Early Childhood Education Centres
Early Childhood Centres (ECC) includes kindergartens, playcentres, kohanga reo, and pre-schools.
The Health Protection Team supports health, wellbeing and safety in ECCs by providing:
- Health reports on new or existing centres as requested under the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. This assessment is from a public health perspective – looking at compliance with legislative requirements and assessment of health risk.
- Specialist advice on public health issues such as drinking-water, hygiene and cleaning and disease outbreaks.
- General public health advice and guidelines for people planning a new centre, renovations or re-licencing a centre
Click here for more information on health reports, opening a new centre, outbreak control and various other health topics relating to ECCs.
Diseases and Outbreaks
Gastroenteritis and infectious diseases such as Norovirus and Giardia, can spread rapidly through ECCs. Transmission of disease can occur and disease outbreaks are common imn ECCs because:
- Children under 5yrs are likely to have poorly developed personal hygiene habits;
- There is a high level of physical contact between children;
- Nappy changing is considered to be a high risk activity;
- Food may be shared; and
- Children tend to place items in their mouths and may contaminate those items.
There are several key steps that can be taken in ECCs to help prevent the spread of infections.
- Encourage children to wash their hands after using the toilet, after blowing their nose, after playing with animals, and before they eat. Hand-washing is the best way of preventing the spread of many diseases.
- Keep children away from the ECC while they are sick. No-one suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should attend an ECC until they have been symptom free for at least 48 hours.
- Thorough cleaning needs to be carried out on a regular basis with an effective cleaner and a sanitiser.
The Health Protection Team can provide expert advice on how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and assist ECCs in managing outbreaks. Return to the Health Protection Team page to view our contact details.