Photo taken by Samantha Jacobs, showing how Jenny, preschool teacher, practices COVID protocols, six feet apart and wearing masks.
By Samantha Jacobs
It was seven in the morning, when I walked through the doors at work and saw all my students, not knowing it would be the last day seeing all their beautiful faces. It wasn’t until two months later, I walked through the same doors to see my students, but to only see their little eyes and with masks on. Ever since COVID turned everyone’s lives upside down, people have lost their jobs and couldn’t make any money. Some families have gotten to stay home and collect unemployment while essential workers such as grocery store workers and doctors have to work all day long, but there is one question not a lot of people ask or even talk about. If they have children, where are they when their parents are working and no one is allowed to visit their family members because of this horrible virus?
The Children Adventure Center in Gorham, Maine is one of the childcare centers that had to adapt to the pandemic, not only did they have to clean and bleach everything and start wearing masks but their enrollment was dropped from having a hundred kids one day to twenty the next day. Lou, the infant teacher, had mentioned as she has been one of the people that have working since this all started, “Our counts went way down, a lot of parents decided to keep their children home, like the infants, which I understand. We are praying that they all come back”.
One of the most important things the center has been more cautious of is how they clean and what to clean, they have to clean and bleach every single thing they touch, from cycling out toys and limiting what the children can play with. The children have to take home every single thing they came to daycare with and it has to be washed before they bring it back. On the bright side from not being able to touch the toys, they have been going outside out on the playground, getting fresh air and practicing social distancing.
Before the pandemic, parents were allowed to walk into the building with their child, say goodbye to them as they ran off to play with their friends, but now the parents can’t even enter the building, they have to ring a doorbell and a staff member has to come get the child. Jenny, the preschool teacher says, “We still have boards up, because we have to make our rooms look cute, but it’s sad, the parents can’t even come into the building to see it”. COVID has also brought child care to the point where providers usually taught these little children to share but now they have be six feet apart and play with separate toys. Lou also mentions, “We have to teach these little children, the fear of the unknown, which isn’t something a parent or someone like us wants to teach to them.”
COVID, if you think about it, could have a silver lining, you have to think about the positives, for example, these childcare providers were challenged to learn new protocols and a new way of teaching to teach these little children things that they don’t really understand, like wearing a mask and staying six feet apart. No one will know when this will be over, everyone has follow the rules and in the meantime The Children’s Adventure Center will continue to adapt and learn new ways to cope with the new environment.