How has the pandemic changed childcare?
20 July 2021
Alwena, the deputy leader of Cylch Meithrin Rhostryfan, recently shared some of the challenges they’ve overcome during the pandemic.
Introduce yourself and your role in Cylch Meithrin Rhostryfan…
My name is Alwena, also known as Anti Wena, and I work at Cylch Meithrin Rhostryfan in Gwynedd. I look after children between the ages of two and four years old. I love working with such a close team of women. There are four of us in total and we have a few extra pairs of hands to help us when needed.
I have worked at the Cylch for nearly 20 years. Before this, I worked as a carer with the elderly after completing a two-year Youth Training Scheme course. I have cared for people my whole life.
Why did you decide to work with children?
My role working with adults involved a lot of shift and night work. This wasn’t suitable after having two children, hence the transition to childcare. I found the hours in childcare a lot more flexible.
What do you love about working with children?
I can honestly say it is the best job anyone could have. You learn so much from children and being part of their development is such a blessing.
The nursery is part of the local primary school. This means I get to stay in touch with the children until they leave for high school. I still have children coming up to me today thanking me and saying they will never forget me. This is very touching and brings so much comfort and pride to the work I do.
What challenges have you faced during the pandemic?
Having to wear face masks with young children has been particularly difficult. The staff are used to wearing elements of PPE, such as gloves and aprons, but the masks caused me some concern.
I was worried that the face masks could scare some of the younger children and make communicating more difficult for anyone who might be hard of hearing. I suggested getting clear face masks to the team and they thought it was a great idea. Before I knew it, my manager had bought the masks.
What changes have you made to the children’s routines?
Before the children enter and leave the nursery, they must wash their hands and have a temperature check. We have had to separate the older and younger children, which meant creating two nests, we called Loti and Dewin.
In terms of their daily activities, I don’t feel the children have missed out on anything. If anything, we’ve had to think outside the box and have brought in new outdoor activities. I’ve planted more plants than ever before!
How have you as a team coped?
Since the pandemic, we’ve had to take a lot more precautions. We’ve always thought about what’s best for the children and how we can make them feel safe and at home.
We’re like a family. Working with such a close-knit team has helped with some of the pressures, as we all understand each other and are always there for one other.