Giraffe Childcare is happy to announce that our centres are reopening on 29th June and thank you to all of you who responded to our surveys to support us with planning and for all the positive messages to our staff over the last 3 months. Many of you have questions about reopening so we have compiled a helpful list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address some of your queries. If you have any additional questions, please contact your centre manager of e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add them to this list of FAQS. To read click here.
We can reassure you that we have been working very hard behind the scenes to prepare the centres for reopening as there is so much to do to support our staff teams and prepare the centres for reopening in line with Tusla guidelines and public health requirements.
Health and Safety is paramount at Giraffe Childcare so all our centres teams have completed their return to work Covid-19 training and are familiarising themselves with our new ways of working. We have revised our Infection Control Policies and Procedures to reflect the increased hygiene, sickness and well-being procedures required for childcare settings during Covid-19 and they are available for you to view.
We will be asking all our parents for their support and to work with us and to agree to our revised protocols as we reopen during this health pandemic. It is a priority for us that the health and well-being of the children, their families and our staff teams is maintained at all times so there will be some visible new ways of working for adults which will be mainly seamless for young children. Our staff teams have completed health declarations and we would ask that you advise your centre manager if you child has been in contact with anyone who displayed Covid-19 symptoms in the last 2 weeks.
We are aware that some parents may be concerned around the changes their children will encounter on their return to our centres. However in reality there will be very little changes for the children in the centre and in their rooms or in the garden. You will have heard a lot in the media around Play Pods but we are fortunate that our room sizes are in line with, and some are in excess of, the required square footage per child and as such the children’s room will be their play pod, along with their key carers. Childcare providers have been issued guidance by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) and by Tusla which we will implement and follow as we reopen.
Our priority for the first two weeks will be to support the children’s well-being as they settle back in to creche and their routine. To support the children settling-in, we will open on Monday 29th June and Tuesday 30th June from 9.30am to 3pm as settling in days for all children. Children will be able to access the centre from 9am and we ask that collections begin from 2.30pm if possible and if your child is upset, the centre manager will call you and arrange collection if required.
For the remainder of that week and for the following week, we will be operating from 8am to 5pm to settle children back in to creche. We are confident that they will settle back quickly and will be happy to play with their friends again which will make a wonderful difference to their well-being.
We have attached a brief video on some of the new hygiene procedures that will be in place when we re-open on 29th June.
Again, we would like to thank you for your continued support as we reopen our centres safely. There have been a number of new requirements, protocols and procedures introduced for childcare providers to implement and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we begin to operate in a new and different way. We have attached these policies for your information. We have also attached a revised way of working with our parents during Covid-19 and we ask that you read and sign the attached agreement and return it to your centre manager.
We are looking forward to welcoming you all back on 29th June and in the meantime, your centre manager will be in touch with you over the coming days and is available to respond to your queries.
Giraffe Management Team
We are getting ready to reopen our centres on the 29th June and are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back. The health and well-being of the children, their families and our staff is paramount. We understand that you may have many questions, so we have prepared some frequently asked questions to address some of the queries that you may have.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask your centre manager or send an e-mail to email@example.com and we will include a response here. We thank you in advance for your support and cooperation during these unusual times and are looking forward to welcoming you all back soon.
What is a play pod?
Following Government advice, children are not required to social distance so our base rooms will now operate as Play Pods. along with the children’s key carers. It will effectively remain the same as we operated pre-Covid except that there will no mixing of groups, staff or siblings whilst in the centre. The children will have separate garden time throughout the day as individual play pod groups. We are maximising garden time as possible with many planned fun activities.
Do I have to social distance during drop off and collection?
We ask all families to respect social distancing and queue at the allocated areas when arriving at the centre for drop off and collection, this is of particular importance when awaiting temperature taking. Within a childcare environment social distancing can present challenges with young children and we will do all that we can in each centre to support this by taking the following measures:
Are there staggered entrance times at the centre?
There are marked queuing arrangements outside each centre to manage social distancing and we anticipate that queues will be short as we first re-open, however, we will review access to our centres in line with Tusla guidelines as required. There may be staggered times as the number of children in the centre increases and the centre managers will advise parents if there are any changes.
Will I be allowed to take my buggy/trike/scooter/car seat to the centre?
To prevent cross contamination and to ensure we adhere to public health guidelines we are unable to store children’s buggies/trikes/scooters or car seats within the centres. These can be brought to the centre but must be taken home with parent after drop off.
At drop off, will I be able to go into the centre?
We want to make the return to creche as smooth as possible for the children and their families but have to follow public health guidance and Tusla requirements to minimise adult access to our centres. Parents are invited to enter our welcome zone which will be positioned at our reception area. Here, we will take the temperatures of the children and a member of our care team will take your child to their care room/Play Pod where our handwashing protocol will take place.
