[easy-social-share buttons=”facebook,twitter,linkedin,google,mail” counters=0]
A few weeks ago I finished up a grueling weekend of clearing brush, weeds and dead trees from a mostly wooded area of my back yard. It was very satisfying to mop my brow, stretch out my aging lower back and gaze upon the extra quarter acre of land that was now available to me. As I looked out across the smooth new expanse, myriad ideas swept over me. A fresh, clean slate could now be transformed into a garden, a playground for the children, a fire pit, a volleyball court, perhaps a gazebo or a shed; I couldn’t wait until the next weekend to get started.
Only I didn’t start. I spent time with a blank sheet of paper in front of me, and nothing came to me. I poured over pictures on my iPad with Houzz. I don’t yet have a patio or deck so I thought maybe I should start with that. More photos, more websites…still nothing.
Recently, I was meeting with a potential client who had begun a free trial of my company’s web and mobile software for conducting classroom safety inspections. She had gone two weeks on her free trial without so much as logging in. Even though a childcare center director’s day is completely filled and then some, she emphatically professed that she had spent a great deal of time analyzing the center’s classroom walkthrough plans, building and playground safety inspection checklists, state licensure compliance requirements, etc.
I laughed and relayed the story of my backyard to her. It seemed that we had both fallen in to what is generally referred to as analysis paralysis. The CompWALK software offers the ability to customize unlimited audits, questionnaires, and checklists – which is great! But with that much freedom it’s hard to know where to begin.
The same has been true for a number of my other customers who are utilizing the software for facilities management, scheduled walkthroughs and other building and grounds general environmental health and safety inspections. As a result, we have begun to deploy trials of the software with pre-defined inspection templates.
While only a handful chooses to employ the templates exactly as-is and out of the box, I have noticed an upswing in the utilization of the software during the trial period, especially in the first few weeks. As is often the case, it is easier to get to something you want when there is more than just a blank canvas in front of you.
Knowing were to begin in your search for templates can save time in the process as well. Here are a few websites where you can find some great free resources to get you started if you are struggling with analysis paralysis.
The State of Indiana published this simple Childcare Health and Safety Daily checklist: http://www.in.gov/fssa/files/HealthSafetyDailyChecklist.pdf
Similarly the University of California San Francisco developed this comprehensive 16 page Health and Safety Checklist for Early Care and Education Programs: http://www.ucsfchildcarehealth.org/pdfs/Checklists/HS_Checklist.pdf
Further resources are available for determining compliance with specific safety guidelines such as these guidelines from the Maryland State Department of Education on Playground and Water Safety: http://marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/F8CDF8A5-C58D-4CCF-A227-B90DC099B16C/32450/PlgrndSafety_May2012.pdf
Child Care Aware of America keeps an updated list of state-specific references with a convenient map search feature: http://www.naccrra.org/public-policy/core-issues/in-the-states
The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education also provides a map search that links directly to state licensing and regulation information specifically: http://nrckids.org/index.cfm/resources/state-licensing-and-regulation-information/
Templates are scattered all over the internet for numerous classroom and facility inspections. The government-related sites can be hard to navigate, making it especially difficult to find what you need. Hopefully these resources will start you off in the right direction.
When the time comes to move your inspection activities from paper to web and mobile devices for efficiency, ease of access and standardization, you may or may not have a good handle on the type(s) of templates you will need. Knowing you have a starting point can help you to avoid stalling the process by overanalyzing.
If you would like to take some of the basic templates we have developed in CompWALK for childcare and early learning facilities management, safety and compliance audits and inspections, click here to schedule a demo. And of course, if you would like to discuss your safety, compliance or facility management program with me, feel free to email or call me directly – I’ll even let you know how the back yard is coming along…