A local nursery worker is calling on the Government to give more recognition and support to the 'forgotten' group that has continued working with younger children throughout the pandemic without a pause.
In this letter to Express, the worker, who wished to remain anonymous, describes their experience...
"I am writing to you in my capacity as a childcare practitioner to express concern and frustration that I believe is shared across our sector.
Pictured: "On Monday 6th April after being closed for one week we reopened for the children of key workers."
Today I came across an article calling for schools to delay the return of students to school. On 23rd March 2020 Jersey went into lockdown meaning that the nurseries had to close, on Monday 6th April after being closed for one week we reopened for the children of key workers.
We have continued to work since then adapting the way we work on several occasions going against what we have been taught to do and put into practice for years.
We have gone from key workers’ children to reopening for all children in limited numbers and ‘bubbles’ to going to bigger bubbles moving around furniture, staff and adapting our working practices whilst continuing to provide the highest level of care for the children who attend our nurseries.
We have watched as other businesses, such as salons, barbers and gyms were closed due to being in close contact with others, and we have watched as schools closed for school holidays and breaks but teaching unions have called for longer breaks due to the risk to themselves and the children.
Pictured: "We have gone from key workers’ children to reopening for all children in limited numbers and ‘bubbles,’ to going to bigger bubbles moving round furniture, staff and adapting our working practices whilst continuing to provide the highest level of care for the children who attend our nurseries."
All this time we were going into work and doing a job where physical distancing is not possible, you can try to limit the contact between staff but you can’t stop the children seeking attention from different members of staff and traveling from one to another, potentially spreading the virus.
We have watched as teachers and care home staff have been thanked and awarded for all their hard work this year and kept quiet knowing we are working just as hard as they are caring for children aged three months to five years.
We hold professional qualifications that are internationally recognised which we obtained through professional studies whilst working in the industry. We did not get Summer holidays, nor October half term to give ourselves time away from the risks that working during the pandemic comes with.
We did not get time off before Christmas - we worked right up until Christmas Eve putting ourselves at risk of having to isolate on Christmas day and not being able to spend time with our parents, brothers, sisters, and our own children.
Pictured: "We did not get Summer holidays, nor October half term to give ourselves time away from the risks that working during the pandemic comes with."
Decisions have been taken by the government twice to delay the return of both state and private schools but there appears to have been no consideration given to those professionals in the childcare sector and the risk that they face on a day-to-day basis.
We deserve recognition for the work we have done in 2020 and the work we will continue to do in the months to come and even after coronavirus is ‘over’.
Our job is to look after children with a high standard of care and we have and will continue to do this but now is the time to recognise that we are essential workers and without us parents could not work from home, essential workers would not have been available to work and children would have missed out on valuable time at nursery where they learn and grown with our support.
We are the essential nursery practitioners, we deserve to be given the same levels of consideration as teachers and other professionals, and we want to be heard."