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Little learners . . . Mea Alexandar (left, 4) and Poema Sam (3) get back into the swing of things at kindergarten last week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The number of children returning to Oamaru kindergartens in Level 3 is low, but growing every day.

Of the Oamaru Kindergarten Association’s five kindergartens, three reopened last week and about 4% of the 220 children enrolled were attending, general manager Julie Craig said.

Children who had returned were either unable to learn at home or had parents who were essential workers. Their return had been “smooth”, Ms Craig said.

“It was great to see how quickly the children settled in and enjoyed their familiar surroundings,” she said.

“The teachers loved seeing the children, as well.

“While there are some activities which we can’t provide, there are many new things for children to take part in.”

The health, safety and happiness of the children at kindergarten were “absolute priorities”, Ms Craig said.

“We continue to get great advice from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, and we are following that advice.

“The children were really well versed in things like regular hand washing and teachers talked to them about their kindergarten bubble.”

In Level 3, there are up to 10 children in each kindergarten bubble. Two teachers accompany each bubble, with backup from another teacher.

“The other kindergarten teachers [are] either working on site or at their homes providing online activities for the families who are staying home,” Ms Craig said.

“We really want to support our communities as we know how tough it’s been for parents and caregivers trying to juggle work and home-life.

“That goes to the heart of what community kindergartens are all about.”