Explore and Develop Epping Road

Explore and Develop Epping Road, a long day care service from North Ryde, tells us about their safe sleep practices and how they work with families to meet the sleep/rest needs of every child in their care.

Could you tell us a bit about your service?

Explore and Develop (E&D) Epping Road was opened in 2014 by Eva Klingberg and operates as a long day care service situated on Dharug land of the Wandeandegal Clan.

E&D Epping Road is a 98-place purpose-built service in a business park, catering for children aged between 6 weeks to 6 years. Broken up into five indoor environments and two outdoor environments, we place a great emphasis on the outdoors. The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) NSW showed that a vast majority of children in our community live in apartments and have limited regular access to outdoor environments. This has a heavy influence on our philosophy and our ‘Pillars of Learning’ (outside the classroom) program which sees us in our local community and natural environments.

Leading from this, E&D Epping Road has adapted outdoor sleeping as part of our sleep/rest practices from the Early Childhood Approach in Scandinavia. This practice started with the children’s interest in camping and sleeping ‘under the stars’ after reading ‘Zigby Camps Out’ by Brian Paterson and wanting to have their own camping trip. Following this experience, educators led research into outdoor sleeping and the benefits this has for children’s health, in consultation with families/guardians. A risk assessment and risk benefit were conducted, and our policy was amended to include safe sleep practices in our outdoor environments.

How do you review your safe sleep practices and sleeping environments?

At Explore and Develop Epping Road, we recognise the importance of safe sleeping practices. Educators participate in Safe Sleep Training conducted by Red Nose and are given time to refresh their knowledge. Educators review our safe sleeping practices monthly, ensuring our practices match our Safe Sleeping checklist. The checklist is reviewed regularly by management, in accordance with current recognised guidelines and information provided by Red Nose.

Explore and Develop Epping Road understands the importance of having positive sleep and rest environments for all children. Our cot rooms are set up as a relaxing space where educators and parents/guardians can calmly and comfortably soothe a child to sleep. In our outdoor environments, mattresses are set up in a shady place away from resources to create a positive sleep environment for children. Calming natural sounds are provided for children during these times to help lull out any unwanted noise. Educators refer to our Safe Sleep Posters in all environments to ensure they follow the current guidelines and children are kept safe at all times.

At Explore and Develop Epping Road, we believe all children need time to rest, relax and be in tune with both their body and mind. Children who do not sleep, are offered alternative experiences including meditation and yoga which is a component of our Mind and Movement ‘Pillar of Learning’ program.

What do you ask families about their child’s sleep/rest needs and how do you implement the various needs of each child?

Each child is different and has different sleep/rest needs that change as the child grows. Educators and families work in collaboration with each other to provide the children with consistency around their sleep pattern. Upon enrolment, parents/guardians are provided with an information sheet to complete, which informs educators of the child’s current sleep patterns.

Children’s sleep/rest needs are discussed with the families during orientations, giving families the opportunity to inform educators of any changes or upcoming changes they might be trialing at home (e.g. dropping to one sleep). In our 0-2 space, educators have each child’s routine written down for educators to follow. This includes information on how the child prefers to be settled, if they wear a sleeping suit/bag and when they have a bottle.

Parents/guardians are encouraged to use our communication app to inform educators of any minor changes to their routine each morning (e.g. if they need an earlier sleep as they woke up early). Whilst we acknowledge the importance of family partnerships and appreciate and consider any requests from families regarding their child’s sleep/rest needs, educators are in rhythm with children and accommodate their individual needs to ensure the best outcome for the child. Educators use the daily activity function on Kinderloop to record children’s sleep/rest times which parents can see and track in real time, allowing them to plan ahead and be in rhythm with their child/ren.

Explore and Develop Epping Road also recognises the importance of supporting families and educating [them on] safe sleep practices. Through our partnership with Tresillian, and the information available from Red Nose, educators utilise our various forms of communication to educate and support families. Those that need additional assistance are referred to Tresillian, which is able to provide more direct help to families.

How do you implement your safe sleep policies and procedures?

Supervision is of the upmost importance, and this does not differ during sleep/rest times. With our strategically placed windows, educators are able to easily view children in the sleep rooms while inside remains a comfortable environment for sleeping children. Educators do not solely rely on observing the children through the window, SIDS checks are completed regularly where educators enter the sleep room.

During these checks, educators note each child’s breathing through sight, sound and movement, as well as ensure there are no obstructions or hazards present. This is recorded on our Safe Sleep Check Record. Educators also check the temperature of the room and ensure children are not overheating.

Across the service, safe sleep practices are the responsibility of room educators and the Management team (Nominated Supervisor and two off the floor Educational Leaders) to ensure a high level of safety when children are resting or sleeping.

Regular checks of sleep spaces and the educators safe sleeping practices are closely monitored by the Management team to ensure children are protected from harm and hazards and that policies and procedures are adhered to.

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