Can my child have their comforter or soother?
Yes of course. If your child uses a soother, please supply at least two so a spare one can be kept on hand in a Milton style solution. The use of dummy straps is not permitted as these enable the dummy to be in contact with surfaces. If your child has a blanket or soft toy, please supply these and have them as clean as possible. Comforters will be available to children when they need them, when they are upset, tired, or going for their nap. At other times comforters will be in the child’s bag or box to prevent other children accessing these.Please refrain from bringing in other favoured toys such as a car, or dinosaur. We have plenty of exciting experiences and resources to access.
Will you comfort my child if they are upset?
Absolutely. Social distancing must be carefully balanced with ensuring the emotional wellbeing of each child. If a child becomes upset at any time with us, we will comfort them as they need, be this with a cuddle or a story time for example. No child will be left crying because of social distancing.
Will staff be wearing face masks or coverings?
The evidence to support the use of masks, or not, is limited. At Giraffe staff who are taking temperatures will wear a face mask or shield, which will be changed for each session of temperature taking. Staff within rooms with children be given the option to wear face masks or shields and will be required to wear them if travelling on public transport (consistent with Government guidance). This will ensure a more familiar environment for the children who can be reassured by familiar faces and friendly smiles, which will be very much needed at this time of continued uncertainty.
What happens when my child presents with a high temperature on arrival?
To protect all the children, their families and our staff it is essential that we carry out a temperature check on all who are attending our centres. On arrival, your child’s temperature will be checked using an infrared thermometer. If your child presents with a high temperature of 38 degrees, we will ask you to care for your child at home. We would ask that you do not return to the centre for a minimum of 24 hours. This is to ensure that the welfare of all the children, their families and the staff is maintained in the centre.
What happens if my child develops a temperature or a cough during the day?
At any point throughout the day, if your child becomes unwell or presents with a temperature of 38 degrees, we will ensure that they are made comfortable. We will move them from their care room to an isolation area where they can be observed and cared for. We will make contact with their parent and request to kindly collect them within a 45-minute timeframe. Your child is unable to return for a minimum of 24 hours and the centre manager will contact you to check on their well-being.
How frequently will temperature checks occur during the day?
Temperatures checks will occur through out the centre twice daily. Once on arrival and again in the afternoon. However, if a child or a member of staff become unwell throughout the day, we will check their temperature and ensure of Health and Wellbeing Protocol is adhered to.
How frequently will hand washing occur?
Hand washing and cough etiquette are important skills that we have always encouraged the children to partake in. Children will wash their hands on arrival at the centre and regularly throughout the day – after toileting, before eating, after gardening and as required. We have lots of fun songs and activities to help the children understand its importance.
Have you increased your hygiene protocols?
At Giraffe we have robust hygiene protocols and procedures in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of the children, their families and our staff. To minimise the risk of the spread of Covid-19, we have enhanced our cleaning protocols and all our cleaning products contain antiviral cleaning properties. Frequent touch points such as door handles, light switches and toilets will be cleaned several times throughout the day.
How will your centres manage visitors?
We are doing our best to minimise the number of visitors to our centres. Only essential visitors will be allowed to enter the centres for essential tasks such as electrics, plumbing, deliveries etc. All our visitors will be required to follow our safety procedures and agree to our visitors protocol.
What happens if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in our centre?
If there is a confirmed case within/connected to your centre, we will make contact with you, whilst maintaining the confidentiality of all involved. We will follow all regulatory procedures and guidance in line with public health requirements.
What will my child’s day look like?
Your child’s day will be the same as before with plenty of activities both indoor and outdoor. Our team are familiar with your child and will ensure they are settled, happy and engaged in play. If your child is unsettled or unwell, contact will be made to communicate this. Handovers will be provided but will be limited to facilitate drop/collection for all families without too much delay.
What happens if we have been out of the country?
If your child has been out of the country, you must wait 14 days before returning to the creche. If a parent only is out if the county and is self-isolating, your child may attend creche if they do not have contact with you, but we would ask that you refrain from drop and collect for the first 14 days.
How will my fees be charged for the month of July?
For families returning on 29th June, there will be no fees charged for 29th and 30th June as these will be settling in days for your child. For those returning on 29th June, fees will apply from 1st For families returning at a later date in July, fees will apply from their return date. July fees will be processed by direct debit in the first week of July. Please notify your bank to reinstate direct debits if you have cancelled it.
Will I receive the Government fee subsidy?
