As many communities begin to re-open after COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders are lifted, child care programs are going to be crucial to the success of the economic recovery. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have developed guidance for programs that have remained open to care for the children of essential employees. The CDC has also created decision trees for child care programs and youth programs/camps to help administrators decide whether they are prepared to open their doors to children and families.
While the recommended strategies are necessary at this time, some go against many of the practices that one would see in high quality programs. Examples include adaptations to drop-off/pick-up routines, family style dining, and teacher/child interactions due to social distancing.
It is important that program leaders and employees meet prior to reopening to discuss the new recommendations and determine the best way to put them in place while maintaining as many high quality practices as possible. For example, what language will teachers use to remind children to keep their masks in place or give their peers extra personal space? How will these concepts be introduced and reinforced in a positive manner, rather than in a punitive one? What are the social distancing measures that your program will put in place that still allow children ample time to play and learn together?
It is clear that there will be enhancements to cleaning routines to maintain a safe physical learning environment, but programs must also spend time planning for ways to maintain a safe and nurturing emotional environment for young children.
For the article Preparing for New Routines and Separation Anxiety, CLICK HERE
For the article Talking to Children about COVID-19, CLICK HERE
For the article Managing Adult Emotions, CLICK HERE
For the article Establishing and Communicating Policies, CLICK HERE