It has been a "frantic" time for essential service workers, finding new educators and carers for their children.

Home-based childcare providers have seen an influx of parents needing help since schools and early childhood centres closed under Covid-19 alert level four lockdown.


Last week the Government agreed for essential workers who could not make their own arrangements.

The handful of approved providers on the list included Edubase, based in Tauranga.

Advertisement

Edubase teaching and early learning manager Jacqui Haywood told the Bay of Plenty Times the demand in the last week has been "massive".

"We are just trying to source teachers. We just can't supply the demand [at the moment] to be honest."

The service caters for children up to the age of 14.

In the Bay of Plenty, it has staff from Ōpōtiki to Ōmokoroa.


Haywood said educators had to be police-checked before they could be hired, so the challenge was "finding the appropriate people who fit the brief".

To prevent virus transmission, each carer could only work with one residence or family.

Pāpāmoa home-based carer Sam Room said it was "an honour" to care for a child of an essential service worker.

"I really feel these guys [essential services]. They have been under-appreciated for so long, and you know it takes something like this for people to actually say 'These guys are earning under minimum wage, they are actually keeping the country together at the moment'."

Advertisement

She said when education centres and schools shut down early last week it was especially "frantic" for parents who were essential service workers.


Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website


Room said her daily routine as an educator hadn't changed and she was able to provide play equipment at her home and facilitate short walks.

She noticed the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on young children before the lockdown, with them needing more attention.

"Children pick up on adult stresses. They pick up on a lot of a lot of emotions that are floating around."

The Government has advised essential workers to "use their existing networks for in-home care, for example, a neighbour, relative, friend or current carer/nanny who can come to their house, or provide childcare in their own home".

It also said, "If essential workers are unable to access childcare to perform their essential service, the Government will fund other licensed childcare providers ... to provide in-home care to the children aged 0-14".

These in-home carers were also classified as essential workers.

The pairing of the child's family and the caregiver's family "must remain the same for the whole four weeks" of the lockdown, the Government said.