Early Years Scotland keeps families and practitioners connected throughout lockdown

7th May, 2021 5:04 pm

One thing that was significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown was access to early years services.

All areas of early learning and childcare were affected and learning moved to the home.

However, Early Years Scotland was determined that the support they offer to children and families wouldn’t be interrupted, so they created a range of activities and support services online.

“Covid-19 had a massive impact on our Stay, Play and Learn model when we had to stop face-to-face delivery,” explained Michele Doull, head of professional learning and quality assurance.

“Instead, we launched outdoor sessions with the children and families, and the team has worked fantastically. Our practitioners have worked creatively and were able to offer garden visits for children and for some, it’s been a real lifeline.”

But this wasn’t all Early Years Scotland did.

To ensure they were really listening to those who benefit most from the services, the teams came together to work out how they could really support children and their families.

Michele continued: “This began with the creation of wellbeing packs for families at the start of the pandemic which included ideas for activities indoors and outdoors with children, and we managed to source sun cream, craft supplies and lots more.”

On the back of this, Early Years Scotland teamed up with Fareshare, a company that redistributes surplus food across the country.

“We also created and distributed weekly food packs to families too thanks to the support from Fareshare, and have continued this valuable work” added Michele.

It wasn’t only young children and their families who benefited from this online approach. Early Years Scotland was also on hand to support new parents who’d welcomed a baby during lockdown.

“The EYS Keep Connected campaign really was jam-packed,” said Michele. “We provided a wide range of online sessions, including baby massage, baby yoga, storytelling and much more.”

Early Years Scotland received really positive feedback from parents on the sessions, with parents sharing that they had been a lifeline during a very challenging period.

“For families, missing out on being able to go to sessions meant they were still able to connect with familiar faces, even though they couldn’t attend the face to face classes they would have attended had it not been for Covid-19.”

Early Years Scotland strongly believes in the value of storytelling and believe that from the very earliest days of a child’s life, hearing, seeing, watching and telling stories can have a powerful and long-lasting positive influence on children.

That’s why they commenced a campaign for every child in Scotland to have a story every day from birth. Anyone can pledge their support and become a:

EYS Story Star – children who love stories.

EYS Story Setting – all settings that pledge to ensure that children hear a story every day.

EYS Story Supporter – Parents/Carers who want their child to hear a story every single day.

Find out more about the campaign on the website.

In support of the campaign, Michele explains the exciting journey of ‘Ralph’s Rainy Day Adventures’.

She said: “We started a story trail in 2019 that saw children from ten of our EYS membership settings create a wonderful story that has now become a children’s storybook. The book is available to buy on Kindle, and we’ll be printing copies soon to gift to some of our children and families thanks to a Crowdfunding Appeal earlier this year.”

Early Years Scotland has maintained their online presence to support families while the country eases out of lockdown, and in recognition of the amazing interest from parents across the country, they have created a dedicated membership category just for parents.

To find out more about what Early Years Scotland has been doing during their keep connected campaign and to sign up for some of the events yourself, visit earlyyearsscotland.org or call 0141 221 4148.


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