By Maria Garcia and Freya Rodriguez – Kids Club Associate
In this blog Kids Corner staff members Maria Garcia and Freya Rodriguez reflect on this last year’s Covid experience while working in the child care department and how Kids Club has been essential to our members both mentally and emotionally. Read below about how Paseo Club families have been able to rely on us to bring a little bit of normalcy back to their lives during these unstable times.
Kids Club has been able to reopen and adapt during these difficult times. Kids Club has been able to provide a safe and fun atmosphere for children to come and escape the stress of quarantine and distance learning. When schools were closed and community sports were postponed until further notice, Paseo Club was able to help provide a sense of normalcy that kids and families needed. Children were removed from social interaction with their peers and engaging in activities like art and science were scarce. Children are very social and the pandemic forced our children to stay home and learn a new way of life that was alien. Children learn through play and developmentally grow through interactions and exploration. Childcare at the Paseo Club has been a saving grace for our members providing a service they all desperately needed. Play.
‘Pandemic.’ If you were to ask adults how they felt toward this word last year, you’d most likely receive responses that are along the lines of being scary and life-changing. However, now that we’ve hit the anniversary of the start of the pandemic, we can probably all agree that the alterations we have seen in our lifestyles are now the new normal (going grocery shopping with a mask on, making sure to sanitize household items more often, etc.). But what about the children’s thoughts? What exactly are they thinking when they hear that the world is facing a global pandemic? You may hear them ask questions such as “why do I have to wear a mask all the time?” or “why can’t I have a huge birthday party anymore?”
Being a kid can be hard in terms of understanding that we are in a novel way of living and it’ll be a while before we get back to the way things once were. In their perspective, it isn’t fair that they’re forced to do things they were never expected to do before. For instance, masks are mandatory everywhere these days and children have to adapt to wearing one which can be very difficult to enforce, especially for the young ones. A piece of material over their mouths can be nothing but a hindrance as it can slip down their faces if too big, irritate the back of their ears if too small, get dirty after a runny nose, or get soiled when the kids put it in their mouths. As someone who works with children of various ages, I definitely notice how tough it can be for the child to wear one, especially if it’s for an extended amount of time.
Not only are kids seeing a change in the outside world, but also right inside their homes. School is now being taught online and they have to adapt to a new kind of education like waking up in the morning to do P.E. with their class over zoom or having Mom and Dad teach them the methods of counting money. They no longer have the recess period to play with their friends and now spend most of their time sitting in front of a screen finishing up school work.
Life hasn’t been the same recently and it has definitely changed the way children live out their childhood. While it may be difficult for many adults, don’t forget that kids are experiencing the trouble of it all as well. As the world continues to make progression and slowly find the light at the end of the tunnel, we need to continue to educate children about the pandemic and help them become comfortable with the world around them while keeping them safe.
A few testimonials: Elizabeth soon to be seven years old has been a frequent visitor to kids club during the pandemic. Elizabeth loves playing outdoors on our playground. ” My favorite part about kids club is going on the swings and doing crafts and playing kitchen with my teachers.” Elizabeth explains. At the start of the pandemic, all city playgrounds were closed and Kids club was able to provide outdoor fun as we quickly purchased our sanitation equipment to keep all sharable toys and outdoor play structures clean. Children like Elizabeth are very active and have lots of energy. Elizabeth loves coming to Paseo Club to swim, play tennis and take advantage of some of the Summer and Winter camps that Paseo Club had to offer. We all miss going to school and playing with friends. Paseo club has been an answer for a lot of families to incorporate outdoor fitness and fun in a safe way.
Stella, four years old, loves doing arts and crafts in the big kid’s room. Kids club prepares weekly crafts for our guests. Every week there is something new to do or create, making visiting Kids Club every week fun and something to look forward to. Children sometimes leave with piles of coloring pages and crafts. Every single piece is a work of art and Stella’s mommy always leaves with handfuls. Stella has enjoyed jewelry making and creative crafts during her stay at kids club.
Miss Maria explains, “Parents have told me time and time again, “Thank you so much for playing with my kids.” ” Kids club staff thank you so much for providing art and fun for our children during these difficult times. Parents see a positive change in their child’s mood from drop off to pick up. Yes we are all wearing masks and sanitizing our hands but we can still see those big smiles in our kids eyes.