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Play in the age of COVID

  • 1.  Play in the age of COVID

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hello educators,

    As many centers are either reopening, planning on reopening or are reflecting on how they've been operating during Covid I'd like to ask how play has changed in your classrooms.

    Some centers made mention of limiting shared toys and having individual spaces for children. What have you noticed from this experience?

    If your center is operating fairly "normal", what have you noticed occurring in the play experience? Are children talking about COVID? Do they interact the same way as before?

    How have parents been responding to play within the classroom and at home?

    How have you used play to honor this "slow down" and experience joy during this uneasy time?

    Heather Ha
    PPPIF Facilitator
    Program Manager
    CHI St. Joseph Children's Health
    Lancaster, PA

  • 2.  RE: Play in the age of COVID

    Posted 4 days ago
    We have been open since June 1, 2020. We removed any soft toys that could not be sanitized. If we can throw it in the washing machine and dry it, we kept otherwise we bagged them up for a later time.

    We are not asking the children to social distance. Each child has their own play dough and art supplies box. Sensory activities are carefully monitored to insure children wash their hands before and after engaging in the sensory play activity. Staff do wear masks.

    During nap all of the cots are separated to prevent cough, sneeze or talking droplets from falling on the staff or other children.
    During the time we were closed, the teaching teams prepared home activities for each classroom and shared them with the parents. They also hosted Zoom meetings to talk to the children and parents. One of our teachers did a YouTube channel that featured her reading to the children. All of this was shared with the parents on a daily basis.

    What we have observed is play is very similar to before and the children will bring up questions during group times and comment on COVID or anything they have observed or done and have questions about.

    We have only 50% of our children attending right now so play is different because there are not as many children to compete with over the equipment. We are currently experiencing a surge in the number of COVID cases in our area, so some families that were planning to return in July have decided to continue to have their children stay home, if they are able to work remotely. We of course have some families that cannot work remotely, but grandmothers from around the globe have been brought in to help out at home

    Christine Webster
    Brazosport College Children's Center
    Lake Jackson TX

  • 3.  RE: Play in the age of COVID

    Posted 3 days ago

    Thanks for sharing Christine! Sounds very organized and well thought out.

    May I ask how the children are responding to the 'new norm'. I'm interested to know what they are saying and what their own stories sound like😊. Thanks!

    Patricia Mezu
    Professional Minds FZ LLC

  • 4.  RE: Play in the age of COVID

    Posted 4 days ago
    Hello Heather,
    We have made some adjustments of course due to this pandemia.
    Some are; reducing the amount of activity choices for the children. We only have 15-20 percent of the amount of children we had before. We do not ask the children to social distance seems it is impossible. We teach them how to self hug instead whenever they want to hug a friend.It does not always work but they try. Whenever they leave the classroom to go to the playground, we spray desinfectant in the classroom as well as on the toys. The children we have are aware of the Covid19 because of the parents and the follow up we do with them during school time. Our little ones seem comfortable and not concerned at all about Covid19, they are just being children and they seem to be having fun. We do not allow parent to come in. We give them the sign in-out sheet for them to sign outside. We have a small table so they can lean on. We, ourselves sign them electronicly (those that are riquired). The teachers use masks, not the children. We tried to have the children wering masks, but it did not work, since they kept taking them off and misplacing them. We have sanitizers for the adults placed everywhere adults have access. We are sanitizing and cleaning our facility more often than we used to. For nap time, we are providing more space to each child. So far. This is working for us.

    [Sandra] R

  • 5.  RE: Play in the age of COVID

    Posted 3 days ago
    Good morning Heather-
    We just reopened this week for our Summer Camp sessions.  KY has provided Emergency Regulations for reopening that we are currently following.  Our children 5 and under are not allowed to wear masks but all faculty and staff must wear them all day.  They can be removed if we are engaged in active outdoor play.  We have removed all cloth, fabric toys and materials, and only those that can be cleaned and sanitized are allow.  Our maximum group size for all ages is 10 per classroom.  We have always supported outdoor play and learning, so we will continue to focus on that and expand it even more.  We have a very small enrollment for summer, as many families opted to not return just yet.
    The children have been happy, excited and engaged.  I think they are so thrilled to be back with friends that our first week has been amazing.  Our challenge will be when we return to our school year in August, and balancing a full program, and trying to offer our Afterschool Program, with not being allowed to combine children in the afternoons.  We will have to hire more staff to cover for breaks as well.
    Lisa Houghlin

    Lisa Houghlin
    Sacred Heart Preschool
    Louisville KY

  • 6.  RE: Play in the age of COVID

    Posted 2 days ago
    We are located in PA outside of Philadelphia. We have been open since June 15 and it has gone very smoothly.  We lost 50% of our enrollment for the summer so space wasn't an issue.  Even so, we created outdoor play spaces, so our kids can be outside 4-6 hours a day since that is safer for everyone.  We have shade, water, handwashing stations and something special about each area.  We are not restricting their interactions within their play groups, but we are limiting the number of people each play group is exposed to.  We have not needed to limit the toys they can play with since they are playing with sticks, mud, paint, water more than the manipulatives that we bring outside with us.  The kids are very happy to be with other kids!  But we do see that all of this has impacted them.  Even the little ones sometimes ask if they can hug their teachers.  The kids don't talk about COVID, but it does enter their play.  The older ones have created games like germ tag (using a green ball with bumps on it as the germ) and have written a play where superheroes defeat the germ. The one thing we've noticed is that they don't have the stamina they did before the lockdown.  They can't play running games for long and often choose sedentary activities.  Socially, they seem to be getting along and using negotiation and compromise well.

    Pamela Post
    Chelten Child Development Center
    Dresher PA