Many of you will have been made aware through recent newspaper articles, circulating texts and emails that an attempted abduction of a young child was made from a Union Coop store on Al Wasl Road. This serves as a timely reminder to us all to make sure that our children are properly supervised and protected at all times. For our part, we shall remain vigilant and, with the help and cooperation of the parents, we are tightening security measures around the nursery. We will also be talking to the children in an age appropriate way about ‘stranger danger’ in classrooms and would appreciate families furthering these conversations at home. This topic is covered along with crossing roads safely, bike and car safety, food and health safety and confidence building sessions to ensure that children are not frightened but informed and know what to do should they be approached by a stranger. The week of March 25th is deemed Safety Week and we will have these conversations in classrooms along with school activities designed to promote awareness. We have shared some of these strategies here: 1. Your child should know his/her full name and his parents names, phone number and address if possible. Learn how to call on a cell phone. Placing his name and your mobile number in his schoolbag and or pockets is a good idea. 2. Know the 999 / 998 / 997 numbers and how to use it for emergencies! This will be discussed in safety week. 3. Discuss who are STRANGERS - you can use this video at home although we will not be using at nursery as some content may not be appropriate- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL8sUzl2Tdk Understand that there are good strangers and bad strangers: an overly simplistic dichotomy, but one that puts the issue in terms a child can understand. This is important so children understand where and to whom to turn if they are ever lost or feel scared, threatened, or if they think someone may be following them. Examples of “good” strangers may include police officers, security guards, nursery teachers (exp. someone wearing the blossom tabbard, store clerks, etc. These are all examples of people to turn to if and when your child needs help. On the other hand, in many situations where your child may be approached by a “bad” stranger – the park, residential street, etc – those easily identifiable people may not be around. If they are approached by a “bad” stranger who tries to lure or physically pull them away, the best thing they can do is get the attention of other adults - whether that is by running or making enough noise to be heard by someone, the vast majority of adults will help a child in danger. 4. Teach our children to never go with a stranger and if you are being forced to do so: you can kick and scream that "this is not my mom / dad" and the word "fire" when in public places as it will attract attention. It is important to create "meeting spots" and a buddy system when outside of areas that children are familiar with like malls and supermarkets. You can watch our Youtube Channel which has a list of videos we will be watching next week that you can also see at home: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD016181FC7D12CEE&feature=plcp discussing stranger danger. Safety is much more than precautionary measures but a continuous practice. Over recent weeks, we have had external agency Health & Safety Solutions (HSS) provide us with detailed audits of the centers to ensure fresh eyes see the spaces and can advise us on any changes that can be made for further ensure best practice is followed. We were commended for our CCTV system, extensive up to date CPR and Fire certifications, safe play equipment and padded floors, shading and gated areas. The dual gate access provisions for the front door and CCTV are great systems but the biggest concern continues to be where families do not close the doors and gates behind them when dropping and picking up children . There are many signs on the doors but please take a minute to read them with your child this week and remind yourself of this critical importance. Remind others to close the gates behind them and please do not let anyone in the centre when you are entering or exiting. Because the inner gate is low (this is required fire safety practice to ensure exit) we are now building a second fence outside the main door to ensure that children remain protected from traffic. This gate area is also to be monitored with further cameras which are to be installed in the coming weeks.
Another system we use is our password system and asking people we do not recognize to please check in at the office. Please do not be offended if you are requested to go to the main office - this precaution is done as we are a centre open 55 hours per week and thus have necessary staff shift changes that may result in carers that do not recognize you. Your teachers continue to ensure daily attendance and evacuation totals are maintained to keep children in safe OFSTED approved numbers in the different areas. Families should also enter and exit in good time so that children who are picked up do not remain in areas used by afternoon classes as this can affect our evacuation totals in the event of emergency. Please be reminded that duty staffs are available from 7.30 each morning for those in breakfast club and 8am for all others and that children cannot be left unsupervised before these times. Likewise, the nursery cannot be held responsible for children who have been handed over to parents or collectors at the end of the day. Children who are allowed to play on the apparatus, or anywhere in the school facilities unsupervised and who are subsequently injured, or cause injury to other children, are the responsibility of the collecting parent/party. Please pick up on time so that we can ensure children are enabled to get on with their activities. As families are aware we also post many of our activities on our website and on our social media page and it is important for families who wish to see these pictures to use them in a responsible manner. We have clear protocol not to post any images of children that do not specifically show activities in a safe manner (eg. no names are mentioned and all pictures are posted after they have left the centre or event) and pictures are available to those who like our page which we can and do monitor. Of course, the nature of email, newsletters and web pictures allows sharing and should you not wish your child to be photographed or appear in group pictures - kindly advise your centre director who will maintain such list. Accidents and the proper procedure in which they should be dealt with are important factors to all of us. We thank our parents for trusting us at Blossom with your children and know what a big responsibility this is. As such, our staffs are trained in how to cope in an emergency and we recommend you do the same at home. Attached please find HSS flyer with courses coming up for families to participate in. Many thanks for your support in these initiatives and please be assured that we take our duty of care to your children extremely seriously; as in most things, challenges are most effectively met when the community draws together to achieve a common aim. In order to help us keep children safe we are reliant on your understanding and cooperation.
Yours sincerely, The Blossom Nursery Management Team