When COVID-19 hit Scotland and the national lockdown was announced, Fly High and other private nurseries we were asked by South Ayrshire Council if we would provide a facility for Key Workers children. We were very happy to do so and started our Key Workers Hub on 30th March 2020. It was a hard time for parents, leaving their children in a strange new place in difficult circumstances, but as Key Workers they needed to work. We recruited some additional staff as some of our own team were furloughed due to their personal circumstances. The new team worked together exceptionally well, we read everything we could from the Government, Council and Care Inspectorate to keep up to date with guidelines regarding cleaning, distancing and looking out for symptoms. We took the challenges we faced in our stride, our main aim was to provide a nurturing and safe environment for the children where they wouldn’t have to worry about the pandemic. South Ayrshire Council Early Years team supported us throughout the journey, many thanks to them all.
The age group we took care of was quite different as they were between 1 year and 12 years old, but the staff and children quickly bonded, and all were excited to come in every day. We adapted the centre to accommodate the changes for COVID-19 and different age groups, initially keeping them in family groups. Within a very short space of time we saw the nursery transform into a fun, exciting and safe place for the children of our frontline workers.
It was important to provide good communication so we set up a closed Facebook group just for the Key Workers, we put between 30 – 80 pictures for them to see every single day, this was important as parents couldn’t come inside the nursery and most had never been here before; we could see that all parents were checking it every day. It was a great comfort for the parents to see what their children were doing during the day and that they were having fun. The weather was kind to us which allowed us to be outside a lot of the time in our play areas.
A massive thank you to the team, they were amazing, they came in every day with a smile and plenty of great ideas for us to keep adapting the centre to cater for the children.
For 19 weeks we cared for these fantastic children and learned so much about them, we provided all of their photographs of their time with us and the picture you see below laminated so that they can have good memories of their time at Fly High and not just remember all the negative things associated with COVID-19. We have had so many messages of thanks from the parents and children, it made it all worthwhile to know that we did a good job. Our journey from start to finish will be fond memories for the children and their families and our staff forever.