GUIDELINES FOR STUDENT CARE CENTRES - Published by ComCare and Social Support Division, Ministry of Social and Family Development (July 2013) - ECDA
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GUIDELINES FOR STUDENT CARE CENTRES Published by ComCare and Social Support Division, Ministry of Social and Family Development (July 2013)
Guidelines for Student Care Centres CONTENTS 01 The Physical Environment 02 Safety/Health/Hygiene/Nutrition 03 Staffing 04 Programme 05 Administration 06 Community Resources 07 School-based SCC 08 ComCare Student Care Fee Assistance 09 Layout and Fitting 10 Annexes Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 1: THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT THE PHYSICAL The recommended usable floor area : ENVIRONMENT student ratio is 3 square metres to 1 student. For example, a usable floor area of 180 square metres is able to The physical environment in a Student Care accommodate up to 60 students at any Centre (SCC) consists of the indoor and point in time. This usable floor area outdoor spaces, and includes furniture, excludes the sick bay, staff room and equipment and resource materials within ancillary area for kitchen, store, bathrooms these spaces. and toilets. It is important that the physical environment is ii. Activity areas/Interest corners clean and safe. In addition, the physical environment should encourage learning It would also be desirable to have participation, and foster constructive activity/interest areas for rest and relationships among students and between relaxation. These could include: students and staff. • Book shelves and the adjoining space This chapter on SCC’s physical environment can be a ‘reading corner’. provides pointers to consider in the following • Shelves with art & craft materials and areas: the adjoining space can be a ‘crafts corner’. • Use of Space (Indoor and Outdoor areas); • Furnishings/Fittings and Equipment; Reading Corner • General Maintenance and Cleanliness; • Learning Environment. 1.1 USE OF SPACE Key Considerations a. Indoor i. Floor space Having adequate indoor space and utilising it efficiently would contribute to a more conducive learning environment for students. Some of the key considerations Crafts Display Corner include the size of the rooms as well as the number of students catered for, their age, abilities, needs and interests. The SCC operators would need to ensure that the space and layout of the SCC is able to accommodate the maximum capacity of students during Saturdays and school holidays. SCCs are expected to meet the recommended indoor floor space to student ratio. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 1 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 1: THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT ii. Activity areas/Interest corners • Other possible activity areas/interest • A cosy area with some cushions can corners are illustrated as follows: be used as a rest area. Centres with sufficient space may allocate areas for a pantry and a ‘Parent Corner’ for parents to wait for their children. Interaction and Hobby Corner IT Corner Games Corner Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 2 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 1: THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT iii. Arrangement v. Light Space should be arranged and The quality and quantity of light influences demarcated for students to either work the mood and feeling of students and staff individually, in large or small groups, or in within the environment. active/passive, noisy/quiet and messy/tidy activities. Clear pathways should be • Sufficient windows with blinds/curtains provided to guide students’ movement with should be installed to allow sufficient minimal disruptions or distractions to other light into the activity rooms. students/activities. • The lighting effect can be enhanced • In the event of adverse weather with the use of pastel-coloured paints condition, indoor space should be on walls. large enough to enable gross motor play activities to be conducted. A • Having a variety of lighting forms (for mixed use of indoor space is example, fluorescent and incandescent encouraged. For example, in school- lights) will create different effects for based SCCs, part of the school hall or various play areas and activities. canteen can serve as an indoor game play area and study area. Sliding b. Outdoor area partitions and dividers can offer flexibility to separate and adjoin areas Students need the freedom to explore, according to the changing function of especially after a day in their classrooms. the place. This can be done within the compound of the SCC or through outdoor lessons to • Equipment, furniture and activities promote gross motor activities. The SCC could be arranged so as to allow a could consider conducting outdoor activities clear line of sight for staff to supervise at void decks, outdoor playground area, ball student activities at all times. courts and soccer fields. iv. Ventilation The outdoor area is more than a place where students can exercise their muscles. Good ventilation helps to maintain the Outdoor spaces offer students the indoor environment at a comfortable level opportunity for teamwork, active play, and can contribute positively to the problem-solving and creative experiences student’s learning. which are fundamental to their learning and development. However, the outdoor • All rooms should be well-ventilated by environment should not only be used for means of windows that can be sports and active games; indoor activities opened, working air-conditioning could also be brought outside if the weather system/coolers or fans. permits. • Exhaust fans should be used to provide better ventilation in toilets and kitchen. Standing fans are discouraged as they may pose a safety hazard to the student. Ceiling fans offer a viable alternative. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 3 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 1: THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT 1.2 FURNISHINGS/FITTINGS 1.3 GENERAL MAINTENANCE AND EQUIPMENT AND CLEANLINESS Ensuring a clean and safe environment The floor, windows, doors, furniture and should be a top priority in SCCs. It is equipment should be kept clean and dust-free important to allow students to play and learn through the following daily and regular without the risk of injury, especially when maintenance activities: there are a lot of furnishings and equipment within the premises. (Refer to Annex A for a • Floors should be swept/vacuumed and suggested list of furniture and equipment). mopped daily; and should be free from dirt and sand, and kept dry. Key Considerations • Non-slip mats (if any) should be free from • All fixtures, fittings, furniture, gross motor grime and dirt. equipment and toilets should be well- maintained and in good working • Carpeted floor is not encouraged. If used, it condition. The use of lamination made of has to be vacuumed daily. non-toxic materials is preferred for shelves and cabinets for ease of • Furniture, fittings and fixtures should be cleaning. Replacement of such items cleaned with disinfectant regularly. should be done when necessary. • Filters in the air-conditioners should be • Furniture