During COVID, we’ve all had to learn to adapt. To keep us safe, we’ve had to look at ways to reduce our contact within services. Dividing up our unique outdoor areas at Gowrie is a big deal. But it has been important to reduce the possibility of the virus being transmitted. It means if there was a positive case, then fewer people would become close contacts and would need to isolate.

At Gowrie Broadmeadows Valley, Kiara and Megan created a social story to support children and families to understand the new garden fencing. In a diverse community such as ours, social stories with imagery and clear simple language enables us to explain clearly and engage with children and families. We’ve often used social stories successfully to support children moving from kinder into school settings, as well as each room developing a social story to support new children and families to familiarise themselves with our service and begin the process of settling in.

The Green Fence social story was emailed to families, so that they could support their children in adjusting to the changes in their outdoor learning environments. Physical copies were produced and distributed to all classrooms at the service. The hard copy social stories were introduced to children during group times, and used as visual guides to support in depth conversation about the changing landscape of our garden and continued conversations about COVID-safe practices with the children.

The response from families and children has been really positive.  Whether families were attending or not, they’ve been able to stay connected with what was happening. The children were excited to recognise themselves, their friends, siblings and educators throughout the social story.  We’ve seen children respond and interact positively through the new green fence process, demonstrating their growing understanding and increasing responsibility for their own health and wellbeing whilst also exploring new ways to stay connected.