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1.1.Describe the factors to take into account when planning healthy and safe indoor and outdoor environments and services. It is important to take into account the health and safe requirements of all pupils before planning or starting any activity, ensuring that the environment is free of hazards and the children can play and learn safely. There are many factors to take into consideration, when planning and preparing the setting for healthy and safe indoor and outdoor activities. The main factors fall into the following categories:
•The individual needs, age and abilities of the pupils
When setting up the environment, should be taken into consideration the age and the abilities of each individual child, particularly to those with special educational needs and children with EAL.
Staff-to-pupil ratios should be adequate to the number and the individual needs of the children.
•Specific risks to individuals
It should be considered if there are specific risks to individuals. For example if there are members of staff, who are pregnant; children or members of staff with sensory impairments or any other physical impairment.
In cases of such impairments, the environment should be made suitable to their needs and they should be provided with the necessary assistance when and where needed.
All equipment and materials should be stored in places, where they would not obstruct the fire exits. Drawers, cupboards and boxes should be clearly labelled, so it is clear where different equipment is stored and pupils and staff are able to find them easily. Rubbish bins should be emptied regularly, making sure they are not left overfilled.
Water tubs should be labelled if there are with drinking or not drinking water. Cleaning and other hazardous chemicals should be stored safely and locked. First aid boxes should be refilled regularly and use by dates checked regularly.
The furniture should be the appropriate size for the age of the children, so they could sit comfortably and not having to spend time in uncomfortable position. Furniture should be arranged suitably for easy access and not over crowded in one area. Space should be used wisely.
•Light, noise and temperature
There should be sufficient light for children to work without discomfort. Harsh lighting for long time should be avoided and day light should be used as much as possible. Noise levels should be considered and if there are any temporary causes for noise (maintenance work or other), children should be relocated to a suitable place, where they can work in quiet environment. The temperature of the rooms should be monitored to make sure it is not too cold or too hot. Fresh air should be provided by opening of windows and doors, making sure that this doesn’t create a safety risk.
•Desired outcome for children
The place of the activities should be planned in consideration of the desired outcome. Outdoor environment should be considered whenever possible if the type of the activity and the weather allows it.
•Duty of care
Usage of equipment should be monitored constantly and children should be given instructions of how to use it. Equipment should be stored safely and should be checked and maintained regularly. Any damaged equipment should be removed, repaired or made unreachable if its condition creates a risk of hazard. •Adequate space, according to the number of children and adults The size of the premises and the outdoor space should be planned according to the number of pupils. If the outdoor space for example is not enough to be used by all children at once, rotation plan could be made for usage by different classes in different time frame.
•Accessible materials and equipment
All materials and equipment should be accessible by the children. For this it should be taken into consideration the height of the children and their abilities (ex. Drawers should be able to be open without effort by the children). For younger children, who cannot read yet, labels should include pictures or be from transparent material, so children can find them easily.
Making sure children are not able to go out of the school and outside people are not able to enter the school from anywhere, but through the specified doors and in specified times. Visitors should be wearing badges or be accompanied by a member of staff and signed in and out accordingly. Fences and security doors should be checked regularly. The area around the fences should be checked for any litter and cleaned.
•Cleanliness and tidiness
Carpets should be hovered regularly; other flooring should be cleaned regularly with suitable disinfectants. All areas should be clean and tidy at all times. Any cases of broken glass or any other hazardous matter should be reported and cleaned immediately. Appropriate signs should be put in place, for example when the floor is wet in process of cleaning. Example from my experience: In the play area for the Nursery and Reception classes in our school there were clear boundaries where the children can cycle to avoid bumping into other children, as well as for learning the road regulations. Suitable soft surface is in place where there is climbing equipment. Shaded area provides with outdoor space even when is raining. Etc.
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