At House on the Hill, the well-being and safety of our young charges and staff is paramount to us. We believe as a community we have collective responsibility for keeping each other healthy. Staying clean and healthy at school also helps our wider HotH community stay healthy (as the children can bring illness home). Cleanliness is a very important part of the House on the Hill’s experience, and we work hard to ensure that the children have the best time in school, as well as looking out for their well-being.
On weekdays, school is the place where many children spend most of their time, whether they’re partaking in various activities ranging from learning in class, playing with friends, having meals, and even having naps. Having a clean and safe environment for the children to work in also allows them to explore and learn freely and confidently!
With numerous children and teachers coming in and out every day, keeping our schools clean is no easy task. It takes a lot of effort and time. With that being said, aunties, teachers and even the children all do our very best to make sure that the school we love is an environment that is clean and safe for all! We have strict health and hygiene standard operating procedures in place, adhering to the rules set by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). We also adapt quickly to any changes in environment, taking guidance from ECDA, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).
This blog post will cover two parts of how we practice health and hygiene at House on the Hill. Firstly, how we inculcate a sense of awareness about being clean to our students through the Montessori Practical Life Curriculum. Secondly, we give you a glimpse at the cleaning routines in our schools, and how we ensure that everyone in our schools is kept safe and healthy from germs and infectious diseases.
Care of Self
Learning and practicing hygiene is a major part of our Montessori Practical Life curriculum, where the exercises cover care of self development. The children learn from a very early age the importance of washing their hands regularly, especially before and after meals and after outdoor play. With constant reminders, it has become a good routine for the children, ensuring that they are keeping themselves clean. They are taught that good hygiene practices will help them to be less prone to falling ill and allow them to enjoy their time in school to the fullest.
The Montessori Practical Life Curriculum extends to teaching the children how to pack up after themselves. The children are introduced to wiping their own lunch mats, cleaning their table after meals, packing away their food bowl and even washing them after use! It is not a rare sight to see children wiping the tables and washing their own bowls instead of the teacher. This promotes independence as well as a form of responsibility in the children.
Keeping Our House Clean
At House on the Hill, all ‘adults’ – management, teachers and support staff- are vigilant about safeguarding health and hygiene. It is important for us to maintain rigorous practices, for the safety of all, but also for us to act as good models to our young charges. We also constantly refresh our procedures and certifications.
We are extremely fortunate to have our support staff, whom we mostly call ‘aunties’ (and some ‘uncles’!) to assist us with keeping the schools clean for the children. They have a daily cleaning schedule, and areas such as the classrooms, toilets and kitchen in particular are maintained by them. Some of their duties include sweeping, mopping and wiping down throughout the day. In particular, the classrooms each morning before the children arrive at school, as well as after lunch – when it gets messy!
Some of our aunties also double as our cooks, they prepare and make all our delicious meals from scratch daily in the kitchens. All our cooks and support staff in the kitchen must undergo food safety course training before they begin work for us, and there is strict adherence to ECDA’s guidelines about food preparation and storage.
Here, we see auntie cleaning the kitchen at the end of the day.
Besides having the aunties to help us, the teachers play a big role in the cleanliness of the school. While the aunties assist in the general cleaning of the classroom, the teachers focus on a more specific and thorough aspect of cleaning.
Throughout the day, you will see the teachers regularly wiping down the tables in the classroom after the children have used them, and especially after meal times. The tables are sprayed with our Ready-to-Use (RTU) sanitizer before wiping down with a cloth.
The children’s physical hygiene in school is a top priority for the teachers. From the moment that they check in and have passed physical tests to make sure they are well, healthy and ready for a day in school, to keeping an eye on all of them, our teachers ensure that each child is clean and tidy through the day.
Communal toys that are shared between the children are disinfected at least daily or at the end of every session. All washable toys are cleaned daily. Toys with hard surfaces and items such as the Montessori Materials used for learning in class each day are disinfected.
You might be wondering what this device is! The Speco Ion is a state-of-the-art device that combines advanced technologies to purify the air and sanitize surfaces, creating a safe and hygienic environment.
The technology includes a Medical-Grade HEPA filter and UV purification system, which work together with the latest Speco+ technology, effectively sanitizing both air and surfaces.
It is used across all the classrooms on a roster basis each week. Whenever we have any children diagnosed with an infectious disease, or even if there are a few more sniffles floating about, then we use the Speco Ion more frequently to help stop any spread.
Cleanliness in our schools is an essential part of our daily operations and always foremost in our minds. It ensures that the children are able to maximise their time in school to the fullest whilst staying safe and healthy. With these practices, the children will surely have a good and safe time in school!