POLICIES & PROCEDURES
ACCIDENTS & INJURIES
If a child has a minor injury such as a graze, cut or bruise the parent will be contacted via text informing them of this and will be documented in the incident book.
If a child has a more serious injury or incident occurs, the parent will first be contacted and then the GP/ hospital. In some circumstances the child will be brought straight to the GP by a staff member and the parents will then be contacted.
All incidents are recovered in the accident book and the parent will sign when they collect the child.
Every family and child will be welcomed into the service and through networking with the parent the transition into the centre will be a pleasant experience for the child and parent alike. Parent’s are encouraged to participate in activities throughout the year and incorporating themes from Aistear by giving the child a sense of belonging and identity.
It is the policy of our childcare service to offer equal access to all children from the community including children with a disability or special requirements and irrespective of their culture, religion, membership of ethnic group or minority or family background.
It is not recommended parent’s stay for the whole session but during the settling in period they can help their child settle before saying good bye.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure their child arrives at the service safely and greeted by a staff member. In adverse weather conditions, extra caution will be needed when taking their child in and out of the car. Warning signs will be placed out to pre-warn of any ice etc. A text message will inform you of the schools closure in these conditions.
Under no circumstances are parents to climb over the fence in the garden or remove their child or any other child from the service in this manner. Children will be escorted to the front door where their belongings are stored and released to their parent.
Children will not be released to anyone who is not on their report card or not been informed by the parent by a phone call, in writing or in person. The parent will be called to confirm who is collecting their child.
Children are signed in and out so staff are aware of children present at all times.
Guardian Angels must be made aware of any allergies your child has. We will do our best to ensure your child does not come in contact with their allergen. You will be asked to sign an allergy form which states what must be done in the event your child has a reaction. If your child requires any medicine such as an epi-pen or antihistamine it must be left in the service with your child’s name on it and a long shelf life. All staff will be made aware of allergies and reminders will be left on the fridge of the children with allergies. We ask that parents do not send in any baked goods under the allergens act implemented by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland in December 2014 which includes childcare settings.
At Guardian Angel we will encourage positive behavior and focus on team building problem solving for themselves. We will acknowledge the child’s feelings and discuss them in an age appropriate manner. Under no circumstances will physical punishment ever be used in Guardian Angel Montessori but if a child is having a tantrum or hurting other children they will be removed from the situation until they calm down. Time outs or the naughty step are not used in the service.
Staff will model appropriate behavior and expect the same from the children. An incidents that may arise from unwanted behavior will be recorded and discussed with the parents. In an incident where this happens on many occasions the parents will need to be informed that the service is not suitable for their child.
The child Protection Officer for Guardian Angel Montessori is Louise Furlong. The child’s best interest is always our upmost priority and all staff have taken the role of mandated person. A referral to the HSE will always be made in good faith when an incident may arise about the safety or welfare of the child. We ensure that all our staff and volunteers are carefully selected, trained and supervised.
The local HSE number is 094 9034776, Ballina Garda station- 09620560
COMPLAINTS AND COMMENTS POLICY
It is the policy of this service to encourage and welcome complaints/comments made my any person involved with our service and to act on these complaints to the best of our ability and in an efficient, competent and timely manner. If the complaint is referring to another child or incident in the service we will refer to our child protection policy.
If you wish to make a complaint you should contact the manager or deputised person to discuss and, hopefully, resolve the matter.
Should you still feel that the matter is unresolved then the complaint must be put in writing to the manager or the deputised person. A written acknowledgement of the complaint will be sent as soon as possible within 3 working days. If the complaint is related to the behaviour of a member of staff, the staff member must be informed that a formal complaint has been made and be given the full details and the right to reply. Parents/guardians/carers must be made aware that staff are informed of complaints made relating to their behaviour so that the procedure can be implemented. Statements will be taken from all staff members relating to the incident and signed by them. A meeting may be arranged between the manager, the child’s keyworker and the person making the complaint. They are free to bring another person with them to a meeting if they so wish. Following the request, the complainant must be facilitated with a meeting within one month.