should be sufficient, functional replaced or cleaned regularly according to and sturdy. the instruction manual. • Tables, chairs and cubby holes should be • All litter bins should be lined, properly suitably sized for students’ use. Shelves covered and emptied at least once daily. used for toys, books and materials should be made easily accessible to the • PVC mattresses and mattress covers students. should be wiped after every use. They should also be sunned/ wiped with • There should be designated storage disinfectant and washed at least once a spaces for play/reading materials, week. equipment, toiletries, general stores and personal belongings. • Spring cleaning sessions should be conducted regularly. A personal storage space (e.g. cubby holes, storage bins and containers) Prompt action should be taken to maintain an should be assigned to each student to environment that is free from mosquito breeding store his/her belongings. These storage and other pests. Useful tips on dengue spaces should be labelled with names, prevention are available at the National symbols or words to show students Environment Agency website where different items belong. A sense of (http://www.nea.gov.sg). ownership and responsibility towards one’s own belongings can be inculcated Special attention has to be paid to the hygiene of this way. the centre. Should there be an outbreak of communicable disease, SCCs should follow the • Games, learning materials and recommended hygiene practices outlined in the equipment should be maintained in ways ‘Infection Control Guidelines for Schools and that are not harmful to the students. For Childcare Centres’ as provided by the Ministry of example, chemicals that are toxic to the Health (MOH). This can be found under students should not be used for the ‘Publications’ of the ‘Research’ tab on MOH’s disinfection of materials. website. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 4 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved
CHAPTER 1: THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT 1.4 LEARNING ENVIRONMENT • Language games which enhance SCC should provide a conducive learning language proficiency, catering to environment which supports the students’ different age groups and abilities; and developmental needs and interests as they interact with the materials, peers and adults in • Reasoning games which allow the centre. students to explore and understand the links between everyday life and the Key Considerations concepts they learn in class. Games related to the application of A variety of age-appropriate materials and mathematical/scientific concepts, IT equipment should be made available to based simulation and role playing support the different learning activities and activities can be used for this purpose. needs in the centre. Equipment and materials should be added or changed periodically to b. Partitions, walls and floors stimulate students’ curiosity, and extend their interest by providing elements of surprise, • Encourage the students to be involved novelty, success and satisfaction. in decorating the environment individually or in groups. These may The learning environment should be planned include notes of encouragements, in a manner that facilitates positive writings, model essays and photos interactions between the students and the which are initiated and expressed by teachers, as well as to engage them in the students themselves. constructive activities. This is done by encouraging students to make choices whilst • Personal artwork, photos, as well as participating in both learning and play. work done or chosen by the students add personality to the space. Providing students with choices involves providing them with an environment that is • Moreover, a sense of belonging and rich in the variety of learning resources and ownership over the environment could materials. This would enable them to choose be cultivated by encouraging the from that pool of resources and match them students to contribute towards the to their level of competency. aesthetic appearance of the SCC. Students need to be able to initiate their own In conclusion, the SCC’s physical learning experience by using the materials, environment should be one in which the which they can access independently. An students feel at home. While it provides the environment that offers plenty of choices students with a sense of security, it should would allow students to develop important life also offer an environment that is suitable for them to develop, learn and grow. skills such as decision-making. Some useful ideas of equipment and learning resources are provided below. a. Equipment and learning resources There should be enough materials to cater to each group of students using any set of equipment and materials. A SCC should be equipped with the following: • Portable equipment like balls, sports equipment, bean bags, skipping ropes, etc. for gross motor and team-building activities; Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 5 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 2: SAFETY / HEALTH / HYGIENE / NUTRITION SAFETY / HEALTH / 2.1 SAFETY HYGIENE / NUTRITION a. Indoor precautions One of the most basic and important elements in caring for students in SCCs is to ensure i. All indoor equipment, materials, their safety and well-being, as a large part of furnishings and play areas should be their day is spent in the centre. It is the SCC’s sturdy, safe, and in good condition. They responsibility to provide a safe environment to are to be maintained in ways that are not prevent and reduce injuries. harmful to students. They should not have toxic paints coated on them, sharp edges Staff must be alert and be equipped with the or loose and rusty parts. relevant skills and knowledge to prevent accidents and injuries. They should be able to ii. All chemical, cleaning products and other manage emergencies, accidents and injuries dangerous substances must be properly appropriately when necessary. stored away in closed cabinets or stored in areas which students have no access to. Safety procedures must be in place and iii. No electrical device or apparatus plugged practised (e.g. clear labelling of external/oral into an electrical outlet should be located medication, display of simple warning signs near a water source, such as a sink. where potentially dangerous products are stored, as well as putting in place safety rules iv. Centres using extension cords for the and practices). power supply must ensure that they do not pose as a potential safety hazard. SCCs should also observe good health Extension cords must not run under practices and hygiene. Students in SCCs are carpets, through doorways or across water in close contact with one another, making source. Both the extension and the them more vulnerable to communicable appliance of the electrical cord must not be diseases. Prompt attention must be given to frayed or overloaded at any time. students who fall sick and appropriate precautionary measures must be taken to v. All bathing facilities should have a minimise the outbreak. conveniently located grab bar that is mounted at a height appropriate for a Dietary habits are cultivated at an early age, student to use. Non-skid surfaces should and educating the young to eat wisely reaps also be provided in all showers. benefits for life. Eating wisely would mean providing a balanced diet which is moderate in vi. Placement of furnishings and equipment calories, low in fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt, should help prevent collision and injuries and adequate in protein, vitamins, minerals while permitting the freedom of movement and dietary fibre. SCCs play an important role of students. Furniture placement can play in promoting good nutrition and healthy a significant role in the way space is used. eating. Staff should act as role model and inculcate healthy eating habits in students. SCCs are encouraged to follow the Infection Control Guidelines for Schools and Childcare Centres set by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure that: • the premises are clean and hygienic, • students cared for and persons employed are medically fit to be in the centre, and any student or employee who is sick is to be excluded from the centre. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 6 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 2: SAFETY / HEALTH / HYGIENE / NUTRITION b. Outdoor precautions v. Age appropriate activities Before students are permitted to use the In order to provide a challenging yet safe outdoor play area, a check needs to be play environment for all ages, it is conducted to ensure that the playground/play important that the outdoor activity area area is free from any potential hazard. and equipment are appropriate for the age of the respective students at play. Examples of potential hazards are: vi. Pinch points and sharp edges i. Lack of maintenance Equipment should be checked regularly to The designated outdoor area is make sure that there are no sharp edges. adequately maintained and all Outdoor equipment should also not have play/learning equipments are in safe any rusty parts, loose joints, sharp edges, working condition. For example, should a unsteady stands or sharp protruding ends playground be used for outdoor activities, that are potentially hazardous. there should not be any broken, missing or worn out components in the playground vii. Sports related injuries equipment. All parts should be stable with no apparent sign of loosening. A Added precautions should be taken when systematic inspection and maintenance students engage in outdoor sporting plan should be in place to ensure that the activities. It is essential that warm up and playground is safe. cool down exercises are conducted when playing sports. Students need to be ii. Lack of supervision adequately hydrated before and when the sport is played. In addition, a sick or Supervision by staff members is an injured student should not be allowed to important factor in ensuring outdoor participate in any outdoor activities. The safety. Staff should have a clear view of Singapore Sports Council website sight of any outdoor activity area at all (http://www.ssc.gov.sg) has useful tips for times. In supervising play, the staff on duty centres to refer to. must ensure that the students use all equipment safely and all outdoor games c. Supervision of students are conducted in a safe manner. Proper supervision should be provided upon iii. Trip hazards the arrival of students and throughout the day. Trip hazards are created by play Activity areas (indoors/outdoors) have to be equipment or items on the ground. Abrupt arranged such that the students are within the changes in surface elevations, exposed visual range and accessibility of supervising concrete footings, tree roots, tree stumps adults. Maintaining a visual view helps to and rocks are all common trip hazards that prevent injury and abuse. are often found in outdoor environment. During departure, there should be a system to iv. Overcrowding ensure that the students return home with only authorised personnel. Should the parent/ Play area should not be overcrowded with authorised person fail to make it on time to students as serious injuries can result fetch the student home, the centre should from collision. make the appropriate arrangements to ensure that the safety of the students is not compromised. The staff should maintain an open communication on its policies in order to minimise compromising the students’ safety. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 7 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 2: SAFETY / HEALTH / HYGIENE / NUTRITION d. Fire / Emergency / Precautionary measures vi. Fire-extinguishers or hose reels should be placed at prominent places within the i. The fire evacuation plan is clear and centre and made readily accessible and comprehensive in its instructions. The fire functional. Portable dry powder evacuation sketch map must show the extinguishers can be used for most fires, escape routes and assembly point clearly. e.g. paper, textile and wood, cooking oil, The emergency phone numbers (e.g. the flammable liquids and even electrical fires. numbers of the registered medical The indicator on the extinguisher should practitioner, police, hospitals, civil defence, be in the green zone at all times and the fire station/ambulance), fire evacuation servicing label should reflect a valid date. plan and sketch map must be displayed at Lack of maintenance will result in the fire prominent places in the centre and near a extinguisher not discharging when telephone. For centres located within a required and rupturing when pressurised. school, the SCC should establish an emergency contact list with the school’s vii. In the event when a bomb threat is received, management so that the school can notify centres should follow the detailed them in times of drills and emergency. emergency bomb threat procedures provided by the Ministry. SCCs can refer to ii. Fire evacuation drills should be conducted Annex C for these procedures. at least once every 6 months. The centre has to ensure that all staff and students viii. Operators/Supervisors of student care are briefed regularly and are familiar with centres have the responsibility of reporting the emergency evacuation procedure and to the Ministry incidents relating to safety, route. Fire evacuation drills are to take health, hygiene, illness and serious place at different times of the day and the accidents that have happened in the ‘fire’ is to be started at different places. centre. Details for incident reporting are The centre should also participate in the provided in Annex D. fire drills conducted by the school, when the school conducts one. ix. To prevent centres from being easy targets for break-in, it is strongly iii. All students and staff, including the cook recommended that the following crime and cleaner, must be briefed on the prevention measures are adopted: evacuation procedure. Staff should also be trained to use the fire-fighting equipment. • Anti-burglar alarm system iv. The SCC should maintain detailed An effective alarm system documentary record of each fire drill supplements the physical security of conducted. This record should include the the premises. It provides an early date and time of the fire drill, the duration warning (by means of siren, indicator, of the evacuation and the area where the etc) to any unauthorised entry or incident started. SCCs can refer to Annex attempt to enter any premises. B-2 for a sample format for recording fire evacuation drills. • Strong locks and grilles v. Fire exit doors are to be kept locked and Use closed-shackled locks and must be easily opened in times of window grilles that are strong and of emergency. Passageways leading to good quality. Locks should have dead- emergency exits should be kept clear of bolting features which are more obstructions (furnishing, books, etc.) at all resistant to tampering. times. It is also recommended that smoke detectors and fire alarms are to be installed in larger SCCs. