Early Years, Enriched with Emotions

by Lynda Young, Lead Practitioner – Dundee Flexible Childcare

The world has been different this year. We have all had to slow down, change our daily lives, and think very carefully about not just our own health and wellbeing, but that of all of those around us. We have clapped for our heroes, rattled pots and pans on our doorsteps, rediscovered lost hobbies and made enough banana loaves to start up shop!

We are now slowly and safely working our way out of this pandemic and into what will be known as our new normal. At the forefront of our minds, are our children and young people. The events that have enforced life altering changes over the past few months, have impacted on children in ways that we may not have considered closely. Children have had to understand that they could not meet their friends, play at the park, go on that eagerly awaited holiday, or even just have a normal school or nursery day. Children have accepted these changes with extraordinary bravery, and we know how ready they all are to embrace their friends and get back to the routines and experiences of usual daily life.

At Flexible Childcare Services Scotland, we have continued to provide services throughout the pandemic, to children of our essential Key Workers and to vulnerable children within our communities. This has been a different experience for these children continuing to attend, as early years provision has not been quite the same. Some of the activities and experiences that can usually be discovered, are not to be found. The dressing up clothes are away for a different day. The messy play experiences are not to be shared together, as we usually would. Everybody is washing their hands all of the time, even more than before! These changes might make our children feel a little worried…a little different…but, something magical has been happening! We have rediscovered the joy of being outdoors in every element of the weather. We are more emotionally connected, as we reunite and appreciate each other, just for being ourselves! We are bringing our rediscovered hobbies into the setting …. baking, drawing, creating, knitting, and even relaxing! We are taking the time just to share a smile and enjoying being in one another’s company.

We are so excited to welcome back more of our families and new families into our environments. Our teams have been carefully planning behind the scenes and putting measures in place to ensure that each child and their family are welcomed back and that transitions are supported holistically. Children are growing and developing at extraordinary rates. We know that their individual needs and preferences can change often, and therefore we understand the importance of holding the most updated records of information for each child. As families return, we will discuss and ask for all relevant information for their child and family. This ‘All about me’ information will be shared appropriately within the team, to enable them as skilled practitioners, to meet each child’s needs, extend their interests and progress with learning and developments. Whilst learning topics stemming from children’s interests will continue, our complete focus for moving forwards will be to support each child’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The early years sector has always been known to be fast-paced, energetic, wildly passionate, and truly diverse. Whilst all of these wonderful traits remain, we feel that recent events have taught us to slow down, get caught up in a moment, take time out for a deep breath and believe that together, we can achieve anything.