We have continued to open the Centre every day and offered a reduced service to families following government guidance. Staff have worked on a rota basis and if not in work have worked from home. Staff have worked tirelessly to support children and families in the best way possible.
What have we done differently?:
• Setting up the Pen Green Pantry and Kingswood Kitchen to support families who are struggling financially, this allows us to receive food donations and enables staff to distribute food parcels to families in need.
• Taking food parcels to families homes.
• Dropping off resource packs, games and books to children’s homes for families to do together.
• Keeping in contact with children and families through Skype calling and facetime. For some families (dad’s) this has improved communication.
• Some parents have asked for a daily phone call, staff are offering emotional support as well as practical ideas for families to do during lockdown.
• Our on-line platform for sharing children’s learning has been used more frequently by families, sharing video, photographs, observations, learning stories.
• Staff regularly post ideas and challenges on tapestry (online journal) for families to engage in.
• We have offered virtual groups for children with special educational needs, this has been supported by centre staff and a music therapist.
• We have set up regular virtual check-ins for staff to allow them to keep connected with one another.
• This has been a very challenging time for everyone and we have had to try to find different ways of working that keeps everyone safe.
• We have continued to offer staff monthly supervision sessions (1:1) with their supervisor this has been done virtually.
• We have used social media including Facebook and our website to post ideas, staff telling stories, children’s yoga, baking sessions etc. for families to do with their young children at home.
• We have posted lots of information about safeguarding online to remind parents how to keep their children safe including information about online safety.
• Our government have continued to pay the Early Years funding for our 2, 3 and 4 year olds, however a real challenge has been the additional income that we generate through selling hours to families. The lockdown has meant a loss of £19k per month during this time.
Angela Prodger & Tracy Gallagher
Joint Heads of Centre
Our vision is to inspire, challenge and innovate to improve outcomes for all children but specifically the most vulnerable children and their families.
We provide training courses, leadership and research opportunities and bespoke school to school support in all aspects of early years work.
The Pen Green Centre was set up as part of a substantive under-fives initiative and is housed in a 1930s former comprehensive school. At the Centre we offer high quality education and care for children and their families. We also offer information and support services for parents through home visiting, group work, health interventions, adult education and training as well as the professional development, training and dissemination of good practice though the Research, Development and Training Base, and the Teaching School. The principle functions of the Centre have remained constant over the last 37 years although we have significantly developed the accommodation. We have maintained our principles of operation; withstood radical changes in local and national government; responded creatively to new legislation and to major demographic changes, and influenced national government policy in early years.