Mellow Spring Childcare have put in place policies and procedures in areas such as child protection, child development, health and safety and human resources to reflect the most recent and best practice in the childcare area. Policies and procedures are constantly being reviewed and improved. Samples of our policies include:
Settling In Policy
It is the policy of this service that every effort is made to ensure that the settling in period is as easy and pleasant as possible for the children and their parents/carers.
Settling in procedures
- On the first day or during the first few days the parent/guardian is encouraged to stay until the child feels comfortable in their new surroundings
- There is no set time limit on the settling in period
- Childs teacher will give parents a daily account of the child’s progress during the settling in period.
It is the policy of Mellow spring Childcare Centre to provide each child with an individual registration file in order to maintain records as outlined in the Preschool Regulations under the Childcare Act 1991 such as:
- Child’s and parents name address and contact details
- Childs family doctors details, medical details and immunisation record
- Childs date of birth
Details of any special requirements
Mellow Spring Childcare Development Centre is a not-for-profit facility with charitable status. The Centre receives grants and organises fundraising for specific items and projects, but the main source of funding comes from fees paid by and on behalf of Parents/Guardians.
Fees are to be paid each week or monthly if preferred, in advance. Payment is by Cheque, Postal Order or through a bank account using Direct Debit. We do not accept cash for security reasons. A receipt will be issued which should be kept for Parents/Guardians personal records.
Cheques and Postal Orders are to be made payable to “Mellow Spring Childcare Centre”, and the name of the relevant child should be written on the reverse.
Fees are calculated using the following criteria:
- Costs (overhead, service delivery, staff, training etc) involved in childcare provision.
- Comparative marketing.
- Funding required too support the application of Community Childcare Subvention Scheme to qualifying families.
- Costs involved in meeting specific demand for places (HSE).
Mellow Spring recognises that individual circumstances can change and the ability to keep track of payments can be a challenge. Since Mellow Spring’s primary responsibility is to provide Childcare, the needs of children will always take precedence. However, there is a responsibility placed upon Parents/Guardians to commit to maintaining payment of fees on time. If circumstances change and there is an impact on their ability to continue paying fees, Parents/Guardians are requested to make an appointment to talk to the Centre Manager straightaway, so that a schedule can be agreed that will enable Mellow Spring to continue to provide a place for the child, whilst fees are brought up to date.
However, where there is a failure of Parents/Guardians to maintain an up to date account, Mellow Spring will have to consider terminating a child’s place once all other channels have been exhausted.
To further support this policy the following procedure will be enforced:
- Where fees have not been paid for a period of two weeks, Parents/Guardians will be contacted by phone with a follow-up letter and up to date statement of account, requesting them to contact the Centre Manager within five working days from the date of the letter.
- The Centre Manager (following Board policy) will agree with Parents/Guardians a schedule to bring their account up to date, whilst continuing to pay the weekly fee. This schedule will be signed by the Parents/Guardians and Centre Manager. Where there is a clear need for financial support and help Parents/Guardians will be advised of sources of assistance (e.g. MABS, CWO etc).
- If the agreement is broken, the Parents/Guardians will be informed that they are in breach of the agreement and given five working days to bring the account up to date.
- In the event that payment is not forthcoming, the Parents/Guardians will be contacted by the Centre Manager by phone and in writing, and informed that their child’s place is no longer available.
- The Centre Manager will use discretion in determining whether or not to terminate a child’s place, but the guiding principle is the ability and/or willingness of the Parents/Guardians to engage in paying fees.
- Where Parents/Guardians demonstrate an inability to maintain fee payment, after two agreements have been reached, the Centre Manager should use discretion and judgement in determining whether or not to terminate a place.
- Records of discussions between Parents/Guardians and the Centre Manager will be kept in the relevant child’s files, and will remain confidential at all times.
Policy on Collection of Children
This Policy concerns the collection of Children by persons deemed to be unfit and where there is a clear risk to the safety of a Child. It is important to note that this policy is based upon the Child protection principles contained in the Government’s “Children First” national guidelines on Child protection.
The primary responsibility of all staff working at Mellow Spring Childcare Development Centre is the welfare and protection of Children attending the Centre. This responsibility takes effect when a Child enters the Centre and remains in force until an authorised and responsible adult arrives to collect the Child.
In line with this responsibility, staff are permitted to deny access to the Centre by any person intent on collecting a Child if they consider the individual unfit and believes there could be a risk to the safety of a Child. In determining the condition of the individual in question, staff should use the following statement:
In this service we deem an individual parent / guardian unfit to collect a child if they are intoxicated / disorientated as a result of the use of alcohol and / or an illegal substance, or by an emotional upset (e.g. car crash or bereavement).
Once the determination has been made, the individual is to be informed that they will not be permitted entry to the Centre. An alternative parent / guardian must be contacted immediately and requested to collect the Child. No Child is to be released until the alternative parent / guardian has arrived.
Should there be any problems enforcing this policy, the Gardai should be called and the unfit individual identified to the Gardai. At all times the Child should be kept in their classroom away from Reception until the alternate individual has arrived.
At all times staff should remain calm and use tact, common sense and respect for the individual until the Child has been handed over to the appropriate parent / guardian. A report of the incident should be made as soon as possible after the incident and passed to the Manager.
It is the policy of Mellow Spring that all reasonable and practicable steps are taken to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all of its employees by employing a safe system of work. It is part of this policy that the same concern is shown to children, parents and any other visitors to the premises.
It is the policy of our childcare service to promote a healthy lifestyle through prevention of illness and establishing healthy eating patterns. It is our policy to comply with current regulations including the Child Care (pre School Services) Regulations 1996 and Food Hygiene Regulations to HAACP standards.