An agreed written record of the meeting will be kept by the external mediator and, where appropriate, a formal letter of the outcome will be issued, within a reasonable period following the meeting.
In instances where the complaint involves the welfare of a child/children, the information should be made known to the relevant local Duty Social Worker in the Health Service Executive.
If the complaint involves a Child Protection issue, the procedure as outlined in the Child Protection Policy will be immediately implemented.
It is the policy of this service to respect the privacy of all persons involved with this service by ensuring confidentiality. All relevant regulations, acts and laws are respected regarding information gathered and stored.
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.
Please arrive on time to drop your child off and collect from school. Opening hours are 9.00am and 12.30am and closing time is 12pm and 3.30pm sharp. A late fee will apply if you are late, you will be invoiced the following day. School doors will be opened at 9am and 12.30pm and not before the session starts.
Guardian Angels policy on releasing a child is to his or her parents or someone else the parents designate. If someone other than the parent is to pick the child up, please notify the school ahead of time. A verbal notice is acceptable on that day if this person is on the child’s enrollment form as a nominated emergency contact number.
Please inform your emergency contacts that if we do not know them and the child is too young to recognize them that we will ask for identification. This is simply a procedure taken for the child’s protection and not meant to be offensive towards anyone.
The curriculum is based on the Montessori approach to teaching. We will plan seasonal monthly activities and emerging interests shown by the children. Using the child’s emerging interests we will incorporate these into our plans and Montessori exercises. Themes of Aistear and Siolta will aid staff in planning the curriculum. 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. A scrapbook will be kept throughout the year showing your child’s learning linking back to Aistear, this will be explained in the front of the scrapbook and on the parents evening at the start of the year.
Parents are asked to fill out our diversity awareness questionnaire when they join the service, it will help give staff a better understanding of the diversity within the setting. Children who speak another language will be welcomed and parents may be asked to help out during the year when we are learning about their countries.
Every child who is of age can participate in the scheme taking into consideration availability. The scheme covers 183 days throughout the year and parents will receive a calendar of these days at beginning of the term. If a child misses a day the option to retake is not available. A refundable deposit of 60 euro is required when booking the child into the service and when the first payment for the ECCE scheme is received the deposit shall be refunded to the parent. Any additional activity such as an outing may require additional payment, this is optional although your child will not be able to participate in said activity the school will remain open on that day.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY INCLUSION POLICY
It is our policy to respect the individuality of all children and adults involved in our service and to promote positive attitudes to differences of culture, race, gender, language, financial circumstance or membership of a minority group.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY PROCEDURE
Recruitment and employment of staff will comply with all relevant equality legislation – see recruitment guidelines. The service is open to all families in the community – see admissions policy
A range of activities is chosen to reflect various differences in cultures, gender and ability. We check our materials to ensure that they challenge stereotyping and positively and accurately reflect cultural and racial diversity. We will challenge any statements or behaviour by anyone in the service which are racist or sexist or which reinforce stereotypes or which are in any other way derogatory to an individual or group.
All staff members will be trained in first aid. The first aid kit is positioned on top of the fridge and is checked regularly to ensure all is in order.
FIRE & SAFETY POLICY
It is the policy of this service to comply with all relevant Fire Regulations and to follow the recommendations in the Department of the Environment’s Fire Safety in Pre-Schools booklet. Fire extinguishers can be found in the hall, in the kitchen and by the patio door. Fire drills are maintained regularly with the children in the service and recorded. The meeting point is the lamp post outside the school.
It is the policy of Guardian Angel Montessori 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 Early Years Service Regulations.
Sweets crisps chewing gum and sodas are discouraged but on the occasion of a birthday party parents can provide a cake for the children. We encourage healthy eating through our curriculum and also in our attitude to food. New fruits, vegetables and foods will be introduced throughout the year in snack time and children can choose what they wish to eat. Any food sent in by parents deemed unacceptable will be returned in the lunchbox and an alternative lunch provided for the child. As we are a Healthy Ireland Preschool we encourage healthy lunches and do not reward good behaviour with food. Home baked treats are also deemed unacceptable and we ask that you do not send them in.
