One of my biggest concerns when lockdown and setting closures were announced was “How will I stay in contact with my children and families?”
Maintaining that dialogue has been vital for me, even now as we start to make our way out of lockdown, not all children are returning to their settings, so it continues to be so important. To stay in touch, my families and I have been using the Kinderly Postcards from Home feature which enables parents to share photos and videos of what their child(ren) are doing at home and allows the practitioner to comment in response. It has been a joy to be able to see the experiences my minded children have been having at home and it has also enabled me to help parents identify and support their child’s next steps.
It has also been a wonderful way to share activity ideas and next steps with parents during lockdown. I have been able to jot down ideas for activities and play that parents can take part in at home and link these to their child’s specific next steps. Not only has this been very supportive for parents in continuing to help their child’s development, but also for me to continue to track the children’s progress and support their learning.
As part of Kinderly’s lockdown support package, I used the weekly activity plans to create and supply really well thought out activities that are fun, stimulating and encourage learning and development. These activities are accessible to parents and are simple and practical to carry out. They even include timings to help parents (especially those working from home) see where they can fit these into their days.
The Kinderly lockdown support has felt like a lifeline, and I’m so pleased that they are continuing to develop their package further even as we begin to make our way cautiously out of lockdown. I was recently very pleased and proud to be invited to join their team of Brand Ambassadors who are Kinderly users that are experienced early years practitioners. We work alongside the Kinderly team sharing ideas and good practice and making recommendations about useful tools for our colleagues. It is so important to me that the support package that we are all receiving is influenced directly by those for whom it is intended.
You too can benefit from Kinderly’s free support package now, visit https://bit.ly/KinderlyLockdown
As well as being keen to support and communicate with parents and support the children’s development, I was keen to continue my own professional development during lockdown. I’ve made use of Kinderly’s free weekly webinars, accessible to all (not just Kinderly users), on a wide range areas of pedagogy and practice. These have been informative and helpful, and have included reflection tasks to help me continue professional development, even in lockdown.
Find out more about Kinderly here including their free trial and discount for PACEY members here - www.pacey.org.uk/kinderly
About the author
Vikkie Murray is a registered childminder from Banbury, Oxfordshire, where she lives with her husband, two children and cat, Elmo. Vikkie has been a qualified teacher for 15 years and has had a wide and varied career. As well being a childminder, she has also been a primary school early Yyars teacher, SENDCo, early years specialist teacher for a national daycare company and done basic Mandarin teaching training in Beijing, China. She is passionate about child-led and family-centred learning, and bases her practice around this.