An appropriate environment for children should always have health and safety as a top priority. At Shantivanam Children’s Community these two areas are carefully monitored for all children. We always welcome comments and suggestions from parents. Our specific policies regarding health and safety are detailed below.
The health and well being of each child is of primary importance in our childcare program. To maintain good health in the children we routinely clean and disinfect all areas of the school and we launder the children’s individual bedding. We wear protective gloves when changing soiled diapers or cleaning up in the bathroom. Our hands are cleaned often, especially before preparing or serving food. Likewise the children are required to wash their hands before eating and any other time their hands are dirty. We use disposable towels so children are not sharing germs and we provide individual eating utensils, cups, and bowls for each child. In addition, we talk to the children in age-appropriate terms about good health practices.
We also promote good health in the children by providing age-appropriate play equipment to develop their muscles and gross motor skills. We allow a good deal of outside time for the children to play and breath plenty of fresh air. While playing outside, the children have access to fresh drinking water at all times and sunscreen is applied as needed unless parents request otherwise. In hot weather the children also have access to a mister attached to the fence where they can cool themselves down whenever they want to.
In support of the current research that shows rest is a critical part of brain development in young children, we have a required rest or nap time each day after lunch. Children sleep on individual cots with their own sheet and blanket. Children sleep on their cots in alternating head to foot body positions so they are not breathing into the face of the child next to them. Older children who no longer take naps are in a different area where they have quiet activities after lunch, but they too will have a one hour rest time.
Even with all of our efforts to provide a clean and healthy environment, there are still times when children get sick. We know that a child who is ill wants and needs the comfort of their parent. If a child becomes ill during the day we notify the parents as soon as possible and the best course of action is determined. That course of action may include requiring a child to be taken home.
Exclusion of children for illness is generally based on the guidelines in “Common Communicable Illnesses” as published in the sixth edition of Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child by Lynn R. Marotz. These guidelines reflect information taken from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
Even though a child’s illness may not be listed as one requiring exclusion, if their condition interrupts the care of, or endangers the health of the other children, it may become necessary for the parent to make other arrangements for care. That would include the common cold. The first 2 to 3 days of a cold are generally considered the contagious period and the child’s presence could infect the other children. After the 2 or 3-day period, a child may return as long as their cough or runny nose can be controlled sufficiently so as not to disrupt the program. There could also be times when a child is no longer ill, but their condition would necessitate exclusion from the program. For example, if a child were taking an antibiotic that caused severe diarrhea, it would be necessary to make other arrangements for care.
Medications are not given to any child without written instruction and authorization from the parent or guardian. All prescriptions must have a child’s name and current date on the bottle. Non-prescription drugs must be brought by the parent or guardian, and must be in the original container with the child’s name written on it. Adverse reactions can result if medications are not given properly; therefore medication is only given according to the written instructions on the Medication Form. A separate form must be filled out for each medication that parents would like administered to their child, even for medication to be given on an as-needed basis.