Millisle PS staff

Millisle Primary School Childcare Facility

We continue with the CSSC series of news stories on schools while they operate in varied and exceptional circumstances. This week we hear from Mr P Maitland, P7 Teacher, Millisle Primary School Childcare Facility.

Their account .....

When school closures were announced, there was unease, uncertainty and fear.  As a school community, we were no different. There was uncertainty as to how education was going to continue.  We quickly ensured online learning would be available for pupils and reassured parents that we would be there to help support them with their children’s education.

We knew the children of key workers would need to be cared for daily.  Staff created a welcoming and socially safe area with seven zones in our assembly hall for families needing the facility. Parents and guardians book in with our Principal on a weekly basis and the hours vary, as normal school hours may not be suitable for key worker parents undertaking shift work. Staff are on a daily rota and have been keen to help.

A typical day begins with staff setting up activities for children. Toys are sterilised daily. Children clean their shoes and hands before entering the assembly hall to begin their day. Hands are washed hourly and hand sanitizer is available at all children’s stations. Families use their assigned toilets which are cleaned by a member of staff after every use. Staff clean stations, door handles and surfaces at the end of each day. A deep clean is carried out at the end of the week.

As it is a more relaxed atmosphere than a typical school day children partake in a variety of activities including colouring, games, using iPads, watching movies and outdoor play. We have even had ‘water’ play which has proven to be a favourite for all the children. Children’s ages range from 5-11 per day and they have adapted brilliantly to social-distancing measures and stay with their own families, whilst interacting with other children.

Children and staff enjoy the sessions. Some children have entered the building with apprehension and have left eager to return. We felt it necessary to create an environment of familiarity and calmness for the children. Millisle Primary School staff are known in the local community for their efforts which go above and beyond the call of duty. I commend my colleagues on their determination to ensure families are cared for during these trying times.

We have ensured safety and care for our children including availability at weekends and during the Easter holidays. Parents have been complimentary about our staff who have produced a high standard of care for key workers’ children from our community.