The response to coronavirus (COVID-19) has demonstrated that community life is essential for everyone’s health and wellbeing. Over the past 12 weeks we have all become more aware of the value of social connections, neighbourliness, sense of belonging, control, and mutual trust.
Over the past three years 99 nursery and preschool settings have engaged in the Sharing from the Start programme; community connections and community involvement have been important components within this. Settings planned shared session and activities with the hope of establishing links to extend and develop its involvement in the wider community.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, communities have sprung into action. Neighbours have connected and looked out for each other more than usual, informal support groups in local areas were set up to support people in need.
The senior Early Years specialists involved in Sharing From The Start are especially delighted to hear how some of the staff and committees from the settings stepped forward as volunteers, and faced challenges posed by this pandemic. They would like to acknowledge the ongoing work and commitment, staff have planned home learning activities for children, maintained virtual contact with pupils, they have been a pillar of support for parents and families, some have packed and delivered food parcels, while others have been maintaining contact with the most vulnerable in society.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has been difficult for families, people have had different experiences and yet through all of this there has been a sense of belonging. Communities have come together to acknowledge and give thanks for key workers, we have applauded our front-line staff, symbolised hope with rainbows in the window and supported and cheered for Colonel Tom Moore.
We hope that these positive activities and attitudes can be built upon and developed during the planning for another year of Sharing from Start.