3.1.2 Upkeep

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Premises, furniture and equipment are safe, clean and well maintained.

The checklist below covers the basics of meeting the NQS Element. You need to be doing all of this or you may receive a working towards rating for this element. The most important part of the checklist is to ensure ALL EDUCATORS can do and show great practice plus they understand the element and can describe to other people and make them understand why you do things to meet the outcome of the element

Case Study – Children maintaining safety and cleanliness

When you first look at this element it seems boring  – no more than a series of checklists to ensure the environment is safe and clean – but when you think outside the square and reflect on how you can involve the children in helping meet the element it can become exciting.

For example, a centre obtained a large part of a tree which was recently cut down by the local council and placed in their yard. As the months went on and natural decay occurred the bark started to peel from the log revealing very spiky nodules. These nodules cut children while they played on the log. Something needed to be done about it. Above is a child cutting off the spiky nodules under the guidance of the educator.

All cleaning should be completed with the children. One complaint I hear a lot is educators stating they don’t have enough time to do things. I say they’re not getting the children to help with what’s needed. The examples below are all from babies’ rooms, so please be inspired to get your children of all ages to help clean their learning environment and equipment.

During afternoon tea, Toby began to clean his high chair with his washer before hopping out. Once everyone was finished eating, Cody (educator) asked Toby if he would like to help clean. Toby quickly walked over to grab a cloth. Toby showed his capabilities and independence cleaning, while Cody maintained high expectations by encouraging him to help. Toby made sure there were no stains or crumbs left and persisted until the tables were clean. Thanks for the help Toby.

The checklist below covers the basics of meeting the NQS Element. You need to be doing all of this or you may receive a working towards rating for this element. The most important part of the checklist is to ensure ALL EDUCATORS can do and show great practice plus they understand the element and can describe to other people and make them understand why you do things to meet the outcome of the element.

Friday means cleaning day so we used the opportunity to get the kids involved with the jobs.

Skirting boards and chairs were all scrubbed. The children enjoyed the activity and it helps them to feel like they belong when they’re given real responsibility. It also teaches them to care for their environment.

Washing Up

After morning tea the children washed their own plates, showing us just how much they enjoy taking responsibility and using the kinds of equipment they see grown-ups using all the time. They even waited patiently to have their turn. Olivia enjoyed the activity so much she got extra plates off the trolley to wash. Perhaps we could use her in the kitchen.

Children working in the kitchen with Chef Cade.

Looking at the core of the exceeding theme for this element shows how educators skilfully meet exceeding practice.

All educators ensure outdoor and indoor spaces, buildings, fixtures and fittings are safe, clean and well-maintained at all times. All educators reflect upon the best ways to include children, families and local community to assist in maintaining a safe and clean environment.

Exceeding theme 3: Families and community connection

We can have a safe, clean and well maintained environment, but how do we give it that extra sparkle to ensure children are really attracted to it and want to play and learn in it? One way is to look outside early childhood settings at other places. The best places to start are museums and art galleries. For example, the Museum of Modern Art in Brisbane has had children’s exhibitions like Art Lab: Nature where children can ‘discover how artists and designers are inspired by the natural world in a new multisensory installation.’ Children are encouraged to ‘create a nature-inspired design, draw and arrange natural materials, and explore our nature discovery boxes.’

Don’t panic about budgets or think you need to create exactly what the museum has. I don’t. I want you to look at different ways others have enhanced their environment. It might be a little thing that inspires a change that you won’t find in any other early childhood centre. That’s what it’s all about. Being different, new and interesting gets exceeding. Being the same as everybody else gets you meeting.

Try looking up interesting artists like Yayoi Kusama Sandy Skoglund, Jee Young Lee, Ernesto Neto, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Kogler  Sebastian Masuda, Chiharu Shiota, Angela Glajcar, Trever Nicolas, Soo Sunny Park, Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam,Choi Jeong Hwa, Richard Wentworth, Gabriel Dawe to see how they could enhance your learning environment.


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