At Early Days Foods we take pride in providing healthy children’s meals for nursery children throughout the island of Ireland, providing home quality meals. Here at Early Days Foods we put kids first! Their nutritional requirements are at the heart of our business and we thrive in delivering healthy and nutritious meals to crèches across Ireland on a daily basis. As we all know, Crèche’s and childcare facilities are not just made up of healthy and nutritious meals, running a childcare facility is a very important job as the welfare of each child must always be top priority. We have decided to put together a checklist which will ensure your Crèche is operating at its best and all the children are being looked after accordingly. Check out the steps below.
Inspection and notificationPre-school care providers are required to notify Tusla – the Child and Family Agency that they are providing services. In addition, they are required to take all reasonable measures to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of pre-school children attending their service. Specifics about the regulation of pre-school childcare services are set out in the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016. These Regulations set down the standards of health, safety and welfare that must be in place before such services can be provided. Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate has published a Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF), to help childcare services to comply with the Regulations. The QRF designed around the quality and safety of the care provided to children. Overall, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) has responsibility for these Regulations and for developing policy in this area. Tusla is required to inspect and regulate pre-school childcare services and has published a list of tips on choosing a pre-school.
Childcare RegulationsChild Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 are made under Part VII of the Child Care Act 1991 and prescribe the measures which must be in place to meet the requirements of the Act. Areas covered by the Regulations include the following:
Health, welfare and development of the childA person carrying on a pre-school service shall ensure that each child’s learning, development and well-being is facilitated within the daily life of the service through the provision of the appropriate interaction, materials and equipment, having regard to the age and stage of development of the child and appropriate suitable care practices.
First aid and medical assistanceThere should be a suitably equipped first-aid box for children and arrangements to call medical assistance in an emergency. A person trained in first aid for children must be available at all times.
Management and staffingThe law makes provision that a person carrying out a pre-school service must ensure that a sufficient number of suitable and competent adults are working directly with the children at all times. The DCYA has published a list of recognised qualifications for the purposes of the DCYA childcare programmes. There should be appropriate vetting of all staff, students and volunteers who have access to a child by obtaining references and Garda vetting.
Adult/child and space ratiosThe Child and Family Agency can limit the maximum number of pre-school children who may be catered for at the same time. This provision is aimed at preventing over-crowding in pre-school services. If the Child and Family Agency proposes to limit numbers, the provider will be notified and has the opportunity to appeal or make representations about this decision.
Behavior managementAnyone providing a pre-school childcare service should ensure that no corporal punishment is inflicted on any child attending the service. There should be written policies and procedures to deal with and to manage a child’s challenging behavior and to assist the child to manage his or her behaviour.
Register of pre-school childrenA pre-school childcare provider should keep a register with details of each child attending the service including name, date of birth, contact numbers for parents and child’s doctors.
Information for parentsParents should be given information about the service including details of the person in charge and other staff, the adult/child ratios, the age range of the children, the type of care, facilities, opening hours and fees.
Premises and facilitiesPre-school services (including childminders, drop-in centres, crèches, etc.) are obliged to ensure their standards meet certain standards and provide certain facilities. These rules include ensuring that:
- The premises are of sound and stable structure and are suitable for providing pre-school services
- Adequate space per child is provided in the premises
- Fixtures, premises and fittings are kept in a proper state of repair and in a clean and hygienic condition
- There must be adequate and suitable furniture, play and work equipment and materials available on the premises of the pre-school service
- There are adequate and suitable facilities for a pre-school child to rest and to play indoors and outdoors during the day
- Pre-school childcare providers are required to ensure that the building has suitable and adequate heating, ventilation and lighting and sanitary facilities.
Safety measuresAll reasonable measures must be taken to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of a pre-school child attending the service and ensure that the environment of the service is safe. Registered childcare providers must have a safety statement and a policy on a number of areas including managing behaviour, the administration of medication, infection control and safe sleep.
Food and drinkA pre-school service should ensure that food is nutritious and complies with dietary and religious requirements. The Department of Health’s Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Pre-School Services advise that children in day care for more than 5 hours per session (full day care) should be offered at least 2 snacks and 2 meals, including one hot meal. Contact us here to find out more about what food and drink your kids should be getting on a daily basis.
InsuranceThe provider should ensure that the pre-school children are adequately insured against injury while attending the service.
Information about the children in your careKeep track of which children have been left in the care of the crèche. You should:
- Know when a child is dropped off, and when they are collected
- Have the name and contact details of the child’s parent/carer, and know who will be collecting the child
- Know if the child has any medical conditions or allergies that you need to be aware of
- Get parental consent for emergency medical treatment.