The issue of equipment and resources in your Day Nursery not being looked after is nothing new. Owners often tell me that staff aren’t treating the equipment and resources as their own. That’s right, they don’t own it and some people wouldn’t look after the equipment even if they did.
Here’s a list of a few things to think about when you identify you have a problem with how equipment and resources are being cared for:
- Can you personally issue any equipment? For example tablets. We find where these are personal issue, or even where issued to a small number of colleagues, via an equipment issue form using the serial number, it does wonders for people taking personal responsibility for the item. Make it clear that breakages and/or loss will result in a deduction from wages to cover the replacement. Where there is insufficient wages that staff will be invoiced for the balance.
- Ensure you have adequate insurance for high value items.
- Look at the toughest, ugliest tablet and mobile phone covers on the market and if they were built for a warzone then they may be good enough for what you need! 🙂
- If its the chargers that are getting broken can you have a charging station, set up to reduce the risk that items on charge and the charger itself will be damaged. We have seen this work to good effect.
- Can equipment be booked in and out with a log. This can have a deterrent effect. The person who books out the equipment then takes responsibility for it until it is booked back in. It works for keys and other high value equipment.
- Rather than penalise staff for damage, recognise care. Who’s looking after their equipment and resources, what are they doing that is best practice, can they lead the way for others to follow. A little competition often works.
- Undertake an equipment audit to see what condition equipment is getting before it gets to the point when the children can’t use it. Give feedback and report back your findings. Rate the room?
- Is the problem that too much equipment and resources are out, maybe less is more at any one time.
- Is there an issue with the storage systems in place? In a hurry to put away, parts can be lost. Inadequate storage can be solved by asking the staff what they need and encouraging them to use what they have effectively.
- Remember not everyone can put away, don’t neglect this area of your induction training. Similarly someone may need to be shown how you like your resources cleaned, disinfected, aired, etc.
- Are staff intervening quickly enough when children are damaging the equipment? Are they talking to the children about how to use the equipment and resources in a caring way.
- Could it be that what you are buying isn’t up to the job? We know that some toys aren’t robust enough what about other resources.
- Could you issue a replacement budget for Equipment and Resources per room. When its gone its gone.
- Raise it at a Staff Meeting and ask for ideas from groups as to what they think is the solution. If your team find a workable solution they are more likely to accept it.
- Make looking after equipment and resources one of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in your appraisals.
Like many aspects of managing people, there’s not one approach fits all. If I can be of any assistance, please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org