When Playgroup Closed

13 Apr 2020

We're now into week four of 'lockdown' in the UK and, unsurprisingly, I haven't done most of the things I said I would do with Willow to give her some sort of decent replacement for playgroup. I had all these grand ideas (as I am sure a lot of us did) of what we would be able to do with all this time at home as a family, and all the fun things we could do and learn about together. In reality, we've really made good use of my streaming subscriptions, eaten far too many snacks and watched a hell of a lot of movies. This isn't quite how I envisioned lockdown life to be.

A picture of Melissa & Doug Daily Calendar

We do have a 'schedule' of sorts, something I thought would give us some structure whilst also being fun, that I made a couple of weeks ago, but we haven't looked at it properly in days. It's something I want to get back to this week, because whilst we don't know what the future holds right now, we do know that at some point things will start to go back to normal and we will have less time at home. I don't want to have wasted the only time in my adulthood that I will get the chance to spend time like this with my family, it's something Willow for sure will remember when she's older.

So back to the schedule it is, with some leeway. After all, Willow is only 4 years old and she isn't yet in school, she doesn't have any work set from her playgroup, but she could find the next educational setting she sees is reception if schools and nurseries don't reopen for all students before the summer. I don't want her to go into a primary school setting having missed months of her beloved playgroup, completely unprepared - particularly as she would also miss any settling in work they would do for her at playgroup and any settling-in visits to primary school.

Everyone is being affected by the virus spreading and my heart aches for those both suffering from the virus, and those who have succumbed to the virus. But my heart also hurts for Willow, who doesn't quite understand the real-life consequences she is feeling because of the virus, and who is desperately missing her grandparents, family and friends, and especially her mornings at playgroup. I feel like her introduction to education, her wonderful playgroup setting is being robbed from her. This isn't a time she can go back and experience again, this isn't time we can give children back. I feel, as a parent, that I should be fighting for her right to have a full experience of education, but I also know it is much better for her to be home and safe with her family.

Whilst I'm not being overly strict in sticking to our at-home learning schedule, we have made sure that every day we exercise, spend time in the garden, do things together as a family as well as helping Willow get stuck into some simple activities to keep her occupied, and get her brain working hard. We've been baking together, learning more about space, gardening together and doing all the usual favourites like reading, building with Lego and painting. We've kept in touch with friends and family via Facebook and video calls, and made plans for when this is all over.

So don't worry, if you planned to home-educate throughout lockdown, and things haven't been going to plan. We certainly haven't spent everyday learning, I doubt many have, and you don't need to feel guilty if you haven't helped your little one become a Scientist whilst stuck at home away from their friends and family. Take each day as it comes, after all, this is a completely new experience for everyone and something none of us could have predicted. Don't add unnecessary stress to an already confusing and worrying time. Before we know it, things will be back to normal, and I'd rather Willow remember all the fun we had as a family than worry over whether she can do algebra just yet.

Want to share your lockdown experiences? You can find me on Twitter @TattooedTealady, on my Facebook page Tattooed Tealady, or Instagram @TattooedTealady. I've love to know how you've been spending lockdown, and if you're from outside of the UK, let me know how your country is coping with coronavirus, have you been experiencing a lockdown too?