While early childhood professionals agree that health and safety are important, as the following scenario illustrates, there is often disagreement about what constitutes a hazard.
Becky, a teacher for many years, was the owner of the only preschool in the small town in which she lived. She often told parents that her number one concern was child safety. To prevent injury, she eliminated any potentially hazardous material from the preschool. For example, Becky had read that the number one injury in early childhood settings was due to falls. Therefore, she did not have any climbing equipment either inside or outside. She also made sure that there were no sharp or breakable items in the room. Children were only allowed to use “unsafe items” like scissors when an adult was present.
When her business expanded, Becky hired a new co-teacher, Deleena. Deleena was concerned that many of the safety rules had a negative impact on children’s development. In addition, she felt that when children were not given opportunities and exposure to common materials, toys, and equipment that they were not learning necessary safety skills. For example, in the setting Deleena had worked in previously, glass was used to display many of the manipulative and art materials. Children handled these materials carefully, realizing that they could break. It was extremely rare that a glass dish or container was broken. However if it did occur, the staff used it as a teaching opportunity. Deleena pointed out to Becky that the children typically have exposure to many of these materials in their home environments, which are often less closely supervised than in the preschool. Learning to use the materials safely could reduce injuries in other environments. Due to the extreme conflicts in teaching beliefs, the teaching partnership did not last (Bullard, 2014, p. 72-73).
As you will explore in this week’s assignment, national and state health and safety standards can assist in resolving these issues.
Visit one of the following websites and discuss how you would use this information to resolve the dilemma described in the scenario above. Be sure to cite one of these sources to support your answer.
Explain whether your views about safety align more with Becky’s or Deleena’s beliefs and discuss why.