In unprecedented times, we are here to support our East Scarborough community. With the regulations changing between the child care centres and school closures, we were approved to run an Emergency Child Care Service through province funding for families who meet the eligibility requirement.
Through this process of quickly developing a solution, our Club applied to run the program and was approved by the government to support essential workers with the care that they need for the time being. In order to qualify for the program, our Licenced Childcare staff were sent a list of eligible roles and qualifications that needed to be met to secure spots for those in need of care.
At our East Scarborough Childcare Centre located inside St Martin De Porres Catholic School, Taiseer, our site supervisor, explained that they had to spend the first few days adjusting to the various school schedules of all school-age children. Although it was not mandatory to support the children with their virtual schooling, our team worked diligently in ensuring the children were accommodated within the child care environment as best as possible. All children have different break periods, lunch periods, subject schedules, and work times. Additional staff was scheduled at the active sites to guarantee support for the children is provided during their time online.
“Our Licensed Child Care program wanted to provide access to virtual classes. Some of the cons so far have been accessing the internet as it continuously glitches, but I think this is happening across the board. The staff has to learn different pieces, brands, and styles of technology. We also had some children who did not have access to a laptop or tablet to use.” – Taiseer shared.
Our organization was able to loan an iPad or laptop for some children. The children have been adapting extremely well and enjoy attending the child care center given the current circumstance. While many of us may believe that using technology to learn strips our children of many opportunities, the children continue to engage with each other through conversations, social play, and games.
Taiseer worries about the long term impacts on their social interaction with a significant increase of time being spent on their devices. The childcare team continues to plan activities off of the screen while keeping children socially distanced through interactive science activities, gross motor play, cognitive or language development play, and board games.
“Whenever the kids are done their classes, we have access to various toys to use so they are not tempted to hop on YouTube or play games. Although they have virtual gym class, we schedule playtime dedicated to gross motor play so we are sure they are engaged in much needed physical activity.”
As the numbers grow, Taiseer shared that it is second nature for our LCC to be able to quickly adapt to the needs of our children. She explained that the parents are thankful that our staff was able to alleviate many stressors the pandemic brought to the community. With hot lunch provided, full-day childcare, and consistent communication and updates, parents can now be at ease knowing their children are attending an environment providing quality care.
As numbers grow for the emergency program, the East Scarborough Child Care team are confident that they will be able to accommodate children and family needs to assist with seamless transitions into the childcare center.