Childcare may be provided within a variety of settings, from a childminders home through to a purpose built building, making it difficult to be too prescriptive about how a safe environment can be achieved. The obvious starting point is to ensure that basic principles are being followed; for example, no matter how good the security of a building is, the doors must be closed properly in the first place, otherwise all other efforts are likely to be worthless. The message that safety begins with individuals taking responsibility for simple things cannot be overemphasised. Next, a safe environment meets its registration requirements; there are two registers, the Early Years Register (EYR) and the Ofsted Childcare Register (OCR). Settings which provide daycare for children under five have to be registered on the EYR. The OCR has a compulsory part, which applies to childminders and providers of childcare for children of formal school age up to eight years old, and a voluntary part for providers of services to children over the age of eight and also for younger children that are exempt from compulsory registration. Meeting registration requirements means that a setting will be complying with the law and legislation, but providing and maintaining a safe environment requires a greater understanding from everybody involved and a shared belief in the philosophy of that setting as to exactly what it is they want to achieve. The components of a safe environment start with the child and will include: The physical environment - the actual building in which care is provided. Indoor and outdoor areas where children learn, play and develop must be accessible for users whilst maintaining levels of security that keep children safe and protected from harm.
The people - those providing care are suitable persons (as defined in the EYFS Welfare Requirements) and others who have contact with the children and premises are appropriate to do so.
Equipment - play equipment and care equipment which is fit for purpose, appropriate for the needs of individual children and meets the guidelines for British and European standards.
The emotional environment- which enables children to grow, develop and reach their full potential, with opportunities to explore and take appropriate risks, enabling children to try out new skills and increase their knowledge and understanding of the world around them, through experiences which are both planned and unplanned.
Documentation - policies and procedures and records that support all of the above which have clearly set out duties, responsibilities and actions.
When working with young children who are vulnerable, the challenges for creating and managing a safe environment are different again. Practitioners must work closely with a child's parents to address aspects which may not be covered in a risk assessment, but still need to be considered for an individual child's well-being; for example, having constant access to an appropriate quiet corner can give a sense of security to a child who is feeling overwhelmed. Other aspects regarding the physical capability/vulnerability of a child impact on how practitioners meet specific needs. There should be a focus on an enabling environment with equipment and resources that are suitable with sufficient space for relevant activities.
Procedures for fire and or security incidents:-
All documents are kept on correct health and safety procedure for fire and other emergencies in the managers office within the nursery. All staff will be made familiar with the fire and security procedures on inset days; ensuring new members of staff are updated and proficient in all procedures. Regular fire drills are held each month to evacuate the building, which are timed, with different situations imposed on staff and children all of which are initiated by the manager. All children will assemble in the front garden, where the children will gather in their groups. Team...
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