Coronavirus: How nannies and special caregivers can keep helping with childcare amid COVID-19 lockdown

The secretary of education on Tuesday clarified nanny's and special caregivers can continue to help families with childcare throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. 

One nannying agency says it's been inundated with calls from parents who require urgent childcare as schools shut, and school holidays are brought forward.

Leanne Pirie has been a nanny to five-year-old Jimmy, four-year-old Claudia, and two-and-a-half-year-old Alexa for just more than a year. 

Their parents are in healthcare and are essential workers. 

"They [parents] can just walk out and know that their kids are well looked after," Pirie told Newshub.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Education clarified caregivers will be able to keep working with a family during the lockdown.

But there are strict conditions - they shouldn't be over 70-years-old or have health issues and they can only have contact with the family they nanny for, and their own - both households counted as one self-isolation group. 

"It is critical that that buddy can not then have other contacts other than their own household, you all become one group, but it should be a tight group," secretary of education Ioana Holsted told reporters.

And there's already been such a surge in nanny requests that one agency is trying to frantically recruit out of work hospitality and tourism staff.

"Working parents need to urgently access safe, trusted child care in their own homes," Dream Childcare chief executive Tanya Burrage said.

With schools now effectively closed, the Ministry of Education says it will support distance learning by sourcing devices and working through issues with internet access.   

But from next week, learning's on hold and the school holidays are starting early. A trip to the park is okay but playgrounds are off-limits.

"We're saying no to playground equipment because COVID can sit on surfaces," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.