‘Saplings’ pre-school was closed from mid-March to mid-August to keep in line with new rules and regulations set out by the Government of Sri Lanka due to the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, pupils were given workbooks and notebooks by their teachers so that under the guidance of their parents, they could get involved in some activities at home.  In addition, their teachers kept in touch with parents in order to monitor the children’s development and safety.

In mid-August, ‘Saplings’ was able to reopen as permitted by Government regulations. This meant that the body temperature of each pupil was checked before he or she could enter the school and rules around regular hand washing, wearing a mask and social distancing were adhered to. During this time pupils engaged in writing, drawing, painting, singing, dancing and playing indoor/outdoor games. The children truly enjoyed meeting their friends again and playing together. The school continued to function in this way until 2nd October, when once more, the Government decided to close all pre-schools and schools to reduce the effects of the second wave of Covid-19.

The school remains closed but a teacher makes visits to the home of each pupil and via one-to-one tuition guides them towards activities that they can complete at home. Story books, paper, colour pencils, clay and other school materials are also supplied. In addition, parents are briefed on the rights of children and the need to remain tolerant and kind during the lockdown period. 

Due to the situation in the country, the annual school concert may not happen this year, but a small graduation ceremony is expected to be held in 2021 for the pupils leaving ‘Saplings’ to start primary school. At the time of writing, the Government is yet to grant permission to reopen pre-schools in this area as they are situated in the high risk Colombo District of the Western Province of Sri Lanka.