Tue Feb 02 2021

What a day looks like in the classroom for an early childhood educator during the pandemic

written by Vanessa Serrao

Photo by Naomi Shi from Pexels

Childcare is one of the few industries that are considered essential during this pandemic and that have remained open in 2021. Early childhood educators are essential for so many reasons and this pandemic has reinforced this notion even more. Since the pandemic, the way daycares run now is a little different.

So, let’s take a look at what a day looks like in the classroom for an early childhood educator during this pandemic. Every daycare will do things a certain way, but most places will follow a similar protocol.

Screening

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Before COVID-19 children would be dropped off by their parents and both children and their parents would enter the center or daycare. But, now with the pandemic, daycares are not allowing parents to enter. The parent must be wearing a mask and whoever is doing the screening (usually the child’s teacher) will have to take both the parent’s and the child’s temperature and ask the parent screening questions.

For example, have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days? The child must have a temperature under 37.8 degrees and must not have any symptoms. Every day this same process will be completed and be kept on record. As well, staff also have to screen themselves and take their temperatures and of course, must wear a mask and shield during their shift.

Sanitizing

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Sanitizing toys is nothing new when it comes to working in a daycare, but the frequency in terms of sanitizing has changed. Toys are now expected to be sanitized right after they are used by children.

In the Montessori I work at we have a bin where we get the children to place their toys in after they have played with them, and then we sanitize them during our break. Prior to COVID-19, the frequency of sanitizing toys was definitely less often.

Where I work we usually sanitize toys twice a day. Children’s hands are also to be washed frequently as well as the educators. Their hands should be washed as soon as they enter in the morning. Before and after they eat a meal after their diaper is changed, and when they come inside from outdoor play.

What is to be worn

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

As an early childhood educator at the Montessori, I work at we are required to wear a mask, either a shield or goggles and a white blouse. When we are changing diapers, screening, and serving food we wear gloves. Lastly, when we are serving food and changing diapers we are also required to wear an apron on top of our white blouse.

Activities for children

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Now, just because we are in a pandemic it doesn’t mean that children aren’t still having fun and learning. There are just some restrictions and changes. For example, children are not allowed to share toys. So, this means individual play for the most part. I know that some places will have Ziploc bags labelled with children’s names on them, so those toys are only for that child.

Or the bags are labelled with numbers and each child can pick a bag that they want to play with. Then the toys are taken to be disinfected. Another change is that while sensory bins can still be used each child must have their own bin. In terms of singing in the classroom this is something that is commonly done with infants and toddlers but with COVID-19 singing is something that is now expected to be done only outdoors.

The alternative is that you can have an outdoor circle time with your class. When it comes to the young age groups like infants and toddlers it can be hard as well as they love to hug and require that love and care through hugs. While hugging is something that is not recommended I believe personally that hugs should be given if it is really necessary. As long as you are wearing all the right gear you are supposed to be wearing then it isn’t a huge risk factor.

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