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Oaklea During Lock Down

How did lock down feel for Oaklea during those first weeks? Find out here...

At the drop of a hat, with a moment's notice, the government told all schools and nurseries to close. Were we really expecting this to happen? Truthfully?? Absolutely not. At least not where we live, far away from the hustle and bustle, almost in a world of our own. It was confusing. For parents. For us. For our children.

With constant updates, changes and revised plans, getting our head around opening safely for key worker children was... how shall we put this... mind boggling! Our staff were nervous, as were the many key worker parents who were going back to work those early weeks. But how could we not support our community at this time? They needed us in order for them to do the vital jobs they do.

It was a two way street with our families. It was obvious from day one that we provided each other a 'shoulder to lean on'. Together we experienced this lock down, creating a strong, unique type of bond. It's hard to describe, but we knew we were in it together. We were constantly checking on each other, "How was your day? Are you doing ok? Let me know how to help", all the while having these conversations out of the way of little ears.

Our working staff took phone calls from parents keeping their families safe at home, giving them reassurance that everything they were doing was more than enough. Why would they ever doubt that? Oaklea families are incredible, in every way! (And if it helped to get through lock down whilst remaining in their pyjamas, then so be it!) Their children would telephone us, telling us about the wonderful things they were doing together as a family. We posted a variety of ideas for activities online, understanding that some days they would be a welcome idea, other days not so much. (We are parents too so understand the various successful or failed attempts at home schooling!) A parent suggested creating a virtual message for our social media...what a hit that was! Such happy faces, eagerly looking out for their friends. Keeping the close bond between the children, their friends and their nursery going.

Families were proud to share their highlights with us. It was delightful to see updates on ParentZone. You wouldn't know (or probably even imagine!) that we would gather around the laptop and tablets to see these photos and videos and how we smiled! We saw one of our youngest almost run across the room with such pride in his ability! How did that happen...? He had only started walking before lock down happened. Another child successfully rode her balance bike down the garden hill....Woah...she was fast, made our hearts pause for a moment too! Some of our older children had learnt to use the potty (wow!), take interest in the solar system and there were even new sibling arrivals! So many things to celebrate during this time of uncertainty.

Our staff team continued to care for the children with unconditional love. As there were less children, the relationships grew. A little more time was spent washing their hands along with plenty of time in our garden, playing and exploring in the fresh air. Bringing in flowers and vegetables to plant with their friends. Planting those that were donated by Oaklea families. Helping the garden to come alive!

Some children celebrated lock down birthdays at home. Their teachers and friends in the setting made special cards, with teachers personally dropping them off to their door steps. We just HAD to celebrate their birthdays with them somehow....we normally do! Things that we would do so easily and naturally before, just needed a little tweaking. But when cuddles were needed in the setting, they were given. When noses needed to be wiped, they were wiped. When hands needed to be held, those hands were held. No hesitation. None at all. A quality that all Oaklea staff share, is lots of love in their hearts. They are overflowing! To step back from our children at this point would have been heart breaking and not something we were willing to do.

The children that attended Oaklea during the lock down period as key worker children were our light. Of course they kept their joy when things were changing in the outside world. "Let's have a party", one of our 4 years said. The next day...they did just that! Baking cup cakes, making bunting and invitations and playing music to dance to! They inspired us to continue having fun every day, at every opportunity. A girl came up with a brand new name for herself, (I hope she won't mind me saying), but just hearing teachers and friends chat to and call out for 'Spike' in the garden, made us so happy. The laughter filled our smaller lock down space daily. The friendships that we observed growing, the kindness in the way the children communicated with each other and the joy that they shared through playing together was clear.

And for almost 9 weeks this was how it was, with us now welcoming more children back to Oaklea and we could NOT be happier! Of course we can reflect back on how this new chapter goes, but looking ahead, it's definitely one we are excited for....


Our next blog welcomes you to send us thoughts and views from your children...Have they said funny comments regarding lock down? What have they thought about it all? Let us know

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All images with children are used with parental permission.

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