Advice for nursery school


Making the decision for your child to go to nursery school is a big step. Before choosing a nursery school, you should be certain that the following questions have been satisfactorily answered.  Undoubtedly, the most important question is whether, over the course of time, the child appears to be happy at nursery school or not.

How long have staff members been working at the nursery school?

The staff’s experience is significant.

Have staff members had the relevant education?

How old is the building?

What are the indoor and outdoor areas like?

Is there room for children to rest, and what is it like?

What is the food like?

What activities and toys are there?

Which group of children will my child join?

What ages does it include?

How will I be regularly informed over time on how my child is doing?

What are the toilets and nappy changing area for babies like?

What are the safety regulations?

How much does it cost?

What do other parents whose children go to the same nursery school think of it?

Is the nursery school clean hygienic?

This may be the most important consideration. A good nursery school observes the following:

It has written instructions about hygiene issues. These instructions relate, above all,  to the cleanliness of the environment, i.e. daily cleaning of all areas, tables, floors, benches, feeding items, bed linen, (which should be individual for each child, and washed if it has to be used for another child), as well as toys.

Toys, which are used by children under 2 years old, should not be soft toys, and should be washed every day, and toys, which are intended for older children, should be washed at least once a week.

There should be written instructions about the vaccination schedule, to remind parents of their obligations.

In addition, there should be instructions for the staff, about how to deal with ill and injured children (gloves, paracetamol, anti-inflammatory medication, ointment, or other).

Toilets should be cleaned and disinfected regularly, and there should be a special area for caring for, and changing the nappies of children under the age of 2 years. This should be done by staff who are not involved with food or feeding the children. Nappies should be kept in the area where changing takes place, and there should also be a special pedal bin for dirty nappies, which should be disposed of appropriately.

Finally, there should be washbasins for older children to wash their hands. Children should be supervised to make sure they wash their hands properly.

It is also very important for the staff to wash their hands regularly. Staff members should wash their hands as soon as they arrive at the nursery, and before touching a child, before and after they change a child, before cooking, before serving, and before and after they feed a child. Keeping to these rules may prevent the transmission of diseases.

Finally, nursery schools should offer medical services, and supervise the adherence of regulations for the prevention of, and dealing with infections. Therefore, a doctor’s services are required: to check if children have had the necessary vaccinations, to instruct the staff about the protection of children’s health, to inform the staff and the parents about hygiene issues, and to leave written instructions when something happens at the nursery school. The doctor and parents should maintain regular contact, exchanging information concerning children who have problems. The doctor’s duties also include informing the nursery school’s staff, as well as the parents, about indications that would suggest that the child should not go to nursery school, for example when: a) the child cannot follow the daily routine, because he is not feeling well, b) the child has a fever, c) the child has diarrhea with blood and mucus. In these cases, it is very likely that the child has either a viral or a bacterial infection. Other situations when the child should not go to nursery school include:

* If the child has possible meningitis symptoms.

* If he has gastroenteritis or a pathogenic E-coli, because these are highly contagious.

* If he has oral herpes, because this is directly transmitted by secretions.

* If he has hepatitis A.

* If he has conjunctivitis.

* With cases of tonsillitis, impetigo, and scarlet fever, the child may return to school 24 – 48 hours after the administration of antibiotics.

* With cases of measles, rubella, mumps, or whooping cough, the doctor will decide when the child can return to school.


Stelios Papaventsis Paediatrician MRCPCH DCH IBCLC 2009


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