Fun Lodge update on what we have been doing since August 2020.
What we had to think about:
Before we returned in August we had a lot of work to do to comply with all the COVID restrictions we required to
put in place to keep everyone safe. This was our main priority.
For this we consulted with our staff and board to discuss how we could offer our service putting all of this in place.
We had many, many, discussions regarding the above and ended up totally re-writing our Operational Framework and also wrote a COVID-19 Risk Assessment Document. These documents are how we have been operating the service since August 202 in order to comply with guidance we have been given from Scottish Government, Scottish Out of School Care Network, The Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Social Services Council.
Both of these documents are now Working Documents, and have been updated several times due to updated guidance coming from the aforementioned governing bodies
All parents were sent these before we reopened in August and all new parents who have enquired about our service since August have been sent these also.
The staff all undertook online COVID-19 training before returning to work in August 2020.
How would we be able to meet our new parents and children:
As guidance was set out parents were not permitted to enter the service. How then could we show prospective new parents and children what our indoor space consisted of and what play equipment we had to offer the children.
For this we had to be creative, so we created a welcome video for all of our new families who were joining us.
Two of the senior staff did this and it has proved a fantastic success and solved this particular issue.
This was emailed out to new parents and showed the spaces that we used within the church halls and what equipment we had available. Families were also invited to make an appointment for an outdoor visit to show them the outside play spaces and to meet the service manager. This was very different to what we would usually offer as a transition to the service. Pre-pandemic we would have invited new families into the service to be shown around and we would also have invited the children in during the summer holiday club for a half day session.
As we were not able to provide a buddy system for our new primary 1 children we wondered how they would get on. We need not have worried as working in small cohorts they were with the Primary 2 children which worked really well, where-by they got to know each other much quicker than they would have done.
Hand Hygiene :
became a key factor to our service operating safely and to minimising transmission risks. We have hand gel located at various points throughout the service including the entrance and exit. All children are asked to use hand gel at certain times of the day and also encouraged to use it themselves throughout the session.
Guidance stated that we work in smaller groups /cohorts and that these should not exceed 32 children in 1 cohort. Our cohorts are Primary 1 and Primary 2 together. Primary 3 and Primary 4 together. Primaries 5,6 and 7 are together.
For school pick-ups we liaised with the two head teachers of the schools we pick up the children from.
Wherever possible the same staff members collect the children on a daily basis.
At Merrylee school the same named staff pick up the children each day from the designated pick up doors and
at O.L.A school the same procedure has been put in place, but the children are collected from an allocated meeting place in the front playground. The meeting place at OLA was decided by the Head teacher and she notified the children of this location as well as us notifying our parents.
Our snack options still remain similar to pre-pandemic with 2 changes which are: snack is served to the children including fruit, and the children now sit at their allocated cohort tables.
We are fortunate to have the space available to us to create 3 separate play spaces within the church, both inside, and outdoors. From this each cohort has an allocated space for the week. We can rotate these spaces to give all the children a chance to utilise the different play opportunities in each area on a weekly basis. We use the church grounds as much as possible and even through the winter months the children enjoyed being out with torches and making up games using these.
Now the weather is milder we will be using our outdoor area most of the time.
Each cohort has their own play equipment which consists of both indoor and outdoor items.
We have allocated each cohort a craft box and a box containing physical activity equipment. This can easily be cleaned every night so that these items do not need to be quarantined. Other games and books that can’t be easily cleaned are quarantined for 72 hours after use. This is done in the small hall and are clearly labelled so that everyone knows that they can’t use these items if they are in quarantine.
All of our large indoor equipment is still in use and we clean these after each child has played with them.
At the end of every night all equipment is cleaned thoroughly before it is put away.
The Wii is still used and can be accessed by all groups each day. We have a rota system for this and it is cleaned after each person has had their turn.
End of night clean:
Every night the staff members for each cohort are responsible for the cleaning and tidying up of their own cohort’s equipment. Once done a checklist is signed by the staff members to reiterate this.
One staff member is also in charge of kitchen and toilet cleaning each night.
By adhering to the above this is another way to ensure the safety of all.
All of our staff have agreed to undertake twice weekly lateral flow testing which is another way to ensure the safety of everyone within our service.
Conclusion, Outcome and way forward for the future:
I think initially the staff and I were concerned when we returned to work last August on the impact all of the above would have on the way we used to offer the service. Would the children still have Fun! This was one of our main concerns along with keeping everyone safe.
But on speaking to the staff, children and parents the feedback as to the way we are working now has been really positive and the majority of the children prefer being in a smaller cohort and yes, they still have fun.
This may well be the way forward for the future for us to continue offering the service with these changes!