How this Sheffield children’s group is adapting to offer covid-safe classes during pandemic

After weathering the storm that was the Covid-19 lockdown, a Sheffield children’s group has now reopened and is offering its parent and child classes once again.

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 12:30 pm

Dinky Discoverers gives young children, aged two to four, the chance to explore how the world around them works through science, technology, engineering and maths, with sessions themed around a different experiment.

Sessions had been running four days a week across four separate venues in Sheffield and Barnsley. However these were cancelled over coronavirus fears.

But, after implementing new safety measures, Alice Curran – who founded Dinky Discoverers in 2019 – has been able to welcome children and parents back to sessions again.

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Dinky Discoverers playgroup. Zoe and Alison Slattery.

The first of the new covid-safe sessions was held on September 23 at St Columba’s Church in Crosspool.

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"I’ve cut the class numbers down significantly so there are a maximum of six households at one time and each has their own station,” Alice said.

"Stations are socially distanced and I provide a box for them to explore. It’s got all the equipment in and all the supplies they need so the only reason they would need to leave the station is to use the toilet or cleaning facilities. I also provide a sanitising station for customers to use.”

Dinky Discoverers playgroup. Isla and Gillian Galsthorpe.

Sessions will be held every Wednesday at St Columba’s, but Alice hopes to hold more in the future.

Alice said: “Our first session worked really well. I was pleasantly surprised, the kids accepted it – at that age they’re very good at accepting things for what they are.

"I’m just really passionate about giving the families that want it that opportunity to get some of that stimulus and that social exposure.

She added: “There’s been a lot of adapting. In our first session we made lava lamps which involved some water and oil. Pre-covid I’d fill a jug with oil and send it around the table so they’d be able to pour it out themselves and pass it on to their friend.

Alice Curran, owner and founder of Dinky Discoverers

"It’s finding other ways that mean the children can still feel like its their experiment and they’re doing as much of it as they possibly can but in a covid-safe way.”

For more information on the sessions visit the Dinky Discoverers website.

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Dinky Discoverers owner Alice Curran speaking to socially distanced parents and children
Dinky Discoverers playgroup. Rob and Rowan Jones