Why technology is the key to safety and security in nurseries
It’s no secret that our day-to-day lives are becoming increasingly digitised, both in and out of the working environment. And, when it comes to nurseries, there’s the age-old debate surrounding whether technology strengthens or threatens overall security.
And our chief information officer, John Ingham, recently shared his thoughts on this very topic with Nursery Management Today. If you missed the original article, catch up here…
A more centralised approach
Nowadays, data is the driver – and decision-maker – for most organisations, from nurseries and colleges to businesses spanning a range of sectors. But when it comes specifically to nurseries, data is crucial not only for the safety and security of the children but for the staff too.
And while there’s plenty in the news about how tech doesn’t allow you to ‘switch off’, when working in a fast-paced nursery setting, is this really a bad thing?
One of the primary reasons why technology is being adopted by more practices across the country is because it has the power to centralise – and simplify – data, processes, administrative tasks, child observations, and communication with parents. It’s this integrated package which provides staff with more control over the information they collect and store, as well as the peace of mind that it’s safe.
But how does having a more digitised approach to management improve the security of a nursery? It’s widely known that the effective running involves lots of administration – there are dozens of forms to fill out on a daily basis. Having everything paper-based is not only less convenient, but also carries greater risk of being able to be intercepted, or even modified, by unauthorised parties.
In truth, technology allows nursery practitioners to know, and manage, exactly who has accessed the data, policies and training materials, and who has taken a copy. There’s also a lower risk of accidental deletion.
Data accuracy and child wellbeing
As we know, nursery childcare is in high demand and there’s lots in the headlines about the staffing and recruitment crisis. So, any tool which saves staff time and gives them the headspace to focus on children and their development, is a welcomed guest.
But, having a more organised and consistent approach to data also contributes to wellbeing and safety. For instance, a nursery environment is a busy one – there’s lots going on and staff always have to be alert. However, human error is unavoidable and does crop up from time to time.
In reality, people can be simultaneously the strongest and weakest link in a chain, if they don’t have the support in place that they need. For instance, if a practice is working from a paper-based system, there could be gaps in a child’s data record, or papers could be accidentally misplaced. Therefore, if nursery workers need to make a decision based on a child’s wellbeing – whether related to activities or meals – the reliance is upon the data being in the right place and up to date.
Cloud-based systems, however, make updating data simpler, more rapid and easy-to-highlight. So, if a child has recently developed a food allergy, instead of being a footnote in a paper file, it’s front-and-centre on all their digital records.