Wel am dymor!

Dywedodd Socrates Cyfrinach newid yw canolbwyntio’ch holl egni nid ar ymladd yr hen ond ar adeiladu’r newydd.  Mae’r tri mis diwethaf wedi ein gorfodi i gofleidio newid heb fawr o ddewis nac amser i feddwl amdani. Mae’r pandemig wedi gyrru’n haelodau a ninnau i wneud penderfyniadau anodd a chyflym sydd wedi effeithio ar fywydau plant bach Cymru’n enfawr. Ers cau ysgolion ac yn eu tro y Cylchoedd Meithrin a‘n swyddfeydd gan fabwysiadau ffordd newydd o weithio gartref yn barhaol, mae Mudiad Meithrin wedi gorfod ystyried pob agwedd o’m gwaith a’u haddasu mewn modd sydd yn parhau i gefnogi a gwarchod Cylchoedd Meithrin, y gweithlu a theuluoedd led led Cymru. Rydym wedi gweld ein cydweithwyr ar lein mewn amgylchiadau gwahanol, gwallt i fyny, barf newydd, dim colur, cathod yn cerdded heibio, plant yn dod i ddweud ‘helo’ ar y sgrin, a’r defnydd o’r frawddeg ‘ ti ar mute’ o leiaf 5 gwaith y diwrnod! Ond tu ôl y cynnwrf a’r sefyllfaoedd ysgafn mae’n haelodau ni wedi ( ac yn parhau) i weithio o dan amodau heriol iawn. Ers cyhoeddiad Llywodraeth Cymru nol ym mis Mawrth yn cynghori y dylid cadw plant bach adref, fe gaeodd rhan helaeth o’r Cylchoedd Meithrin oherwydd gostyngiad mewn plant neu nifer o staff yn hunan ynysu. Mae’r sefyllfa hon wedi parhau gyda drysau’r cylchoedd ar gau  a sŵn plant yn canu wedi dyfod am y tro. Mae Dewin a Doti’n ynysu yn ei balalŵn. Rydym wedi gweithio’n galed fel tîm i gadw mewn cyswllt gyda’n haelodau drwy’r Swyddogion Cefnogi a rhannu negeseuon pwysig ar lein a diweddariadau e-byst bron yn ddyddiol i gadw pwyllgorau a staff yn gyfredol i’r hyn sydd yn digwydd. Wrth gwrs yr her fwyaf gyda hyn yw’r cyflymder mae’r wybodaeth yn newid, yn llythrennol dros nos weithiau; ond cymerwyd y penderfyniad ei fod yn well rhannu’r wybodaeth sydd gennym na ‘radio silence’ pur. Risg wrth gwrs, ond mae’r llu o e-byst sydd wedi cyrraedd ein post gan Gylchoedd Meithrin a phwyllgorau rheoli’n canmol y gefnogaeth, arweiniad a’r cyngor sydd yn dod gennym yn dyst bod y risg wedi talu. Beth sydd nesaf? Yr her nesaf a’r newid nesaf sydd o’m blaenau yw ail agor Cylchoedd Meithrin a Meithrinfeydd Dydd. Mae’n wir i ddweud bod ceisio ail agor yn fwy anodd na chau. Mae gwir ansicrwydd ariannol yn wynebu nifer o gylchoedd a llwyth o gwestiynau’n codi : Beth os nad ydym yn gallu llenwi’n llefydd? Beth os bydd disgwyl i ni gyfyngu’n rhifau? O ble daw’r incwm i dalu cyflogau staff? Gan amlaf, tymor yr Haf yw tymor prysuraf y cylchoedd sy’n cynnig amryw o gyfleoedd i gynyddu’u hincwm a chodi arian i’w cynnal drwy dymor yr Hydref. Rydym yn mawr obeithio bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn cydnabod y pryderon yma gan gynnig cymorth ariannol trwy grantiau i’r sector Gofal Plant a Chwarae. Rhaid i ni gofio, yn wahanol i ysgolion, nid yw cyllidebau’r sector nas gynhelir  wedi’u gwarchod ac mae darpariaethau’n llwyr ddibynnol ar ffioedd a grantiau. Mae Mudiad Meithrin gyda phartneriaid Cwlwm yn parhau i godi’r heriau yma o gwmpas bwrdd Llywodraeth Cymru. Her arall sydd yn ein hwynebu yw gosod y canllawiau iechyd hylendid a diogelwch ar waith yn y  Cylchoedd Meithrin. Sut bydd hwn yn edrych? Oes digon o staff gennym? A fydd rhieni’n dychwelyd? Pa offer fedrwn ni ddefnyddio? Oes angen newid ein polisïau a gweithdrefnau? Sut byddwn yn diogelu pawb ac ymbellhau plant ( hyd gallwn gyda phlant bach!) sut fedrwn fagu hyder staff i ddychwelyd i’r gwaith a magu ffydd rhieni i ddychwelyd?  Rhestr ddiddiwedd o gwestiynau a mynydd o waith! Symud o’r hen a chofleidio’r newydd . Mae cydweithio a chyfathrebu’n bwysicach nac erioed er mwyn adfer cymunedau’r Cylchoedd Meithrin. Beth am y plant?Rydym yn gwybod bod staff y cylchoedd yn cadw mewn cyswllt cyson a’r plant a’u teuluoedd, teulu ydynt ac mae’r plant wrth eu boddau yn gweld antis y cylch ar lein! Mae Mudiad Meithrin  wedi addasu’n gwaith a’n gwasanaethau drwy symud ein harlwy yn ddigidol er mwyn sicrhau bod plant bach Cymru’n clywed y Gymraeg yn eu cartrefi – sesiynau Cymraeg i Blant, sesiynau Ti  a Fi , Gŵyl Dewin a Doti ar lein a Chlwb Cylch. Mae’r ymateb yn wych ac yn dyst ein bod yn llwyddo i sicrhau bod y Gymraeg dal ar glyw yn lolfa’r plant. Gallwn sgwennu traethawd hir am yr holl waith sydd ar y gweill a’r gefnogaeth fydd yn digwydd, ond y gwir yw, bydd  Cylchoedd Meithrin, staff, pwyllgorau a’r gymuned yn barod i wynebu pob her fel mae’n dod. Byddwn ni  fel mudiad yn parhau i lobio a chydweithio gyda phartneriaid megis Llywodraeth Cymru, yr Awdurdodau Lleol, AGC, athrawon ymgynghorol ac Estyn i’w diogelu a hwyluso’r cyfnod yma cymaint ag sydd yn bosib. Mae hanes ers sefydlu Mudiad Meithrin a Chylchoedd Meithrin bron i 50 mlynedd yn ôl yn dangos bod y cylchoedd yn barod i ganolbwyntio’u holl egni nid ar ymladd yr hen ond ar adeiladu’r newydd. Heb ots  – bydd aelodau Mudiad Meithrin yn gwarchod yr hen (ein traddodiadau a’r iaith)   ond fe fyddwn yn creu siaradwyr Cymraeg bach mewn cyfnod  ac amgylchiadau newydd iawn.

