We  welcomed all our children and families back to playgroup in September, following all Government Guidance, with strict procedures in place for infection control. I know that parents may well have questions and some concerns about sending their child into an early years setting. 

‘System of controls’

This is the set of actions early years settings must take. They are outlined in more detail below.


1) minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend settings

2) clean hands thoroughly more often than usual

3) ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach

4) introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach

5) minimise contact between groups where possible

6) where necessary, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

Numbers 1 to 4 must be in place in all settings, all the time.

Number 5 must be properly considered, and settings must put in place measures that suit their particular circumstances.

Number 6 applies in all specific circumstances.

Response to any infection:

7) engage with the NHS Test and Trace process

8) manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the setting community

9) contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice

10) notify Ofsted

Numbers 7 to 10 must be followed in every case where they are relevant.


Covid-19 FAQs for Playgroup Parents

 We have  compiled a list of FAQs that will help you understand what Playgroup will look like.

If you have any further questions that are not answered on this page or in any of the other information you have received please phone, email or talk to staff on your visit.

1. What planning has gone into preparing for the re-opening?

  • We have taken account of all advice and guidance released by the Government, as well as lots of other sector-related information.
  •  We have met with The Methodist Church several times to discuss use of the building.
  •  We have prepared a comprehensive risk assessment and reviewed policies and procedures to take account of the guidance.
  • Staff have undertaken specific training e.g. Infection Prevention and Control related to Covid 19, and Supporting Young Children’s Mental Health and Well being after Lockdown.
  • We have purchased supplies of cleaning equipment and materials, hand sanitiser and PPE.
  • We have also spent considerable time and money on refurbishing the outdoor area so we can spend lots of time outside.

2. How are you limiting access to the playgroup, and how will drop-off and collection look like?

We are putting in place several measures to reduce the number of people coming into the setting, including:

  • Wherever possible, parents will not be entering the playgroup building. Children will be collected from the door by a member of staff and picked up from the outside gate.  Settling in visits will happen in the outside area in small groups.
  • Drop off and pick up will be limited to one person per child, and parents will be encouraged to not bring siblings unless it is absolutely necessary
  • We will encourage parents to stagger drop off and pick up where possible, and, if lots of parents arrive at once, they must remain in an orderly queue outside the building and maintain safe distancing (2m) protocols
  • We will restrict access to other professionals/adults so that nobody is entering the setting unless it is absolutely essential.

3. How will you settle children into playgroup?

We are committed to helping you and your child settle and feel safe, secure and happy at playgroup. We will work with you to plan what works best for you and your child, e.g. short sessions to start with. In certain circumstances, we can arrange for you to spend a short time in the outdoor area, helping your child to settle. This must be done in strict accordance with Coronavirus procedures which will be explained to you.

4. What is your approach to social distancing?

We do not expect very young children to keep any distance between themselves and adults and other children at playgroup. All children will need physical contact, whether for assistance or comfort, and children need to feel relaxed and comfortable. They may need additional reassurance and comfort as their emotional needs are as important as their physical wellbeing. Measures put in place to minimise potential transmission of the virus will be done without alarming or upsetting children, and staff will be incorporating new routines such as hand-washing and cleaning into the normal day with as much fun and loving care as possible.

5. What are some of the changes to everyday routines?

We will do our best to maintain our normal routines for consistency and continuity for our children, however some adaptions have to be made to ensure their safety.

  • Our normal practice is to encourage children to self-serve their own snacks, however, to limit the amount of people touching/coming into contact with the food, parents are asked to send a small healthy fruit/vegetable in a named snack pot for their child. We will still provide a drink of milk or water.
  • Lunch will be eaten in the upstairs hall where we can space the children out at more tables and ventilate the space. Children need to bring their own drink for lunchtime with their packed lunch in a named lunchbox.
  • We will spend more time outside and plan for stories, singing to happen there, with smaller groups of children and more spacing.

6. What should/can my child bring to playgroup?

Toys or other objects from home should not be brought into playgroup.

If your child has a transitional object which they really need to support their emotional security, this can be brought to playgroup but will be sterilised on arrival in the setting and before going home.

Parents need to provide a named drawstring bag containing several changes of clothes, and nappies and wipes if needed.

Children need a warm/waterproof coat, hat and gloves because they will be outside a lot.

Unfortunately, we cannot look after pushchairs, bikes or scooters at this time.

7. How will you be supporting my child’s learning and development?

Our main priority will be to support the emotional well-being and social interactions for children to ensure they feel safe and secure at playgroup especially with the new measures and practices in place. We will support learning and development of children through a wide range of different activities, with the adults responding to an individual child’s interests and needs.

8. What will happen if a member of staff or another child shows symptoms of Covid-19?

We will follow Government guidance and share this guidance with all staff and parents in the setting.

Should a person (staff or child) develop symptoms (new persistent dry cough, high temperature and/or loss of smell and taste) the playgroup manager must be notified immediately, and the person should remove themselves from the setting – if it is a child, their parents will be contacted to collect immediately. They will be instructed to get tested as soon as possible

If the test is negative, the symptoms will be managed like any other illness absence. The staff member or parents should liaise with the playgroup leader about when it is safe to return.

If a test is positive, the playgroup leader must be informed immediately and the person who has tested positive must isolate for 10 days. The playgroup leader will contact the local health protection team and take advice about closing the setting.

9. What should I do if my child has symptoms, or anybody in the household has symptoms?

If your child, or anybody else in your household develops symptoms, you should contact the playgroup leader immediately and they should not come to playgroup.

If their test is positive, we will not be able to accept your child back to playgroup until the self-isolation periods are over.

Playgroup fees still have to be paid If your child cannot attend playgroup because they or someone in their household has had a positive test.

If playgroup is closed because another child or member of staff had a positive test, you do not have to pay fees.

10. Will staff be wearing PPE?

The government guidance states that “Schools and other education or childcare settings should … not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings.”

Staff will use PPE as normal when performing intimate care procedures, e.g. nappy changing, and when cleaning, and when dealing with a child or member of staff displaying Coronavirus symptoms, as outlined in risk assessment.

11. Are staff being tested?

In line with the current government guidance staff will not be routinely tested. However, any staff displaying symptoms will be asked to complete a test before returning to work.

12. What cleaning & hygiene measures do you have in place?

Playgroup will have sole use of most areas of the building and there will be no cross over with other users. Any area used by another group, e.g. the hall, will be cleaned between users.

We are making lots of arrangements to keep staff, children and families safe during the day, including:

  • Upon arrival at playgroup, both staff and children will wash their hands, and good hand washing practices will be encouraged regularly throughout the day.
  • We will be considering which activities are suitable to deliver, and encouraging as much time as possible spent outdoors (which is considered a safer environment).
  • We will ensure all toys, resources and equipment are appropriately cleaned and sanitised at the end of each day. We will temporarily remove from the environment any unnecessary items, soft toys and furnishings, and any toys and equipment which are not easily cleaned.
  • Some toys, equipment and resources will be quarantined, e.g. put away for at least four days of no use which will kill the virus naturally).
  • During the session, regular cleaning will take place on all touch points such as surfaces, door handles, light switches, and toilet areas will be cleaned and sanitised between each child’s use.
  • Floors and furniture will be cleaned at the end of each day.
  • A strict ‘cleaning rota’ has been drawn up to ensure that everything gets cleaned thoroughly. All staff will be provided with appropriate on-site training in cleaning and infection control, and procedures for cleaning toys, resources, equipment and furniture throughout the day have been put in place.

Links to Government Guidance

Coronavirus Risk Assessment Updated March 2021
Town Street Playgroup Coronavirus Risk A[...]
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