Cleaning, Facilities Management

The Challenges of Keeping Nursery and Early Years Clean and Safe

Keeping nurseries clean is not for the faint-hearted. Early years settings provide many unique challenges to overcome.

Keeping these spaces clean is a central part of effective health and safety requirements. Previous experience of nursery cleaning and FM in the education sector has provided us with the ability to deal with a large number of cleaners on-site, including on a night shift basis, as well as a day-time presence in the form of janitors. We have provided cleaning services, deep cleaning, reactive cleaning and washroom services.

These experiences have highlighted that the key challenge of working in a nursery school/early year’s establishment or indeed any form of education premises, is the requirement that children must be cared for in a safe, hygienic, smoke-free, pleasant and stimulating environment with surroundings in a good state of decoration and repair.

boy sitting near red table reading book

Other challenges faced when servicing educational establishments also include:

1. Buildings Maintenance

Well-maintained buildings are far easier to keep clean than buildings that have defects. Every premise should have a programme of routine maintenance and renewal for the fabric and decoration of the premises. Records should be kept of all maintenance activity and an effective system should be in place for reporting and tracking faults. Cleaning should be considered in all building or renovation projects. Relevant considerations include easy-to-clean surfaces, floors and paints should be used wherever possible.

paint brush beside cup

2. Blood and Body Fluid Spillages

All spillages of blood, faeces, saliva, vomit, nasal and eye discharges should be cleaned up immediately using a product that contains a detergent and a disinfectant that is effective against bacteria and viruses. It should be suitable for use on the affected surface. Children and adults should be kept away from the spill. It is useful to have a “spillage kit”, containing essential cleaning equipment for spills.

boy in blue t-shirt writing on white paper

3. Supporting Infection Control

Cleaning staff play a vital role in preventing the spread of infection in nursery schools and other educational settings. Cleaners should be trained and have access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the correct decontamination of cleaning equipment should also be followed. All education settings should have a cleaning schedule or procedure which lists each room in the building used to provide the care service, and has a signed and dated record of cleaning.

Play equipment must be clean and well-maintained and staff should take appropriate measures to control the spread of infection.

Work Schedules for Cleaning Nurseries and Early Years

The development and monitoring of work schedules to ensure that cleaning tasks are completed in accordance with any specified requirements should be put together.

Managers are expected to be familiar with the levels of productivity to be expected from them. This knowledge is essential for all work scheduling, as the length of time taken to perform cleaning operations determines the overall staff requirement needed to complete a task.

cleaner cleaning taps and sink

Standards in Cleaning a Nursery

Work method statements are an effective way of providing specific instructions to cleaning staff or those responsible for cleaning as part of their duties. The instructions can be general or cover specific environments or tasks that require specialist knowledge and training.

Cleaning standards and the performance of cleaners should be continuously monitored with occasional random inspections carried out to see whether the work schedule is being followed. Most cleaning tasks can be checked visually.

When maintaining nursery schools, performance assessments for the cleaning staff and the general cleanliness of work locations should be implemented.  In this process, all identified defects should also be recorded and corrected.

Cleaning standards are maintained with regular monitoring and audits delivering continuous improvement through the identification of any problem areas.

Routine Checks to Keep Early Years Settings Clean

Routine quality checks can include a regular walk around the premises to note the general level of cleanliness. Early years managers should note whether cleaning levels are visually sufficient and whether the specification of requirement is being met.

Full records of all cleaning activities should be kept and produced for inspectors as required. Records can include work schedules and method statements, contracts, risk assessments, audits, quality checks, signed records of work completed and performance reports.

FAQ about Challenges of Keeping Nursery and Early Years Clean and Safe

Q: Why is it important to keep nurseries and early years settings clean and safe?

A: Keeping nurseries and early years settings clean and safe is important to ensure the health and well-being of young children. Young children are more vulnerable to germs and illnesses, and a clean and safe environment can help prevent the spread of disease and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

Q: What are some of the challenges of keeping nurseries and early years settings clean and safe?

A: Some of the challenges of keeping nurseries and early years settings clean and safe include the high frequency of use and turnover of children, the need to use child-safe cleaning products, and the requirement for cleaning to be carried out when the setting is not in use.

Q: What are some best practices for cleaning and maintaining nurseries and early years settings?

A: Best practices for cleaning and maintaining nurseries and early years settings include regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and toys, using child-safe cleaning products, ensuring that staff and children wash their hands frequently, and implementing policies and procedures to prevent the spread of illness.

Q: How can staff and parents work together to keep nurseries and early years settings clean and safe?

A: Staff and parents can work together to keep nurseries and early years settings clean and safe by following established cleaning and hygiene policies, encouraging children to wash their hands frequently, and reporting any concerns or issues related to cleanliness or safety.

Q: What are some common areas of concern in nurseries and early years settings?

A: Common areas of concern in nurseries and early years settings include diaper changing areas, kitchen and food preparation areas, play areas and toys, and outdoor play areas.

Q: How can nurseries and early years settings ensure that staff are trained and equipped to maintain a clean and safe environment?

A: Nurseries and early years settings can ensure that staff are trained and equipped to maintain a clean and safe environment by providing regular training on cleaning and hygiene procedures, providing access to child-safe cleaning products and equipment, and regularly assessing and reviewing cleaning and hygiene practices.

Q: How can nurseries and early years settings communicate with parents about cleaning and hygiene practices?

A: Nurseries and early years settings can communicate with parents about cleaning and hygiene practices by providing written information and guidelines, holding parent meetings or workshops, and incorporating cleaning and hygiene education into children’s activities and curriculum.

Q: What are the benefits of maintaining a clean and safe environment in nurseries and early years settings?

A: The benefits of maintaining a clean and safe environment in nurseries and early years settings include reducing the risk of illness and injury, improving the health and well-being of children and staff, and promoting a positive learning environment for young children.

A full glossary of cleaning terms can be found in RFM Group’s Industry Terms in Cleaning Glossary.

Bradford Park PRU logo

Case Study: Park Primary Pupil Referral Unit

Park Primary PRU is a 50 placed KS1- KS3 Pupil Referral Unit. To ensure a safe and clean environment RFM Group were selected to provide a full cleaning service for the primary school. RFM Group provides cleaning services to many schools and pupil referral units across the North of England.

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