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11 June 2020
By Alex Gamby

Early Years and Childcare: Letter to Families

Dear Families

Following a long period of lockdown, The Education People would like to communicate with
you to express our particular thanks to those of you who are Critical Workers for all you
have done to keep the country going at this challenging time and also to all families for
respecting the Government’s guidance on staying at home, saving lives and protecting the
NHS. We have enjoyed sharing with you our Growing and Learning Together series of
family flyers over recent weeks, which were particularly aimed at supporting families at
home by providing fun and simple ideas for experiences to enjoy with your young children
during this time. As we trust you will have heard, the Government signalled the re-opening
of early years and childcare settings from 1st June, and therefore, our last regular edition of
the Growing and Learning Together flyer will be on Friday 5th June, although we will post
one final version just prior to the end of term leading into the summer holidays which will be
an Education for Sustainable Development ‘special edition’.

Whilst writing we wanted to make you aware of what your early years and childcare settings
have been required by the Government to do in preparation for your child/children’s
return. No doubt your young children are excited to return to their group setting or
childminder, and understandably you may have wondered and may even have felt
concerned as to how this will work on a practical level as the lockdown is eased. Many Kent
settings have remained open to care for children of critical workers and vulnerable children,
and since 1st June many others have already reopened their doors to welcome all families
back. We were proud to note one of our very own Kent settings on the BBC South East
news this week who shared how they are managing to open whilst exercising social
distancing. Jo Harvey from Fidgets Nursery in Tunbridge Wells says “We’ve been open for
the whole of lockdown for critical workers, we had anything from 5-13 children per day with
a key staff team of 4 throughout. We worked closely with the local primary school and also
took 3 primary school children so we could keep sibling groups together. We also worked
closely with Juniors Day Nursery (Cranbrook and Tonbridge) who also kept their Tonbridge
setting open during lockdown. We developed guidance documents for both staff and
families to spell out our plans for reopening in order to reassure families that we were taking
appropriate measures in line with Government guidance before fully opening. We have
missed the children.

We have missed all of them but have been particularly concerned about our pre-school
children who will be starting primary school in September, again we have been working
closely with the local primary school to think about what we can do regarding
transitions. Approximately half of our families have returned at the moment. We are
expecting numbers to gradually increase over the coming weeks although approximately
one third of our families have left for various reasons”.

There is a range of information from Government to early years and childcare providers
aimed to keep children, families and staff appraised of the measures they can take to
remain safe during this period, some of which are listed below for your information.

If you need further information about the reopening of early years and childcare settings
please contact KentCFIS@theeducationpeople.org

Your settings are looking forward to welcoming your child/children’s return.

Yours sincerely

Alex Gamby
Head of Early Years and Childcare | The Education People