Making Sure Your Preschool is a Safe Preschool
Do you know what makes a safe preschool? How can you be sure that the preschool you have chosen for your child is truly a safe one? There are many factors that will work toward making the decision to send your child to a particular preschool or not. Things such as cost, facilities and location will be near the top of your list but the most important factor should be whether the preschool is what is considered a safe preschool for your child.
One of the first steps toward a safe preschool is staff. Making sure that the people who work at, run and interact with your children are properly trained and qualified and pass all the necessary background checks is essential. Being able to trust the people who will be caring for child is crucial. There should also be a high enough ratio of child care providers to children so as to ensure that each child under their care is given the full attention that they require. Additionally it is a good idea for some staff members to be trained in and hold a current child CPR and first aid certification.
There are many areas in a preschool that need to be considered for safety, each one requiring various procedures and checks and access to the preschool itself should be closely monitored.
- Play Areas: Toys should be cleaned on a daily basis and any broken or malfunctioning toys should be promptly removed and either safely repaired (if possible) or discarded. Keep an eye open for electrical, tripping or health hazards – for example electrical cables should be unbroken and kept out of high traffic areas, stairs should have handrails and toys should be kept out of areas where children and adults could trip over them.
- Classrooms: The arrangement of furniture in a classroom should be in such a way so that a person can see all the children in the classroom without major obstruction.
- Outdoor Areas: The outdoor areas are often the places that present the most hazards for a child. Having a soft, non-toxic ground cover is a great start to creating a safe preschool. Additionally other safety measures should be put in place such as: securing raised areas with a railing; keeping playground equipment a safe distance from the ground as well as each other; clearing low hanging tree branches, thorn bushes and other risky plants away; securing the entire area with a safety fence; and restricting outside access.
- Eating Areas: Another area for concern is the eating and food preparation area. Making sure that these areas are kept clean and sanitized is a big step toward a safe preschool environment.
- Rest Rooms: Finally restrooms should be designed in a child friendly manner and stocked with non-toxic hand soaps and sanitary drying equipment.
Regular inspection for hazards of all equipment and areas that the children will be using is essential in keeping the safety of the school and children on track. Importantly the preschool should have an emergency evacuation plan for each of the areas that make up the facility and children attending the school should be educated as to how the evacuation plan will proceed. Furthermore it is imperative that all harmful substances and materials – such as cleaning and sanitizing chemicals and first aid substances – should be kept locked away in child proof storage units.
Finally a safe preschool is one that has an established set of guidelines and rules regarding drop offs and pick ups as well as how to approach physically harmful situations and medical/health concerns.
Nothing is more important than the safety of your children when it comes to choosing a preschool and knowing what makes a safe preschool will help you select the best school possible for your children. When you next find yourself wandering through a seemingly safe preschool keep a mental checklist of the things that we have suggested above. If the school ticks all these boxes you can rest assured that the safety of your child at their preschool will be one less thing for you to worry about.