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COVID-19 Updates

New Care Arrangements for Essential Workers

Initially, the Ministry of Education had approved 3 Home Based Care providers to continue to provide home-based childcare for essential workers with some tight restrictions around the ‘bubble’. This has since been updated and more services can now offer support.

Since our last update on the 29th March, we have been provided with new guidelines around who is able to offer support to Essential Workers and the requirements around this – The great news is that Playschool Education is now able to support you as an essential worker! The new guidelines around this clearly state that only Educators that are already registered with Playschool can become part of the scheme. Unfortunately, NO new Educators can be inducted during the lockdown.

We understand there may be some confusion as guidelines and policies are updating constantly and we are working hard to keep you updated with the most relevant information. We have seen conflicting information on social media by other Home-Based providers, however, we can confirm the information in this update is the most current after speaking directly with the MOE.

Regarding the subsidy for essential workers that the Government is offering, Playschool has been approved to access this on behalf of any essential worker’s care arrangement, however, this applies only for NEW arrangements. This does not extend to changes in any current care arrangements, i.e. increased hours because kindy/daycare is close. If you are unsure then please get in touch.

COVID-19 Update

We appreciate how much you have had to adjust for the New Zealand-wide lockdown. There has been a lot of information to absorb.

Key dates reminder

26 March Alert Level 4 commenced
28 MarchSchool holidays begin
10–14 April Easter including the Tuesday after Easter
15 April Term 2 begins
22 AprilCurrent date for ending of lockdown period
27 AprilANZAC Day observed

Key lockdown messages from the Prime Minister

(Select Committee Media Briefing 25 March)

  • If the virus is left unchecked, it will have an unacceptable toll on New Zealanders
  • Staying at home will break the chain and save lives
  • Breaking the rules could risk someone close to you
  • If the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lockdown period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands
  • Success will not be instant. The benefit of actions taken today will not be felt for many days to come. People need to expect the numbers to continue rising because they will. Modeling indicates that New Zealand could have several thousand cases before today’s measures have an impact. However, if everyone sticks to the rules there will be change over time
  • Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else. That is how New Zealanders must collectively think now
  • All New Zealanders urged to be calm, be kind, stay at home 
  • If people have no explanation of why they are outside the Police will remind them of their obligations and can take enforcement actions if they feel it is necessary
  • New Zealanders will want to do the right thing. The Government is being as clear as they can on the guidance and Police will be working with people to help them understand
  • The Government’s goal is to keep people connected to their employer through the wage subsidy and said if that was not happening then they have the backup mechanism of the welfare system
  • In regard to those overseas – even under the most difficult of circumstances New Zealand is their home.

Supervision and care of children 

The availability of supervision and care in licensed home-based services aims to strike a balance between the availability of care and public health guidance – in particular, advice to limit all means of transmission of infection. We have had a number of questions come through seeking clarification relating to the provision of in-home care arrangements for non-essential workers.

There are two possible scenarios, each with their own conditions:

Scenario 1 – ‘Bubble of care’ – Both non-essential workers and essential workers are able to use existing in-home care arrangements, with conditions

Families that have an Au Pair living with them are able to continue with care to support parents working from home.
Families with an Educator who does not live with them may choose to form a self-isolation group and continue care to support parents working from home.

  • The arrangement had to be in place before midnight Wednesday 25 March
  • The carer (and their family) plus the non-essential worker and their family become ‘one’ self-isolation group
  • The self-isolation group needs to be as tight as possible
  • The group must remain the same for the lockdown period

Scenario 2 – Essential workers can access new home-based care with conditions

If you are an essential worker needing to arrange child care please contact Playschool to arrange this.

  • The person caring for the child becomes part of the self-isolating group
  • This group must remain the same for the whole period
  • The carer must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period

If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home.

Playschool Education is still available to help support learning at home. They are working from home as their circumstances allow and you can reach them through their usual contact details. They are there to support you and parents during the home isolation period. Like you, they may also be balancing caring for their own whānau with their work, so please bear with them. Playschool Education is preparing and tailoring material and resources for children and whānau with varying needs, where possible in collaboration with our early learning service. Where appropriate we’re delivering support virtually – for example, connecting by messenger and skype, to have an ongoing discussion and develop some next steps. During this period of learning at home, Playschool Education are already involved with children, whānau and kaiako and will continue to check in to provide virtual guidance and support as necessary at this time. This will involve listening carefully and adapting our support to meet current needs. While this may look different from the support we usually provide, we’ll continue to work with you to support the child’s daily routines.

Learning Support Resources

There are many online resources already available. You would have also received more support from your Visiting Teacher.  

Childcare Subsidy from Work and Income

This subsidy is a payment that helps families with the cost of preschool childcare. Usually, the subsidy is based on a child’s attendance at an early learning service. 

24 March the Education Council indicated that these payments would continue throughout the lockdown period, but you may have received advice from elsewhere that this is not the case.

We recommend that you get in touch with Work and Income if you have any queries relating to this payment. Please note that currently their contact centre is overloaded, and they are requesting that you contact only if absolutely necessary at this time.


Videos from the Office of Ethnic Communities

The Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) has put together some videos that will be helpful to share. These videos are in a number of languages so that people in ethnic communities, where English is not their main language, can receive updates regarding COVID-19 in their own language. 

And lastly, as the Prime Minister has said – ‘Be Kind’.

