With Level 5 now in place for the whole country, Early Years Services need to continue to be vigilant with government advice to ensure that services can continue to operate safely. In September, many services re-opened their doors and have worked tirelessly to ensure that staff and children are kept safe from the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. A pandemic is new to everyone with no exceptions and it most undoubtedly took some time to get used to all of the new procedures that were put in place. As we begin mid-term break it is a good time to take stock and to assess all of the new processes and procedures to ensure that they continue to work for the safety of everyone.
The key recommendations to reduce the risk of transmission have not changed: good hand hygiene, good respiratory hygiene, social distancing and regular cleaning and disinfecting. In order to keep staff and children safe and reduce the transmission of the virus you need to keep the virus out of the service as far as possible. This begins with ensuring staff and children only attend services if they are well and should stay at home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or a viral respiratory infection and contact their GP. Staff and children should also stay at home if there is someone in their household suspected or known to have COVID-19. Do you have a sign outside to remind parents that they need to follow these guidelines? The ‘Hello Everyone A2 Outdoor Poster’ outlines these guidelines and as it is waterproof can be hung outside where it will be visible to everyone.
At the Early Years Shop we have a range of both alcohol and non-alcohol hand sanitising products that will ensure good hand hygiene at your service. Children need to be constantly reminded of hand washing and good respiratory hygiene practices. With our Hand Washing for Children and Blow Your Nose A3 wipe clean posters you can hang them in your classroom where children will be able to easily follow from the colourful images displayed on each poster!
Continue to structure children and staff into play pods that are as small in size as possible and keep a daily record of the people (children and carers) in each pod everyday to facilitate contact tracing if the need arises. Ventilate the indoor environment as much as possible and within temperature requirements and use the outdoor space as much as possible if weather permits. COVID-19 thrives more in an indoor environment. We have a range of products for indoor and outdoor use that will allow you to mark areas for social distancing and pod separation. This includes fun and child friendly indoor floor stickers as well as painting stencils and a rainbow of colours in spray paint to ensure that you keep it bright and colourful for young children.
Ensure that cleaning and disinfecting measures continue to be strictly adhered to with high touch surfaces and objects being cleaned regularly. This includes lights, door switches, door handles, taps, toilet flush handles and tables. Our Klorsept and Klorkleen cleaning and disinfectant range are manufactured in Ireland by Medentech and are already used internationally in hospitals, medical practices, and many other locations sensitive to the dangers of infection. Klorsept and Klorkleen will kill 99.995% of germs and viruses including the SARS coronavirus. The products come in tablet form which can be dropped into the correct amount of water for the required dilution, making them free from leakages and easy to store.
Make sure that the Drop Off and Collection procedures that you have established are working well and that they continue to support social distancing and minimise the number of contacts parents and children have with other parents and children on a daily basis. Ensure that you persist with only allowing access into the service to parents of children with specific needs or in risk categories and find new ways to communicate with parents such as by email, text, phone, social media and newsletters. Encourage parents to move away as soon as they drop or collect so that they are not congregating at the building. The No Congregating Poster will reinforce this message to parents and ensure that you are compliant with Tusla recommendations.
The correct and consistent use of a Visitor Book in your service is a requirement under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 and the Child Care Act 2018 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018. The Act states that ‘All persons entering an early years setting must be approved by an employee and each person must sign in and sign out of the building. The register must be stored for one year from the date it has begun (Regulation 24 (3 &4))’. It is also referenced as one of many safety procedures in our most updated Child Safeguarding Statement.
All visitors to your Early Years service must complete a column of the Visitor Book before they enter the care rooms during operational hours. Visitors include non-employees of the service such as Inspectors (TUSLA, HSA, DES), Mock Inspectors (Canavan Byrne), work experience/placement students, volunteers (should a firefighter, garda, vet or dentist, for example, pay a visit). The time of entry is an important piece of information to input accurately, as well as the time out. The visitor book should be accessible at a location in your service where you are most likely ro remember to use it on entry and exit.
At the Early Years Shop a Visitor Record Book is now available and allows all visitors to the Service to sign in when they arrive and sign out when they leave. The book contains 20 entries per page and has 100 pages per book. The information that must be collected on a visitor record includes Date, Name, Company, Contact Details, Time In, Time Out, Reason for Visit, Authorised by. The Visitor Record Book allows for all of the above. Why not mount a holder to the wall at eye level inside the main door or in the office? Label the holder with a clear conspicuous sign such as; ‘ALL VISITORS PLEASE SIGN IN AND OUT’. Insert an A4 piece of card to allow you to discreetly cover other visitor’s information when inviting people to sign in and out.
In November we see different occasions such as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Diwali and Thanksgiving being celebrated all over the world in different cultures. Although these particular celebrations may not be hugely observed in Ireland there will still be communities who will celebrate them. This is a great opportunity to explore the theme of Diversity with the children in your classroom. As young children begin their school days they will learn that their peers will have a wide variety of abilities, cultures, languages and backgrounds. It is natural for children to notice similarities and differences between themselves and their friends and it is important to encourage children to celebrate them. In our November Curriculum Planning Pack we have included some great Diversity activities that you can do this month to help children understand the differences in people and how they should be celebrated.
