The Nursery was particularly challenged by the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government and with great sadness had to close its doors to all but the children of our Key Worker families. We were so sorry to say goodbye to a number of our children, whose parents experienced upheaval due to furlough and redundancy, although we hope that as and when their situation becomes more certain, we will be able to welcome them back.
We were determined to play our part to support families during lockdown. Our opening hours were reduced to three days a week with a reduced staff team in place and we were proud to support the NHS and other key industries by providing critical childcare to some 14 families, of which half had come to us when their local nurseries had closed entirely and with very little advance notice.
We kept in touch with those families whose children were unable to attend through a private Little Lancing Facebook Group and it certainly lifted everyone’s spirits to see what the children were doing at home and to support our families with stories, activities and photographs of the nursery. We missed everyone and they missed us too.
The feedback from our parents, Key Worker and non-key Worker alike, through such an unprecedented and difficult time has been overwhelmingly positive and we know that those whom we were able to help at short notice, were immensely appreciative that we had come to their aid.
When the restrictions began to lift at the start of June, we planned our phased return for our existing children, depending on the parents’ childcare needs and it has been good to see them back at Little Lancing, albeit with the necessary adjustments to how we operate in place.
We are so fortunate to have such fabulous outdoor space for the children to run and play and the benefits of being out in the fresh air as much as we can, have been plain to see. Our Forest School launch has necessarily been delayed too but we are busy making plans for how to implement this next exciting stage in the development of Little Lancing. It will be later than we originally planned, and hoped for, but we know it will be wonderful when it is ready.
Our new joiners, some of whom had to delay their starts during lockdown, are beginning to start their time at Little Lancing too and we are encouraged by the interest being shown in the Nursery with new enquiries now coming in regularly.
Away from Covid-19, nursery life has been continuing its usual pattern of progression. During these summer months, our children have begun to transition from one group to the next. Some of those who joined Little Lancing at the start in our youngest age group, The Explorers for babies aged 2 months to 2 years, are now turning 2 years of age and getting ready to move up to The Investigators room. It has been amazing to see how much they have grown and developed in this time and exciting to see them progress with such confidence. Their places are being filled with new little ones very quickly. Similarly, some of 3 year olds in The Investigators will soon be ready to move up into the Pre-School Room School for the next stage in the EYFS and our first small group of Pre-School children will prepare to leave us at the end of the summer to start Reception classes at their first school.
It has been an enormous pleasure to be involved in setting up such a wonderful nursery and to be supported by the Lancing College community, particularly through what has been a challenging few months, to say the least. We are feel incredibly proud of the positive relationship we have with our families and the fabulous reputation that we have begun to build. The nursery staff team are looking forward to continuing to work together throughout 2020 and are as focused as ever to reaching outstanding outcomes for all.