Parents plan changes as child care centres close

Lucy Elder (1) plays at Beststart Montessori The Gardens in Dunedin yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Lucy Elder (1) plays at Beststart Montessori The Gardens in Dunedin yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Lucy Elder (1) was the last remaining little one in child care yesterday.

Beststart Montessori The Gardens in Dunedin was open for business, but only for children of essential workers.

Manager Rachael Harkness said Lucy was the only child who fitted the bill, but most of the staff were at work preparing the facility for four weeks of closure.

‘‘We didn’t expect this at the start of the week.’’

While most caregivers would be at home with their children, Ms Harkness said there were many things around the house that could be used to educate young children.

‘‘Encourage your children to take part in activities like cleaning with you, and communicate with them.

‘‘Facetime their grandparents and friends if you can, show each other what you’ve been doing. Interactions with others are important but can’t be face-to-face right now so find other alternatives.’’

She said some form of structure and routine was important, but for every family that looked different.

‘‘Language is the main thing. Keep talking to them and communicating with them.’’

Lucy’s mother is a nurse, and father Vaughan Elder works at the Otago Daily Times, which has been classed as an essential service under government restrictions.

Mr Elder said he was planning to cut down to four days a week of work, and his mother-in-law would be assisting them with child care.

‘‘It won’t be easy but we’re going to manage fine.’’

The Government said a child of an essential worker who could not stay home could have an identified buddy in their self-isolated group to take care of the child.

emma.perry@odt.co.nz

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