Early learning and childcare (ELC) practitioners in Scotland say the way children interact with adults in care settings has changed as a result of the pandemic.
The Care Inspectorate surveyed almost 850 respondents, including service managers, practitioners, support workers and childminders and the results have been published today.
Despite challenges, many practitioners reported that their settings are recovering well from the pandemic and have adapted their approaches to support children and families, as well as their staff. This has included more recognition of how practitioners view children’s developmental patterns, increased use of outdoor spaces to support children’s learning and working creatively to engage with families.
Respondents to the survey identified negative impacts for children, in particular children who are identified as needing additional support from adults.
Practitioners said more children are now requiring support with their emotional and social developmental needs to support wellbeing and learning, requiring additional time from adults.
Many settings reported ongoing staffing challenges and the impact this has on adults' ability to meet children’s needs and support play and learning.
Among the key findings were:
47% of respondents said the way children access outdoor spaces has changed. This included a significant increase in the time children spent outdoors and how adults created, adapted and improved access to new outdoor spaces.
Many settings said they had adapted their practice during the pandemic to develop a range of digital communications with families. Some of these new models of communication continue to support family engagement.
There was a recognition that daily in-person engagement with parents in settings offers a valuable opportunity to work in partnership to support children’s learning and development at home and in settings.
45% of respondents said that family engagement has remained a challenge. Respondents report difficulties in re-engaging parents into settings. Staff report that having enough time to engage with families to support greater involvement is an issue.