for themselves. For us, that includes positive role-modelling of hygiene practice, social distancing and nose-blowing. We’ll answer every one of the children’s questions about Coronavirus and the changes to their daily lives. 

Extra precautions

All day, our staff team and our housekeepers clean, clean and clean again, whilst the children and adults wash their hands very frequently. It would get a bit dull without a tune and that’s why ‘Baby Shark’ rings throughout the nurseries, because its length is just right for a really good hand wash! Bathrooms are on a continuous cycle of disinfection and we are fastidious about the cleaning of resources and furniture. We’ve added extra hand-washing stations and hand sanitisers; removed toys and furnishings which can’t easily be cleaned and given each child their own bag of drawing/writing tools and playdough to secure against sharing of equipment where we can. We’ve also introduced one-way systems and reduced the number of spaces in the car park. We’re on constant alert. We know the symptoms and have clear systems to put in place should anyone, staff or children, display any signs. This would include wearing full PPE and taking the patient to an isolation area, before they leave promptly for home. But we are involved in this profession because of our humanity, as well as our passion to educate and steer these wonderful children on to school and beyond. Therefore, we’d deal with this unpleasant situation with compassion and care and make sure the patient was as secure and as comfortable as possible

What’s next?

For now, we’ve paused our mixing of age-groups, usually such a rewarding way of sharing knowledge in a Montessori ‘vertical learning’ way. But these are times of a different method of attentiveness and we’ll return to the familiar as soon as we can. Until then, our focus is strong and we will always care for a child – and hug that child – when needed. We’ll continue with all of our new processes until we assess that it’s safe to do anything else.

Yorkshire Montessori’s full Covid-19 policy is available to view here.