We have been advised that the government grant schemes for parents will re-open for online registration in the week commencing 22nd June 2020 and we are required to re-register parents for their childcare schemes in advance of their return date. We will apply grants off all fees in respect of successful registrations, in advance of parent return dates.We will contact parents individually if we require any further information to process their grant registration.
We are pleased to advise that Minister Zappone has expanded the re-opening of childcare services on 29 June to include all parents who require full day childcare and who were registered with Giraffe prior to our closure in March.
We are working hard behind the scenes to plan and prepare the centre so that it will be as seamless as possible for all our returning children. As you will expect, there will be enhanced cleaning protocols within our centre and staff will need to observe social distancing measures. However our Government guidance is that children will not have to social distance within their own care rooms. Each care room, now classed as a play pod, will be maintained as before, along with the children’s key carers. Parents will be asked to drop their child at the entrance of the centre, as we are managing adult access to the centre. As children will have been away from their centre for a number a weeks, we will be settling children back in on a staggered basis to support their transition back to creche.
We will contact you again shortly with a second parent survey in light of this new announcement and will also follow up with you when we have further detail and clarification for all our families.
We are looking forward to welcoming all our children and families back very soon.
Our children in Giraffe Stepaside have been very busy learning Lamh, sign language as part of our inclusion programme. As part of this learning the children learned to sign Perfect Love by Ed Sheeran. Watch the video and see what an amazing job they all did – we are so proud of them.
This delicious spring time dinner is a quick and easy dinner for all to enjoy. It is a great way to introduce lots of yummy vegetables. We hope you enjoy this as much as all the children do at our centres.
At Giraffe, safeguarding the health and well-being of our children and staff is our priority. In light of the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia in China, we have put together some information, all of which is based on HSE advice.
Currently there are no confirmed cases in Ireland and that the public health risk is low . However, with the Chinese New Year holidays coming to a close, there is anticipated increase of travel from affected areas. If your family is travelling, we would like to urge you to take note of Government travel advice to countries that are affected. There are precautions in place at airports and screening is taking place where necessary.
As always, we will remain vigilant in our health, hygiene and hand washing practices and will be monitoring the health of our children and staff. We would ask that parents and staff advise us of any travel to affected countries and consider the onset time for symptoms may be two weeks or more. We will require them to seek medical attention if they feel unwell and inform their doctor of their travel history.
In addition to monitoring the situation closely, our staff will ensure the following is in place for both children and staff as advised by the HSE and HPSC:
Observe high levels of personal hygiene
Ensure good environmental hygiene
Monitor health and seek medical attention promptly
To help us minimise the risk of infections and support the well-being of our children, we also seek your understanding and support in observing the following; together with your children:
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will be implementing additional measures if the situation escalates.
We have installed automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in our 21 centres across Dublin, Meath and Kildare. This is part of our commitment to safeguard children, staff, parents and visitors in the event of a cardiac arrest.
The installations were part of a wider campaign that has seen Busy Bees and Giraffe Childcare fit more than 320 AEDs in its facilities throughout the UK and Ireland. The industry-leading scheme will help boost the survival chances of people who have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
“Every year in Ireland 5,000 lives are lost because of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest,” says Emily Brimson, Head of Compliance at Busy Bees. “Every minute without CPR and defibrillation, your chance of survival decreases by 10%. Installing more AEDs in creches, schools, businesses and public spaces, can only help to save lives and we hope more organisations will follow suit, as every minute counts when someone has a cardiac arrest.”
The AED, supplied by Cardiac Science, has both adult and paediatric pads. It was specially chosen as it provides both text and voice prompts to the rescuer to enable them to remain focused during the high-pressure situation. To mark the installation of the AEDs, a variety of activities were held across all 21 Giraffes centres which are located in the Greater Dublin Area. The National Ambulance Service visited Giraffe Griffeen, Lucan, Co. Dublin. The children received a tour of the Ambulance and a demonstration of what to do in the event of an emergency. Other activities included Staff training on how to use a defibrillator. The children received demonstrations from First Responders such as the Gardai, Doctors and Nurses on what to do in the event of an emergency and how a defibrillator works.
Siobhan Moore, CEO at Giraffe said; “Protecting and safeguarding the children in our care is our top priority and that’s why we’ve undertaken this potentially lifesaving initiative. We see it as part of our commitment to best practice and to deliver outstanding care to our children, as well as to protect staff, parents and visitors. Although we hope that our defibrillator never has to be used, it means that if the worst-case scenario happens, we are able to increase the survival chance of anyone who has a cardiac arrest inside or within minutes of our creche. Giraffe Creches are in many residential areas and Business Parks, this life saving equipment is available to the community in the event of an emergency. “
Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager at the Irish Heart Foundation said: “CPR and defibrillation have both been shown to save lives. By having people trained in CPR, and AEDs available for use in our communities, lives can be saved. AEDs are simple to use, and need to be available, accessible and in working order to make the difference in communities. We are delighted that local people, families and employees will benefit from these AED’s and it will improve their chance of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest in their community.”