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 8 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 2: SAFETY / HEALTH / HYGIENE / NUTRITION • Safekeeping of cash and expensive 2.2 HEALTH equipment. a. Procedures for handling sick students Deposit fees collected on the same day at the bank so as not to leave cash i. The SCC should conduct daily visual health overnight in the premises. Expensive checks for students upon arrival at the equipment such as PCs and audio premises for the following symptoms: visual equipment should be stored in properly secured rooms and cabinets. • Fever; • Severe cough; • Investing in locking devices such as • Difficulty in breathing; cable locks for your computers and • Redness of eyes; laptops would deter perpetrators from • Skin rashes or unusual spots; stealing these assets. • Yellowish skin or eyes; • Unusual behaviour; and SCCs are strongly urged to implement the • Frequent scratching of scalp or body. above measures to prevent their centres from falling prey to break-in. Centres may ii. The outcome of the health checks on the contact the various Crime Prevention students should be documented and Officers (CPOs) from any of the police maintained. division headquarters to find out other specific measures that can be adopted to iii. Additional observations should be made thwart any break-in attempts. The contact throughout the day to look out for other numbers of the various divisions of the signs: crime prevention unit are given in Annex E. • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea; e. First aid supplies • Difficulty in swallowing; • Loss of appetite; and The SCC needs to maintain at least 1 First • Headache or stiff neck. Aid box at a convenient location which all staff can have ready access to. The First iv. Parents must be notified immediately when Aid box should contain all the items listed their children fall sick in the centre. There in the First Aid Kit as required by the should be a separate enclosed area Ministry. The items should be within the designated for the rest and care of sick manufacturer’s stated use date, and should students. An adult should be present to be replaced/replenished when necessary. monitor the sick student, and to ensure SCCs can refer to Annex F for the list of his/her safety and comfort until his/her essential First Aid items. parents arrive. Centre should also record the observation and steps taken in the centre’s incident logbook. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 9 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 2: SAFETY / HEALTH / HYGIENE / NUTRITION v. Centres should immediately notify the b. Hygiene practices Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) of i. Staff should encourage students to observe any outbreak of any infectious diseases. good hygiene habits. Below are some good School-based SCC operators should also habits that can be instilled into the students: inform the school of any student who is diagnosed to be suffering from an • Washing hands before and after meals/ infectious disease. Any student who is toileting/outdoor and art activities; suffering from an infectious disease has to • Providing separate toilet cubicles for boys be excluded from the SCC until the expiry and girls; of the medical certification and the student • Changing of clothes when they are dirtied; shows no symptoms of the illness. and • Developing self-help skills in managing For more information, SCCs can refer to: health practices when students are ready. • ‘Infection Control Guidelines for ii. SCCs should consider installing at least one Schools and Childcare Centres” under washing basin so that students can observe ‘Publications’ (found under the good hygiene habits in the centre. Liquid ‘Research’ tab) on MOH website at soap dispensers are to be mounted next to http://www.moh.gov.sg, the sinks in the toilets (1 soap dispenser to 2 sinks). Toilet rolls, liquid soap and hand • Annex G for a ‘Checklist on Health drying facilities must be made easily and Hygiene Inspection of Student Care Centres’, and accessible to the students. • Annex H on the procedures of iii. SCCs should have a designated space for the reporting an outbreak of disease. preparation of food and snacks, and the space should be rendered inaccessible to 2.4 HYGIENE students. Feeding equipment and all surfaces used for food preparation (e.g. utensils, a. Personal effects bottles) should be sterilised after each use. Food preparation utensils and equipment i. Utensils such as cups, forks, plates, bowls should not be used for any other purposes. and spoons should not be shared as these would increase the spread of germs and diseases. Chipped and cracked utensils should not be used for the same reason. ii. Personal items such as towels, mugs, combs and mattress covers should not be shared as well. Bath towels are not allowed to be left in the centres overnight and should be brought home daily. Centres are discouraged to use a common towel for students to dry their hands. The use of disposable paper towels or a hand dryer is encouraged. iii. Centres are encouraged to provide proper labels and storage for each student to allow easy identification. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 10 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 2: SAFETY / HEALTH / HYGIENE / NUTRITION iv. Staff should practise good hygiene iii. Food handlers should wear clean, tidy procedures (e.g. washing hands before clothes and aprons when handling food. and after each meal preparation) during Food handlers with sores or cuts on their food preparation. If food is prepared in the hands should wear disposable waterproof SCC, it is recommended that the food gloves. Staff with diarrhoea or any other handlers undergo the ‘Workforce Skills symptoms of food-borne diseases should Qualification’ (WSQ) Food Hygiene not be allowed to handle the food. Course (WFHC) conducted by Workforce Development Agency (WDA), which has iv. Catered food should only be obtained accredited training organisations to from the school canteen or any licensed conduct the courses and issue the caterer who hold a valid catering licence qualification. SCCs can refer to Annex I for issued by the National Environment a list of some organisations accredited by Agency. If the food preparation area is WDA to conduct the WSQ Food Hygiene located outside the main building or where Course. the kitchen is detached from the centre, food must be covered and transported in a 2.4 NUTRITION hygienic manner. Centres should ensure that the food provided is consistent with a. Menu planning and serving of food the food menu posted on the Centre’s notice board. Please refer to guideline