Creating a Safe Haven: A 7-Step Checklist for Early Learning Center Staff
Early Learning staff and directors are the unsung heroes in the Education sector. The incredible staff nurture and protect little minds every day whilst ensuring hygiene and safety in a complex environment to protect. To support them we've crafted a comprehensive 7-step checklist to guide on the essential daily cleaning and safety tasks.
The 7-Step Checklist intends to be a memorable and holistic whilst adequately promoting eco-friendly practices and adhering to relevant NSW Education and Care Services National Regulations (2011 SI 653):
- Scan and Secure - Hazards, Cleanliness, Toys
- Hands-On Hygiene - Wash, Sanitize
- Surfaces in Shape - Clean, Disinfect
- Toys TLC - Sanitize, Check
- Waste Wise - Empty, Sanitize
- Air in Motion - Ventilate, Monitor
- Clean Talk - Share, Educate
Step 1: Scan and Secure
Conduct visual inspections and take a moment each morning to scan your surroundings and ensure the premises are safe and suitable for children, in accordance with Standard 4.3 - Physical Environment. Check for any hazards or spills that require immediate attention, put up signs for staff and guest awareness if needed. Also inspecting play areas, furniture and toys for any signs of damage. Don't forget to provide clear instructions to contract cleaners and staff to stay vigilant on flagging any repairs or hazards.
Step 2: Hands-On Hygiene
Promoting effective hygiene practices is essential, as outlined in Part 4.2: Children's Health & Safety. Remember to lead by example and encourage thorough handwashing with soap and water. When soap and water aren't available, ensure hand sanitizers are accessible, we recommend a highly economical dispensing system with controlled dosages - Deb Instant Foam Hand Sanitiser and soap. Let's keep those little hands clean and germ-free! It's our personal suggestion to avoid alcohol free sanitisers or natural oils. The former is rarely correctly administrated as it requires long contact time to be effective and generally the product is too weakk to kill nasty bacteria and viruses. The latter can burn sensitive skin of children and is not scientifically endorsed by Australian health regulators to kill any harmful bacteria or viruses.
Hot Tip: Try make this fun for the kids to create a positive association with hand-hygiene for a sticky habit to take shape. For example, our customers have said kids love these child-friendly dispensers.
Step 3: Surfaces in Shape
Clean and disinfect surfaces creating a safe and clean environment is a top priority. Opt for child-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products and disinfectants that are gentle yet effective. For convenience check out industry leading wipes with TGA approval to kill corona virus - Whiteley's V-Wipes. If concerns over damage to your floors use a pH neutral cleaner such as Agar's pH7 or Hardtrack. Pay special attention to high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and tables. Particularly important is having an infectious disease outbreak procedure and to use Covid and other harmful virus and bacteria killing chemicals - as in accordance with Part 4.2 Division 2 88 - Infectious diseases (1) If there is an occurrence of an infectious disease at an education and care service, the approved provider of the service must ensure that reasonable steps are taken to prevent the spread of the infectious disease at the service.
Remember to communicate specific instructions to contract cleaners for their after-hours deep cleaning, ensuring they're equipped with the right disinfectant chemicals and not cutting corners with unregulated or overly diluted sub-par brands. See the bottom of this post for eco-friendly cleaners that meet both your cleanliness goals and sustainability aspirations - keep an eye out for the Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) stamp, the “gold class” of Australian ecolabelling programs.
Step 4: Toys TLC
Cleanse and sanitise toys and learning materials regularly with appropriate cleaning solutions, giving special consideration to items that children may put in their mouths. Follow the recommended cleaning frequency to ensure optimal cleanliness and safety. Soaking and use of harsher chemicals best done overnight to give adequate time for rinsing and drying.
Step 5: Waste Wise
Empty and disinfect waste bins. Safety extends to proper waste management. Regularly empty and disinfect waste bins, using suitable liners and ensuring proper disposal. By doing so, you contribute to a hygienic environment and prevent the incubation and spread of harmful bacteria.
Step 6: Air in Motion
Ensure adequate ventilation promoting a fresh and invigorating atmosphere within your center, aligning with Part 4.3 - Physical Environment - Division 1: Ventilation:
The approved provider of an education and care service must ensure that the indoor spaces used by children at the education and care service premises—
(a) are well ventilated; and
(b) have adequate natural light; and
(c) are maintained at a temperature that ensures the safety and wellbeing of children
Open windows to allow natural ventilation or utilize mechanical systems for proper air circulation. Monitoring indoor air quality ensures a healthy breathing environment for everyone involved and can reduce dangerou mould risks.
Deep Dive on mould - see our full blog on mould here
Surface mould treatment levels escalate from killing mould, up to killing mould and mould stain removal and then deep cleansing of mould in highly porous surfaces, mainly external and may involve chlorinated additives. Airborne mould spores need airborne spray treatment, and both the mould and the chemical may have respiratory risk implications - notably fogging protocols on spray droplet sizes, personal protective clothing, and air extraction.
The different levels of mould removal are:
- Killing Mould - Biosan II.
- Killing Mould and Stain Removal - Percide, Mould and Moss Remover.
- Killing Mould, Stain Removal and Deep Clean with Chlorine - Mould X, Mould No More, Mould Exterminator (external use only)
- Bathroom Cleaner with Mould Inhibitor - Mountain Fresh, Lencia.
- Always do spot checks for any negative impact on colour.
Step 7 - Clean Talk
Encourage effective leadership by regularly communicating about cleaning and hygiene. Educate children about the importance of handwashing and cleanliness, empowering them to develop lifelong healthy habits. Additionally, it's vital to communicate specific instructions to third-party contract cleaners, highlighting the need for extra attention during deep cleaning sessions and to use the right chemicals. Emphasize the use of potent disinfectant chemicals to effectively eliminate viruses. Remember, natural products may not provide the same level of protection against illness-causing viruses and there are proven eco-friendly products that are safer and more effective.
We encourage you to reach out if you're interested in further training or information on hygiene, infection control, and best practices. Together, we can create a thriving environment where little minds blossom and flourish.
Reach out to our team for bulk price discounts and any further advice.
Disinfectant Wipes - here
Eco-friendly products across all major brands - here