We love Halloween in Giraffe! The children and staff alike love decorating the centres and dressing up and really getting into the spirit of the spooky season!
Each centre held a Halloween party and the children were delighted to dress up and see their carers dress up! For some of the younger children, it was their first time wearing a costume! Everyone really enjoyed the fun and festivities 🙂
Many of our centres participated in Trick or Treat for Temple Street, combining their fancy dress party with a Fundraiser to raise much needed funds for the Children’s Hospital at Temple Street. Thank you all the parents and families who generously donated to this worthy cause. The staff in Park West baked cakes for a sale in aid of Temple Street also!
The children loved seeing their carers all dressed up for the Halloween parties also!
We held our annual friendly pumpkin carving competition between the centres for the most creative pumpkin carving! 15 Centres took part in the competition and their creations went to a public vote on our Facebook page. The children helped to come up with the designs, tracing faces, painting the skin and scooping out the insides.
1st prize went to Giraffe Celbridge, with this fabulous spooky display.
2nd prize went to our Baby Shark themed Cherrywood entry!
3rd prize went to Giraffe Leopardstown who prided themselves on the pumpkins being entirely created by the children themselves.
A big well done to all the centres for taking part and working so hard to come up with such amazing designs.
Halloween provided lots of opportunity for sensory play and art activities in the centres also.
Halloween is the time when scary skeletons, spooky ghosts and wicked witches roam the world. All of the Giraffe centres enjoyed the build up to Halloween last week, and the children and staff certainly got into the spirit of the festivities!
The children were delighted to dress up for the whole day for their Halloween parties. For some of the younger children, it was their first time wearing a costume! They seem to have really enjoyed the fun and festivities 🙂
In NCI, the preschool children put on their own Halloween Concert!
Many of our centres participated in Trick or Treat for Temple Street, combining their fancy dress party with a Fundraiser to raise much needed funds for the Children’s Hospital at Temple Street. Thank you all the parents and families who generously donated to this worthy cause.
The children weren’t the only ones enjoying dressing up though! Many of the staff turned out in costume for the day and some even ran competitions for best costume.
One of the highlights of the week was a friendly competition between the centres for the most creative pumpkin carving! 19 Centres took part in the competition and their creations went to a public vote on our Facebook page. The children were encouraged to help carve their own pumpkins, tracing faces, painting the skin and scooping out the insides to make the pumpkins hollow.
This year’s winners were Giraffe Rathborne, Giraffe Rathfarnham and Giraffe Leopardstown for their incredibly creative pumpkin display! Well done to all the staff and children who helped make the centres spooky and colourful at this exciting time of year.
Here are some of the amazing pumpkin designs from other centres. Thank you to everyone who voted for our creative designs!
St. Patrick’s Day is an exciting time for all children. In the run up to the day, the children in our centres have been busy discussing St. Patrick’s Day, learning why we celebrate it and creating decorations, having parades and parties to celebrate. There is a lovely atmosphere in the creches and a real excitement and anticipation of the parades and fun to come! Celebrating our national day makes us all feel proud to be Irish, and it allows the children to gain a better understanding of Irish culture and traditions ( Aistear themes, Identity & Belonging).
In Navan. the children were busy preparing all week! Here are some of the preschool children painting shamrocks, Lily all dressed up for the St Patrick Day Parade and the Wobbler group having sensory play time with green gloop. .
In Lucan, the creativity was flowing and the children made beautiful seasonal art using their hands and fingers to paint some rainbows. The children and staff held their St Patrick’s Day Parade in the garden and Sinead taught everyone a bit of Irish dancing!
In Griffeen the children enjoyed celebrating together with their Siblings too, and all our staff and children dressed in green for our St. Patrick’s Day party! Sienna & Phoebe, Max & Isla and Emmett & Charlotte from Griffeen are all set for St. Patrick’s Day!
Here are Oscar, Drew, Kasper, Ethan, Liam and Charlie form Pre-School Zambia with their Leprechaun creations that they made for St. Patricks Day.
In IFSC, everyone (young and old!) donned their green clothes for a day of celebration on March 16th. They were lucky enough to be able to watch the Sherrif Street parade which went right by the centre also!
The children in Park West created decorations for their rooms and the Preschool group showed off their dance moves at our St. Patrick’s Day party!
Green was the colour on Thursday in Harcourt Road! The preschool children decided to bake St. Patrick’s Day Muffins especially for the occasion.