on i. The centre should plan and write down its Preparation and Handling of Halal food, meals in advance in a menu. The meals which can be obtained from MUIS website provided should be varied, balanced and (http://www.muis.gov.sg/). Should there be nutritious, and have sufficient protein, any changes in the food provision, centres carbohydrates, vitamins and fiber. should provide at least 1 month notice to Changes made to the menu are to be the parents. recorded into the logbook. The menu served should be prominently displayed v. Students should be discouraged from for parents’ information. Centre can refer bringing home-cooked food to the centre to www.hpb.gov.sg for guidelines on as the prolonged storage of food healthy eating. increases the risk of food poisoning. If storage is required for longer periods, ii. All raw and uncooked food must be kept cooked food should be kept at below 10°C fresh at all times. Cooked food has to be or above 60°C to reduce the growth of covered and served in dishes at all times. bacteria. Sufficient portions of food are to be provided appropriately to each student. vi. Staff members should wash their hands The food served should correspond to the before and after serving food. The serving written menu. Attractive and appealing surfaces should also be cleaned before food served can stimulate students’ and after meals. Staff members are appetite and interest to try the different encouraged to sit with the students during types of food. Centre should respect the meal times. A positive and relaxed dietary requirements of different religious atmosphere is encouraged through group and individual student’s food allergy. informal conversations among students Provisions should be made for the various and adults. dietary requirements of the students in the centre. Parents and centres can have mutual agreement on food arrangement. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 11 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 3: STAFFING STAFFING c. Assistant programme staff Assistant programme staff help the The staffing of a SCC is crucial. Research has programme staff in conducting activities and shown that having suitably qualified and the supervision of children. They should have trained student care programme staff would at least completed Secondary 4 education. often determine the quality of student care programmes. It is recommended that all SCC d. Volunteers staff should meet the basic qualifications and be suitable in terms of age, health, Volunteers could be enlisted to assist personality, knowledge and experience in a programme staff in the supervision of students SCC setting. SCCs may refer to Annex J for a during their revision, excursions and ad hoc list of courses conducted by training agency in activities. However, they should be given the student care and guidance. appropriate training and be guided in conducting activities in the centre. Volunteers 3.1 STAFFING NEEDS OF A SCC should be carefully selected to ensure proper match of personality and character, so as to a. Supervisors act as role models to the students. Supervisors oversee the day-to-day running of The National Volunteer and Philanthropy the centre and are responsible for programme Centre website (http://www.nvpc.org.sg) planning, curriculum development and staff contains useful reference on volunteering. supervision. Every SCC should have a SCC can refer to this website for its one-stop supervisor to ensure continuous and effective information and reference service, cross management, as well as supervision and sector partnership and grants to build people operation of the centre, staff and children. sector capacities. SCC supervisors should possess at least 5 3.2 STAFFING-TO-CHILD RATIO/STAFF GCE ‘O’ level credits including English REQUIREMENT Language, a valid first aid certificate, and have received training in children’s services or It is strongly recommended that a staff-to-child training related to school-age children from ratio of 1:25 is maintained at all times. Please training agencies. refer to Table 1 for the estimated minimum staff requirement. b. Programme staff Table 1: Programme staff play multiple roles in the Estimated Minimum Staff Requirement lives of the students under their care. In order to perform these roles effectively, they need to Capacity: 60 Capacity: 100 (60 students at any (100 students at any have the necessary knowledge, experience, point in time) point in time) personality and skills in student care 1 Supervisor/Asst. 1 Supervisor development as well as in programme Supervisor 1 Asst. Supervisor planning and implementation. 3 Programme Staff 4 Programme Staff 1 Cleaner cum Cook 1 Cleaner cum Cook Programme staff should possess at least 5 GCE ‘O’ level credits and preferably have There should be at least 2 staff members in received training related to school-age the SCC at all times. This is to ensure that in children. In the absence of the supervisor, an the event of an emergency, the students are experienced programme staff would have to not left unattended while one of the staff oversee the smooth running of the SCC in the responds to the emergency. capacity of an assistant supervisor. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 12 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 3: STAFFING 3.6 PARTNERSHIP WITH 3.3 STAFF RECORDS SCHOOLS All staff members should be medically cleared SCC supervisors should work closely and and certified as ‘medically fit for employment engage in active networking with the by a registered general practitioner. (Please professionals in the schools which they refer to Annex K for the ‘Pre-Employment collaborate with. Examples of such Medical Form’ for SCC staff). professionals are Learning Support Coordinators, school counsellors and It is recommended that all staff members pastoral care supervisors. A closely knitted should complete and submit a ‘Declaration of relationship between the SCC and the Offences Form’ to the SCC. (Please refer to school’s staff can help in developing quality Annex L). These records should be kept by and relevant programmes that would better the SCC for future references. meet each student’s needs. 3.4 STAFF WITH FIRST AID QUALIFICATION It is recommended that at least 1 programme staff with a valid first aid certificate has to be present at the centre at all times. SCCs are encouraged to send all staff (including non- programme staff such as the cook/relief cook/cleaner) for first aid training. The first aid certificate is valid for 3 years from its date of issue. SCCs are encouraged to send their staff to attend a refresher course before the expiry of the certificate. (Please refer to Annex M for a list of training agencies conducting first aid courses). 3.5 STAFF DEVELOPMENT New/relief staff should be given a thorough orientation and training on the SCC’s programme and curriculum. Staff meetings should be held regularly to keep staff members updated on the latest events, programmes and daily activities in the centre. SCCs are encouraged to organise or send their programme staff for on-going professional development to ensure quality and effective programme delivery. The supervisor should conduct annual supervisory observations of the staff members’ conduct and performances to identify and address their training needs. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) Published by MSF, Singapore. All Rights Reserved 13
