In a nursery school environment, the number one priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of children.
There is a massive responsibility on educators and other nursery professionals. And with a noisy classroom of children, keeping them out of harm's way can seem a daunting task.
So how can you ensure that nursery school pupils avoid injuries?
There are a number of simple solutions. But overlooking any of these issues could result in injuries for children and could see schools facing massive financial penalties.
The Health and Safety Executive’s comprehensive checklist outlines a number of potential areas of concern in the classroom. These include, but are not limited to:
- Is the internal flooring in a good condition?
- Are gangways between desks kept clear?
- Is a window-opener provided for opening high-level windows?
- Are permanent fixtures in good condition and securely fastened, eg cupboards, display boards, shelving?
- Are hot surfaces of radiators etc protected where necessary to prevent the risk of burns to vulnerable young people?
All of these potential areas of concern can be solved with some simple design touches and awareness of hazards in the classroom.
So how can you stay ahead of the danger?
Luckily, we have found six ways that you can ensure your nursery school is a safe haven for staff and pupils alike.
- Regular checks of the classroom are a must. Without a keen eye, teachers and care providers could miss bags spilling out into the walkways, untidy wires and cables and uneven floors that could all lead to trips and falls.
- Keeping young people’s feet on the ground is certainly a lot easier with anti-slip flooring. With so many pupils for teachers to be keeping an eye on, specially designed flooring can give some extra piece of mind.
Keeping students and professional adults aware of problems - whether it is signs for spillages or warnings about steps or changes in floor level - will also keep the classroom happy and worry-free.
Another problem area is where children can encounter everyday objects with sharp edges. Bookcases, desks, tables, radiator covers and more can all cause serious injuries.
- Luckily, many objects are designed specifically for inquisitive kids, such as classroom-friendly furniture. Alternatively, older furniture can be adapted with specially fitted corner guards.
Corner guards are a particularly good solution for older classrooms, or where a school’s budget does not stretch to buying brand new furniture. After all, what price can you put on a child’s safety!
- Quality radiator covers are a must for all nursery classrooms. The best will come designed with radiused corners to make sure that even in the event of a fall, a child will not suffer serious injury from a trip or fall.
Most importantly, radiator covers can prevent children coming into contact with hot surfaces. Any contact with surfaces above 43°C can cause serious injury. This is incredibly important with children who suffer from disabilities and who may lack mobility or sensitivity to certain temperatures.
- Of course, keeping the classroom environment safe does not just apply to pupils. Many workplace injuries can stem from poorly laid out areas, without the safety first design touches that can prevent problems.
Fitting window openers in classrooms will keep things ventilated, whilst removing the need for a ladder. The HSE also recommends using an ‘elephant-foot’ stepstool or stepladder for those hard to reach places, as these are sturdier and more secure than basic ladders…or even crawling over chairs and tables.
- One final tip to keep little hands from getting trapped is by fitting door finger guards in the nursery. These clever classroom hacks can stop pupils getting their fingers caught in a pinch in door hinges and the handle, while they also reduce the risk of slamming doors.
This is a simple but effective fix and is far more cost-effective than fitting brand new doors designed for the same purpose.
These six steps are certainly not exhaustive, and the HSE and other resources can give some more great tips. But by following these ideas you can be sure of a secure place to let young minds run free.