Thursday, March 14, 2013

Essentials for Safe Nursery and Preschool Classrooms - Germ Warfare and Washing Toys!

Yesterday we looked at two essentials for a safe nursery and preschool ministry - screening volunteers and child check in-out, so today let's think about germ warfare and cleaning toys. We want our classroom environment to be an amazing environment - even on a shoestring! Our nurseries are spaces for little ones to be cared for, play in and for us to begin to introduce them to Jesus! Preschool classrooms are spaces for children to learn about Jesus and a place to play. Let's create environments your children - and their parents - will love!

Obviously one big area for us to focus on when it comes to the environment of the rooms our littlest ones are in begins with cleanliness. Our nurseries and preschool classrooms absolutely must be clean. We can have the most attractively decorated spaces, but if they are not clean, parents will not want their child in our ministry. Consider the following cleaning tips - 
  • All areas children are in must be thoroughly cleaned each and every week.
  • Keep cleaning wipes handy on a high shelf - out of the reach of children, but where volunteers can see them - and when you train your volunteers show them how to use the wipes to clean up any spills, drools and messes during the time children are there.
  • Train your volunteers so they automatically use disposable wipes to wipe all hard surfaces in-between services so each service begins with a clean nursery.
It only takes moments . . . and a few pennies . . . to wipe up a mess and to be sure each service begins with a clean nursery - but this is something you can do which parents will truly appreciate!

Nurseries and preschool classes have toys . . . and children in these areas often put toys in their mouths, so you need to have a plan for keeping these toys clean! Consider the following tips for keeping toys clean . . . 
  • Label two toy "baskets" for each service and fill one with toys which are clean and which children are able to play with for the current service. As children play with a toy - especially if you see them put it in their mouths - then place the toy in the "dirty" basket. At the end of the service, place all toys into the "dirty" basket and bring out a fresh, clean basket of toys. 
  • Do this for each service, then during the week, before the next time the nursery/classroom is open for children, be sure the toys are washed and placed back into the "clean" toy baskets. This will allow you to be sure the toys children are playing with are clean each and every time children are in your classrooms!
  • Be sure all plush and soft toys, blankets and bedding are washed between uses. Have a basket for laundry and train your volunteers to put used linens, blankets and plush toys which need cleaning in this basket so someone can take them home to wash them before they are used again.
These things do not take a lot of money and may seem like "no-brainers", but if you are not intentional about being sure the things children come in contact with are cleaned each and every week, they will end up not being clean. In my next post I'll continue this idea on developing your environment - on a shoestring budget!

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