“And what should we do first?” Claudia Cardinale, employee of the out-of-school care (out-of-school care) Stoer en Robuust in Voorburg, South Holland, asks the children who have just arrived.
“Play outside!” Answer some children.
“No, wash your hands!”
“But it makes no sense to wash our hands now when we go out to play later, does it?” observes Julia, an articulate ten-year-old girl in a Harry Potter shirt.
The out-of-school worker and Julia have a brief discussion, after which Julia goes to wash her hands.
At Stoer en Robuust, children from five different schools meet again for the first time on Monday, after the closure in December and the lockdown for months. About sixty primary school children are present at Stoer en Robuust – as many as on an ordinary day, before the corona pandemic. Alessandro Lentze, one of the six employees, suspects that the parents are happy that the BSOs are finally open again. The children also seem happy. At Stoer en Robuust they can eat, play, play football and even archery on the large lawn.
In recent months, the young Dhruv was allowed to use the emergency shelter at the after-school care facility: “I was here the whole time!”, He says to his girlfriend Lotte.
Also read this article: The out-of-school care facility opens again: parents are happy, employees are concerned
When the cabinet announced on April 13 that the BSOs could reopen, managers and directors of childcare centers had to draw up a ‘location-specific plan’ for the reopening in all haste. It had to state what measures they would take to prevent the mixing of children from different schools as much as possible.
Children divided into ‘bubbles’
At Stoer en Robuust, children up to the age of eight are cared for in the classrooms on the right side of the building, and older children on the left. The children are now divided into ‘bubbles’, just like in primary school. The children and the employees do not use mouth masks. “From a pedagogical point of view,” explains Nanda Meulmeester, manager of Stoer en Robuust. “Children respond to facial expressions; non-verbal communication is very important to them. ”
Outside, on the lawn, all children are allowed to play with each other. “They are in the open air,” says Tine Oudshoorn, the director of the childcare organization Vlietkinderen, which includes Stoer en Robuust.
Three girlfriends talk to each other outside; for the first time since December they are all three together. They are not in the same school. Daycare was the only place where they could see each other. Some children hug each other when they see them again; it turns out to be difficult to tell children apart – be it indoors or outdoors.
“It is great that we are allowed to open, but dividing the children into bubbles is not fun for them,” says another employee, Michen Biesaart. He is curious about what the rules will look like in practice. “In practice, if you have something on paper, it never happens one on one,” he says. Children are simply difficult to divorce. “Such a rule does not belong to out-of-school care. But it is no different. ”
‘Trust the measures’
When parents come to pick up their child, they wait patiently at the entrance of the out-of-school care facility. The children are in no hurry. Wouter van Zijl comes to pick up his six-year-old daughter, with his one-year-old son in his arms. He is happy that the shelter is open again, he says, because it makes it easier for him to divide the attention between his two children. He is not afraid of the reopening of the BSO: “The children are all outside and I trust the measures that have been taken.”
The fact that everyone seems to be so happy at this after-school care in Voorburg does not alter the fact that it is still a bit confusing for the children. Although they obediently follow all measures, the question posed by ten-year-old Julia remains unanswered: “Why are there new rules?”