Ensuring Safety & Distance Learning Support at Catalyst Kids
By Ashley Osterhoudt & Valerie Kelly
Sanitation and safety can often present a challenge when it comes to childcare, and there is a crucial need for increased distance learning support now more than ever. We want our families and communities to feel safe and confident with our unmatched level of care, and with the safety of the children at our center, especially as families are returning to work. We had an opportunity to connect with our Assistant Site Supervisor, Ashley Osterhoudt, at our Ruhkala Center in Rocklin, to learn more about the safety and sanitation measures in place to keep our children, staff, and families safe while aiding with distance learning modules.
- Some of the systems we have in place during COVID-19 include:
- Sanitizing dirty toy and art supplies bins.
- Organizing towel baskets by clean and dirty to help with sanitizing toys.
- Our centers provide individual art supplies cubbies to comply with social distancing regulations.
- In our parent area, we keep hand sanitizer readily available with pen jars separated by clean and dirty. Our parent sign in and out area is safely located outside of the building
- We have a touchless forehead thermometer to check temperatures. Upon arrival, children are temperature screened as they arrive with their face masks in place before we direct them to wash their hands.
- Floor markers are in place that shows children where to stand when lining up to help keep their distance.
- Signage is up throughout the center that indicating requirements for face masks to be worn inside.
- We provide support for distanced learning by spacing the children out as much as possible and providing them with their own workspace. This includes a divider which helps with social distancing and helps keep distractions minimal while doing their schooling.
- Additionally, we utilize large whiteboards are used to write up children’s daily assignments, which can be found in their learning platform. To help ensure children are completing assignments, we use a checklist, as children are completing an assignment, one of the teachers confirms the assignment is complete and then the student or teacher can check it off on the whiteboard.
- The whiteboards are incredibly helpful for keeping track of children’s zoom call times to ensure that they are not missing anything. We also set alarms on the iPads so we know when a child has a zoom call. We use a visual schedule to help, by placing homemade icons that have magnets on the back of them on the whiteboards.
- Each child has their own Ziploc bag of visual schedule icons and a whiteboard marker, as well as any printed schedules, password, or login information we have received for them.
- We fill out purple half sheets of paper at the end of their distance learning day so that the parent knows if all the child’s assignments were completed or not. Sometimes children run out of time or don’t bring the materials they need, so it is important that we communicate this each day to families. We then clip their purple paper to their distance learning divider or near our sign in area.
Between our special safety practices and our program adjustments to fit the needs of distance learners, we feel our center is a safe space for our children to learn. The safety and well-being of our students is our number one priority, and we strive to be flexible with all the needs of our current times.