Why is Parent Engagement so critical right now?
COVID-19: Childcare Centre Support
Are your parents up to date with your most recent Health Practices and Procedures?
With the World Health Organisation’s recent update of the COVID-19 now being classed as a pandemic, your parents are most likely thinking about health practices and procedures in their workplace as well as in their child’s care centre.
Here are three tips to ease concern and ensure you go beyond just meeting the requirements for QA 2.1.
1. Policy Review
Your health and safety/hygiene policy most likely already has all of the necessary steps included for your childcare centre to be compliant. Now’s a relevant time to review it. Whether you make any adjustments or not, let’s now reshare this with parents. Ensure that the health and safety of their children and your staff are always at the forefront of your mind as a childcare centre and that you regularly update your health and safety and hygiene policy.
In terms of sharing, your current CCS software provider should have a way of instantly communicating with families. If they don’t, a lot of other providers do offer this.
2. Documentation & Observations
As with any of the seven quality areas of the NQS, documentation is key. Let’s get creative with documenting how educators actively support children to learn hygiene practices (including handwashing, coughing, dental hygiene, and ear care). Try taking an observation with multiple photos to cycle through, of children being shown how to properly wash their hands, when they should wash their hands and the frequency recommended to keep us all safe. If possible, try and include in the background of the observation and information about correct hand-washing procedures displayed in relevant areas of the service (i.e. above the handwashing station).
Make sure (among your other learning outcomes) you tag the Quality Standard 2.1 – specifically element 2.1.2, in these observations so that you’re tying this exercise back to the NQS. Make sure you use an app that has instant parent engagement as a feature included so that (after you’ve reviewed the content) these observations are sent straight to parents/guardians of these kids. This has two critical purposes:
Purpose 1. Parents/guardians will experience a sense of relief with more and more documentation being securely sent to them outlining how safe and hygienic your centre is and also how their children are learning about the importance of hygiene practices (including handwashing, coughing, dental hygiene, and ear care). Clear and consistent communication is important for parents.
Purpose 2. Older Parents and Grandparents whose doctors have informed are “at-risk” of infection are able to receive the observations of their children or grandchildren practicing good hygiene straight to their device or computer at home. They don’t have to physically come into the centre to see the updates. This has always been an element of QA1 (1.3.3 Families are informed about the program and their child’s progress) but is now more relevant than ever.
You could also take a video observation of children being taught correct hygiene practicing around coughing (ie into the elbow). A short video observation, again with Quality Standard 2.1 – specifically element 2.1.2 tagged and a description of why children learning about hygiene is so important. It’s also a good idea to add a descriptive sentence in each of these observations about how all of your educators always implement the service’s health and hygiene policy and procedures, at all times.
These observations only take 5 minutes out of your day but have so many applications in childcare today.
Once you have numerous observations, consider creating documentation that reflects on 2.1.2 – Health practices and procedures in your centre and why it’s become a focus. Add things like:
- You reviewing your health/hygiene practices (including handwashing, coughing, dental hygiene, and ear care)
- You teaching the kids in more depth about hygiene practices (add the relevant observations that you’ve taken recently for evidence)
- You upping the frequency of handwashing practices (again with observations)
- You believing strongly in consistent parent engagement as mentioned above
Once done, you should be able to instantly share this with your parents.
TIP: If your documentation software has a search function for Assessment and Rating time, make sure you use the relevant words/tags/frameworks so that when it’s Assessment time, you can easily produce the evidence.
3. Risk Management
Whilst on the topic of documentation, it’s always good practice to create a risk management plan for how you lower the risk of something. In this case, all of your above policies and procedures with documented evidence are proof of steps you take to minimise the risk of infection.
You should already have a lot of the policy and evidence by completing steps one and two above. So our Risk management plan should almost come together on its own. Using the same content, repurposed into other required documentation is an acceptable way to ensure this admin work doesn’t get the better of your time.
The purpose of this article is to help you address the parent concerns around health and hygiene with the current worldwide virus concerns. Your current software provider should allow you to easily achieve and share everything mentioned above. Of course, Xplor can. Book your free demo today.