Since parents and visitors are currently not allowed inside, we have put together a virtual tour of our centre so that parents can see the inside of the building. The video walks you through the whole centre - the classrooms, the sanitation room, and the outdoor play spaces. The video is 16 minutes long but you'll be able to see the whole centre!
One quick note - in the video, we show the temporary table barriers we have set up to keep the kids separated while eating and doing table-top activities. In the video, Cheryl mentions that we are getting dividers with windows; we ended up getting dividers made of translucent material in place of the windows.
Enjoy the video!
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the FAQs that were covered during our Reopening Presentation on June 26th, where we discussed our reopening with our families. A few of our plans have changed since that original conference, including the implementation of a mandatory mask policy.
What measures will taken during drop-off and pickup to ensure social distancing?
Each classroom has an assigned drop-off and pickup time. This allows for cohorts to arrive and depart together, escorted to and from the drop-off and pickup area by their classroom educators. This minimizes the interaction with people from other cohorts. After Cheryl completes the screening for each family, the educators will take the children into their classrooms where they will all immediately wash their hands.
What if I miss my pickup or drop-off timeslot?
Park in the three-tiered parking lot; screening will be completed as quickly and as safely as possible. Mindy or Cheryl may deliver the child(ren) to their cohort.
Will all staff be required to wear masks?
Yes, masks are mandatory both indoors and outdoors at Thistleoaks whenever social distancing is not possible. In addition, masks are mandatory regardless of social distancing for any staff member preparing, plating, or delivering food.
Which program will my child be in when they return?
As much as possible, we are trying to keep children in the same program as they were in when we closed. This allows for an easier transition. We may need to move some children, but we will discuss those specific cases with the families directly.
Is there really no School Age program?
At this time, with cohort size regulations and with the program in another building, we are unable to run the Summer School Age Camp. We look forward to when we can reopen our School Age program and will look at doing so for September 2020.
My child just finished SK in June 2020, which program are they be in?
The JK/SK program. We would usually not move these children to School Age until September anyway. If we are still operating under current rules come September, SK children who would normally be starting Grade 1 will be able to stay in the JK/SK program (this may change as a lot of it is dependent on what happens with schools reopening).
Are you offering part-time care?
Not at this time. If a parent chooses to only send their child(ren) a few days a week, then that is their choice but they will be charged full-time rates.
Will full-time families be given priority over part-time?
No. All families will be treated equally. Part-time families will have the option of enrolling full-time with the same priority as existing full-time families.
When discussing seniority as part of the prioritization process, is it the child’s seniority, or the family’s?
If my child did not receive one of the initial 52 spots on reopening, are they essentially losing their spot at Thistleoaks?
Not necessarily. The government announced changes to child care cohort sizes, increasing them from 10 to 15 effective Monday, July 27th. We will be in touch with families with August and September start dates in due course, once we figure out how our operations must be adjusted.
How will expanded spots be allocated?
The same priority structure will apply.
What is going to happen in September?
We don’t know. We will communicate this once we have more information on how schools will be opening in September.
Will I have to pay to hold my spot on the waitlist?
No. There are no fees at all if you stay on the waitlist.
If I choose to withdraw, will I have to pay withdrawal fees?
No, as long as your child has not restarted care. Parents on the waitlist can withdraw at any time before their child restarts care with no fees. Once your child restarts care, the regular withdrawal policy of one month's fees has been reduced to two weeks' fees until further notice.
Will fees increase upon reopening?
No. Fees will remain exactly as they were before the closure.
How will cohorts be determined and will my child(ren) be in the same program they were in before the closure?
Your child(ren) may be in a different program as we are attempting to keep families together in order to reduce the number of households per cohort. As much as possible, we are trying to keep children in the same program as they were in pre-closure.
How will staff encourage social distancing with younger children?
Each classroom has been set up to encourage independent play at various stations. Floor decals have been put down to support independence and a variety of learning needs. We recognize that children of a young age may struggle with understanding and implementing social distancing. In order to allow a more relaxed, yet safe environment, we will keep strict cohorts within the programs.
What happens if a child shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at Thistleoaks?
Any child with symptoms, as well as any enrolled siblings, are removed from their program(s) and relocated to our designated ‘sick room’ in the rear front office. Parents/guardians are immediately notified to come pick up their child(ren) and will be directed to have a COVID test completed as per Public Health direction.
What happens if a staff shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at Thistleoaks?
