Why has this video series been created?

The Taonga Mokopuna learning series was developed as an innovative way to share our public health information on how to keep your centre healthy. We are always reflecting on our role and how we can best support centres. We have listened to feedback and ideas about creating an online learning tool for centres to use, here it is.

Regional Public Health supports more than 500 early childhood centres (centres) across the Wellington region. Centre environments have changed over the years, we are now seeing larger centres, some with 150 tamariki on their roll, with many more under two year olds attending than previously. Centre hours have also extended meaning children are in care for over 8 hours each day. This has seen the impact of illness affect more children and teachers. In 2018, we logged over 250 calls from centres and of these, 95 were related to the management of gastro illness. In the same year, we were involved with the management of 33 outbreaks of illness at ECCs two influenza and 31 gastroenteritis, this saw over 1500 children and staff being exposed to illness.

Who has created this video series?

Our Public Health Advisors who work with early childcare centres across the Wellington region have created the Taonga Mokopuna learning series which contains six short videos. The series was developed from our experience of working with centres over a long period of time and trying many different approaches of sharing our information.

Our work programme ‘Healthy ECC’ has advanced over the years through experience and feedback from our key stakeholders: services, provider organisations, private operators and the Ministry of Education (MoE). Our programme vision is that: Every early childhood centre has an environment that supports the health and wellbeing of centre staff, tamariki and whānau. We provide health reports to our region’s MoE senior advisors for licensing new and underperforming services. We also support services to manage outbreaks of infectious disease, develop rigorous health and safety polices, and provide design advice to create environments that best support health and wellbeing.

Why did you call the learning series Taonga Mokopuna?

The title for our learning series ‘Taonga Mokopuna’ is an acknowledgement that tamariki are taonga/treasures who deserve centre environments that nurture their learning and health; in mind, body and spirit.

When considering what we would call our video learning series we wanted to capture the importance of the child and their journey through your centres. Using the term Mokopuna is a way of identifying those precious descent lines of our grandchildren. In this case it is referring to an aspect of the special status of our mokopuna in the early childhood centre context.

What do the learning series videos focus on?

Each video shares small and simple steps that help reduce the spread of illness in a centre. They are easy for you to follow and implement but can often get missed in a busy centre environment. We know that when these steps are followed correctly they will help centres manage the spread of illness and create the best centre environment for tamariki and all staff.


TopicLength of video
1. Welcome/introduction2 minutes
2. Gastroenteritis Outbreaks13 minutes
3. Illness Policy3 minutes
4. Handwashing3 minutes
5. Nappy changing4 minutes
6. Healthy Centre Environments6 minutes

Why do we need videos on infectious illness and keeping our centres healthy?

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.

Is the information provided in the learning series relevant for my centre?

Yes, the videos are relevant for all early childhood services. The information will support teachers and staff to develop their understanding and knowledge around the important role health plays in centre environments.

Taonga Mokopuna has been developed based on our experiences and feedback from early childcare centres, provider organisations, private operators and the Ministry of Education.

The learning series content supports and enforces the information that we currently share with you, and is guided by the Ministry of Education Regulatory Licensing Criteria and the Ministry of Health Infectious Disease recommendations.

Why do we use the terminology of 1:10 bleach solution (1 part bleach and 9 parts water) and then recommend a formula which gives a different dilution i.e. ¼ cup of bleach and 4 cups of water is 1:16 dilution?

The most important thing is to use a bleach solution that can kill the norovirus bug, one of the most infectious and common causes of gastroenteritis outbreaks in early childhood centres. Guidelines state that a 0.1% bleach solution is needed to kill norovirus. Bleach products are sold with varying strengths of sodium hypochlorite (1-5%). If your bleach product is 1% strength then 1:10 dilution will give you the required 0.1% cleaning solution. However, most bleach products in NZ are 2% strength, so a 1:20 dilution will give you a 0.1% cleaning solution.

1:10 dilution is familiar to many people and easy to do, and another easy alternative is to use a cup to measure the amounts to make the cleaning solution, so we have provided both options – and they both reach the required 0.1% cleaning solution, no matter what strength of bleach product you are using. For example, if you are using a 2% strength bleach product a 1:10 dilution will give you a 0.2% solution while the ¼ cup with 4 cups will give you a 0.12% solution. By having a slightly stronger mix than 0.1% solution, you are effectively disinfecting your environment during times of illness.

When can I use the video learning series in my centre?

We recommend all staff in your centre watch these videos so they receive the same direct training and information and can readily access then to refresh their knowledge as needed.

The videos can be watched as a series or one at a time, we suggest the below situations:

  • Induction of new teachers
  • In times of illness at the centre
  • As a refresher for all staff at team meetings
  • When reviewing and updating policies and procedures

Can I share the video learning series with our centre whanau?

Yes. Sharing this information with parents will help them understand the importance of health in a centre environment and the reasons why their child may be excluded when they are unwell. Working with families to have appropriate exclusion time is essential to decrease the spread of illness throughout communities and reduce the burden on young children, their families and the staff who care for them.

Can I still contact the Public Health Advisors at Regional Public Health?

Yes, we take supporting your centre staff to manage illness seriously. We offer support to centres during illness outbreaks, in the development of illness policy and procedures (based on MoH guidelines), for design of new centres, and to provide information around childhood illnesses. We also have our Healthyecc.org website where you will find illness factsheets, information on current illness and links to other resources and organisations that support centres.

More information about Regional Public Health

Regional Public Health is a public health service, working with communities across the greater Wellington region, through our three District Health Board (DHBs), Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa. Our public health work involves working together with communities and organisations to influence these factors, enforcing legislation and empowering communities to improve resources and access to services.
Last updated 21 October 2019.