Goodstart outlines COVID-19 plan to support families, educators and children
With early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings in all Australian states and territories, many in the sector are watching the responses from Goodstart Early Learning to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, seeking guidance about the best way forward in a rapidly changing environment.
The overarching message is “we are open, and here to support you, now and in the coming weeks and months”.
In the first instance, the provider emphasised the importance of routines for children at all times, but especially during challenging times such as the current pandemic. Having routines in place, especially at times of uncertainty and stress, can provide comfort for children, with the provider saying “we are working hard to keep all our children and our team members safe in inspiring and enriching learning environments”.
For children and families who are self isolating, or who are under quarantine orders, Goodstart has created Goodstart@Home, a new online learning and activity hub. The platform is available to “all families, everywhere” and is free and simple to access.
Families who are experiencing financial hardship because of impacts of COVID-19 have been encouraged to apply for ACCS Temporary Financial Hardship. Those families who are enrolled with Goodstart can contact the Family Support team on 1800 222 543 for more information.
At centre level, additional options are available for families, who are encouraged to reach out to their service for additional support, questions or enquiries. Families are also encouraged to avail themselves of additional allowable absences which will give access to Child Care Subsidy for an additional 20 days, beyond the 42 to which they were previously entitled.
Families will be able to access the 62 days, as well as additional absences where a child is ill, quarantined or unable to attend child care due to COVID-19, and without the medical evidence usually required.
Goodstart recommended the following resources for families, which may support during this time:
- A statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) about coronavirus (COVID-19). (17 March 2020)
- Social stories are a helpful way to share information about events with your child. This social story can support you to explain Coronavirus to your child and the importance of handwashing.
- UNICEF’s guide on how to talk to your child about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- A Child Mind Institute article on Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus; or video.
- Department of Education – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Information to support children and young people.
For more information about COVID 19, please see here.