We have also included some great activities from the Autumn Pack that you can do with the children. Encouraging children to notice the changes around them helps them to recognise what Autumn is and also to make sense of their world. This can be the change in the weather, falling leaves, pine cones and acorns as well as warmer foods and clothes. Aistear’s Theme ‘Exploring and Thinking’ Aim 1 states ‘Children will learn about and make sense of the world around them’. The Learning Goals of this Aim are to ‘Develop an understanding of change as part of their lives’ and to ‘Learn about the natural environment and its features, materials, animals, and plants and their own responsibility as carers’.
What better way to link in with these Aistear Themed Learning Goals than to use what is outside the front door to engage with the children. Go outside and look for the changes, from the leaves on the ground to the pine cones, horse chestnuts and acorns falling from the trees. The children can listen out for the rustle of the wind in the trees and the crunching of leaves under their feet. They will notice they need warmer layers as it gets colder. The children can be observed during this time and the children’s emerging interests should be used to guide your future curriculum planning.
As preschoolers get older they may start to think of things beyond their own world. They will wonder about the sky and what might be beyond the clouds. In your classroom you can help the children to start thinking about Space including the different planets, the sun, the moon, the stars and of course astronauts and other life forms! This will feed their curiosity and open them up to a new world beyond their own! In the November Pack we have included some great activities from the Outer Space Curriculum Plan Pack that you can use for your Space Theme to encourage the children to explore a new world beyond their own!
- November: The 11th Month of the year, 30 Days
- Flowers: Chrysanthemum
- Weather: Declining temperatures, rain, wind
- Birthstone: Topaz and Citrine
If you are already a member of the Early Years Resource Factory, this new November pack comes free as part of your membership. If you are not already a member you can sign up here. You can also sign up for a trial which will give you access to EYRF for 7 days so that you have a better idea of what the service entails. Click here for your 7 day trial.
As you know, good health and hygiene in your service is not just about COVID-19. We are currently heading into the Winter season where we will now have to encounter the circulation of cold and flu viruses as well as continue the fight against the COVID-19 virus. As with COVID-19 we need to ensure that we clean and disinfect high touch surfaces and practice good hand hygiene to minimise the spread of these viruses. The Dew product range available on The Early Years Shop can be used effectively against Colds and Flu viruses as well as COVID-19. There are a range of different sanitising and disinfectant products available from Dew that are all non-alcohol based, meaning they are safe for us and the environment and non-damaging to surfaces and objects.
DEW sanister products carry no fire risk and are not harmful to your skin or lungs (if inhaled). This means that the product can also be ‘fogged’ to quickly decontaminate an enclosed space. This can be done by using the Room Sanitiser or, for smaller areas or vehicles, the Personal / Car Dry Mister. Either unit is simply filled with the Dew Disinfect Refill (available in both 5 litre and 2.5 litre cans) which disperses a harmless dry mist that will sanitise the air in the area of the room or space that you place the unit, killing 99.995% germs and viruses including Cold and Flu viruses. One Room Sanitiser can sanitise the air in a room of 50 square meters in less than 30 minutes. Our star Dew product is the Air Spray Atomiser which can be used in all areas, including close to food.
How do Dew Products work?
Dew products are made up of 99.84% water, salt (Sodium Chloride) 0.134% and FAC of 0.026%. FAC stands for ‘Free Available Chlorine’ and in Dew’s case FAC is comprised of two components, Hypochlorous Acid and Sodium Hypochlorite. Hypochlorous acid is a substance that the human body itself naturally produces in order to fight infections. The Dew cleansers and disinfectants are made by passing electrical currents through a solution of de-ionised water and high purity salt (Sodium Chloride) in a chamber fitted with a specially designed membrane. This process is known as electrolysis. When Dew (electrolysed water) comes into contact with bacteria the Dew molecules cause an imbalance on the bacteria cell surface, breaking down its defences allowing the Hypochlorous Acid to render it harmless.
Dew Products October Special Offers!
Our special October offers can save you €25.00 on the Dew Room Sanitiser including 2 x 5L Disinfect Refills! The original price for the Dew Room Sanitiser and 2 x 5L Disinfect Refills is €159.00 and for a limited time only you can now purchase for €134.00! You can also save €7.00 on the Personal/Car Dry Mister as it is now reduced from €39.50 to €32.50. We are also delighted to announce a new product bundle available, the Dew Air and 5L Disinfect Refill with a saving of €5. The Dew Air Spray can be used to disinfect and deodrise the air around you. You simply spray liberally to eliminate any impurities such as airborne yeast, pollen and mould spores. It is also effective against cold and flu viruses. It is ideal for anyone who suffers from hayfever and can also be sprayed on clothes, soft furnishings and carpets to freshen up. When your bottle is empty you do not need to discard it but simply fill up again with the 5 Litre refill, encouraging services to reduce their plastic waste by reusing! Head to our Dew Product Range on the Early Years Shop for more information!