Illness impacts significantly hugely on our tamariki and staff in centres.
It is important to know that centres have to meet licencing criteria to legally operate. As part of the criteria centres are required to help reduce the spread of illness, this means having policies and procedures for high risk activities like nappy changing, managing sick children and cleaning the environment.
Illness is sometimes seen as the norm in centre environments, but this statement can be challenged. It is not entirely possible to prevent all illness in centres due to the age tamariki are starting in centres. Their immune systems are still developing, and may be too young to have had all their immunisations.
In addition many tamariki are just starting to learn how to wash and dry their hands correctly and how to cover their coughs and sneezes, they often mouth objects and have close physical contact with other children and staff through their play and daily activities. As a result illness can spread easily in the centre environment. However with appropriate policies and procedures, and working together with families you can help reduce the spread of the illness and the impact it has on everyone in the centre.
The design of a centre environment also plays a vital role in keeping a centre healthy. A well designed centre, with good ventilation, well positioned handwashing and wash down facilities will reduce the impact an illness can have on staff, whanau and tamariki. Centres are now, more than ever, their own communities, parents work longer hours, so our tamariki are spending longer in the centre environment. A fit for purpose environment supports tamariki health and wellbeing and by extension their whānau.