In Adamstown our preschool children attended the Céilí Mór at Adamstown National School in celebration of St Patrick’s day!
When Irish eyes are smiling….Here are some of the happy faces from the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Liffey Valley.
Our Leopardstown team certainly were in the celebratory spirit of thing ahead at their St. Patrick’s Day party.
The children in Northern Cross decide to make Leprechauns using their cutting, sticking and painting skills! They even made green playdough as well, in keeping with the festive themes.
There was great excitement in Rathfarnham as we held our very own parade outside in the garden! Thank goodness the weather co-operated for us…..just look at those smiles!
Also in Rathfarnham, the preschool groups baked green cakes and even made orange-coloured and green-coloured milk for snack time!
Lá fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh go Léir! ☘️
Pancake Tuesday is otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, and is celebrated by many Christians around the world. Shove Tuesday is traditionally the day to use up all the rich ingredients – flour, milk and eggs before the fasting period of Lent starts. This year, Pancake Tuesday will be celebrated on Tuesday 28th February .
Planning on making pancakes at home for, or with your little ones? We’ve pulled together a simple recipe you can make with the children – and they are guaranteed to love it!
This makes 8 – 10 large pancakes, or about 20 “palm-sized” pancakes.
240g plain flour
1 pint (500ml) milk
2. At this stage, leave it in the fridge for a few hours if you have the time.
3. Grease the frying pan with sunflower oil.
4. Ensure the pan is very hot. Pour in small amounts of the mixture, enough to thinly cover the base of the pan.
5. As the batter cooks you will see it start to come away from the edge. At this point toss it or turn it over to cook the other side.
6. Serve with your favourite topping. Here’s some of our favourites:
Leave some toppings on the table and let the children choose, this encourages independence as and they love to decorate their pancakes themselves!
As well as making pancakes on Tuesday 28th February, there are so many other activities that young children might enjoy.
Pancake Crafts– using paper plates and any amount of colourful decorations, your child can design their ULTIMATE pancake creation.
Fruit Tasting Experiment – have a selection of fruits and topping in smaller bowls for the children to taste and experience.
Pancake-on -the-head ( Balancing Game): using Paper plate, take turns walking in a straight line with the “Pancake” balanced on your head. Each time you complete a distance, try adding another “Pancake” on top!
“Flip a Pancake” (Memory Game): Cut out a large stack of cardboard pancakes (even number like 18 or 20 will work great!) , and make matching pairs by placing stickers on one side of each pancake. Turn all the pancakes face down and shuffle them around, then take turns “flipping” two pancakes over at a time, trying to find matching pairs.
Spring is just around the corner! Read up on our seasonal menus here.
In December 2016, all of the Giraffe team members had the opportunity to vote for the Employee of the Year in their centre. The award recipients were announced at the individual centre Christmas Parties and they were presented with a gift voucher, as well as flowers and bubbly to celebrate their talent and dedication.
This voting is a joint decision between centre team members and management. Everyone is asked to consider the following criteria when nominating their centre’s Staff Member of the year:
We know it’s our people that make us great, so we make sure we recognise and reward our incredible talent!
At Giraffe, we believe that through a commitment to our role as carers and educators me make a positive difference to the lives of families, a children, our community and each other. We invest in our employee teams’ professional development and career and many of our managers and leaders started out with Giraffe as newly-qualified practitioners.
Congratulations to all of the team members for your outstanding achievements:
Amanda (Manager) presenting Laura Villa Guzman her award at Central Park
Well done Shannon Kelly Smith from Blanchardstown
Rabiya Awan from Liffey Valley
The pumpkin is a type of squash vegetable and has become one of the most iconic symbols of Hallowe’en.Pumpkin carving wasn’t always an Irish tradition but it seems to grow every year. It is a great sensory activity for children with the added bonus of creating a Halloween decoration at the end. You can also use the pumpkin flesh to make healthy treats or soup. Pumpkins are commonly found in Irish supermarkets and farmer’s markets this time of year. If you are buying one to carve look out for a nice round shape with a flat base so it will stand. If you can find a tall one these are great for making long faces too!
Note: The adult should always do the cutting but children can help with the other steps. I like to move the pumpkin to a counter-top when I’m carving and then bring to the table for the parts the children can help with.
We cherish the importance of family in our creches and during the year we like to celebrate special days with our children and their families. This year we celebrated with Mother’s Day Breakfasts for all the wonderful Mummies and Father’s Day Breakfasts for all the wonderful Dads. Last week we celebrated some other wonderful people in the children’s lives, their grandparents! National Grandparents Day was on Sunday September 11th and here’s how we celebrated these important people in our children’s lives!
