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This week, our Early Years Foundation Coordinator and Nursery Manager, Janine Guest, talks about the positives of bringing our youngest children back to school…

The past couple of months have certainly been some of the more peculiar of my career and I have felt very blessed to be surrounded by wonderful, hard-working colleagues. Prior to half term, my colleagues and I in the Nursery had been providing remote teaching, as have the teachers throughout the school. We were reading to children, providing Forest School activities and keeping their literacy and numeracy on track. It was certainly strange to see ourselves on screen so often!

On Monday, I watched with delight as Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils walked through the school doors once again. Albeit they now have to have their temperature taken and their first port of call is to wash their hands. The hallways may not be as busy as they usually are but it is still wonderful to have the sound of children filling the classrooms and playgrounds once again.

Each morning, I have seen children with beaming smiles, excited to be reunited with their friends and teachers. And the staff are equally as excited, happy to be back doing what they do best.

Although I appreciate that some people throughout the country question whether the Government were right to send the youngest year groups back to school, concerned about their ability to socially distance, it is important to remember that being around their peers can really help children’s social skills develop.  

In the Nursery, we have implemented stringent hygiene and distancing measures, being careful to keep a sense of normality for the children and making sure they can still play, learn and develop as they always would.

Children are far more resilient than we often give them credit for and I am pleasantly surprised by how quickly they have settled into this new routine. They are chatting to their friends in the playground, interacting through role-play, using their imagination and developing their independence.

As Early Years Foundation Stage Coordinator, and a qualified teacher with over 18 years of experience, I have seen many children pass through my classroom and know that each and every child is unique. They learn in different ways and at different paces but so many benefit from peer to peer support, and friendships play a hugely important part in their lives at this young age. 

I am delighted that we are starting to see some kind of normality creeping back into our everyday lives and hope that, when the time is right, more children will get to experience the joy of being reunited with their teachers and friends.

If you would like to come and see our incredible Nursery and Early Years provision, you can sign up below for our EYFS Open Afternoon on Friday 26 June. Please note, tours are by appointment only in order for us to ensure social distancing.