It’s that time of the
year again when many new mothers will suffer through what we call separation
anxiety asthey drop off their
little ones at an Early Childhood Institution. The tearful eyes and tantrum
filled goodbyes will make them wish they could spend the entire day. But
knowing that they are in good hands and a safe environment will definitely ease
the pressure. As we look forward to that time, here are some very important
things you should check for at the ECI you will be leaving your child.
An Early Childhood
Institution according to the Early Childhood Regulation 2005 means; a place
that care for four are more children under the age of six years for more than
six hours a day. These institutions include daycare centres, basic
schools, infants’ schools’ pre-schools and kindergartens. Almost all Jamaican
infants attend an Early Childhood Institution in the first years of their
lives; hence it’s very important that they are safe and healthy during their
The infrastructure of these
facilities must be secure and sturdy, weather tight to protect infants from
rain and sun. It must be adequately lit and ventilated. Floors and food contact
surfaces (counters) should be repair to facilitate easy cleaning and a smooth
finish e.g. tiles.
supplied to these facilities should be of a reputable source such as the
National Water commission. This is to ensure that the water use for drinking is
safe and adequate.
The premises should be
equipped with garbage receptacles that meets public health standard to ensure
wastes are stored properly. This will prevent fly breeding, rodent’s
proliferation and other pests which may lead to serious health
The physical layout of the
premises should be of such that children have adequate play space both in and out
Children at these
facilities should always be on the ground floor, away from latch gates and
items that may be harmful to them such as pointed edges and chemicals. The
premises should consist of a sick bay, changing area, feeding and sleeping area.
Toilet facility must be
provided for both staff and children. One toilet facility for every 20 children
and one face basin for every 40 children. These should be the height of a
wheelchair so children can comfortably access them.
As parents we
should provide the child’s immunization card and other records to prove your
child’s well-being before he or she is accepted into the institution.
Staff and children should wash hands regularly, especially after
using the toilet facility and before eating and preparing food.
not be allowed to share toys that can be place in the mouth and for other
playing items, they should be washed and disinfected on a regular basis. All
cribs sheets, pillow slips, bedding and equipment should be washed and
disinfected at least once per week.
should be equipped with a fully supplied first aid kit. In the event of an
emergency school administrators should have the relevant contact information at
hand for the health facility, fire department etc. Additionally, the facility
should be equipped with atleast two fire extinguisher is a conspicuous location.
Finally, and most
importantly the facility should have sufficient staffing to adequately and
comfortably attend to each child.
Children under 1 yr – 1
staff to 5 children
Children 1- 2 yrs - 1 staff to
8 children and
Children 3- 5 yrs – 1 staff to
Staff should be in good
mental, physical health, sound and good moral ethics with no prove of any
Remember our children
are our future; hence we need to protect them today so they will grow to be
strong and health leaders of tomorrow.
How safe do you think your child is at school?