How children are responding to new rules as they go back to kindergarten
Children and their teachers begin to adapt to the new rules of hygienic safety as kindergartens re-open in Georgia.
After a seven-month interruption, teachers and children are back at kindergarten facing a new reality. Despite their young age, children quickly adapted to the fact that their parents would not be able to accompany them into the school building. Gradually, they are beginning to grasp the other regulations as well.
For example, in Kindergartens #1 and #3, of the Borjomi municipality, the little ones already know that a nurse will measure their temperatures with a special thermometer before they enter the building.
To assist children in getting used to the new regulations with less stress, a kindergarten nurse talks to them about the protective purpose of facial masks. With this, the children will better understand why the teachers have to wear them all day long. She also explains that there are special liquid mixtures, called hand sanitizers, that protect children and adults from microbes and bacteria. That’s why, from time to time, the teachers will spray this “magical” liquid on their hands.
The children are fascinated by the process of fighting microbes and bacteria; they cheer each other and thoroughly rub their hands after the teacher dispenses the disinfecting liquid. UNICEF in partnership with USAID provided hygiene and personal protective materials to 336 kindergartens in Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti, and the Adjara region of Georgia to ensure that children and caregivers in pre-school institutions continue their education in a safe environment.
Teachers try to inform children about new regulations in a fun and entertaining way. As a result, following these rules doesn’t cause protest or negative emotions among the children. Quite the contrary, the children, according to their nature of copying the behaviour of adults, integrate the new reality into their games.
The children spend much of their kindergarten time in the yard. The teachers emphasize that being outside is an important part of the daily routine, as the children breathe fresh air, move freely, and are physically active. Although, spending time outside has its challenges.
The teachers say that during the exploration process, the children have a natural need to touch everything that the environment has to offer, whether it is a tree, a stone, the grass, or the earth. Also, in the yard, where the children have more freedom of movement, it is even harder to keep them socially distanced between one another.
The procedure of washing hands properly is even more important now. The children practice fun hand-washing exercises on a daily basis, but still, one of the teachers supervises and facilitates the process.
As for the teachers, it is not easy to work in masks. They say that they talk with children regularly, and it requires more energy to communicate when their faces are covered. As a result, they feel more tired at the end of the day.
Despite the difficulties, the teachers hope that their efforts will prevent the spread of infection in the kindergarten space, and that the children will continue to enjoy their return to school, where they can play, learn, and continue to develop.