COLORADO SPRINGS– Childcare facilities are adapting to the stricter guidelines deemed necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, many changing protocols in order to help parents continue to work.
The Day Nursery, a childcare facility operated by Early Connections Learning Centers, has remained open despite the challenges presented during the last several months.
However, Diane Price, CEO and president of the organization, says they have seen a dramatic drop in enrollment due to the pandemic, as much as twenty percent.
The Day Nursery allows 16 preschool students in its classrooms, which is fewer than the 20 student capacity allowed by the state. The center is averaging anywhere from 10 to 12 students per classroom right now, along with two teachers, due to the enrollment decrease.
The Day Nursery is also requiring anyone over the age of 11 to wear masks, as recommended by the state health department.
Price says they are also keeping the same children in the same classroom all day with the same teachers – including during meal time.
She added they found it especially important to stay open to support parents who still needed to go to work, and provide those families with a safe space for their children:
“These are very, very difficult times, and they’re difficult for young children and so being empathetic about kiddos… you might see a little kiddo acting out in the grocery store…. it’s okay. We’re all uncertain about what’s going on and I think recognizing what’s unique about young children, but also recognizing those professionals that are stepping up every day to really provide a safe place for those kids and those families,” Price explained.
With new health protocols, the center adjusted rapidly to the pandemic, to ensure the safety of children and families. Those include:
- Twice-daily symptom screening and temperature checks for all staff and daily symptom screening and temperature checks for all children.
- All individuals 11 years and older are required to wear a facial covering in our buildings.
- Increased sanitation practices over and above our already stringent policies.
- Children play and learn in the same, small classroom group with the same
- Teachers remain in the same room all day and children are not moved between groups.
- Meals are served in the classroom.
Price says kids are experiencing stress in their homes and they might not know how to process that feeling.
“The stresses of our home affect the people around us and are affecting our children. We need to be patient, we need to be loving, we need to be kind, and we need to address those individually with children. Each child is experiencing this in a different kind of way, and how do we respond to that in the most empathetic and loving kind of way for young kids,” she said.