What are the main regulations covering the establishment of a day care centre?
Every childcare facility should be registered by their local authority as well as OFSTED. The main purpose of the register is to provide information about the day care services in the area to parents and employers. The way in which the register is kept should be decided by each local authority and in doing so the following points should be taken into account. The register should be compiled so that child-minders, playgroups and full day care facilities can be identified separately. Each entry should include the name, address, telephone number and number of childcare places. The register should not be kept on open shelves because of the risk of details about these facilities being used in an improper way. Enquiries need to be able to find out easily where they may consult the register. Notices about where it is kept should be displayed where appropriate such as libraries and hospitals. The facility should provide information of the following: the name of the person in authority, the address of the day care centre, and the type of service to be provided e.g. day nursery, playgroup etc., and the ages of children catered for and proposed number of children, experience and qualifications of all staff, references, health, criminal convictions, and names of staff.
Day nurseries may be found in purpose built or converted buildings, whatever types of building are used, the environment should be warm, well lit and child friendly and welcoming. The following space standards which represent clear space per child are desirable: Age of child| Sq. feet| Sq. meters|
0-2 years| 40| 3.7|
2-3| 30| 2.8|
3-5| 25| 2.3|
Fixtures such as cupboards should be excluded when considering whether there is sufficient space. As the premises used for day care are very different, the way in which space can be used will vary. No room, regardless of its size should have to accommodate more than 26 children, except for special occasions and, where possible the maximum should be lower for younger children; there should be a separate room for babies and toddlers with proper facilities for nappy changing and preparation of feeds close to it. There should be separate areas for quiet, noisy and messy activities. There should be appropriate facilities for disabled children. A separate office should be available and also a staff room. There needs to be a kitchen which should be of an appropriate size and adequately equipped to provide meals and snacks for both children and staff. It should conform to environmental health and food safety regulations. Outside playing is important to all children. If an area outside for play is not possible, due to locality, then children should be taken to local parks or playgrounds on a regular basis. A room should also be available for the manager to talk in private to parents and visitors if required. Toilets facilities should be at least one toilet to each 10 children and if possible a separate toilet for staff should be available.
As working with children is demanding and complex, carers require a wide range of skills in order to provide good quality services. Training produces benefits for a variety of reasons. A trained person will understand how to respond sensitivity to young children’s needs. To some degree sensitive responsiveness will reflect personality characteristics but appropriate training will help to improve it for most carers. Training can make caregivers more aware of stages in children’s development and the need to adjust to the child’s changing development needs. There are currently many different training courses available for people wishing to work in this field, with some leading to qualifications. Many workers who already hold qualifications in child day care would benefit from refresher training events and courses. These might be on a specific subject such...