Frustration grows over closure of baby and toddler groups in Jersey

Parents and child carers in Jersey are growing increasingly frustrated with the ongoing closure of baby and toddler groups. Nurseries reopened in June last year but the vast majority of baby groups haven't restarted since the current rules limit them to just ten people, including the children.

Some parents are concerned about the impact the lack of face to face social interacting is having on youngsters' development.

Jersey Mums Meet Up Founder, Emma Sykes, has warned that new parents in particular are also feeling the loss of the groups.

Being a new mum's isolating on its own anyway, and just to have that support network withdrawn, it's been really tough. And hearing from mums at the moment that their mental health is really suffering.

Emma Sykes, Jersey Mums Meet Up founder

Interactive play group, The Story Frog, has been inundated with messages from parents asking when classes will restart.

The owner of the group, Emily Ryan-Jones, says the cost of running the group for such a small number makes it not financially viable.

There is also confusion around why children count towards the so-called 'rule of ten' in a business setting but not within an indoor home environment.

We want to find out why inside the business environment where it's very controlled, hand sanitiser being used, 2 metre distancing, masks being worn by all adults, children aged 3 and under so count within that environment and not within the home environment.

Emily Ryan-Jones, The Story Frog teacher

The long-running soft play group, Toddler Sense, has also remained closed since the Autumn because the venue has not been able to accommodate the restrictions.

The franchise owner, Sam Ranieri, announced in November that she would be selling the business as she was unable to find another venue.

Some outdoor play groups are restarting Credit: Jennifer Le Rossignol

Some outdoor groups have been able to adapt to the restrictions. The Nightingale Nature Explorers will restart after the February half term in groups of 5 children and 5 parents.

We've seen a group of children be born into a world where there aren't really playgroups and things going on physically, there are some online but I think it's really important for children to see each other and actually for parents to have that support network and contact in person.

Jennifer Le Rossignol, Forest school teacher

Physical distancing and extra cleaning measures will be in place.