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The health, welfare, well- being and safety of children are probably the most important concerns and factors in early child development. Regardless of age, every toddler or infant must be and feel safe, happy and secure in the environment they find themselves in. Day Care Centers must be licensed, evaluated and monitored closely by the responsible Government agency at least twice a year. That means that protocol and procedure operating manuals for the child care center's operations must be written and approved by the Government.

Better yet the Government should issue these manuals to the centers. Emergency drills should be practiced regularly so that staff is competent when and if an emergency occurs. Also staff must be trained and certified in Child Care First Aid, CPR and Child Abuse Training. When and if complaints are lunched against certain Day Care Centers, they must be investigated and dealt with expediently and thoroughly. Government should financially assist child care centers with through an organized grant programme. Such grants will be earmarked to the Centers for making necessary modifications to their facilities to meet health and safety standards. Should the next sitting of Parliament include a debate for the enactment and appropriation of a Child and Day Care Center Grant Programme Act?

Appropriate and easy to follow directions and legible signs must be posted throughout the building where they can be seen by everyone. In addition, medical and other emergency supplies must be stored appropriately under the optimum temperature conditions following Government rules, pharmaceutical recommendations and regulatory guidelines. These supplies must be secured and easily accessible by staff. Bright 'Red Exit' signs should be posted at the doorways and evacuation points where everyone can read them.

Recreation activity areas must be clean and monitored regularly. Hazardous materials and 'unfriendly' equipment which could potentially injure and endanger the children while at play should be never be close to the play area. A child who plays in a safe and secure environment is a happy and healthy child. A tidy and well-kept environment promotes and fosters good health, proper hygiene, lifelong excellent health habits and lifestyles. This also means that environmentally recommended sanitizing solutions and aerosols should be used to disinfect areas where children congregate. Confidential health information about each child should be provided by the family to the Child's Day Care Center.

The Day Care's learning environment and surroundings should be pleasant, welcoming and inviting. That environment should provide the appropriate levels of stimulation materials and activities that are developmentally recommended for the children. These various materials and activities should peek children's interests and urge them to explore and be curious throughout the entire day.

Appropriate scheduling of children's activities and sessions such as organized ground play, nap and quiet times allows and ensures that the child's basic and recommended routine needs are met. These enhance and provide opportunities for cognitive development activities such allowing children to express themselves through the visual arts, dancing and role play such as being a police officer, medical doctor etc.; acting and drama promotes creativity , well-rounded and good-natured children. These activities are also important because they help with and in the timely growth and development of the five senses - seeing, tasting, feeling, hearing and touching. Planned and sometimes random activities encourage children's curiosities, exploration abilities, discoveries and hands- on- experiences.

Equally important is the very strong need to promote proper, respectful communication and promote early literacy and language development activities in Day Care settings. This in turn teaches children to speak, listen, and express themselves, their ideas and feelings in respectable manners. Also it teaches and demonstrates to these young minds how to respect the opinions of others which they may or may not agree with. If anything else, these 'tell and show' fundamentals allow the children, which are our future, to be productive, law- abiding, decent and good citizens.


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