Media and the effects on the children and the setting

I don't know about you but I a feeling a little concerned at the state of the situation out there at the moment. Every time I look at the news something else is happening and to be frank it scares me, so this got me thinking about the effect its having on my children and all the children in the setting. There are as with everything that consumes my life at the moment 2 approaches Mummy approach and the Manager approach.

I am going to take the Manager approach first. This is to be prepared for everything, risk assess, plan, train and open communication where possible.

  • Risk assessment: So when the setting completes a risk assessment on anything we do a simple calculation. likeliness of happening x impact if happened = Risk level. These are all calculated in threes, 1 being not likely or no serious impact and 3 being very likely and serious impact. For example: The latch in the garden hurting a child or not working therefore meaning they could hurt themselves. We have calculated this as 1 (not likely to happen as its maintained) and 1(little or no effect on the child as its out of reach and always staffed) so this would be 1×1=1 leaving the risk as improbable. We would still include this on our quarterly checks but it wouldn't need an action plan in place and be monitored every day. A higher risk is the blinds in the rooms, so these are 2 (could be a risk if the children were allowed to sleep or play near the blinds) and 3 (serious injury could happen should a child get caught in the blinds) so 2 x 3 = 6 this is a high risk and needs to be monitored daily. There should be a check done on this daily to ensure that the risk is minimised as much as possible and where possible a strategy put in place to remove the risk all together at some point. Ok so you know how we risk assess lets do it together for the chances of the nursery being targeted in an attack (that is what we all worry about) so we are situated in a built up area away from train stations and shopping centres. The number of people in the area isn't high but i would call it medium. We are not a national icon or anywhere where media may focus on necessary. So personally I would say that although its could happen its unlikely so I would give it a 1. The effect however if it did happen is huge so I don't want to go into details just straight 3. 1×3=3 therefore its a medium risk and needs monitoring monthly. So onto the next part.
  • Plan: When you have any risk, once its been identified you need to do what you can to reduce the risk. So as a setting we have several plans in place should we ever need to respond. Evacuation, shut down and a safety point. So the Evacuation procedure is practised once a term, its the fire drill effectively however we would shut all the doors and remove the children. Once the authorities are call and all children safe you will be called to collect your children. (fire drills do not take children off site it would only be if assessed as safest option for them) We would then go to meet point and call you that’s why its so important we keep numbers up to date as all our information can be retrieved via a secure password protected server. Shut down, what we would do then is shut the nursery down, we are secure from all areas of the nursery but as you can imagine it gets hot and the children are playing outside at the moment so we have to get all the children in and shut all the doors and windows as quickly as possible. Then alert the authorities and wait for there instructions. Once clear and safe we would inform parents. This all sounds so heavy but we have to be prepared for anything even the littlest ones need protecting and that’s what we do at nursery. This has been assessed as unlikely to happen but we still need to be prepared so we have to practice.
  • Practice: Evacuation is practised once a term in line with the fire drill as we are aware we really don't want to scare the children or the staff. The shut down is harder to practice but we allocate each member of management an area so make secure and its down to the staff to keep the children happy during this time.
  • Training: Every member of staff in the setting receives training on how to spot a situation and how to deal with it before it escalates, every staff member has first aid training in the setting with the exceptions of new apprentices which wouldn’t be allow to administer first aid should we ever need it. All staff are informed and asked to read the evacuation procedure on their first day and then they are tested on it not just then but at random points.
  • Communication: If you have continued to read after all this doom and gloom it must see like the parents are last to know, as a setting we have a duty of care to make sure that everyone in the building is safe. We know you will want to know what’s happening to your babies but be assured that when we ring you we have done everything to make them safe.

OMG right!!!!!

I know this is really heavy for this weeks blog but I feel that parents and carers deserve to know what we would do as a setting to prevent and protect anything happening to your children.

Mummy's Turn:

So this all sound very impressive about what you would do in which situation but I don't even want my children knowing about it all. At home we don't talk about it we don't watch the news in front of the children and we discourage others from talking about it to my children. When i was younger we had lots of bombings and war going on (I'm not old enough to know WW2) but we just wasn't effected because we didn't know. So I will protect my children from knowing.

Manager: I understand you want to protect your children from the impact of the outside world, we don't talk about it at the setting around the children and all drills are done discretely and always labelled as fire drills. This means that we can practice them without scaring the children. We aren't here to teach your children about the events that are happening but to protect them. How consider that children are resilient and they take in a lot more than we give them credit for. I have been reading up on the effects of War on children and looking at the media impact on them its worth a read : Children seeing others hurt and not understanding why and what’s happening could lead them to believe it may happen to them. That’s what we want to protect them from the belief that we cannot protect them in scary situations. We want them to believe us when we say we got this your safe.

Mummy: How can I leave my child when you even have to think about having to do this?

Manager: As with everything that we do in nurseries its about making sure they are safe removing the risks or reducing them. In situation we cannot control its about being proactive rather than reactive. Once the situation has got to the critical point where we may need to use any of the above I want to say I was ready for them not I didn't know what I was doing.

Mummy: So my 4 year old has been talking about this with his friends ad now he won't separate from me in the morning, I am already worried about it all how can I help him.

Manager: Remember that we are dealing with children who are still developing their feelings and understanding of the world, we need to support them and have open communication with them. Not like you would with an adult necessary but look at saying things like “Mummy understands that you are worried about what you have heard, and she would never leave you where she didn’t trust.” {key workers name} is a really important person in your child's life as well so get them to support you as you have the conversation. “{key worker} is going to be here whilst Mummy goes to work she will make sure that you have a lovely time at nursery and when Mummy comes back I will make sure that we are all safe together” It doesn't really matter what you say as long as you don't dismiss their feelings as they are still developing them. Children as young as 2 start understanding the effect they have on others so they will be effected by others.

Mummy: Can I call you throughout the day?

Manager: We would love to hear from you, Its hard leaving when your little one is being upset but remember we are here for you as much as the children.

Throughout the blog we have looked at what we would do as a nursery and how we would prepare, prevent and support the children and the parents through what was happening in the media. We can't prevent them from putting it out there was can choose to keep it from our children or we can choose to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario. Whatever you choose your not wrong its all about choice.


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Nursery School Gillingham, UK