Friday, March 13th, 6:30 pm was the last time children went through the doors at McCauley club. The agenda of the day still sits on the whiteboard as a reminder of the activities that once filled the space. During these last two months the staff have scrubbed and cleaned, re-arranged equipment and planned for a day programming would return. The staff have also re-focused their work to providing food hampers to families who were uncertain of their ability to access food in these unprecedented times. Food hampers were served across all of our club sites and supported thousands of individuals – in fact, over 5333 in the past seven weeks. The work has been rewarding, but we have all wished our club doors were still open to all of the children.
For the few individuals left in the office, there was frequent talk on how different the building feels without the sound of children, how a simple laugh or the sound of a staff delivering instructions were taken for granted when they filled our space before. On Friday May 8th it was decided we would launch our childminding on May 14th, almost two months to the date that we last saw our little friends. Since May 8th the atmosphere in our buildings has changed. Where uncertainty existed before, there was now direction. In the past five days the Childminding team of Amy, Daniel, Lacey, Ceanne, Ashley, Euwen, Ryan, Kristine and Reilly have all worked incredibly hard. While they have now returned to work that is somewhat familiar, how this work is done is new.
All staff have navigated the new rules and directions from the government very well. They have approached it quite positively. While rules have been strict the staff have seen it as an opportunity to build on their competencies, and be even stronger programmers. Creative and innovative ways of modifying activities allowed staff to still play some favourite games while maintaining social distancing. And most positive was that this physical distancing did not prevent connections between staff and children. For example, today at McCauley the building greeted four children. The children who attended today (all siblings) have not gone to McCauley in the past, they were participants from an Out of School Time (OST) club. Despite what one could view as barriers, were instead opportunities. The children played hockey, get-to-know-you games and dedicated some time to academics. In the end the children didn’t want to leave. It is this indicator that says today was a success.
The staff shared that today felt like the first day at a new job, they had butterflies in their stomachs and they were excited to see what worked and what didn’t. While programming with children always has its challenges, it is even more challenging now. However, It is viewed with that positive lens. It presents an opportunity to build and grow, the same things we have always wanted to instill in our children, the opportunity to build and grow.