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Coronavirus: Children return to childminders and outdoor nurseries


Jun. 03, 2020

Scotland's childminders who closed during the coronavirus pandemic are now able to welcome children back into their homes.
Childminding services and fully outdoor nurseries can resume as part of phase one of the Scottish government's route map out of lockdown.
But children returning to their day care will see a difference.
They will find reduced capacity, increased hygiene, small groups and physical distancing of adults.
Donna McLachlan, a registered childminder in Baillieston, Glasgow, stayed open through lockdown to care for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
She had to very quickly adapt to the pandemic restrictions and the measures that other childminders are now introducing on reopening.
Image copyright Donna McLachlan Image caption Donna's outside mud kitchen has become a handwashing station for the children she looks after
Donna told BBC Scotland: "I completed a course on coronavirus measures and put in place a Covid-19 policy and an in-depth risk assessment.
"I have an outdoor learning garden which the children really enjoy so we will be spending most of the time there during the day and to keep up our great hygiene I have turned the mud kitchen into a hand washing station.
"The children will take it in turns cleaning their hands properly and often."
Other measures she has implemented include a staggered doorstep drop off and collection schedule and frequent deep cleaning of toys and equipment. Children are provided with their own cup, cutlery, plates and bowls.
Image copyright Donna Mclachlan Image caption Donna McLachlan, left, has been looking after the children of key workers but can now welcome back her other families
And Donna has even done her homework on games and activities which teach children social distancing and encourage it.
The Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) welcomed the first minister's new public health guidance which allows the restart of childminding.
But as childminding settings begin to open up again, the Childminder Services Guidance continues to advise childminders to prioritise spaces for critical childcare.
Beyond that, childminders can use their discretion to allocate available spaces to other families.
Restrictions on numbers will continue during the early phases of recovery, with a maximum of four families (excluding the childminder's own) allowed to attend a childminding setting at any one time.
Image copyright SCMA Image caption Outdoor nurseries can now open their doors as well as childminders
There are currently around 4,800 professional childminders in Scotland. Before the pandemic, they were providing childcare for around 33,000 children.
The SCMA said that childminders had played a vital role in the country's response to Covid-19, with about 930 settings choosing to remain open to provide critical childcare.
The organisation's chief executive, Graeme McAlister, said: "The reopening of childminding during phase one will help to ensure that many more families will have access to high-quality child care as communities across the country start to ease out of lockdown.
'Take time to prepare'
"However, there is no requirement for childminders to reopen immediately. It is important they take time to prepare, based on their own business and personal circumstances."
Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd, said: "There are still restrictions in place to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus in childminding settings, and the guidance explains the measures childminders are advised to take.
"My team and I will continue to work closely with the Scottish Childminding Association to support childminders in their vital role."
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