The list of illnesses that are excluded from the centre are listed on the parents handbook and in the extended version of the policies and procedures. If a child displays symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea or a fever over 38c the parents will be called immediately and asked to collect their child. A child who is not well enough to play outside is not well enough to be in school and we ask parents to consider this before sending them in.
Parents are asked to text/call if their child is sick with a contagious disease so we can warn other parents. When a child gets head lice, the service will send a note home asking parents to treat all the children’s heads and reminders will be sent home throughout the year. The child with head lice is not permitted to return to the service until they have been treated.
In the event of a staff member becoming sick with an infectious illness, a cover person will be called into the service and the staff member must remain absent until their contagious illness has passed.
INTERNET OR MOBILE USE
Photos of the children’s activities and themes are posted to our facebook page. No identifying faces are used in these photos. In your child’s report card you fill on in admissions please state if you do not want any photos taken of your child. At the end of year graduation, parents are invited to take photos of the class so please inform us if you do not want to include your children. A school camera is used to take photos for term observations which are included in the observations sent home every term. These photos are placed into your child’s folder and then deleted off the memory card. Photos of activities taken throughout the year are placed in your child’s scrapbook and can also be emailed to you if you request. Phones in the service are used for emergencies.
Each child will be assigned a key worker at the beginning of the year. This staff member will be responsible for the child’s observations throughout the year and by liaising closely with the child and parent build a strong bond and help open communication lines. If you have a comment or compliant please talk to your child’s key worker and we will aim to resolve the issue.
The service is committed to promoting a healthy environment and a high standard of personal hygiene for adults and children. It is our policy to comply with current regulations including the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 1996 and Food Hygiene Regulations. Thorough cleaning of the service is completed daily using an antibacterial spray. Handwashing is regularly encouraged especially after playing outside, after the toilet and before eating. In light of Covid 19, handwashing will be done regularly throughout the session and good respiratory hygiene will be modelled by the staff.
All new staff and students are informed of the hygiene procedures as part of their induction programme.
Hand washing – after using the toilet, after outdoor play, before and after handling food, on arrival at the service. Cuts and sores must be covered with suitable dressings.
In the situation where a child must receive medication while in the service, staff will fill out the medicine administration form. Medication must be stored out of reach of children and labelled clearly with the child’s name, medication name and expiry date. If medication requires refrigeration, it will be stored in the fridge and children will not be allowed access to it.
Children will have the opportunity to play outside every day. Parents will be asked to send in protective gear over the winter months as to keep the children dry. On sunny days please send in a peaked cap and sun cream on your child. If your child is allergic to certain sun creams please let us know. Opportunities for digging, water play, imaginative play, physical play and sand play will be available every day.
Daily communication between parents and keyworkers is encouraged and if you wish to arrange a meeting any time please discuss it with your keyworker. Your child’s scrapbook will be sent home throughout the year and you will be asked to sign a form at the front of the book to document you have read the observation. This links back to Aistear through Identity and Belonging and communication as the children love to explain their photos and pictures with their family. The school mobile 087 8072430 can be used to text any queries or you can contact us on Facebook also.
POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT POLICY
It is the policy of this service to promote positive behaviour management, self-discipline, and will be developmentally appropriate.
POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT PROCEDURE
Service rules will be clearly explained to children in a language they can understand.
Consequences of negative behaviour are clearly explained to the child with a view to promoting respect for ourselves, each other, our surroundings and property.
Strategic behaviour modification techniques such as contracts, charts or rewards for positive behaviour will be decided upon at staff level and with parents and enforced consistently throughout the service.
