Question: Should educators go shoe-free in our babies room?
Explore the idea with your team
This is a question that I often reflected on during my time as a centre director and – to be honest I never quite resolved it. You will need to reflect with your team on why you are considering this and whether it will work for all stakeholders in your community.
The most obvious benefit of a shoe-free room is that floors are kept clean where babies crawl around, as we know that shoes carry a lot of germs.
That being said, there are a few challenges you’ll need to consider:
- Look at your area – do you have the storage space or could you purchase a shoe rack?
- Will you provide slippers?
- What guidelines do you need to set with your team to make sure your shoe-free environment works? Would OH&S training be helpful?
- How might you minimise the time for changing in/ out of shoes as educators move (potentially quite often) between spaces?
- Do parents drop off/collect children in the foyer or is an educator allocated to help parents when they arrive? (Remember, it may be difficult for parents to take off/put on their shoes while holding baby and their belongings.)
- How will this work with your indoor/outdoor program?
Once you have reflected on these considerations and made your decision, ensure you document it so that it shows how you are meeting the exceeding themes against the NQS. I wish you luck with working this out and would be keen to hear how it goes.
Consultant, Community Child Care Association and former director, Dawson Street Children’s Co-operative