As we head into a second lockdown, a winter quarantine this time, lest not forget the childminder educators who risk their own families and personal safety to continue providing childcare for families. They were rarely mentioned in the spring lockdown, although their important work supporting families is essential in keeping the country running.
Since March, many childminders educators remained open to ensure children got the continuity of care they deserved. In practice, this meant they have:
- Continuous hygiene measures: not only habitual handwashing of children throughout the day and wiping down of high use areas such as surfaces, door handles, toys, and equipment. It is also the relentless out-of-hours disinfecting of toys at the end of the day, ensuring Covid-19 is not spreading in their own homes.
- Ask parents to drop off and pick-up their children at the door, instead of coming into their house. This not ideal for either childminders or parents, especially those new-to-childcare parents who desperately want to see their children settle in.
- Plan alternative, stimulating activities as children can no longer socialise and learn with their friends at organised play groups in libraries, children’s centres, and church halls.
- Make do with a reduced income, due to lower numbers of children, forced closures for some in the first lockdown, insufficient government funding and parents unable to pay childcare fees due to being on reduced income themselves or redundancies.
- Not being mentioned or acknowledged, whenever there is a government announcement about the Coronavirus. Instead, they are lumped in with schools and nurseries which caused confusion, especially in the early days.
- Doing their best to support children and parents with their mental health in these challenging times. Not to mention, childminders own personal anxieties and stress too.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg! There’s so much childminders have done to soldier on throughout the pandemic. And, now that we’re in a second lockdown, they will just continue doing what they do best! So, let’s salute the work of childminders in this winter lockdown with a BIG THANK YOU!