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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.