PETALING JAYA: Kindergarten operators are optimistic about ensuring that centres stay free from Covid-19 after reopening next week, saying constant reminders and explanations of why standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the “new normal” matter will be key in helping children understand the situation.
“We will have to keep reminding the kids that they must wash their hands and sit in the seats allocated to them,” Alice Cheok, the principal of a kindergarten in Cheras, told FMT.
“There will be an orientation session when we reopen, and there will be a lot of new things for the kids to learn. It’s going to be a new chapter, a new life.”
Kindergartens and preschools will be allowed to resume operations on July 1, subject to SOPs such as strict social distancing measures and frequent hand-washing.
Classrooms will have to be cleaned before and after school sessions, with an emphasis on high-contact surfaces like door knobs, taps and light switches.
Children’s temperature readings will be taken before they enter the premises, while parents will be prohibited from entering the compounds.
Face masks will be made mandatory, and children will not be allowed to change seats or share materials, utensils or food and drinks.
Although the new regulations may be a lot for the children to digest, Eling Chan said teachers would have to take the time to explain why they are so important.
“I always tell my teachers not to just tell the kids not to do something, like climbing a grill, for example,” said Chan who manages five kindergartens in Kulim, Kedah.
“There has to be a proper explanation: they’ll fall down and hurt themselves. This way, the kids will be satisfied with the reasoning and they will listen to our instructions.”
She and Cheok agreed that parents would have to play a crucial role in educating their children about the dangers of Covid-19 and the necessity of preventive measures.
Ultimately, though, it will be up to the teachers and school administrators to ensure that the children adhere to the ministry’s guidelines.
Although the concept of a deadly virus like Covid-19 may be difficult for young children to grasp, principal Aidelle Pang said her centre had been successful in explaining it to the pupils.
“Our kids have been trained since day one to listen to instructions,” said Pang, whose facility in Bangsar also has a daycare.
“The kids understand why Covid-19 is dangerous because we took the time to explain it to them by showing them videos and drawing pictures of the virus, so they were well prepared even before the lockdown.
“People really need to understand what education is all about. It’s not just A,B,C but also about helping kids understand the concept of things.”
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