During this period, children will require additional time to reintegrate into the changed service. They may no longer be with friends or may be cared for by different staff. Individual settings have established practice for settling children and their families into the setting and this should continue wherever practicable. It is important that children are sensitively supported into their new arrangements, while maintaining physical distancing between adults.
It may also be the case that new children are enrolled in the service. Settings may wish to provide a virtual tour to parents prior to their child attending for the first time.
Wherever possible when a child is settling into the service, this should be undertaken in an outdoor area with the parent and away from other children. It is important that relationships are developed and the settling in period reflects the needs of the children.
Providers should consider how they will support staff, parents and children to familiarise themselves to the revised layouts and movement patterns described above. This should be made fun for children.
For children with additional support needs (ASN), settings must work in partnership with parents, lead professionals, children and young people to establish what support and plans need to be put in place to meet their needs. Enhanced transitions may be considered for children with ASN, such as through visual representations and plans of physical distancing in their settings.
Settings may wish to consider the following approaches:
- A map could be displayed in the setting detailing entry/exit points and new circulation patterns, for use by staff and parents.
- Social stories and videos shared with children in advance to explain what will be new, and what the nursery day will be like.
- Drawing on learning from the retail sector, clear signage and colour coding on walls and floors could be implemented prior to return to help with wayfinding.
- Appropriate visuals will be particularly important for children. These will need to be clear and child friendly to enable them to be understood by as many children as possible taking account of any visual impairments children may have. These could include signs that display meaningful pictures or symbols. Any signage that involves direct interaction from children will need to be cleaned regularly and additional methods of communication should also be considered.