COVID-19 Announcement

Kia ora koutou Playschool whaanau

With the announcement by the New Zealand government, we are implementing with urgency our plan to support your child’s learning from home effective immediately. As you know we promote learning through play for our preschool children and what better opportunity than under these isolation circumstances! We appreciate that this is a sudden and significant change to your normal routine and will be heavily disruptive to many people in our community, so it is important to work together during this time.

For children of essential workers, your child/ren will be able to continue the care arrangement with your home-based educator or Au Pair until midnight on Wednesday 25th March. You may wish to check if you are considered an essential worker, some of those roles include doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police. Please note: We continue to ask that children who are not well, stay home and self-isolate.

Beyond this time all home-based childcare must stop until the New Zealand Government officially announces that restrictions are lifted – unless your child is cared for by someone in your self-isolation group aka Bubble i.e. your Au Pair who lives with you. In these circumstances, care may continue – assuming you follow the isolation rules implemented by the New Zealand Government. Physical care of your child must NOT take place (unless your Educator/ Au Pair lives with your child).

During this unprecedented time as a goodwill gesture, we will continue to pay your regular child subsidies. This does NOT apply to families whose Educator/ Au Pair leaves the family with no plans to return. Essentially, we are treating this as a 4-week childcare holiday for most of our care arrangements and plan for everything to return to normal after the restrictions are lifted.

Please complete your timesheet with the hours worked if care is continuing as normal. If this does not apply to you please complete your timesheet by writing GOVT ISO for all days that care did not take place during this lockdown period. While our offices are currently closed our service will remain open at this time with all Playschool staff working from home so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Please note: We will be continuing the monthly educational visits during this time; however, they will be conducted via the phone and skype/face time where possible. We will be contacting the Educator/Au Pair where possible and if not available, the parents will be contacted to follow up. We ask you to give us a minimum of 15 minutes of your time per month. Monthly learning stories will be completed but monthly activities, child outings, and Au Pair trips will be put on hold until further notice.

In this current time, your child will be looking to you for guidance about this current change of situation. Parents will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to read the information put together by the Ministry of Education to support conversations with your children – Talking to children about COVID-19.

As noted by the Prime Minister these restrictions are our best chance to slow the virus in New Zealand and to save lives – we all have a clear role here to slow the spread of COVID-19!

We will continue to communicate with you through our new COVID-19 information page found on www.playschooleducation.co.nz over this COVID-19 period. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Ngā mihi

Carissa and the Playschool team.

Please find below Playschool Education’s latest information regarding Coronavirus. We will be updating this page regularly, so check back for further updates.

It is important that you follow the recommendations and regulations made by the New Zealand government plus know the facts! Refer to this website for up to date information www.covid19.govt.nz or call the free government helpline on 0800  779 997 (8am – 1am, 7 days a week).

Protecting yourself and your whaanau

The Ministry of Health lists some simple steps to take to protect yourself & others from COVID-19:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cough or sneeze by covering your mouth and nose with tissues, if you don’t have a tissue then cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people – a 2m distance is recommend. This includes personal contact, such as kissing, shared cups or food.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have ANY symptoms, have been overseas and returned within the last 2 weeks or have been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case.

Level 4 COVID-19 Alert which starts at 11:59pm on March 25 and will continue for 4 weeks.

What does this mean for me?
New Zealanders not working in essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of your household – this is an essential part of eradicating the disease.

What can I do during this time?
You may go for a walk or exercise – you must always keep a 2m distance from people. Remember, you can always only spend time with the household family members while keeping a distance from all others.

Food and medicine will continue to be available.

All schools and Early Childhood Centres will be closed.

All indoor and outdoor events including social gatherings such as birthdays, funerals, or weddings cannot go ahead.

Healthcare for those that need it will be available – If you need to see a doctor or other medical professional you MUST phone first. Phone consultations will now happen over the phone (or via video). If a face to face meeting is required, then a doctor or other medical professional will organise this for you. If you are severely unwell, contact emergency services (dial 111).

Travel in New Zealand is limited and not advised unless essential. Public transport will only be available for those working in essential services, for medical reasons or to get to the supermarket.

If you have COVID-19 related concerns, please call Healthline (0800 258 5453) for advice before you travel.

Playschool is open for business as normal with staff working from home. You can stay connected with us through our email updates, phone or text plus through our social channels – Facebook and Instagram. Also don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email if you have any questions or concerns.

Q & A – COVID-19

I am an essential worker and still need child care to take place.
Essential workers will need to use their existing networks for in-home care, for example, a neighbor, relative, friend or current carer/nanny who can come to their house or provide childcare in their own home.

There are Public Health rules that must be observed: 

  • The person caring for the child becomes part of the self-isolating group.
  • This group must remain the same for the whole period.
  • The care individual must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period.

If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home.

What resources are available to use during the lockdown period?

Your visiting teacher will be on hand to support you during this time. They will be able to guide and support you with extra ideas on how to continue with learning from home for parents, whaanau and kaiako.  They will also be conducting monthly visits via phone, skype or messenger.

On Monday, the Education council launched Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama, two new websites to support teachers, kaiako, parents and whānau to support their children and young people to continue their learning.

These have been produced with other agencies and are a one-stop shop for teaching and learning at home, covering early learning through to senior secondary schooling.  These websites will continue to be developed to include a wider range of resources. 

Learning from home
Ki te Ao Marama

  • Kaiako can use these sites to point parents and whānau to ideas for learning opportunities for their children at home.
  • Parents and whānau will find information, advice, and ideas about supporting learning from home, without needing to become teachers themselves.