Welcome to our weekly quality improvement support series for 2022.
“It’s our polite nudge in the ribs to help you and your team stay organised and on task.”
This week’s subject is Upkeep
Element 3.1.2: Upkeep
Premises, furniture, and equipment are safe, clean and well maintained.
The layout, construction and upkeep of the physical environment can have a significant impact on children, their safety, development, sense of belonging, autonomy & feelings of contentment.
It is imperative that services develop and maintain thorough systems and routines to ensure that the educational environment and equipment remain in good repair, are safe and minimise potential risks to children and staff. The upkeep of buildings, furniture and equipment directly impact the safety of everyone within your Service environment.
Upkeep refers to the responsibility of services to implement effective maintenance, cleaning and appropriate safety precautions, which also helps prevent injuries and the spread of infectious diseases. Guide to the NQF
Services can implement a range of practices that contribute to the upkeep of the Service environment, furniture and equipment. These include:
- Maintaining consistent & thorough cleaning routines of all areas, equipment and resources including sand pits, mud kitchens, toys, dress up clothing/accessories etc.
- Have clear and detailed procedures for cleaning routines and regularly review with staff
- Keep a record of all cleaning procedures and ensure they are available to sight if required by an A&R officer
Safety Checks and Audits:
- Conduct safety checks of the indoor and outdoor environments
- Ensure that the inspection is conducted before children enter the area
- OSHC Services should conduct safety checks prior to each session
- Make a roster for who is responsible for the daily checks. Have a space on the roster for the designated staff member to sign off to confirm that the checks have been completed
- File completed documents in related folders that are easy to recognise and quick to retrieve
- Periodically engage an external expert to conduct a safety audit of the service and its grounds to determine if any repairs are required. Service’s must ensure any work/repairs are completed to Australian standards
Furniture and equipment safety:
- All furniture, equipment and resources must meet Australian Standards. Services must ensure that educators are trained in the correct assembly and maintenance
- Ensure that all playground equipment is developed, installed, inspected and maintained in line with Australian Standard AS 4685
- All cots must meet Australian Standard AS 2172
- Ensure you keep all documents that confirm furniture and equipment meet Australian Standards
- Ensure you keep all manufacturer’s documents provided with equipment, furniture and resources, including; instruction manuals, certificates, information sheets etc.
- Risk assessments for any equipment and experiences that attract a level of risk e.g. playground equipment, climbing frames, water play, woodwork, gardens and natural areas, sand pit, mud pit, tree climbing etc.
- Risk assessments should be conducted regularly. The frequency may be determined by the geographical location of the service, frequency of incidents or changes to the layout of the environment
The Childcare Centre Desktop has a range of resources to assist services with the upkeep of the physical environment. These include Physical Environment Policy, Physical Environment Audit, Risk Assessment Guide and Procedure and much more.
Resources, NQS Element, Regulation and System7 links
Childcare Centre Desktop – Childcare Centre Desktop
National Quality Standard – QA 3/ 3.1.2- Upkeep