Our Preschoolers in Park West made lovely cards for their Grannies and Grandads!
Staff from each of our centres get together once a year to do a 10km mini marathon. This year a record number of our staff – 102 (!) signed up to take part in one of the biggest women’s sporting events of the year in Ireland – the VHI Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon. Our staff have been training and getting ready for the past few weeks. There has been a great sense of team work, encouraging each other and camraderie among the staff members taking part, with other staff members cheering them on!
Our charity is Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice again this year. Laura Lynn is a hospice for children with life-limiting conditions and residential care for young adults with disabilities.They provide respite, home support, crisis and end of life care for sick children. It is a charity close to our hearts here in Giraffe.
Supporting Laura Lynn
Each year on the June Bank Holiday Monday, women of all ages from all around Ireland take part in this amazing event on the streets of Dublin. The Big Day was on Monday the 6th June and the atmosphere as always was wonderful! The ladies from all our creches had a wonderful day and whether walking, running or were super happy and proud to reach the finish line.
Within our staff we gave special prizes for these awards:
***Giraffe centre with the Most Participants: Giraffe Park West!!!
***1st Giraffe Runner to finish the race: Esther Requena from Elm Park
***1st Giraffe Jogger to cross the line: Cinthia Conboy from Rathborne
***1st and 2nd Giraffe Walkers to cross the line: Gillian Kennedy & Tara Boyle both from Lucan
We are very proud of team Giraffe for their hard work and for the money they all raised for Laura Lynn!
We had a great time celebrating Easter in Giraffe. The centres did fabulous artwork to decorate their centres for Easter, they made wonderful Easter bonnets for an inter-centre competition, the children had Easter egg hunts and a special visitor turned up to make their hunt even more egg-citing!
In Park West the children created plenty of Easter crafts including painting eggs and making Easter bonnets!
In Northern Cross the children created these Easter chicks!
The staff and children in each of our centres created beautiful Easter bonnets for a competition. There was great friendly rivalry between the centres and everybody worked very hard on their entry!
All the centres showed their creative side with these gems:
The boys and girls in Liffey Valley had an Easter egg hunt! They were delighted to search high and low for the eggs and collected them in little baskets!
On the week leading up to Easter we had a very special visitor in all our centres! Can you guess who it was?!?! 🐰
We celebrate our wonderful Mums in Giraffe by holding a Mother’s Day Breakfast on the last Friday before Mother’s Day. The children help to decorate with lovely Mother’s Day themed arts and cards and gifts and the Mums are invited to have breakfast with us in the centres, or take one of our ‘breakfast to go’ packs if they are in a rush. This year it fell on March 4th, which coincided with National Pyjama Day!
National Pyjama Day is run by Early Childhood Ireland annually. Preschool children are asked to come to their preschool in their pyjamas and make a small donation to a chosen charity. This year the charity is Irish Autism Action who do great work providing information and assistance to autistic children and adults and also support to their families. Giraffe takes part in National Pyjama Day each year.
There was great excitement as the two events both happened on the same day, and the icing on the cake was a sprinkling of snow on the ground that morning.
In Stepaside the children enjoyed playing out in the snow! Here you can see twins Oliwier and Eryk presenting their beautiful Mother’s Day cards to their mummy.
In Rathborne the children worked hard creating fabulous Mother’s Day cards and they had lots of fun on Pyjama Day!
Look at the happy smiley faces in Griffeen! The children were delighted to do their Fitness Friday in their pjs!!
The NCI boys and girls made these lovely portraits of their Mums! Didn’t they do well?!
Some happy pyjama day faces from Harcourt Road, Navan and Celbridge.
The children loved having their Mums with them for Mother’s Day Breakfast in Adamstown. Lots of happy faces all around! They loved making footprints in the snow outside too!
In Clonsilla the boys and girls prepared early for pyjama day, creating these beautiful life sized portraits of themselves in their pyjamas!
Here are some fabulous Mother’s Day gifts made by the children in Leopardstown and some lovely photos from the Mother’s Day Breakfast.
For a parent or child, we all know what it feels like to get that full nights’ sleep, we are bright, well rested and full of energy and ready to take on the day, for our children they are content, full of beans and are ready for action!
Often with young children, we can experience nights of broken or interrupted sleep. Whether it’s a baby needing a feed, a toddler wanting to sleep in your bed, bad dreams or an early riser – it can be exhausting and difficult trying to function at work the next day!
When we are working we want to be able to give our children what they need to make them happy and comfortable while also keeping it together so we can focus on our day’s work. With a plan of action, consistency and perseverance there is so much that we can do to help both ourselves and our child to settle and sleep more contently.
