In recent months it has become so apparent that safety is an issue we need to take more seriously in our schools as well as on the home front. If our children are going to be safe from predators lurking around every corner and even situations that could escalate beyond our control, then it is important for us as the adults with the first responsibility of care, to spend more time thinking and planning out safety issues in our settings.
Let’s all consider the following:
- Parents, the children are now home on holidays, who is home with them? Do you trust the adults you have left them with? A lot of children unfortunately are defiled by the very adults we assume would look after them. If our children do not seem happy staying with a particular person, dig deeper and do not assume that all is well just because you wish it to be. If the children are going to holiday school, who is dropping them off and picking them up? Did you do your due diligence before you enrolled them into the new free program down the street from you? No offence but I worry about a few parents who have sent their children to schools with the House-help, asked no questions and dropped off the children who are not regular members of that school… I do begin to wonder…
- As a new session is about to begin our schools are in the serious business of running interviews, they will loose some members of staff and obviously gain some new members. Due diligence is required. There is no need in employing someone you cannot run a full background check on. Call the references and get first hand information. You will be surprised about what may turn up. It does not matter if the person is a teaching or non-teaching staff or male or female, just do your own checks. Gone are the days that our assumptions always point at the male employee as the main security risk for young children. Instead look out for both sexes, there is a lot of evil lurking around everywhere.
- Are your school policies in place? Are your teachers aware? Always spend sometime reminding them of important points and issues: Keep the children safe at all times, keep the gates shut, there must be at least one teacher with the children at all times, never leave your toddlers to go to the toilet on their own, do not leave a child alone in the classroom while others are out playing. If a child comes in to school ill, find out what’s up and decide the next line of action.. does he/she need to go back home, or sent to the sick bay etc? What is the school policy of dropping off and picking up the children. Revisit and realign practice with policy… you can never be too careful. Are your non-teaching staff on the same page as you? Does the cleaner understand that they are a crucial part of keeping the school healthy and devoid of health hazards? The school driver, does he understand how important his role is in ensuring that the children are safe when in the vehicle he is driving? There is so much to think about as school administrators. Let’s not take this lightly, our children and parents are depending on us solely to keep the children safe when they are in our care.
- Be intentional about planning the School excursion if this is something you do regularly or not, just ensure that every part of the journey has been thought through and planned properly. The children deserve to have fun and be kept safe during any school excursion. Let’s make sure that this is the case. Plan ahead think through the process and fill in the gaps.
- Finally ensure that you prepare the child, by empowering them with the knowledge they would need to be safe in their environments, they would need age appropriate sex education and what to do when they feel they are in danger. They should learn their addresses, parents phone numbers and what to do if approached by strangers. It is important to make sure our children are savvy about safety issues.
I pray that we will keep our children safe, both at home and at school, we want them to live, be happy and just be safe in the world they find themselves. We are the responsible adults lets just make this a great time for our children.