CHAPTER 4: PROGRAMME PROGRAMME 4.1 STUDENT MANAGEMENT Student management refers to what the A good SCC programme facilitates the staff do to guide and keep students students’ needs and development as well as constructively engaged in activities that supports learning. The programme should be are developmentally and educationally child-focused and aims to provide quality appropriate. It covers the various aspects learning, leisure and recreational care for of the setting of the physical environment, students in a warm, safe and caring daily routines and teaching strategies. environment. Activities planned should meet the students’ individual needs, while focusing Positive management strategies are on their holistic development. usually effective in promoting a constructive learning environment. All The programme should be reviewed staff should be aware that corporal constantly to ensure that it is inclusive and punishment is not permissible. diverse in supporting and meeting the needs Programme staff who manage the of the students and their families. It should be students well will find little need for the challenging and fun. There should be imposition of disciplinary actions on the opportunities to develop the students’ self- students. confidence, self worth and foster positive relationships. Centres should also share the Some good management skills are: programme with the parents. One good way is to include such information in the parents’ i. Set rules and make them clear to the handbook. students: It is important that the SCC’s programme • Help students understand the behaviours addresses a broad range of ages and expected of them. development. A wide variety of school-aged appropriate activities and materials that • Be consistent in the enforcement of these encourage hands-on learning through rules. experimentation, self-exploration/discovery and play, should be provided. It is • Make rules simple for the students to recommended that students are grouped into follow. They should be implemented either their primary school levels or age sensitively. For example, a student with a groups (i.e. 7-9 years and 10-12 years). small appetite should not be expected to finish a large plate of food. Instead, the A time-table displaying the programmes for student should be given a smaller helping the day should be posted on the SCC’s notice and encouraged to go for a second board. This would allow both students and helping. parents to have a clear idea of activities for the day. However, the time-table planned • Review the rules regularly so that they are should be flexible enough to allow changes to always appropriate to a student’s growing be made to the daily programme. A sample needs. timetable is provided in Annex N. For smooth running of the programme, the SCC should pay attention and have clear guidelines concerning its approach to the following issues: • Student management; • Positive staff-student interaction; and • Centre-parent partnership. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 14 Published by MSF, Singapore. All Rights Reserved
CHAPTER 4: PROGRAMME • Brief all staff and obtain their agreement vi. Students should be told what is expected on the rules of the SCC, as well as the of them in a positive way: appropriate management of behaviour if these rules are broken. • Instead of telling the students, “Don’t run”, the staff can say, “Please walk to • Document clearly and in detail any the toilet.” incident of misbehaviour in the staff logbook so that all staff can be clear on • When a student does something wrong, any follow-up. Please refer to Annex O for the staff should talk to him/her calmly a sample of the ‘Incident Record Form’. about the rule he/she has broken. Ask the student to tell you the correct For incidents relating to safety, health and expected behaviour and let him/her know hygiene, it is the responsibility of the SCC your expectations. Finally, tell the student to report the incident to MSF. the consequences of his/her misbehaviour. ii. Be specific in pointing out behaviour that is not acceptable: vii. Every operator should ensure that staff do not carry out the following: • This helps the students to understand what actions are unacceptable, as well as • Any form of corporal punishment such their consequences. as striking a student directly or with any physical object; shaking, shoving, iii. Deal with the behaviour, not the student: spanking or other forms of aggressive contact; or requiring or forcing a student • Avoid comments that belittle the student, to repeat physical movements. for example, by saying, “You are stupid.” • Any harsh, humiliating, belittling or iv. Create an environment in which the degrading responses of any kind, students will respect and understand the whether verbal, emotional or physical. rules and regulations: • Withholding meals; or physical isolation • This helps the students to understand the and restriction of movements. needs of others in the social world they live in, so that they can also appreciate viii. Finally, it is important for the staff to act the rules and abide by them. as good role models and practise the behaviours expected of the students. v. Reward good behaviour: ix. Suspected Child Abuse • Praise the student or reward him/her with an occasional gift or treat for positive There may be occasions when staff of SCC behaviour. may notice bruises or behavioural changes in the students, or the students report they • Rewards reinforce positive behaviour and have been abused. When this happens, the boost self-esteem. However, do not let staff should: them assume that they should be a. Treat the matter seriously and the child materially rewarded for their good with respect. behaviour. b. Stay calm and find out more about the nature and frequency of the abuse (need not probe in depth) c. Assure confidentiality. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) Published by MSF, Singapore. All Rights Reserved 15
CHAPTER 4: PROGRAMME 4.2 STAFF-STUDENT INTERACTION d. Allow the student to disclose at his/her own pace and record the actual words of Interactions between staff and the students the child. provide opportunities for the student to develop an understanding of self and others, e. Inform the supervisor or designated staff and are characterised by warmth, personal member to report the matter to Child respect, individuality, positive support and Protection and Welfare services, MSF at responsiveness. Staff should facilitate toll free line: 1800-7770000 or the Police interactions among students to provide Divisional HQ or the nearest opportunities for self-esteem, social Neighbourhood Police Post. competence and intellectual growth. f. Record in logbook. Through these interactions, students discover the ‘processes’ of learning how to More information on child abuse and its deal with something new, organise their prevention is downloadable from MSF’s thinking and solve problems. They also website at: learn to function as a member of a group, how to get along with others; share and http://app1.mcys.gov.sg/portals/0/Summary/p cooperate, and take