EE Leads during COVID-19
Case study 5 below provides an example of the role the EE Lead at Waterfront Nursery played in supporting children when the setting reopened following the initial COVID-19 lockdown. Further research into the support provided by Equity and Excellence Leads to families during the COVID-19 pandemic is also planned.
Case Study 5 (linked to HSC Standards 1.8 and 3.10)
Waterfront nursery is provided by Edinburgh College and provides a daycare service for up to 120 children from birth to not yet attending primary school. The service operates from a dedicated nursery space within Edinburgh College, Waterfront Campus.
Lucyna Mierczak is the EE Lead at Waterfront Nursery. We spoke with the manager Victoria Shiels about the role Lucyna played in supporting children when the setting reopened following the initial COVID-19 lockdown.
"As part of our re-opening, we were conscious that some children may struggle in our larger playroom bubbles. Some of our returning children had been in our toddler room before lockdown and were now moving to preschool having never visited before, some had English as an Additional Language with very little understanding of English at all. We decided to create a nurture group to allow these children to be cared for in their own learning environment. The group was never more than 10 children with Lucy and one of our practitioners bringing them into nursery each day, working with them to develop their confidence and supporting them to integrate into a larger bubble group. This group was extremely successful and between August and December we re-integrated the group into a larger bubble as each child was ready to progress, in an individual and manageable way."
Lauren Wiltshire an early learning and childcare practitioner worked alongside Lucyna to lead the initiative and told us about the benefits to her development as a practitioner as a result. She told us, "As part of our goal to transition children to their new environment, Lucy and I became a team to run a nurture group, designed to help children that were requiring extra support to settle back in after a long absence due to COVID-19. Lucy and I worked together for six months to create a welcoming and nurturing environment. Working alongside Lucy helped me to develop my practice in many ways. Her passion for her role and her underlying knowledge enables her to be the confident and well-practiced person she is. Now that the nurture group has ended, I can take what I have learnt to improve my own practice".
Lucyna told us "Being an Equity and Excellence Lead has been very rewarding, providing me with opportunities to be a leader of early years pedagogy whilst working directly with children and staff. Within my role, I have been able to adopt a focused approach, based on identified needs of the setting, such as our Nurture Group and the outdoor nursery, where I would support children's individual learning and development through quality interactions and role-modelling. The flexibility and reflection time afforded by the role, has enabled me to pick up the golden thread of quality that runs through early years in every area, from developing an enabling learning environment to recognising and promoting the skills of practitioners through peer support".