Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hiring in Child Care—Before the Interview

Time to hire a new employee?  A little time spent planning will save a lot of time in the future.  You can save time by not interviewing the wrong people or, worse yet, hiring the wrong people.  

If you’re like us, as soon as you put an advertisement out in the community, you are inundated with calls and emails.  Clearly, we don’t have the time to interview every applicant, nor is every applicant even qualified for the position.  With a set of Pre-Interview Questions that will help you determine their qualifications and their potential fit for your program, you will have a good way to screen out those that you want to interview.

If the Pre-Interview goes well and it looks like the applicant could be a valid candidate, we request that they email us a resume and either transcripts or a listing of early childhood classes that they have taken.  That way we can confirm that the classes do actually meet the requirements for the position.  We can also check out their work history and look for red flags like gaps in employment and job-hopping.

If we determine this is a person that we want to interview, we go on and set up the interview time and date.  We ask each candidate to arrive 15 minutes prior to the interview to give them the time they will need to complete our Employment Application.  

Next week, we’ll talk about the interview itself.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Stroller Standards

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently approved a new safety standard for strollers and carriages.  Strollers are defined as wheeled vehicles that transport children from infancy through age 3 who are generally sitting or in a semi-reclined position.  Carriages are wheeled vehicles that transport infants, generally in a lying down position.

The new standards will go into effect on September 10, 2015 and all strollers and carriages sold after that date will have to comply with the new standards.  At this point, the CPSC is not providing guidance on existing strollers, but the safety concerns with some existing strollers will need to be considered in determining whether they should be replaced.

Through June 2013, the CPSC had received 1,300 safety-related reports regarding difficulties with strollers.  Nearly 400 children have been injured, 14 hospitalized, and 4 killed by strollers or carriages.  

Some of the greatest hazards with strollers and carriages include:

  • Hinges (most dangerous)
  • Wheels breaking or detaching
  • Parking brake failures
  • Locking mechanism problems  
  • Structural integrity
  • Stability

The other big concern is restraint issues.  The CPSC notes that many safety issues with strollers and carriages are due to falls.  While restraint systems will be examined in the new safety standards, simply making sure that children are properly restrained and supervised will decrease the risk of injury. 

The new standards can be found at:  http://www.cpsc.gov/Regulations-Laws--Standards/Federal-Register-Notices/2014/Safety-Standard-for-Carriages-and-Strollers-Final-Rule/

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy Belated Birthday, Dr. Seuss

I am behind this year in wishing Dr. Seuss a happy birthday.  By the time I realized it was coming up, I was already involved in the 3-week series about identifying, reporting and preventing child abuse.  So, I now wish him a belated happy birthday.  (He would have been 110 years old on March 2.)

So, why do I think Dr. Seuss is so important that he needs to be remembered every year?  Actually, I think he’s important enough that he should be remembered much more frequently than that.  Dr. Seuss taught us two very important things about reading.  1) The basics are very, very important, and 2) reading should be a blast. 

The basics:
  • knowing the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make—Dr. Seuss’s ABC
  • identifying beginning or ending sounds--Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!
  • manipulating sounds through rhyming—Hop on Pop
Reading should be a blast:
  • any Dr. Seuss book!  (rhythm, rhyme, repetition, goofy words, life lessons…what’s not to like?)
Happy reading!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Preventing Abuse in Child Care Programs

Over the past couple of weeks, we have talked about identifying and reporting suspected child abuse.  This week, we’ll address the most important aspect…preventing child abuse.

Most child care licensing agencies have regulations in place to help programs minimize the risk of child abuse.  These may include comprehensive background checks, ratio requirements, and visibility and supervision guidelines.

However, licensing agencies frequently establish minimal requirements.  For example, ratio requirements can ensure that there are enough caregivers in the classroom to provide adequate care for the children.  But, we also make sure that each classroom is always staffed with two caregivers, regardless of how many children are in attendance at any given time.  Those caregivers understand that one of their responsibilities is to ensure that no child is ever left alone with an adult.

Two important Policies and Procedures to help protect children are a Touch Policy and a Child Guidance Policy.  The Touch Policy should detail what are appropriate and inappropriate types of touch in a program.  The Child Guidance Policy should describe developmentally appropriate expectations and appropriate methods of guiding children’s behavior.

If you don’t already have a policy in place to make sure that your staff knows how to prevent child abuse, check ours out here.