turns through positive ublication/Resource_Materials_Prevent_Child staff-student interactions. _Abuse.pdf Staff could create a warm atmosphere by If the child is abused by the staff in the being cheerful, friendly, and helping the Centre, the operator should immediately make students to relax. Staff could also be a report to the nearest Neighbourhood Police Post or the Police Divisional Headquarters. supportive of the independent behaviour in students, for example when they take the lead in selecting and initiating activities. The Children and Young Person Act (CYPA), Chapter 38 protects children and Staff should also be more proactive in young person’s welfare. Under this Act, a monitoring the students’ progression and person shall be guilty of an offence if, behaviour. Whenever possible, such being a person who has the custody, information could be shared with the charge or care of a child or young person, students’ primary caregivers during the arrival or departure of the students. he ill-treats the child or young person or causes, procures or knowingly permits the Staff show appreciation of students’ efforts child or young person to be ill-treated by and accomplishments. any other person. Mutual respect between staff and students The person who is guilty of an offence could be promoted by staff being under this Act shall be liable on consistently responsive, fair and non- conviction. discriminating in behaviour towards the students. Taking their cues from ideas brought up by students, staff could provide more information on specific topics or ask questions to encourage exploration of ideas in the context of projects or group discussions. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 16 Published by MSF, Singapore. All Rights Reserved
CHAPTER 4: PROGRAMME 4.3 CENTRE-PARENT PARTNERSHIP IDEAS FOR PARENT INVOLVEMENT ACTIVITIES Quality student care programmes are those that recognise the importance of each a. Parent-centre communication student’s family, and develop strategies to work closely with these families. Parents are i. Produce a weekly/monthly newsletter updated about the programme and they are jointly with parents to keep them welcomed as observers, volunteers or informed about the SCC’s activities resource persons to the programme. or programmes. Staff should work in partnership with parents ii. Make information accessible to and communicate with them regularly to build parents to give feedback and ideas for mutual understanding and greater consistency improvement. for the students. Student-related information is shared with parents verbally and in writing iii. Provide a suggestion box to give through formal and informal communication. feedback and ideas for improvement. Interaction with families is generally respectful iv. Organise informal gatherings to give to discuss specific concerns, problems or feedback to parents or invite feedback issues that need attention. from them on programmes and activities conducted by the centre, as well as on Periodic conferences between parents and the progress of the student. programme staff should be arranged to focus on helping the students to grow, to have v. Have regular Parent-Staff conferences to mutual exchange of information about their provide an opportunity for in-depth and development and progress at home and in the personal dialogue. centre, and to work towards solving problems faced by the parents and SCC. vi. Form Parent-Staff groups to establish rapport between parents and the centre Due to their busy schedules, many parents (e.g. Parent Support Group, Parent may not be able to participate in the centre’s Volunteer Group, Parent Committee, etc). programme. For these parents, the centre should provide them with various options to b. Parents’ involvement get involved in the programme. A good way to engage them is to find out their areas of i. Engage parents’ help to organise interest. For example, a parent who is good at events. Examples of such events are origami can be encouraged to conduct an picnics, parties, birthdays, festive origami lesson during the school holidays. celebrations, sports day, family outing, open house, fund-raising activities, It is commendable if a variety of events such annual concert/graduation ceremony as the celebration of festive occasions, annual etc. Parents can help to prepare food, concerts, talks, workshops or seminars are plan activities, help in displays, etc. organised to encourage families to be part of their children’s learning experiences. ii. Request students to contribute used materials or donate items for learning corners, e.g. toys, books, old clothing, etc. This would also encourage them to share and at the same time, recycle materials which are of little use at home. iii. Seek parents’ involvement in the centre’s activities. For example, they can provide recipes, conduct cooking or art and craft lessons. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 17 Published by MSF, Singapore. All Rights Reserved
CHAPTER 4: PROGRAMME c. Parent Volunteers 4.4 HOURS OF OPERATION i. Request existing parents to welcome and The schools need to be aware of the opening orientate new parents by conducting and closing hours of their SCC as stipulated orientation talks and showing new by the Ministry. parents around. A SCC’s hours of operation should be as ii. Link the SCC and families with other follows: community resources. Parents can often make useful contacts for the centre • Monday-Friday through their work, community 7.30am or earlier to 6.30pm or later; organisation they belong to and friends. • Saturday iii. Consider parent volunteers to take care 7.30am or earlier to 1.30pm or later; of the students in the SCC during and emergencies. • Closed on Sundays and gazetted iv. Allow parents to participate and public holidays. contribute in ad hoc sub-committees for a particular event/purpose. Centres may observe half-days on the eves of any 3 public holidays. In addition, centres v. Allow parents to participate in classroom may close for a maximum of 5 ½ days in a activities. Examples of possible parents’ calendar year. (Please refer to Annex P for participations include inviting them to give detailed explanation). talks to students about their occupations, conduct story-telling, cookery lessons, art SCCs are encouraged to open at extended and craft, and demonstrate various hours to support the needs of working cultural practices such as Japanese tea parents. ceremony, making ‘Ketupat’, making lanterns during Mid-Autumn Festival, etc. School-based SCC providers should also familiarise themselves with their school’s vi. Enlist parents’ help to run or decorate calendar of events. This is to help them interest corners, library corner, play organise and plan their programme to corner, parents’ corner etc. complement the school. vii. Enlist parents’ help to do some In addition, SCC providers should keep the handyman jobs, for example, painting of parents informed of the planned closure days the centre, repairing faulty gates and through their parents’ handbook, and alert discarding bulky equipment. them closer to the day of the planned closure . through a circular. Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 18 Published by MSF, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.
