LEYF during Lockdown

Keeping children learning

LEYF during Lockdown

Keeping children learning

Message from our CEO

The country has been in lockdown but at London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) we have been busier than ever. We have re-imagined our service with 15 of our settings becoming Hub nurseries for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. We have also developed our Home Learning service at speed so that children who are unable to attend nursery can also keep learning. Throughout this challenge, I have been so proud of LEYF staff who continue to put the children first. This page celebrates the learning, thoughtfulness, and kindness that make LEYF very special.

    June O’Sullivan (MBE).

4th Emergency Service

LEYF quickly reconfigured our services grouping our settings into 15 nursery hubs across London. Open only for the children of key workers and vulnerable children we have been humbled by our staff’s willingness to put themselves at risk in order to care for the children. We are hugely grateful to each and everyone of them. LEYF is running this service at a financial loss but we think it is the right thing to do. Childcare is part of our infrastructure. It is the 4th emergency service – and we were ready to stand and support the national effort during the pandemic.

Minimising risks

    As the pandemic reached London, LEYF introduced extra hygiene measures to keep our staff, children, and parents safe. Parents are no longer able to come into our settings and instead hand over and pick up their children at the nursery door. All children are then taken to wash their hands and change their clothes.
      Our settings have also been running at low occupancy to minimise the risk of infection. As lockdown is gradually eased we are looking at ways to increase safety for staff, children, and families. We are grateful to our partner Social Business Trust (SBT) who donated face masks and hand sanitisers for our frontline staff to wear on their journeys to and from the nurseries.
        London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) is opening 32 of our nurseries from 2nd June 2020. We have conducted a thorough risk assessment and adjusted our health and safety processes and procedures to minimise the risk of infection to staff, children and their families as lockdown is eased.

        Find Out More


    LEYF is a charitable social enterprise which means we have to raise money through our fees to achieve our social mission. Parents and supporters have been helping us to keep our 15 Hub nurseries going across London for key workers and vulnerable children; pay all our staff, and keep children learning.
      Many of our children are from socially deprived areas – our fair fee system across our community nurseries enables us to subsidise up to 35% of children who would otherwise be unable to attend nursery. The funding we raise will also help us to continue offering an essential Early Years education to many families in need once this crisis passes. We thank you all for your support during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Community engagement

    Our nurseries play an active part in the life of their local communities. This has been all the more important during the lockdown. Our staff at Marks Gate Nursery decided to hand-deliver home learning bags to children and families staying at home. The staff did contactless deliveries, leaving the home learning packs on doorsteps. “We received some lovely thank you cards from the children,” says Marks Gate Deputy Manager Kerry Sturges.
The Deputy Manager of our Henry Fawcett Nursery & Pre-School Ann Marie Sinem organised a Zoom session with St Peters Residential Home. Parents and children joined in the sessions singing nursery rhymes and songs. The home posted on Facebook saying ‘The children were able to bring smiles and laughter to the residents at this very emotional time.’

Funding for Food Bank

Our Marks Gate Nursery & Pre-School won funding of £5,000 from money saving expert Martin Lewis’s coronavirus emergency fund. The cash boost will help keep food bank stocks up for the next six months. At the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, donations to the food bank dried up – leaving it practically empty. The nursery is located in an area with high levels of deprivation. Manager Gemma Morris says: “More people than ever are being forced to turn to food banks and it’s imperative that we meet the needs of those who are struggling to provide.”

Home Learning

Lockdown has seen LEYF deliver its Home Learning service at speed. We post videos made by our Learning & Development team plus age appropriate activities and tips on our Home Learning page three times a week. Parents also now receive time tables of activities and we are trialling posting age-specific content on Facebook. Our nurseries have taken on the challenge of keeping their children in touch with staff and friends by organising Zoom circle time and storytimes sessions.

Unsung heroes

After the initial shock and disbelief, the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has seen people dig deep to support their families, communities, and wider society. Our CEO June O’Sullivan celebrates the contribution of Unsung Heroes within LEYF, in Early Years and social enterprise sectors.

    Click below to read about their experiences of the pandemic.

    Read More

Outstanding early years education in London