Last Updated: Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Denny Early Learning and Childcare Centre, Falkirk

What is this?

Throughout lockdown, Denny Early Learning and Childcare Centre continued to work closely with families and their local community via Twitter.

Who is this for?

For all with an interest in Scottish education. 

What we did:

Throughout lockdown we continued to work closely with our families and community via Twitter. As a cluster, our schools and nurseries participated in a "Looking Forward" approach. Our cluster Schools and ELCC Heads/ Teams discussed how best to support our children and young people from life in lockdown to a return to school and nursery. We agreed that we had a set of values and priorities which we must commit to. We made a commitment to our families in our cluster community and beyond that we would provide appropriate activities and engagement opportunities that would focus on providing children with similar experiences across our cluster. This took the form of an exciting project focusing on Mother Goose and Nursery Rhymes to help share experiences and build our community whilst supporting transitions.

The cluster were committed to support and plan transitions, "looking forward" to ensuring we maintained relationships and supported transitions from nursery to school and through ELCC stage to stage.

Through Twitter and email we posted daily and weekly "Mother Goose" activities which could be completed at home and shared with the nursery. These interactive activities were used to engage parents and families and were thoughtfully planned with lockdown measures in mind. Encouraging participation, engagement and communication with our families and cluster community.

Who we involved:

This was a cluster approach and involved all Early Years Practitioners and Schools across the Denny area, our children, families and partners. Schools and nurseries worked together to make weekly activity packs to share with families. Families and staff shared photographs of achievements from their learning at home and used Twitter as a platform of communication and sharing using our own hashtags.

The difference it made:

This cluster "Looking Forward" approach helped us as a community in Denny to support our children and young people returning to nursery and school. The approach developed a real sense of community spirit and led to other community initiatives such as "lockdown rocks". Our schools encouraged families to leave decorated stones and rocks outside our buildings to share positive messages which would be used to decorate our gardens when we returned from Covid-19 closure.
Parents were keen to contribute, sharing photos and comments on Twitter.

Our cluster approach was community centred and we feel our parents and community valued the opportunity to get involved with the interactive activities. It also created a new link moving forward with a local community group - Inspire Denny and Dunipace, which we are working collaboratively with through our Eco Schools Green Flag Award.

What we will do differently in the future:

As a cluster we work together closely around transition, and we have forged strong links and relationships over many years with our local schools and nurseries. We had already planned the "Mother Goose" transition theme, so when lockdown happened we had to think more creatively about our approach and how we could best support our children and families without causing undue stress or anxiety, also appreciating that not all families may wish to participate. All families were provided with the information to join in if they wished.

Documenting our journey on Twitter provided examples of play and learning from home and staff contributed to this learning by sharing their own photos and comments from home during lockdown.

After many reservations about what transition would be like during lockdown, if we were doing enough and how our learners would cope with the return to nursery or starting school, for most of our families the return to nursery and school went smoothly. We can only conclude that by taking part in this approach, communicating with and supporting families, sharing information and staying connected with a sense of community was a positive influence on transition for our youngest learners.

When our "Looking Forward" activities ended and schools closed. We continued our parental and family engagement through a virtual sports week event. This event was very successful with staff, parents and children actively participating in various sporting activities and we used this to promote wellbeing and involvement. When it was safe to do so, we invited our school leavers and their parents to an outdoor leavers event where we celebrated success, re-connected and enhanced our relationships whilst we concluded our transition in moving forward.