CHAPTER 5: ADMINISTRATION • All health records such as students’ ADMINISTRATION vaccination and immunisation records, chronic physical problems, injuries, communicable diseases, special diet, Running an effective operation requires a food/drug allergy and medical reports systematic approach to record keeping. The (Centres can refer to www.hpb.gov.sg for records should be up-to-date and kept by the the immunisation chart for students). centre supervisor or management. Records that are descriptive in nature (e.g. records on individual student’s development) should 5.2 PARTICULARS OF contain sufficiently detailed information and PARENTS/GUARDIANS be regularly updated. Records that require validation and authorisation must be properly It is the centre’s responsibility to ensure that completed and signed. A “Nil” return or “NA” all information provided by parents/guardians should be used wherever necessary. in the application form is correctly entered. This systematic approach should be applied The personal particulars of parents/guardians to keep records of: include: • Personal particulars of staff, parents ii. Names, home address and telephone and students; numbers; • Attendance; • Fees; iii. Parents’ occupation and office contact • Health status of students and staff; number, if applicable; • Student development and progress; • Administration of medicine; iv. Written authorisation for emergency • Feedback from parents; and medical care; • Other events and incidents. v. Administration of non-prescribed SCCs are encouraged to store all information medication; and such as parents’ particulars and students’ particulars in their computer system. vi. Indemnity for outdoor trips. However, a hard copy of the records should be readily available for viewing when The particulars of the parent and student required. should also be kept up-to-date. 5.1 STUDENT’S PARTICULARS 5.3 CENTRE’S RULES / PARENTS’ HANDBOOK The personal particulars of a student should include the following: The SCC’s rules should be compiled into a written manual. Policies and procedures x Name, birth certificate number, date of should not contain jargon, or be too general birth and home address with a copy of such that they convey vague meanings to the the student’s birth certificate attached; parents. x Name of school and class which the A copy of the SCC’s rules and policies should student is attending; be given to parents in a form of a handbook for reference, and its receipt acknowledged. x Emergency contact numbers of parents/guardians as well as persons authorised to pick the student up at the end of the programme; and Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 19 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER 5: ADMINISTRATION 5.4 ADMINISTRATION 5.6 CENTRE’S LOG BOOK OF MEDICINE The centre should maintain a log book. It The SCC should only administer medicine should be used to record information on the that has been prescribed by a registered following matters: general practitioner. Separate written consent should be obtained from parents when • Accidents (please refer to Annex O for administering non-prescribed or non-standard an ‘Incident Record Form’ sample); medicine (for example, Chinese medicine or • Events and incidents; controlled medication). Please refer to Annex • Programme changes; Q for a sample of a student’s medical record. • Illnesses/outbreak of infectious diseases; It is strongly recommended that a proper • Health checks; written record is maintained in relation to each • Visits made by other persons (e.g. MSF student whenever the SCC administers any officers, maintenance personnel, medication. The record should include: delivery men) and queries from parents; • Investigation of feedback/complaints; • Name of the student; and • Name of the medicine administered; • Any deviation from the written schedules • Dosage administered (e.g. 5ml, 1 or plans, menu, etc. teaspoon); • Name of the person who administered The log book should be kept up-to-date. the medicine; • Time and date of the administration; 5.7 STAFF RECORDS and • Manner of administration (e.g. oral, A record on staff should be completed and external). kept updated accordingly. The following documents should be available in hard copy: The centre should have separate trays to keep oral and external medications. They c. Appointment letters/letters of should be kept safe and out of the students’ acceptance; reach. d. Academic/professional/first aid certificates; 5.5 STUDENTS’ DAILY e. Medical reports; and ATTENDANCE/SIGN-IN/OUT f. Declaration of offences. The SCC should keep an up-to-date record of Due to close contact with the students daily, the daily attendance of students in the centre all SCC staff (including the cook/relief cook/ according to their respective age cleaner) should be certified as ‘medically fit group/school level. The attendance should be for employment’ by a registered general marked daily, including Saturdays. It should at practitioner. Newly recruited staff should be least reflect the following details: medically cleared before employment. • Actual number of children enrolled in Food handlers should also attend the ‘WSQ the SCC; Food Hygiene Course (WFHC)’. Please refer • Full name of each student; and to Annex I for a list of organisations that • Date of birth of each student. conduct food hygiene training courses approved by the National Environment Centres, which administer the Student Care Agency (NEA). Fee Assistance (SCFA) scheme, are required to maintain a certain number of students receiving SCFA (i.e. 10% of the total enrolment). Guidelines for Student Care Centres (2013) 20 Published by MSF, Singapore. All rights reserved.
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