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Nursery’s ‘bubble’ system praised as a shining example of Covid safety

PUBLISHED: 16:08 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:08 15 July 2020

Kobi celebrating the end of his time at Noah's Ark-Pre-School in Ipswich. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Kobi celebrating the end of his time at Noah's Ark-Pre-School in Ipswich. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

An Ipswich nursery held a graduation to say an emotional farewell to children leaving for school - after winning plaudits for how it has kept toddlers safe from Covid-19 with its innovative “bubble” system.

Isaac with flowers for his pre-school leaders. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDIsaac with flowers for his pre-school leaders. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Noah’s Ark Pre-School said it had parents who were “concerned at the outset” about its reopening, saying that they “felt it was too soon for the pre-school to begin”.

Just 20 children came back to start with - but, as soon as many mums and dads saw the lengths the Cauldwell Hall Road pre-school went to in order to protect youngsters from coronavirus, that number quickly increased to 42.

That system included a maximum of 15 children on site at any one time, with youngsters split into bubbles of three - with a member of staff to look after each group.

The first set of bubbles remained on site throughout Monday and Tuesday, giving the children two full days of quality education.

Isaac graduates from Noah's Ark Pre-School. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDIsaac graduates from Noah's Ark Pre-School. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Wednesday was earmarked as a day for children needing additional learning support who could not be in a bubble, while the second set of bubbles came in on Thursdays and Fridays.

Staff explained to parents that social distancing may not always be possible within bubbles, for understandable reasons.

However, areas were taped off to give children clear reminders about where they could and could not go, to ensure different groups did not mix.

An extra member of staff also helped clean all the high touch points around the pre-school.

Aubrie waiting to say goodbye to her pre school leaders. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDAubrie waiting to say goodbye to her pre school leaders. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Suffolk County Council later asked Noah’s Ark Pre-School to help a nearby nursery implement an effective Covid-secure system for its reopening.

Parents also organised an afternoon tea on Wednesday, July 15 to thank staff for their efforts, after a graduation event for children leaving the nursery to go onto school in September.

Laura Rust, business manager at Noah’s Ark Pre-School, said its “huge outdoor area” and spacious building, with entrances into the main rooms, had “allowed us to have a safe and secure system for all involved”.

She added: “Our whole team has been supportive and proactive throughout this unusual time. Our children and families have been really pleased with what we have managed to offer.

Jackson graduating from Noah's Ark Pre-School in Ipswich. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJackson graduating from Noah's Ark Pre-School in Ipswich. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“We have also managed to utilise our outside area efficiently so the children get at least two hours of outdoor freeflow play within their bubbles.”

Ms Rust added that the system had worked so well, the pre-school is thinking about keeping elements of it permanently in the future.

“The staff were a little worried to start with,” she said.

“However, it has given the children a little more structure and a chance to do more focused activities. It has really got them ready for school.”

Esme celebrates finishing Noah's Ark Pre-School Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDEsme celebrates finishing Noah's Ark Pre-School Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mum and daughter Lydia and Matilda. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDMum and daughter Lydia and Matilda. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

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