PLANS are being made to welcome more of Dorset’s youngest children back into childcare.
Dorset Council is working with early years providers, such as preschools, nurseries and registered childminders, as they plan to welcome back more children.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, the council is expecting that childcare providers will be able to open from June 1. However, this will depend on government advice and arrangements will vary.
This is because what is needed in a childminder’s home, or a small setting that perhaps hires its premises, will be very different to a larger nursery or preschool that offers full day care provision.
All providers are following guidance from the Department for Education and Dorset Council. Plans are being made to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible. Risk assessments are being carried out and providers are working to make sure they are ready to receive more children.
Childcare settings that provide care for groups of children may potentially look different and youngsters may notice changes. This is because measures will need to be put in place to help keep children and staff as safe as possible.
Registered childminders have had the option to provide care to other children from the same household, for example siblings, from May 13. However, they cannot do this if they are already caring for vulnerable children or the children of critical workers.
Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Children, Education and Early Help, said: “I would like to thank childcare providers and their staff for their work during the pandemic. Many have been open throughout for the children of key workers and vulnerable children and their work has been vital at this difficult time. I know they are now working hard on plans to welcome more children back as safely as possible.”
Children and young people, or their families who are shielding because they are considered clinically vulnerable, should continue to shield and should not return to their early years provider.
Early years providers will be in touch with parents and carers to discuss individual circumstances and find out what their childcare needs are – you read more here.
Latest government guidance for parents and carers is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers