Greatstart International School Manila to Implement Successful Health and Safety Protocols of Greatstart US Facilities When In-Person Learning Re-Opens for the Incoming School Year

Since the pandemic began in March, there are 0 đź…ľď¸Ź originated cases of COVID-19 in our US facilities. Recently, our US schools are the 1st đźĄ‡Preschool and Childcare in the US đź‡şđź‡¸ to use health monitoring smart bracelets.

  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • Werabol Health Monitoring Dashboard

When Department of Education gives the greenlight for in-person learning to reopen in the Philippines, the health and safety of students will be on top of the list of schools and parents. We all hope that greenlight will be soon and just in time for the start of the incoming 2021-2022 school year,

Our Manila facility’s health and safety protocol will be a notch above everyone else’s because these new protocols we’ll be implementing are not really new. They have been proven and practiced in our US schools, which have been open since the pandemic started. So rest assured that when they are applied in Manila, they are best in class practices with proven records of success. And you’ll only find them at Greatstart.

Disinfectant fogging machines are continuously used in our facilities. We utilize sanitizing solutions that are safe and food industry-grade that kill bacteria and viruses within 30 seconds of surface contact.

Here’s the List of Distinct Health and Safety Features To Expect

  • Automated body temperature and oxygen level readings and monitoring via Werabol’s Health Monitoring System. Each student and staff wears a smart bracelet and the system provides advanced analytics to display trends of potential illnesses. We are able to mitigate possible infections before it starts.
  • Enhanced drop-off and pickup procedures using technology and methods to minimize interactions and exposures between families and staff
  • Adoption of US-standard daily health and safety questionnaire enables us to monitor possible exposures before families even come to the school
  • Advanced mitigating procedures in the event of possible exposures. These procedures have been signed off by the New Jersey Department of Health as well as the CDC.
  • Superior cleaning and sanitizing of the facility using proven COVID-19 disinfecting machines, equipment and supplies. This includes installing Ultraviolet (UV-C) light chambers in the facility that will sanitize masks, face shields, and other PPE equipment at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Modified and strict school operating policies and procedures when children are in school to minimize exposures and encourage social distancing as prescribed by US Preschools and Childcare Office of Licensing agencies. These include classroom configurations; seating arrangements; meal preparations; and even positions of cots and or sleeping mats (if your child is staying for after-care).
  • GISM will start using the well-reviewed HiMama preschool app to provide advanced communication, status updates and messaging with families.
  • Smaller class sizes to adhere to US social distancing recommendations and standards as prescribed by US Preschools and Childcare Office of Licensing agencies
  • Direct-line support from our US facilities who have tremendous experience in operating an in-person learning environment during the pandemic.

Specific details about each of these protocols will be provided upon enrollment. And we expect complete adherence and cooperation of the families. As with our experience in the US schools, the No. 1 reason why we’ve been successful in having 0 originated cases is because our families follow them, and they understand how important it is to do so.

Werabol Smart Bracelet
The smart bracelet records vital health signs such as body temperature and oxygen level.

For families that are not yet comfortable returning to a physical center, we continue and will continue to offer distant learning. Check out more details here –> https://greatstartinternational.org/included-home-activity-kits-makes-preschool-virtual-learning-more-manageable-to-working-parents/

Due to reduced capacity, spots will be very limited. Please view and complete the reservation form to get the details on how to reserve a spot.

Greatstart International School Is The First Preschool And Childcare To Use Werabol’s Health Monitoring Bracelets To Keep Children Safer From COVID-19

  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet

We are very excited to announce that our facilities in New Jersey have started using Werabol‘s Health Monitoring Smart Bracelets . We are proud to be the first preschool and childcare institution in the US to utilize this advanced health and safety system.

Putting your child’s safety is the utmost importance to us, especially during this pandemic. Together with all the safety protocols we’ve put in place in our facilities, we are continuously working on enhancements and improvements.