Encourage Positive Sleep Habits
If we want to encourage sleep in small babies and young children we first need to look for the signals of them feeling tired or sleepy and then acting on it. For young babies, when tired they often appear agitated, rubbing their eyes, yawning or crying. For the toddler or the older child, it’s the same but more so tiredness can be judged on behaviour. They can be more irritable. Small children are not necessarily good judges of how tired they are so often they will keep going until they hit that wall! Babies and young children can become over tired where they can have a second wind, as a result they will ‘fight’ it and have difficulty settling and going to sleep. The recommended time for a child to be asleep in bed is 8pm.
Having a good daytime routine, encouraging predictable mealtimes, naps and outside playtime if possible helps children feel more secure and know what to expect. As night time approaches try and create some sense of calm, avoid busy cartoons, loud music and rough & tumble play.
Bedtime & Daytime Routines
Creating a predictable and consistent bedtime routine from when your child is a small baby is a great way to start; I always encourage a visual picture sequence that we can place up on our wall near to their bedroom to allow your child to see what is happening next, pyjamas, hands, face and teeth, story time, cuddle and time to settle to sleep. When working often it’s bedtime that you have those chats about the day, if you find your child becomes overwhelmed with questions, try and ask them what their favourite part of the day was in crèche or school, they are more likely to share if it’s an open question!
Things That Go Bump in the Night
If you have a tiny visitor during the night, ideally explore during the daytime what it is that’s upsetting them most. Bad dreams are so common for all ages however for our smaller children they can often find it hard to determine between what’s real and what’s fantasy. A lot of it is about reassuring your child that they are ok while staying with them as they settle back to sleep. Likewise if they simple just want to be cosy in beside you however sleep is priority for everyone, returning them to their own bed taking the same approach each time will be a big help. Some families are more than happy to have extra to cuddle however if it’s something you want to change then a plan is necessary.
If your child is an early riser a particular challenge with that or night-time waking is pre-schoolers can’t tell the time and don’t know when it’s morning. Often for the parent it’s easier to allow them into their bed if it means two more hours of sleep! The Gro-Clock is a great way to let your child know when it’s time to get up. How so they know? The sleeping star on the gently lit clock illustrates to “stay in bed until you see the sun!”
The Gro-Clock also comes with a beautifully illustrated book which helps to encourage children to stay in bed longer, which means more sleep for them and more sleep for you!
Whatever the approach you decide to take it’s important that you decide on a plan of action, be consistent and persevere!
Aoife Lee, Parent Coach for Giraffe Childcare
As we wind down from the Christmas festivities, encouraging calm after the sugar rush, and as Santa returns to the North Pole, we begin to focus on the widely anticipated return to our normal day-to-day family life, whether that is back to work, school or crèche. Although we may have sustained some form of routine in between family visiting and staying up late, the true testament is putting those daily routines and that structure back. It’s very natural and normal for both parents and children to feel tired and irritable after the Christmas break, and that can trigger all kinds of behaviours- big and small. So, how can we help each other out through routines to maintain a calm and happy house?
It’s all in the preparation
As we near the first day back to work, crèche and school, it’s all about dusting off the lunch boxes and school bags. We know it can often take those initial few days after a busy break to get into the swing of it again, so take your time and allow you and your child that space to readjust. Allow a couple of hours before your first day of work and school to organise lunches and bags, and prep uniforms and outfits – all of this can take huge pressure off the night before.
Reintroducing routines for mornings and night times
If your child has had a lot of late nights and you are lucky enough that they have been sleeping in, they have simply shifted their routine. As we know, this will take a few days to get back on track and it’s really no different for adults, either. I would often suggest to families to tweak the times of waking the children up with a purpose to getting out and about in the mornings a few days before returning to school/crèche. It’s more likely they will be tired that evening! Remember, though, to catch the signs of tiredness both at naptimes and bedtime for babies and toddlers, so look out for yawning, red or watery eyes, and being cranky or irritable. Often the later we leave bedtime, the more tired our littles ones get; it’s so common that they can hit a wall of tiredness and all of a sudden a new lease of life comes over them, ready to take on the night! This is usually the time when they find it really hard to settle to sleep. Keeping a regular bedtime with a story and wind-down can be a great comfort and a happy finish to a busy day.
Recreate habits when saying goodbye
If your toddler or young child is anticipating that moment of saying goodbye to you – whether it is that first morning back in crèche or at the school gates – this is so very natural and normal, particularly if they have had some lovely times with you over the holidays. I often find it helpful to start mentioning crèche or school to the kids again a couple of days before returning: chat about keyworkers, teachers and pals – children love to know what’s happening, so the more we bring these little chats into the days running up, the more they take comfort in their return. Even consider packing a little something in their bag, like a picture that’s meaningful to them – that way, they can mind it for you until they see you later in the day or that evening. Resettling is just building on old habits and routines – children will embrace them.
