A NURSERY which has stayed open throughout the virus pandemic has put in a number of measures to ensure children and staff are kept safe.

Little Lambs Day Nursery in Kinmel Bay has been providing care to children of key workers.

The setting has made efforts to ensure day-to-day routines are kept as normal as possible for children, but changes have been made including parents not being allowed to enter the nursery - children are dropped off and collected from the main entrance.

Children are separated throughout the nursery into small groups.

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Little Lambs also has an online app system, where parents can log in and message staff.

Sam Maitland-Price, owner and manager, said: "Little Lambs is usually a very open nursery and we love nothing more than to share everything we do with parents and carers. However, during this uncertain time, we have to be mindful that we cannot be as open as we like.

"Parents and carers have been amazingly supportive."

At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, the nursery struggled to get hold of food.

"There is usually an online order placed and delivered every Monday morning, however, there has been no online delivery slots available at any supermarket.

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"At the beginning of the lockdown, we struggled to get food at all. We had to shop at small shops to purchase as much as we could. We even had parents donating any bits they could grab on their shop which was so helpful and we couldn’t be more grateful to the support they have all shown.

"Asda in Kinmel Bay have been amazing. We have now been able to secure a click and collect slot at Asda and have managed to get all usual supplies."

Little Lambs usually employs about 24 staff between the nursery and their fun club in Bodelwyddan. The fun club was forced to close due to low numbers and a total of 19 staff were furloughed in March.

Two staff have now been taken off furlough and returned to the nursery.

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Sam added: "Normally we are registered for 48 children every day and have a waiting list well into the end of 2020.

"Surprisingly, there was no guidance from Welsh Government or CIW regarding nurseries and settings lowering their daily numbers.

"We take health and safety of all staff and children very seriously, and we wanted to ensure we were providing a safe environment, so we have dropped our numbers down to 30 children a day.

"Once you enter the nursery, the usual sounds of babies gurgling, children laughing and playing can be heard because to them this is normal daily life at nursery and that was an important part of carrying on.

"I wanted to ensure parents had the security that their child was safe and they were also happy and oblivious to what was going on."

The nursery has welcomed a number of children who would normally attend other nurseries but have closed due to Covid-19.

"These children have been welcomed with open arms at Little Lambs and all have seemed to settle in very well," Sam said.

"They will be able to return to their previous nurseries, if they wish, once they are back open and the time is right."

Since the lockdown, the nursery has been making efforts to stay in contact with families and children who are staying at home.

Sam added: "We initially posted out 175 Little Lambs survival packs to every family at the nursery.

"These were packs filled with colouring-in sheets, rainbow pictures, word searches and an activity list for parents to help keep children learning and playing whilst at home. These went down amazingly and parents commented on what a wonderful idea they were and how they have given the children lots of things to keep busy.

"On top of that, for the last six weeks, we go Facebook Live every Wednesday morning at 9.45am on our private Facebook group and set weekly challenges for the families.

"Last week’s challenge saw parents collecting rocks and painting them and leaving them outside our front door for us to make our very own lockdown lane rock display outside the front of our nursery."

In addition to the above, the nursery has also been undergoing renovations.

"We have brought forward plans to re-decorate and move rooms around and action outdoor area plans. This has kept us really busy," Sam said.

Sam added that she was 'amazed' how well new children have settled in, adapted and adjusted to new measures brought in due to Covid-19.

"There has been much confusion around the childcare sector and financial support from the government," she said.

"Although there is still many discussions to have to support the sector, not only now and moving forward, we have to acknowledge what a remarkable sector childcare is.

"There are so many settings that I have spoken to over the last few weeks from across Conwy, Denbighshire and Wrexham who are working tirelessly to ensure their business is still going to remain open after all this and how best to support families and children at this difficult time

"Childcare has been crucial during this pandemic to allow key workers to carry on their important work and to know their child is being safely cared for.

"Childcare will also be crucial in the opening up of the world once the lockdown begins to lift.

"I cannot thank my team enough for their support over the last few weeks

"Working during this pandemic has certainly had its ups and downs and can be extremely difficult, but together we come in and make sure that the children have the best day.

"I’m not sure if things will go straight back to normal so quickly but I do know that Little Lambs is in it for the long haul - to support our families, children and staff."