With the transition from level 4 to 1, mixed feelings of both nervousness and excitement have been experienced amongst parents and teachers across New Zealand during the last couple of months. There was excitement for seeing co-teachers, colleagues, families and of course the children again; but nervousness about expanding our safety ‘bubble’ that has been a part of our lives over the lockdown period for so long.
We caught up with our parents and teachers at Bear Park to reflect on their thoughts and feelings about coming back to work and seeing families, children and teachers again.
“Most children returned back as if they hadn’t left as they re-connected with some of their favourite spaces and resources in the classrooms”Teacher and parent of Bear Park
The children and teachers all seemed to find their rhythm quite quickly with everyone settling back into their "new normal". Most children returned as if they hadn’t left as they re-explored some of their favourite spaces and resources within the classrooms just as they had prior to lockdown.
The strong bonds and relationships that the children had already established with their teachers were still there and in turn supported their transition process with settling back in. There was a real joy in seeing the children coming together again and being reunited with their friends. After being back for a few days, everything started to feel familiar again even with the changes in place.
Now that the centre has reopened, Bear Park continues to maintain its very good communication and exceptionally good hygiene and safety procedures. All the parents feel safe sending their children here.
We have absolute confidence in the centre and are so impressed and thankful at the way they have managed this over the last 4+ months. They have put the health & safety of the children, our families and their staff first at all times. Everyone has put in a huge amount of effort.
With Bear Park opening at Level 3, it made our family life a lot easier as my wife is an essential worker and I really needed to get back to the office.
My advice to parents who are hesitant about sending their little ones back to school l wish you to know that every possible measure has been put in place to keep our children safe! Personally, my little ones are coming home absolutely buzzing about their days, super excited to tell me who they've played with, what they've made and the things they've learnt.
“The teachers and staff were very accommodating and friendly”Parent from Bear Park St Clair
Since returning, we have been extremely impressed with the policies and procedures that have been put in place, we are even hoping some will stay when we return to Level One -the drop off has been seamless!!! I have personally noticed less attachment and more independence, the children are excited to run through the hallway doors to see all their friends, teachers and the exciting activities of the day. Other parents have noted this also and discussed the ease of drop off with their little ones.
I felt that the new procedure and practices that were put in place for teachers, children and families brought a sense of comfort in knowing that everyone’s wellbeing, health and safety was a high priority.Parent from Bear Park St Clair