Children are scrubbing hands enthusiastically following advice on avoiding the spread of coronavirus. As a result, staff at Springfield Bees Pre-School in Chelmsford, Essex decided it was time to review their procedures for health and hygiene. Their task began with manager Carla Deluca taking an online course on Infection Prevention and Control in an Early Years Setting offered by EduCare.
All staff completed the training about a year ago. But Ms Deluca says in the current climate it was important to refresh their knowledge. The course takes about 45 minutes to complete and covers infection prevention and control, cleaning procedures for toys, equipment and the environment, how to understand and follow guidance for managing illness and infections, and offers explanations of key terms.
Ms Deluca printed out resources from the training and shared them with staff. The course asks students to score at least 70 per cent in a questionnaire, which she asked her team to complete. Nursery staff were already doing most of what the course recommended, she says, but it made them more aware of certain practices, such as how frequently to clean equipment. A sand tray, for example, needs attention every three months. They also discovered they were cleaning table tops, work surfaces and floors using the wrong technique. ‘Our staff said they’d start in the middle and work outwards in concentric circles,’ says Ms Deluca.
‘But you need to start with the cleanest bit and work towards the dirtiest.’
Completing the training also prompted Ms Deluca to contact parents who had not immunised their children. ‘We don’t discriminate, but we’ve sent out information to those families about the importance of immunisation with some information from the NHS website,’ she says.
The course also outlined which cases of notifiable diseases nurseries should report to Ofsted and the Health and Safety Executive. These include coronavirus, scarlet fever and outbreaks of food poisoning.
Ms Deluca says the children have taken to handwashing with zeal. ‘They have been washing their hands to Happy Birthday twice. The children are really interested.’