‘Staying Safe and Healthy at Playgroup.’
Globally, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on day-to-day life. During these difficult times however, we must try and do everything we can to reduce the fear and uncertainty from having a negative impact on both our mental and physical health.
With the ever-changing landscape created by the ongoing situation, we feel that now would be a great time for our playgroup volunteers and families to take a few moments to review their playgroups ‘Staying Safe and Healthy at Playgroup’ policies and procedures.
We suggest the following:
- Having hand sanitiser placed strategically around the venue, and easily accessible handwashing facilities, soap and disposable hand towels or a hand-dryer. It is also advised that your playgroup has signage about good handwashing at your venue to reinforce the messaging.
- Monitoring and familiarising yourself with government requirements and restrictions within your state or territory. Please be aware that each jurisdiction has its own guidelines for the number of people able to meet and requirements for physical space around each person.
- Contacting your venue to see how they are managing local restrictions.
- Ensuring that during this high-risk period, all toys are thoroughly cleaned after each playgroup session. To make life easier, you may want to limit the kinds and number of toys used at each session. Try to encourage families with babies or toddlers to bring their own rug, rattles, and chew toys for their children. Small changes to what you play with can help reduce the potential risk of infection.
- Choosing activities and toys that encourage individual play and movement. Limit the number of children at an ‘activity station’. Rather than having all your books and blocks on one table, set them up throughout the room. Limit seated activities or space chairs, mats, and activities out to encourage safe distancing. Avoid activity stations that require adults to be close together, and activities that involve shared play.
- Implementing social distancing, particularly at snack time, story time and music time.
Playgroup Australia have developed some handy signs to help remind your families about the importance of health and safety while at playgroup and you are welcome to print these out and encouraged to put them up around your playgroup venue.
Posters can be found at https://playgroupaustralia.org.au/resource-topic/healthy-safe-at-playgroup/
It is also vital to our overall wellbeing that we all take care of our mental and emotional health during this difficult time. In doing so, you will be better placed to look after yourself and others.
Some basic strategies that can assist with maintaining and even improving your mental and emotional health are to:
- Keep in touch with friends and family.
- Practice mindfulness exercises.
- Try to keep busy.
- Get enough sleep.
- Talk about your feelings.
- Stay active together and get outside.
- Take time to build community.
Please consider others. If you, your child/ren or someone living with you is unwell, please stay home, look after yourself and your loved ones, and do not forget to check in on your playgroup community.
Blog by Nadia Hoare – Field Support Officer Community Programs