CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s childcare hubs which look after the children of critical workers responding to the coronavirus crisis are a hive of activity.
Located across Carmarthenshire, the hubs are providing essential childcare to make sure frontline services can continue during the pandemic, as well as to support our more vulnerable children.
A lot of work goes into making sure they run as smoothly as possible thanks to a number of staff including headteachers, teachers, teaching assistants, catering staff, cleaners, caretakers and youth workers along with local authority staff who have been redeployed from their usual jobs to be on the hub staff rotas.
All the hubs have strict procedures in place in relation to hand washing, the use of tissues, and keeping the 2m distance to ensure both pupil and staff safety; and although it makes it difficult to carry out some of the more normal school activities, there is still lots going on.
This includes circle time sessions to discuss feelings, emotions and situations; physical activities such as circuits in the hall or outside on the yard, online workout sessions, dance karaoke and musical statues; as well as yoga, relaxation exercises and mindfulness.
Other activities include art and craft, gardening and planting, and reading and listening to stories including some written specifically in relation to the Covid 19 situation.
Ipads and computers are used in the hubs, but staff are mindful of screen time and the devices are wiped down after every use and pupils wash their hands before and after.
Some of the pupils use part of the day to complete tasks set by their own schools / teachers and hub staff are there to give support if needed.
All the activities which take place at the hubs aim to promote both physical and emotional wellbeing.
Feedback from key workers has been positive, with one mother, a manager at Glangwili Hospital, saying that she would be unable to continue with her work without the hub and that she’s so grateful for the service.
Another parent from Llanelli, who works for the council, said: “Not only is the ongoing situation with coronavirus making it very difficult to manage both work and family, but it isn’t easy for our children being away from school and their friends.
“It is great to see my son so happy when I pick him up from the hub at Ysgol Pen Rhos and the staff are always so friendly, I can’t thank them enough.”
Executive Board Member Cllr Glynog Davies said: “It is wonderful to hear such great feedback from key workers who are able to continue with their essential work knowing that their children are safe and being looked after.
“It is equally important that our children are feeling happy and secure during this very uncertain time, and the staff at the hubs are doing a fantastic job. I would like to congratulate and thank all the staff for all their hard work.”