The Return to Preschool

by Adam Riches

With restrictions on life gradually easing, a lot of parents are starting to send their children back to nursery and preschool. From June 1st early years care has started up again and the decision to send children back has been hotly debated.

Come September, it seems that there will still be some restrictions in place and some preschools are staying open over the summer, so this year is going to be a bit different to normal (understatement)!

We decided to send our little boy back to preschool when it reopened. Now, I know a lot of parents decided not to, but for us there were a lot more pros than cons. Your decision depends on context of course and each parent will decide for themselves based on their situation, but here’s our thinking.

Minimised risk

All preschools and nurseries have to have a risk assessment in place before reopening. The risk assessment must follow government guidelines on grouping children, spaces, staffing and pick ups and drop offs. After seeing the measures put in place, it was quickly apparent to us that preschool was a very, very, safe place. The risk of transmission has been minimised through really clear planning. Not all nurseries will be the same, but as a parent, you can at least look at the steps your child’s place has taken.

Strangely as a byproduct, our little bit is much more self aware when it comes to “virus safety”. He was already pretty savvy, but things like washing his hands more frequently, keeping his distance and the importance of (not) touching things have all sunk in. I know these are strange things to see as positive, but this virus isn’t going away completely for some time.

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Routine

During lockdown, we establish our own routine. Like all parents, there were times that it worked and times we were pulling our hair out. I’ll also admit that it got very monotonous!

Regardless of how much you try, there just wasn’t enough variation to the day during lockdown. Going back to preschool has really helped our little boy with his routine in the day. It’s helped us load too as it means we have time to work too.

The routines at preschool are also important. Having to socially conform again has done his behaviour the world of good!

Fun

There were points over the last 4 months where we were grasping at straws for “activities” to keep a 3 year old busy. It’s not easy, especially when your resources are limited.

We got really, really creative and we did some cool and done very pointless stuff, but the level of fun and variation at preschool couldn’t be sustainably sustained!

With working from home, having a little baby and shops being closed, there were times we struggled to come up with things to do. At preschool however, our little boy gets focused attention and a day of things to do. He loves it (and so do we!!)

Social aspect

Being around other children has also been a draw for us. Within his bubble, our son has been able to socialise with other children safely.

After so long without playing with others, he was a totally different child. His behaviour also improved loads after he’d been back with others.

The risk, of course, is slightly increased, but again, it comes down to how much you trust in the plans put in place.

Support

We are very fond of our preschool...I’m sure you may have got that! The thing is, these establishments have been hit hard by this pandemic, like a lot of businesses.

Small preschools such as ours are vulnerable to closure and supporting them is vital.

It was a big decision to go back, but we’re really pleased we did.


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Written by

Adam Riches

Blogger & Teacher
Being a parent isn’t something you can ever truly prepare for (no matter how many things you read about!) I don’t think I’ll ever really get it right, but that’s what being a parent is all about for me - effectively winging it and being totally ok with just doing your best at being a dad. I’m stumbling through life as a dad of one and between extracting coco pops from my son’s nose and trying to persuade him that dinosaurs aren’t going to get him at night, I write a bit and I teach a lot.

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