Tips to pick the right daycare
Life in the cities is everdemanding in terms of time and costs. Fragmentation of joint families into nuclear ones; people moving to bigger cities for better prospects; and single parenting has become the norm
of the day. In order to pursue a good quality of life, there are many families that have both the spouses or single parents working through the better part of the day. The personal and emotional decision of bearing a child in this situation changes
the dynamics to a whole new dimension. As the child starts growing, so does the need for making her more socially adaptable. To this end, many parents search out facilities which give a comfortable, secure
and conducive environment for their child to grow in. Subconsciously, they are looking for a home away from home where the child eats, sleeps, plays and learns while they attend to the demands of their jobs.
Day care centres and preschools have understood this need, and hence, there is a sudden spurt of such facilities—be it franchises or standalone—across tier I and II cities. While the technical parameters for them giving out franchises differ from business to business and is subject to interpretation, security is an important issue which is either overlooked or taken casually by a majority of both these types of establishments. This factor is sometimes overlooked by parents in the haste to get their child into the education system as early as possible. After all, who does not want some breathing space in this fast-paced life? Security, to this end, takes a backseat and sadly, sometimes, becomes the sole point that endangers their child, bringing about immense turmoil when the child falls prey to the crime.
Parents need to factor in security as one of the major concerns when choosing a daycare or preschool. To this end there are certain pointers that they should keep in mind while selecting these facilities:
Location: The facility should not be directly on a busy main road, nor should it should be tucked away into a small corner of an isolated lane. Both have their demerits in terms of the child being exposed to surveillance by criminal elements in the first instance, and the child being totally isolated from the outside world in the second.
Frontage: The frontage of the establishment should have a perimeter wall which does not allow outsiders to have a casual glance inside while strolling by it.
If the facility is not demarcated by a wall, it should have an open space which clearly defines the public space from that the establishment premises, which is exclusively under the surveillance of the establishment staff and security.
Layout: The layout of the facility or establishment should be such that it facilitates straight lines of sight wherever possible. It should not have any sharp bends in the hallways, constricted spaces of movement, or hidden spaces and corners which can be missed during a casual glance or stroll around the premises.
Entry and exit: This is tricky part as entry and exit points need to have the right balance of visibility and privacy. Tuckedaway entry and exit points serve as vulnerable areas as they may facilitate hiding spots for criminals around the place, or
become ideal bottlenecks for the abduction of a targeted child. Entry and exit points should be both visible to the staff of these establishments as well as the parents, and should ensure controlled movement of the children from the drop-off point to the entry point of the facility. There should not be more than one entry and exit point and route to the same establishment.
Windows: The facility should not sport long windows with clear glass panes which allow outsiders to look inside easily. The windows should be inside-opening, secured with strong latches and bolts with strong metallic frames rather than stylish modular frames, that can be pried open or loosened from the outside. The glass panes should be toughened glass which can be frosted, smoked or laminated fully or to a height which allows the staff to see outside but prevents outsiders from peeking inside. Doors: The main entrance door of the facility should be strong and heavy, suitably made of industrial grade wood or metal. This allows only adults to open the door, and disables the noise of children from getting out of the premises. The use of glass on these doors also should be restricted so as to disallow an outsider to have full view of the interiors. Lighting: The establishment should be fitted out with fluorescent lights or LED white lights, that not only provide bright illumination within the rooms, but also negate long shadows and dark corners that allow a person to stay unobserved to a large extent. These are everyday parametres that we take for granted. A little scrutiny from parents goes a long way to ensure that their child is safe within the environs of their selected establishment, and gives them the much-needed mental peace knowing that their child is in safe hands of their appointed care-takers.
Lt. Colonel Omar S Pathare (Retd.) is a certified security management professional® (UK) and life member of International Security Management Institute® (UK). He is a security consultant and founder of ‘FORTIFY®’, that provides proactive solutions and customised securitymanagement plans. Website: www.fortifyindia.com