Monthly Parenting Magazine

Telling it like it is: Anna Woolf on baby classes ...

Telling it like it is: Anna Woolf on baby classes and playgroups during the pandemic

Anna Woolf Back To School

Anna Woolf is a Marketing Consultant and mama to Alba 5, and Luna 1.

The R number is on the rise. It feels unavoidable after a more relaxed summer. And every day the news feels overwhelming; it’s hard to know what to do or how to stay safe. We are coping by dealing with what we can do, week by week. That means being mainly focused on keeping the big one in school, but what about the littlest? Luna has spent the majority of the first year of her life in lockdown. She has never really been to a playgroup, she doesn’t really have many friends (or ones that she sees regularly). Soft play or the usual baby and toddler friendly activities (which all seem to involve sharing/dribbling/and generally giving and receiving germs) feel risky. We’ve decided however that we have to do something.

Last week we tried out two complimentary classes: Didi Dance at Artsdepot and Monkey Music (both have a range of classes across the UK). The classes felt super safe: the organisations have worked hard to create Covid-secure procedures such as noting everyone’s contact details for test and trace, sanitising instruments (or you can bring your own!) as well as keeping littles and their grown-ups at a safe distance in the class.

You know what? I was really impressed. It definitely felt different to a usual baby class (I fear those days are gone, for a while at least), but both classes still contained the essence of what is so important for our littles’ development: joy, music and socialisation. Once I’d gotten over my own embarrassment of singing incy wincy out of tune (!) it was amazing to see Luna light up in a way I haven’t seen yet. She was really enjoying the sense of community that the classes brought and loved trying the different instruments and toys.

We will continue with one class a week for now, as long as the government allows it. The rules continue to change and who knows what the next few weeks or months will bring as lockdown continues to change and evolve. All I know now is that I’ve seen a glimpse of Luna’s future – playing with kids her own age, and getting more used to being in different places with different people. And, despite the restrictions imposed and the worry we are feeling, it’s time to take that step.