Well, what a term!

Socrates said, ‘The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.’ The past three months have forced us to embrace change with little choice in the matter, and with little time to think about it. The pandemic has meant that we and our members have had to make difficult decisions quickly; decisions which have had a huge effect on the lives of the young children of Wales.   Since the closure of schools, and subsequently the Cylchoedd Meithrin and our offices, we have adopted new ways of working from home and Mudiad Meithrin has had to consider every aspect of our work and methods of adapting it which allows us to continue supporting and protecting Cylchoedd Meithrin, the workforce and families throughout Wales.  We’ve seen our co-workers online in very different circumstances – hair up, five o’clock shadow, no make-up, cats strolling past in the background, children popping up on screen to say ‘hello’ and we’ve heard ‘you’re on mute’ at least five times a day!  But behind the tumult and the light-heartedness, our members have got to grips with working under very challenging circumstances – and they continue to do so. Since the Welsh Government’s announcement back in March, which recommended keeping small children safe at home, the vast majority of Cylchoedd Meithrin have closed their doors – due to the reduction in numbers of children attending, or due to the number of staff self-isolating. This situation continues and the doors of the cylchoedd remain closed. For the time being the cylchoedd remain silent. Dewin and Doti are isolating in their balalŵn.  We have worked hard as a team to keep in contact with our members, through the Support Officers and by sharing important messages online and sending out emails on almost a daily basis to keep committees and staff up to date with what is happening.  Of course the greatest challenge has been the speed with which information has changed, literally overnight on occasion; but we took the decision that sharing the information we have is better than complete ‘radio silence’. This of course comes with a risk, but the horde of emails sent to us from Cylchoedd Meithrin and committees praising the support, leadership and advice coming from ourselves is proof that this risk has paid off.  What’s next? The next challenge and the next change we face is to open Cylchoedd Meithrin and Day Nurseries. It’s true to say that attempting to reopen is proving more difficult than closure. A number of cylchoedd are facing genuine financial uncertainty, and a flurry of questions are arising: What if we are unable to fill our spaces? What happens if we are expected to restrict our numbers? How will we generate income to pay staff salaries? Usually, the Summer term is the busiest time for the cylchoedd, offering a variety of opportunities to increase income and raise funds to sustain them through the autumn term. We are hopeful that the Welsh Government will acknowledge our concerns by offering financial support to the Childcare and Play sector in the form of grants. We must remember that, unlike schools, the non-maintained sector’s budgets are not protected, and provisions are entirely dependent on fees and grants. Mudiad Meithrin, along with our Cwlwm partners, continue to bring these issues to the table in discussions with the Welsh Government.  Another challenge facing us is establishing health, hygiene and safety guidelines in the Cylchoedd Meithrin. How will this look?  Do we have sufficient staff? Will parents return? Which equipment may we use? Do we need to change our policies and procedures? How will we protect everybody and ensure children observe social distancing (as far as young children are able!) How can we foster confidence amongst staff and parents, giving them faith to return?  An endless list of questions and a mountain of work! Moving on from the old and embracing the new. Cooperation and communication are more important than ever in order to save the communities of the Cylchoedd Meithrin. What about the children?We know that the staff of the cylchoedd regularly keep in touch with their children and families, they are families and the children are overjoyed at seeing the aunties of the cylchoedd online! Mudiad Meithrin has adapted our work and services by moving our offering online, ensuring that the little children of Wales can hear the Welsh language in their homes – Cymraeg i Blant sessions, Ti a Fi sessions, Gŵyl Dewin a Doti and Clwb Cylch. The response has been fantastic, and is evidence that we’ve been successful in ensuring that Welsh is still heard in the children’s homes.  I could write a long essay about all our ongoing work and all the support offered, but the truth is that the Cylchoedd Meithrin, their staff, committees and community are ready to face each challenge as it comes. As an organisation we will continue to lobby and cooperate with partners such as the Welsh Government, the Local Authorities, CIW, advisory teachers and Estyn to safeguard and facilitate as much as we can during this period. Our history, since the establishment of Mudiad Meithrin and the Cylchoedd Meithrin almost 50 years ago, has shown that we are ready to focus all of our energy not on fighting the old but on building the new. Without a shadow of a doubt, Mudiad Meithrin’s members will preserve the old (our traditions and our language), but we will be creating young new Welsh speakers in a new period, and under very different circumstances.  Leanne MarshHead of Service Development