In every situation regarding the children staff are advised to do a risk assessment on the environment. The classroom has been assessed so children are free to play and learn in a safe environment. Children must be given freedom to explore and learn from their experiences and we have done our best to make an outdoor area with learning opportunities in a safe environment. The gates are locked and enclosed garden with supervision from an adult while they play. Monthly fire drills prepare the staff and children in the event of evacuation and practice all getting out safely. Our meet up point is the lamp post out the front and the tree in the back of the garden. When we recruit staff we ensure we have the most recent references, garda vetting, official ID on file and a CV with no gaps to ensure a quality provision of teachers.
The management of this service is committed to ensuring that our recruitment procedures are fair, open and transparent and comply with relevant employment legislation. Personal information received is dealt with in the strictest confidence.
Staff will be offered training as it is available and if necessary given time off to do it. Staff are encouraged to participate in meetings for Montessori Network groups etc as continual staff development is encouraged.
In the event of staff being absent planned or unexpectedly our cover staff will be called in and replace the staff member while they are absent.
Each member of staff including directors need to have two validated references. If the last employer did not provide a reference, one must be provided by a person of authority
Every member of staff including contract workers need to be Garda vetted. If a position arises where a disclosure is returned on the Vetting form, each individual case will be assessed and see if it is potentially putting children and the service at risk. If it is a case where the disclosure is serious within reason of working with children the staff member will be asked to resign.
We ask parents to wash their own and children’s hands at home and the children’s hands will be washed on arrival at Montessori and through out the day.
Parents are asked to ensure children are well coming to Montessori and if parents were unsure to take your child’s temperature at home.
We will use a non contact digital thermometer which will be used should we think your child is feeling unwell. You will get a disclaimer to sign about temperature taking in your parent’s pack in the first week.
Should your child become unwell during their session, we will take their temperature and if we find it is high (over 38c) your child will be isolated from all others in the pod and you will be called immediately to collect your child. If your child display symptoms of covid you will be advised to talk to your GP who will access how to proceed. If your child or anyone in contact with the child who is tested positive for Covid 19, your child will need to quarantine for 14 days until they are tested negative or deemed fit to return to Montessori. The same applies to staff in the service.
You will hear the word play pod used which is the term for a group of children in the Montessori. We will have 2 play pods, 1 in the morning session and 1 in the afternoon. Between each pod, all toys and surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected. Toys will be rotated and we have shelved our attic to allow for easy rotation.
Staff will adhere to a strict cleaning rota which will be documented. The health and safety of children and staff will be paramount and we will comply with all government bodies to ensure of this.
We need parents to act responsible with illness in their child, especially contagious illnesses that will make children and staff in their pod sick. If you are unsure which illness we exclude in class please refer to the parents policies. If we find your child is too sick to be in Montessori, you will be called and asked to collect them immediately.
Lunches need to be contained in a hard plastic box that can be cleaned daily, it needs to be able to contain all your child’s lunch and drink. Only a small snack is needed and please refer to our healthy eating policy on what to send. If you wish to use a ziplock bag, please ensure that it is fit for purpose and clean. All lunches will be stored in our fridge until your child’s snack time. All clothing and lunch boxes must be labelled.
COLLECTION & DROP OFF
Please adhere to the 2 meter markings to support social distancing
We ask that only one parents bring and collects your child. Due to measures introduced parents are not allowed on the premises. We encourage a kiss, a cuddle and a high 5 when dropping them off. Children are very receptive of their parent’s emotions and will pick up if you are feeling anxious. If you talk about going to Montessori in a positive light using photos provided or from FB or Instagram your child will be prepared starting their next journey.
Children will need comfort throughout the day and our staff are trained how to deal with upset children, we will still offer support if they get hurt and we take care to get to know all the children personally so they feel happy and safe in Montessori.
Please do not leave equipment at or outside the Montessori such as buggies or bikes. If possible, please do not bring in any soothers or comforters from home. Should such items be needed during the day please leave a spare one in Montessori which will be cleaned after each use.
Parents will be asked to complete a return to Montessori covid safety questionnaire before your child starts Montessori.
Date of review: 29/07/2020
Signed: Louise Furlong