We are aware that you as parents lead busy demanding lives and have additional stress & pressure when your child is sick. However, we know that you understand the importance of adhering to this medical policy, as the ongoing health and safety of all our children and staff is of paramount importance to all of us.
- Parents must always agree to collect their child or arrange to have their child collected by a pre-elected relative or friend within one hour of being requested to do so by the Management
- Children with contagious conditions may not attend until the relevant number of days for exclusion have elapsed
- Children with a high temperature, i.e. over 100 Degrees may not attend or will be sent home. Children under 2 years of age may occasionally present with a high temperature which may be "tooth" related. Staff will inform parents if this is the case and will administer Calpol or similar medication.
- Once on an antibiotic, a child may not attend for a period of 24hours, with no exceptions made.
- If staff are not happy with a child's ongoing health, we will request a letter from a doctor stating that the child in question in fit to attend, and does not require medication.
- Children or adults with infectious illnesses should not attend the service.
- In order to limit the spread of infection, if a child becomes ill during the night, they should not be brought to the service the next day.
- If a child is kept away from the service due to an infectious illness, the service should be informed in order to monitor other children who may have been exposed.
- The service will inform other parents whose children may have been exposed. Confidentiality will be respected.
- If a child becomes ill while attending the service, parents must be informed immediately and the child must be picked up within an hour.
Prevention of Communicable Infectious Diseases
In the interest of Health, Safety and best practice, all illnesses, which occur within Mellow Spring Childcare Centre, are recorded and any action taken to control the spread is documented. All parents receive a copy of our exclusion policy and will be informed of any contagious illnesses that may occur within the Centre as notices are placed on our health notice board and throughout the Centre.
Certain symptoms in children and adults may suggest the presence of communicable diseases. Children/Staff who display any of these symptoms will at the Manager’s discretion be excluded from the Centre until:
- a doctor has certified that the symptoms are not associated with an infection or they are no longer a treat to the health of others in the Centre
- the symptoms have subsided or
- the disease is no longer contagious.
In all instances, the Manager Reserves authority on excluding a child from the Centre when they are ill and may refer the parent to a doctor before admission is regained
The staff at Mellow Spring Childcare Centre will not administer any medication without prior permission from parents. In cases where a child needs medication a Medicine Permission Form must be completed before any medication is given. Staff will only administer prescribed medication that is clearly labelled with a child’s and doctor’s name. If a parent is contacted in an emergency they may request their child receive an emergency dose of Calpol while awaiting collection.
Confidentiality is paramount in Mellow Spring Childcare Development Centre and it is our policy to include in all contracts of employment a secrecy and integrity clause, which is signed and strictly adhered to in the interest of child protection, the family and all Centre matters.
- We do not discuss details of any child or family outside the service without written permission from the parent/carer/guardian.
- Confidential information is shared only with staff members who need the information to effectively perform their job.
- Personnel details are not discussed without written consent of staff.
- Both staff and parents may view/receive a copy of their own files or those relating to their own children. IF it is not possible to do this immediately, then it must be done within twenty four hours of request.
- All files are kept in a locked unit. Only the manager has access to this unit.
- All staff are informed of the confidentiality policy during their induction period.
- Parents are informed of the confidentiality policy before their child is enrolled in the service.
The service is committed to developing a curriculum which creates a child-centred, play-based environment which empowers young children to actively pursue their own learning.
This process is facilitated by adults, who provide appropriate, timely, balanced intervention, as well as support, continuity and progression. They will encourage positive attitudes towards and a love of learning.
The service recognises that the establishment of daily routines is essential for all young children in our care.
We strive to provide a programme of activities which encourage the physical, social, emotional, intellectual, creative and language development of the children who attend the service.
All activities will be age-appropriate and will be modified to meet the needs and abilities of the individual child.
It will encourage children to think for themselves and will encourage a responsible attitude toward each other and our environment.
Staff have regular meetings to plan and review activities within each area of our facility and to consider the needs of individual children.
Behavouir Managment Stategies used in the Centre
- Keep choices to a minimum and age appropriate. “Do you want a red or a blue cup?”
- Have several toys/activities, etc. available. Sharing does not come easily to some Children
- Break a task down into its parts when introducing a new skill. Some Children’s poor observation skills have not allowed them to gain the needed information naturally to proceed with this skill
- Respond to a problem situation immediately and treat the Child fairly. If a spill occurs by mistake, it needs cleaning up. If it is an intentional spill, it requires a consequence
- Provide pillows, balls, beanbags or punchbags for appropriate hitting, throwing and kicking when angry
- Spend time with each Child at their level. (do not stand over them) Give a Child your attention when they are behaving like you want them to. Use hugs and encouragement
- Time out in the company of an adult in a non-interesting area may be used when a Child is not doing well. Pre-sent it as a time to gain control versus a punishment. (Therefore you must explain to the Child what is happening and why; discuss the Child’s behaviour with them.) The length of time should be just enough to be able to apply praise for compliance and allow the Child to gain some composure
- A Child will only be removed from a room when they are a danger to themselves or those around them, including adults
Biting Policy and Procedures
It is the policy of the centre that biting another child is not allowed. However, young children often bite out of frustration, from teething etc. It is often a phase they go through for a short period.
- If one child bites another the worker should first of all comfort the bitten child and check to see if the skin has been broken.
- If skin is broken phone the parent and ask if the child has had a tetanus immunisation.
- Rub the wound with a sterilised wipe.
- Tell the child that biting is not allowed here and distract him/her to some activity.
- It is advisable to have separate activities for the other child.
- Write up an incident report for the Parent to sign.
- Do not disclose the name of the child that bit to the Parent.
- If there is persistent biting form a particular child, then that Parent should be informed.
- Have good observation strategies in the room to ensure that the opportunity to bite is minimised.