Borilla Community Kindergarten teacher Kerri Rudd.
Borilla Community Kindergarten teacher Kerri Rudd.

Heroes of the pandemic: Early learning teacher

EARLY learning teacher Kerri Rudd was excited to see 19 children back in her classroom this week.

The children seamlessly slipped back into their routine with their teachers, friends and the much loved playground at their fingertips.

“It was truly wonderful to see everyone again, and for the children to see each other,” Mrs Rudd said.

“They just came back in like they were here yesterday.

“There were no differences and no separation problems. We’ve had to remind most of them to say bye to their parents.”

While the attendance hasn’t quite reached 100 per cent of 23 students, it’s a far increase from what has varied between two and eight children over the last few weeks.

Mrs Rudd, who teaches at Borilla Community Kindergarten, said her class initially dropped by about half in March, and was down to just two children in the last week of Term 1.

“We were able to social distance those children quite easily,” she said.

“We put out little carpet mats for them to sit on and we had a lot more individual time with those few children.

“It’s much harder now that I have 19 children, which is very different for the children who had been here as a small group but now they have to share a lot more.”

The kindy implemented daily Zoom sessions to keep parents and students engaged at home, some of which have been at home for close to two months.

Mrs Rudd said two teachers who were self-isolating were able to create videos of activities, tips and tricks, reading stories, constructing items and more, which were posted on the centre’s private Facebook page each day.

Borilla Community Kindergarten teacher Kerri Rudd.
Borilla Community Kindergarten teacher Kerri Rudd.

“I think as a service we were very lucky to have some staff working on site and some at home,” she said.

“We were fortunate to cover all our children here and all of our children at home in a very positive and fruitful way.”

Mrs Rudd was one of many people across the region who was classified as an essential worker amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While she spent one week at home initially, she simply couldn’t stay away from the classroom.

“This stage in children’s lives is when they’re actually doing a lot of learning,” she said.

“We’re setting a baseline for their future education, so I think it is important that they are here as often as possible, so they are getting that love of learning and the enjoyment they get in achieving things.

“I missed my children when I was at home, so I definitely needed to be back.

Since the onset of the coronavirus, the centre has upped its cleaning regimen to ensure the safety of staff, parents, grandparents, visitors and the children.

“With all the changes we’ve put in place, if I’m going to be in any workplace, I know how clean this one is and it’s the place to be,” she said.