Time to connect in our routines
We all know that it’s great to connect with our children as much as we can, but when we are focused on getting from A to B we can often miss out on opportunities. If we build little connection rituals into our routine, they become habit. Try a snuggle with each child when you first see them in the morning, or a “recognition” ritual when you’re first reunited like ‘morning morning’ – whatever feels right for you.
A good healthy structure creates predictability and consistency, something our children cope very well with. Routines help children manage change as well as their willingness to cooperate. The more they know what’s happening next, the happier they will be. Children really do thrive on routine, and once they are used to a certain way of doing things they will be more likely to slip back into that way – and sooner than we think!
Aoife Lee, Parent Coach, Giraffe Childcare
Preparing mum and baby for the world of work………
After we spend those first six months or more nurturing our tiny babies, it’s decision time for many parents as they have to consider their return to work and that very important decision of childcare. For many it can be a roller-coaster of emotions, some finding it hard to even think about being away from their tot for one moment. Regardless of how we’re feeling it’s a reality for families all over and can be overwhelming. Often it’s only when we’re back into that working way of life that we feel the benefits of how we can prepare both ourselves and our children through that transition.
There’s so much we can do to help ourselves as we return to the familiar surroundings of work that existed way before baby arrived! However when it comes to saying goodbye on that first morning, for many it can be a struggle. We have developed an emotional bond with our child that is different for all, handing over responsibility to another to care for our baby like we would is a big step for any parent. To allow yourself feel more assured give that time to get to know the crèche staff, make the most of those initial introductory days so both you and baby can adapt to being away from one another, you feeling reassured and content are a big part of the process. Allow that time during the initial weeks and months to readjust and settle into your new routine and work schedule, for many it takes that time so don’t be hard on yourself.
Prepare to wean breast to bottle
If you are breastfeeding when you return to work there are a number of ways to make the process easier for mum and baby.
Gradually wean baby – gradually phase feeds from 5 weeks before starting crèche, ideally at the beginning introducing one bottle with expressed or formula milk, the more our babies adapt to the bottled teat the easier of a transition it will be for them to take a bottled feed from the crèche staff.
Expressing & feeding during your working day – In Giraffe we encourage parents to come in and feed their babies when they can, often it is when mum works locally. Under Irish law, breastfeeding mothers are entitled to time off or a reduction in working hours. Speak to your employer about how you can break this time down within your working week to either express milk or feed your child.
Enjoy the morning & evening feeds – There is nothing more special than being able to continue feeding your baby before and after work. Although some mothers may have stopped feeding during the day, her milk supply can be maintained for just those feeds.
Children thrive on routine
As our babies grow and develop they adapt to their surroundings, whatever time of the day it is our children love routine. Creating that consistent ‘what happens next’ message enhances their sense of security and comfort. Encouraging regular mealtimes, naptimes and playtime maintains that predictability for our children.
When it comes to that busy hour in the evening where we juggle dinner, bath times & bed establishing a routine from very early on is an excellent way of promoting positive sleeping habits. It’s not just something that happens naturally, for the parent it does require a plan, adapting it as our children get older. The more we live it the more it becomes part of our everyday habits.
Ease the load
We can make life easier for ourselves during that working week if we are to consider the following few tips
Cook in batches – if you manage to create some meals that can be frozen, for even 3 evenings out of 5, this can make a big difference in the evenings.
Order your grocery shop on line – one less job to do and it saves time and pressure!
Managing clothes –For our children, at the weekends try and have their outfits set out for the week as this can take the pressure off the morning routine.
Making the most of your time together
Whenever I meet with parents that have just returned to work after their maternity leave, the one thing that jumps out at them is that little time they have in the evenings with their child. No matter how small or big our children are – they love our attention and so it’s by creating that one to onetime even for the recommended 20 minutes that makes all the difference. If at that point it still is hard to fit in, always make the most of that cuddle at bedtime. Be present with your child as you help them wind down, whether it’s babbling away with your 9 month old or having little chats during bath time with your toddler – it’s that quality time with you that they love and hang on to. Weekends are precious too; remember it’s the quality of that time and not quantity.
Returning to work after having a baby is a big deal for any parent, preparing for that transition can be a big part of settling back into the workforce while also knowing that your little person is happy. Remember to allow yourself that time and attention – and trust your instincts.
“Every family is different, and we’re choosing to do what’s best for ours”
Katie, working parent
Aoife Lee, Giraffe Parent Coach