Winter! We must say we have been fortunate here in Southern New Brunswick that it has been a pretty mild winter. So far, anyway. The last few days have been pretty frigid temperatures, after a pretty mild start to the season- and we have just had a couple of storm days, where public schools have been closed. Storm days- how do we handle them at Lisa's Playhouse?
In the past, all scheduled staff would come to work on storm days- often to find we were low ratio- over staffed and finding the odd job to do, cleaning or reorganizing or going back home early. The weather forecast usually would be met with dread by the ‘white knuckle drivers’ on staff. We considered closing on storm days- but to be honest- people need us- not everyone can stay home when schools are closed. This past year we came up with a ‘storm crew’. When the weather is calling for a storm- the crew is on standby- As soon as the school closure is announced- our storm crew knows they are on – and the ‘white knuckle drivers’ can stay safely at home.
This year with Co Vid- we reached out to parents and asked who really needed care on storm days- not the ones who just want to keep their nail appointment! (Although we didn’t mention that when we asked, lol) These are our parents who would be really affected if we were closed. Those families have ‘prearranged’ care on storm days. The families whose children do not attend- are not charged for the day. It makes a bit more paperwork for billing- but it has been a game changer for us- knowing which children will be coming in advance. We find it is much more organized- having a list of the attendance before the storm ever hits! Parents can still choose to keep their children home if they want- but if they have prearranged care- they pay regardless.
We have also designated Storm days as Pajama Days! The kids love it and so do the staff who come to work. Another change we made was to delay our opening until 8 am- from our usual 7am. This has not been an issue for our parents- most are just thankful we are open for them. Plus, it gives everyone a little extra time on those days when the roads may be an issue early in the day. If the storm is late starting, or if it lightens up early- we are able to get the kids outside and play in the snow and fresh air. Rarely do we end up ‘stuck inside’ all day.
How do you handle storm days in your center? Do you stay open or do you close? Do you have any activities that are your ‘go-to’ for storm days? We would love to hear how other centers manage! Drop us a comment!