Yesterday’s announcement about England’s route out of lockdown was a lot to take in, with so many different dates and scenarios floating around that we couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed.
We’re also, however, feeling a lot more optimistic about the months ahead… and it probably helps that the sun is shining too.
Remember, as it stands though, social distancing rules remain - so please continue to be vigilant when it comes to all things hygiene, as well as drop-off and pick-up arrangements at your setting. And currently, any childminders experiencing Coronavirus symptoms are required to access community testing, but the industry are pushing for lateral-flow testing to be made available, in line with other early years and education settings - we'll keep you updated on this.
In the meantime, though, if you’re wondering what the new roadmap means for childminders, we’ve broken down the main facts for you here...
8th March: wraparound care is back
While childminders have been allowed to care for under-fives throughout this lockdown, regardless of their parents’ work status or circumstances, we know it’s been tough for those who usually top up their incomes with wraparound care of school children since this has only been permitted for vulnerable and key worker families. From 8th March, when all schools are set to open, wrap is back. Of course, schools being open has other advantages for our community too - those with school-age children have been struggling with the challenges of caring for little ones while simultaneously home-schooling, and now the end is in near sight. Huge sighs of relief all round, right?
29th March: the rule of six comes in - and this time it’s better for those with young children
All being well, from 29th March, the rule of six for outdoor socialising is coming back - and the great news for both large families and childminders is that children under the age of five will no longer be counted in the numbers. This means, if you’re caring for under fives, you could arrange an outdoor meet-up with a couple of fellow childminders, without worrying that the children in your care push you over the limit.
As you know, at tiney we strongly believe in the power of community when it comes to childcare, as we know that being with young children all day, while incredibly rewarding, can feel a little lonely. We’re now tentatively looking forward to a spring and summer of picnics in the park and walks in the woods, with a sprinkling of adult conversation - imagine!
In April, there will be more opportunities for play
It’s been a very difficult year for anyone running baby classes and playgroups, with the rules changing so many times, causing a lot of confusion and hardship in the industry. 29th March is the big date here as well - this is when, assuming Covid rates are still rapidly declining, outdoor parent and child groups will be able to run, with a maximum of 15 attendees. Hooray, forest school beckons! And from April, fingers crossed, indoor activities for little ones will resume too - we foresee a rush on bubbles and colourful scarves as all those lovely baby sensory classes get going again.
From April 12th, big days out are back in the diary
Assuming rates are low, in mid-April, large attractions like zoos and theme parks will be allowed to open and we don’t know about you, but we can’t wait! So get planning those big days out (and we definitely think everyone deserves an ice cream after waiting so long…). From the same date, indoor leisure facilities will be allowed to open too - we just hope we remember how to swim.
May half-term might be all about the soft play...
From May 17th, indoor entertainment should be allowed to resume too. This means cinema trips will be back on the agenda, along with any indoor play facilities that weren’t covered by the “leisure” rules of April. We never thought we’d be craving soft play, but it suddenly sounds like a very exciting prospect indeed…
And in June… let’s party!
Although we’re very proud of all the webinars and live events we’ve been able to run virtually over the last year, when we started tiney we really wanted to be able to get together with our community in real life too. All being well, from June 21st, there will no longer be any limits on social contact. We see a lot of hugs in our future!