Burpham Preschool has been operating out of Burpham Church on New Inn Lane since 1965 and has run continuously for over 50 years. As other local preschools and nursery’s closed in March because of the global pandemic of Covid 19, Burpham Preschool kept their doors open at the request of Early Years, to the young children of local key workers.
Over several weeks Burpham Preschool carried on colouring in, painting, building and playing with a mini class of children and the setting felt very big without the usual 30 children running round having fun. Meanwhile the preschool staff continued to work from home, offering online stories, games and pastoral support to families. Children and families were encouraged to colour in rainbows, the signature sign of hope during Burpham’s lockdown, and they were placed on the fence outside the preschool for local residents to look at on their daily exercise.
Recently the Government guidelines changed and parents were encouraged to send their children back to preschool. Gracie Luke, the manager of Burpham Preschool and her staff welcomed 16 children back under new rules and regulations with the preschool having had a comprehensive deep clean, by local company Ecocleen Services, before opening.
Gracie’s commented after the first week of opening, “We were delighted to welcome some of the children back last week. They all coped really well with the new layout and were brilliant about staying in the designated side of the room. We are looking forward to welcoming back more children this week.”
Howard Smith a preschool parent said, “I think like every parent we weren’t sure if we were doing the right thing. But when we got all the info from Grace and saw how much the preschool were doing to make things safe we were really reassured. The reduction to two days a week and the smaller class sizes seem to make everything much more manageable. On the day Stanley went back he was just so excited to be seeing his teacher and some of his friends again it was lovely. He had no hesitation in going back at all. I’m glad we made the decision we did and I’m sure it’s going to help him as he moves school in September. I think preschool have handled this all so well and made it seem so easy in what are challenging circumstances. It’s a great tribute to the staff that they have made this so easy for us.
Over several weeks Burpham Preschool carried on colouring in, painting, building and playing with a mini class of children and the setting felt very big without the usual 30 children running round having fun.
Steph Chown, another preschool parent commented, “During lockdown Gracie and her team at Burpham Preschool sent wonderful videos, which showed easy and well thought out activities, stories and songs via WhatsApp. My 3 year old child thought it was magical. It kept my child in touch with her Keyworkers and friends as many of them shared pictures, which opened up lots of dialogue between us. I felt reassured that Gracie was doing all she could to get as many children in safely. She organised a deep clean beforehand and pictures went up on Facebook so I could see. The procedures put in place were logical but not daunting plus they sent in a video to show to the children. My child felt excited to be in a different group and follow the shapes on the floor. Being in just 2 days has definitely increased my child’s overall happiness levels. No amount of time with parents can replace playing with other children. Gracie has allowed this to happen in a safe environment. Thank you.”
A survey by the Childcare online platform found nearly one in six of more than 2,000 providers said they were likely to have permanently closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, while one in three said they were unsure if they would be able to reopen.
More than 10,000 childcare providers in the UK are likely to have folded or gone out of business by the end of the coronavirus lockdown, with leaders saying the sector has been ‘crushed’ by financial instability and a fall in demand.
For Burpham Preschool it is ‘Business as usual’. With places available in September 2020, Burpham Preschool is looking forward to welcoming new children from the local community after the summer. If you are interested in a virtual show round or an out of hours viewing, please contact the office 01483 825533.