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Toddler Separation Program during COVID

  • 1.  Toddler Separation Program during COVID

    Posted 08-22-2020 01:55 PM
    I am looking for advice about setting up a toddler classroom. The children will come for two hours twice a week. I have been a Toddler Teacher for five years in another school, which closed. My new school is challenging not only because of COVID protocols but because I won't be able to take the children outside - no fenced in areas. I have been trying to figure out social distancing for two year olds. I would be grateful for any insights about social distancing for two year olds during Choice Time.  I am hesitant to insist that  Two Year Olds sit at tables with toy bins. I am used to roaming toddlers during class time. In my old school, except  for snack, we didn't require the children to sit at tables and  they did more jumping around at Circle Time than sitting on the carpet.It seems that in my new school, the three year olds will be in cohorts and that only one cohort will have Circle Time a day. I know it is only two hours twice a week but I would love to provide a joyful, developmentally appropriate environment. Thank you for any advice.
    Maureen Cummings

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    Maureen Cummings
    Stewart Manor NY
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  • 2.  RE: Toddler Separation Program during COVID

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hi Maureen-
    I wouldn't think that the interactions with toddlers would fundamentally change from your prior experiences.  Toddlers are not able to be socially distant and there aren't any guidelines that mandate that you attempt to try.  NYS DOH reopening guidelines for child care programs do not state that children can't play together.  The guidance discusses physical distancing for staff, but not for children.  Children can't combine with other classrooms, but can interact together in their own rooms.  You should take precautions about the amounts and types of materials the children have- providing items that can be easily cleaned and sanitized.  Outdoor time is an important part of a day for toddlers, so hopefully you can brainstorm with your supervisor some safe strategies to allow some outdoor time - perhaps some additional staff, or purchasing some types of dividers/barriers to allow for play.   I hope that you can work with your team and carefully read the guidance to determine what is required as opposed to what is recommended..... children should not be required to sit at a table with toys- that will be a disaster for everyone!  https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/news/2020/COVID-2020Jun26-Day-Camp-Summary.pdf
    Good Luck!

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    JoAnn Toth
    Quality Improvement Specialist
    QUALITYstarsNY
    Niskayuna NY
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  • 3.  RE: Toddler Separation Program during COVID

    Posted 27 days ago
    Thank you so much,JoAnn, for your words and the link.  It is much appreciated.  I am new to the school and my position is also a new program. The school itself is a N-8 grade private school and there is a lot of work being done at the school and many virtual faculty meetings in preparation for the school openings for the full day students. I think I feel a little lost. I agree that outdoor play is essential for all children. I will include outside play during my 2 hour session when there is a fenced in area. I did request that.
    Thank you again. I do feel so much better that my toddlers and I ( masked) can play together in my classroom.
    Best wishes, Maureen

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    Maureen Cummings
    Stewart Manor NY
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  • 4.  RE: Toddler Separation Program during COVID

    Posted 26 days ago
    Hi Maureen,

    This summer I have had the privilege of returning in June to my toddler class under the COVID -19 childcare guidelines here in Jersey.  Although my class size was significantly reduced, I went in knowing that it would be difficult for this age group to social distance.  I became creative with activities and placement of centers.  For example, for circle time distanced the circle time rug several feet away from where I would sit.  The first few days we repeatedly went over hygiene (wash your hands, cover your sneezes, etc) I don't think you will have a problem with the washing hands, my little guys love it now and want to wash their hands all the time LOL.  Definitely, put away toys that cannot be easily cleaned and definitely organize a system for toys and items you will use and how you will quickly recover them from those little guys who still mouth toys.  Hopefully, this helps you it surely helped me this summer during this time.

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    Schkera Jenkins
    Lead Toddler Teacher
    Discovery Child Care Inc
    Roselle NJ
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  • 5.  RE: Toddler Separation Program during COVID

    Posted 25 days ago
    Dear Schkera: Thank you so much. I am so used to being up close to Toddlers so I am a little worried at this new reality. Your words made me feel that I can do be a Toddler Teacher this year. My challenge with hand washing is that I don't have a sink in my room. I will have to figure out a good system. I do wonder about singing. Like many teachers, I sing with the children all morning long. Singing and eating are problematic as far as COVID. I wonder what teachers are doing about si going in the classroom. Thank you again. Best wishes for a safe and happy school year. Maureen

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    Maureen Cummings
    Stewart Manor NY
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  • 6.  RE: Toddler Separation Program during COVID

    Posted 25 days ago
    Hi Maureen,

    My center purchased an electric sink that fits in your class. In regards to singing, we have not stopped. I have always been very animated about circle time singing.  I also chose to use a colorful mask, the blue mask is to clinical and reminds them of the doctor's office.


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    Schkera Jenkins
    Lead Toddler Teacher
    Discovery Child Care Inc
    NJ
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  • 7.  RE: Toddler Separation Program during COVID

    Posted 24 days ago
    Thank you again , Schkera. I am glad to hear there is no regulation against singing. I do intend to wear a cloth mask rather than a medical one. The purchase of a sink is out of my hands but I will suggest it. My co teacher and I will have to take the children to a sink across the hall. We can do a lot of singing back and forth.
    Thank you again. Maureen

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    Maureen Cummings
    Stewart Manor NY
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