It's not just kids aged five and up headed back to the classroom, preschoolers are also dealing with the excitement and first-day jitters this week.  

Angie Winkler, Owner of Inspiring Minds Preschool/Jr. Kindergarten says they're taking a lot of steps to ensure students and staff are safe including ramping up their cleaning and sanitizing measures. 

"The biggest thing is the cleaning. We obviously have a cleaning rotation that we normally do, but with COVID we have to clean in between each class. We have four different classes, which means that nothing can be shared by different cohorts."

"In between each class we have to completely clean and disinfect the classroom. The floors, all the furniture, all the toys.  So to help with that we have created a toy rotation. We've grouped our toys into four groups and each week, each class gets a different group of toys which allows us then to just clean those groups of toys once a week rather than twice a day."

Winkler says parents will fill out a health assessment form for their child each day, children's temperatures will be checked before they enter the classroom, they are increasing how often kids wash their hands, and they will stagger snack time for the kids to ensure safe social distancing.  

In addition to that, parents will not be allowed into the classroom for pick ups and drop offs.

Masks are are not mandatory for preschool aged children, but Winkler and other staff members will be wearing them.

"There have been a few parents that have said they will be sending their child in a mask. For the most part, I don't think the kids will be wearing masks. It's really hard with preschoolers to get them to wear the mask appropriately."

Inspiring Minds is located in Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre and Winkler says they are fortunate that the management is allowing them to use the gym every day at scheduled times, and staff there will clean before and after the preschool uses the space.

It is a tough time for a lot of people right now, and that's affected the number of parents choosing to send their kids to preschool. 

Winkler says "We're down to half capacity. Normally we're full. We've got one class that has 18 kids but all the other classes are 10 or less."

She says she's hearing similar stories from other local preschools.

"There's actually some preschools that have delayed opening because they didn't have enrolment to start in September, so they've delayed it to October and they're going to see what happens, but I have heard that there are preschools that have had to close classes."