Staff showing any symptom(s) will be sent home and advised to have a COVID test completed. Further direction will be given by Public Health. In the event that a staff goes home and we cannot run the program parents will be notified to come and pick up their child.
If my child displayed symptoms, when can they return to Thistleoaks?
Both Thistleoaks and the family concerned will follow the direction of Public Health.
Runny noses are a symptom of COVID; kids often have runny noses at daycare. Is every runny nose going to be treated like COVID and the child sent home?
Yes. We know that children get sick in child care, and many are just allergies or common colds, but in this pandemic situation, and as directed by Public Health, a child with a runny nose will not be admitted to the centre; a child who develops a runny nose during the day will be sent home and Public Health will be notified. The rules around dealing with any potential symptoms are incredibly strict and we are obligated to follow these rules.
If a child is upset or crying, will the educators allowed to comfort the child with things like hugs, picking up the child, and so on?
Educators can use ‘barriers’ to pick up children (things like receiving blankets, towels, small blankets, etc.). These barriers are single-use; once the child is put down, the barrier is put in the laundry.
If you have extra towels or receiving blankets at home that you would like to donate to Thistleoaks, please email Cheryl!
Will there be circle time with books?
Yes, though only plastic and board books, as well as laminated books created by the educators, where the books can be sanitized after use.
Will children be sharing toys?
Yes, in a cohort. Children will wash their hands before starting an activity and then again when finishing an activity, giving confidence the played with toys are clean. All toys are taken midday for sanitizing. All mouthed or visibly dirty toys will be removed from the room immediately for sanitation. Soft toys, carpets, and toys that cannot be adequately sanitized have been removed from the classrooms.
What about outside play equipment?
We are able to offer our climbers to only one cohort at a time. The Sanitation Team will sanitize the climbers after use so that they are ready for the next cohort’s use.
What is the sanitation process for the toys?
Everything is sanitized using a three step process:
1) All toys are washed in warm, soapy water
2) The toys are then rinsed in a separate bin
3) The toys are sprayed with a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 100 parts water) and left to air-dry.
How is the cleanliness of the Centre being managed?
This is done through a combination of process:
All toys and equipment that cannot be sanitized have been removed from the classrooms
Our professional cleaners continue their nightly sanitation of the centre
During the day our Sanitation Team is responsible for sanitizing toys, equipment, rooms, and laundry; Joe is in charge of sanitizing all high-touch areas (door knobs, railings, etc.) and outdoor equipment
Educators sanitize books during sleep time, and washrooms after each use
It is important to note all our cleaning processes have been aligned with both Public Health and the Ministry of Educations guidelines to operating child care centres during COVID.
How are you managing children who are still putting everything in their mouths?
The same process as the child playing with any other toy – the toy is pulled from rotation and set aside for sanitation.
How will children playing together in a cohort work? Will they be permitted to do so? Can they play with the same toys at the same time?
Ideally, we want to find a balance between mitigating risk and exposure while still fostering a sense of belonging and connection. Educators will be encouraging activities where children work together but with their own materials. Children are washing their hands before and after activities and while it is our goal to mitigate risk through cooperative play, we recognize that social distancing is not a common practice children can maintain. One of our reasons for keeping such strict cohort rules is to give confidence both to parents and educators that the children in their room are healthy and social distancing (while the goal) can be more relaxed.
Are there any changes to diaper-changing or potty-training protocols?
No. The existing processes for handwashing and sanitizing the changing mat are adequate for the current climate. The only addition will be the use of barriers (towel or blanket) for when a child needs to be lifted onto and off of the change table.
Is there really no indoor singing allowed?
Unfortunately, yes, as singing projects particles too much, but we will be doing lots of singing outside!
How will rest or nap time work?
This process is broadly unchanged. Each room has plenty of space to ensure at least 6 feet between beds. Beds will be stored in individual labelled garbage bags to maintain cleanliness and limit contact between beds while in storage. The beds will be sanitized after each use, and bedding will be washed daily. Beds and cribs were already individually labelled prior to the closure.
What will lunch and snack time look like?
Food will arrive in classrooms already plated. A bowl with extra food will be provided and administered by one educator. We have translucent barriers at the tables that are one foot high and extend past the table by a foot to ensure physical separation.
Will children arriving early or late be moving rooms like before?
No. Children are not allowed to be in any space that is not their assigned room. This is a requirement as set out in the cohort guidelines.