Laura McAlister, Executive Director of Educare Seattle, provides some lessons from the initial adaptations and what look like for staff, students and families.
Nothing says the same for long as we adapt to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last version of The Leaf, we shared some of the lessons from the initial adaptations and lessons learned by Educare Seattle. Below, Laura McAlister, Executive Director of Educare Seattle, provides an update on what those adaptations look like for staff, students and families.
Upon the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in King County, Washington, Educare Seattle remained open while following all federal, state and county requirements through March, carefully re-writing procedures for providing on-site childcare during the pandemic. In April, Educare Seattle re-opened with a modified schedule, and 25% of our enrolled children were able to attend. Priority enrollments were given to families of first responders and essential workers, children who are homeless and those involved with Child Protective Services (CPS). Our agency’s health nurse was on site regularly to help with screening and procedures. Family Advocates and program support staff provided the screening for children, including temperature checks and the use of a screening tool. The children adapted almost immediately to wearing masks. Once screened in the morning, students selected a colorful mask and bounced off to class.
As of recent, Educare Seattle has had to adapt again as infections increase across the county. Currently, our staff are working entirely remotely while providing home-based services. When we’re not operational for on-site childcare, teachers and family advocates continue to connect with our families by providing virtual comprehensive services. This includes: setting family goals; individualized lesson plans and remote implementation for students; and a collaborative approach to health and nutrition.
We are particularly proud of how we have pivoted our trauma-informed care practices, social-emotional learning and Cavity Free Kids curriculum. Parents have access to resources to help their children learn at home through the use of themed Family Fun Kits, books and materials. Families choose the best time to pick up kits and receive a $25 gift card for groceries. Families can connect with their family advocates at any time by calling, or through a Zoom call as needed. With your support, we look forward to continuing to adapt our services to meet the needs of our community in the new year.