Social distancing plays a key role in preventing the spread of coronavirus. This means putting space between people. When working with children, it will be difficult to maintain social distancing however there are strategies you can implement throughout the day.
In early childhood services, additional measures such as minimising group activities, having close contact with others and practising good hygiene are all preventative measures that can be used. These can also include:
- Staggering morning tea and lunch breaks where possible
- Postponing large gatherings or events, or re-arrange so smaller events are held
- Encourage good hygiene practices amongst children and educators including washing hands
- Ensure good health and hygiene measures are employed across your service, including ensuring soap is available.
- Implement the practice of all staff, children, parents and carers washing their hands upon arrival at your service and actively talk about why everyone needs to wash their hands and the importance of everyone doing this.
- Consider the setup of your room and the placement of the activities. For table activities, set up activity only at each end of the table.
- Apply this consideration to eating areas, and where cots and high chairs are. If space is limited, consider staggering eating and sleeping times at intervals.
- Wherever possible (weather dependant) and you have enough staffing for adequate supervision, consider operating an indoor/outdoor program for the full day/session, or spend more time outdoors.
- Rather than having group times where everyone is sitting on the mat, consider using informal opportunities to engage with the children/read books/storytelling with one or two children at a time throughout the day.
- Cancel any excursions/incursions and reduce visitors to the absolute minimum.
- For group times on the mat spread-out placemats on the floor at an adequate distance between children, that they can sit on, so they are not sitting directly next to each other. This can also be done for activities. Use stickers on the table where children have to sit rather than have them sitting next to each other. Guide children when they are engaging in different activities on where they should sit.
Do not cause panic and stress to the children. It is hard for children to maintain social distancing especially the younger ones. They will want to directly sit next to you and their peers during the day. Don't stress too much and do the best you can. Try to implement some of the strategies above as a preventative measure within your service.
COVID-19: Updated Advice, Victorian Government