In a release on Saturday, May 30, 2020, the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development recognized Skidegate Early Childhood Development Center staff for keeping in touch with children and families remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. (Skidegate Early Childhood Development Center/Submitted photo)

Skidegate daycare staff recognized for creative care during COVID-19

Staff have been using social media to share isolation activities, read stories and sing songs

Skidegate Early Childhood Development Center staff are being recognized for finding creative ways to provide children with comfort and care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a May 30 release for Child Care Month, the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development featured manager Susan Ellis for her idea to post recordings of staff on the centre’s Facebook page.

“When I first brought up the idea … there was a little nervousness,” Ellis said in the release. “I hate cameras myself, but had to lead by example.”

ALSO READ: B.C. launches $2-million childcare professional development network

After the Council of the Haida Nation enacted a state of local emergency on March 23 and the centre closed, Ellis said staff started delivering bagged lunches to families of the students in their Aboriginal Head Start Program.

A delivery made just before Easter, she said, included chocolate, Easter crafts, books, a co-op gift card and some dress-up clothes.

“Almost immediately, we got lots of pictures on our Facebook page with the kids in their dress-up clothes,” she said.

Ellis said staff have continued to deliver “good food boxes” to families, but still wanted to do something to directly support the children.

ALSO READ: B.C. Liberal MLA criticized by NDP for claiming childcare can be ‘harmful’ to children

“The kids were asking why they can’t come to daycare,” she said. “Children may seem fine, but they’re trying to figure these things out.

“I wanted the children to be able to see and hear us and feel supported, so I asked our staff to each pick a day and post three things on our Facebook page.”

Since then she said staff have been sharing isolation activities, reading stories and singing songs online.

“Families make comments on the posts and the kids can watch as many times as they want,” she said. “I’ve had a great deal of feedback from parents. The kids are saying, ‘I wanna see Sue or I wanna see Jenny or I wanna see Janine,’ and all they have to do is go to the Facebook page and press play.”

One of the early childhood educators creatively incorporated a field trip idea into one of her Facebook posts.

“She filmed herself going to the beach and gathering sand, rocks, shells and seaweed into separate containers,” Ellis said. “She brought it all home and built a ‘beach in a box’ in her yard. The children saw it and did the same thing.

“It encouraged getting out and promoted fine and gross motor skills for the children through the activity.”

ALSO READ: Skidegate Health Centre gets serious about playtime

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