Werabol’s Health Monitoring System automates how we monitor and record vital health signs, particularly Temperature and Oxygen levels, which studies have shown to be indicators of possible COVID-19 sickness. Through the smart bracelets, your child’s (and our staff) body temperature and oxygen levels are constantly taken and recorded.

Werabol Smart Bracelet
The smart bracelet records vital health signs such as body temperature and oxygen level.

Preventive Actions To Minimize If Not Eliminate Exposure

Advanced monitoring algorithm create health trends that will alert us such as rising body temperature or decreasing oxygen level. These trends help mitigate prolonged exposure in the facility by providing early detection of possible illness. We act quicker, such as requesting the child to be picked up immediately, before an actual fever occurs.

How It Works

When your child enters the facility, the bracelet starts transmitting body temperature and oxygen level readings. This is continuous at regular intervals throughout the day. There is a dashboard monitor in the facility where we constantly check these readings.

Werabol Health Monitoring Dashboard
The Health Dashboard provides real-time view of temperature and oxygen level readings as well as trends of potential illness

Color-coded Temperature and Oxygen readings quickly see potential health issues. The system actively monitors trends and provides audible and visual alerts of potential illnesses such as an impending fever.


For families that are not yet comfortable returning to a physical center, we continue to offer distant learning. Check out more details here –> https://greatstartinternational.org/included-home-activity-kits-makes-preschool-virtual-learning-more-manageable-to-working-parents/

Due to reduced capacity, spots will be very limited. Please go to https://greatstartinternational.org/landingpage/reserve-a-spot/ to check out our most-up-to-date spot availability and reserve now.

How Our Centers Are Celebrating An Awesome And Safe Halloween During COVID-19

Halloween celebrations will definitely look different this year. But they can still be awesome!

Welcome to Halloween 2020. It will definitely look different this year due to COVID-19 and the need to keep everyone safe.

When our centers reopened in June, our main focus was addressing COVID-19 concerns in a childcare/preschool setting and keeping our children, families, and teachers safe. We did this through implementation and enforcement of strict new health and safety protocols. And with the cooperation of our families, those protocols have kept everyone safe and families are very happy.

In previous years, our facilities celebrated this well-loved holiday with awesome activities such as Trunk-‘N-Treats, costume parades, and classroom parties. The children always look forward to being in their favorite costumes. This year, we want to keep those traditions but had to think outside the box on how to safely do them.

What We Are Doing To Celebrate Halloween Safely

Trunk-‘N-Treat

We will be doing our parade and candy distribution outside via our Trunk-n-Treat. This year, instead of a U-shaped path where cars are parked on either side of the lot, the cars are lined up in a singular line to lessen crowding. And the cars will also be spaced out more than usual.

Trunk Sanitizing

We will go around and sanitize the car trunks of those participating in the Trunk-n-Treat using our portable sanitizing ULV fogger machines prior to the start of the event. This is the one we use and they’re great.

Candies or Treats

It is important to prepare the treats that will be distributed during Halloween

This is the biggest challenge as the typical candy distribution cannot work anymore. Our solution? — Families participating will bring their store-bought only and unopened treat bags to the school a week before the event. We will put the candy bags in a room where they will first be wiped/sanitized and then left to “air out” and then distributed back to the families only just before the event.

We’ve also asked parents to bring the containers they’ll use to put the candies in and we will sanitize and air those out too.

Masks, Hand Washing, and Hand Sanitizing

During the event, everyone will be wearing masks (except for children below 2 years old). Children will wash their hands before and after the event, and family members will have to hand sanitize before they enter the controlled outdoor event zone.

Maybe you can do some of these in your own Halloween event preparations. Or suggest it to your child’s childcare center. Are there any other awesome ideas you have? Share it with us in the comments below.

When the pandemic ends, we can’t wait to go back to the normal ways of celebration. But hey, maybe some of these things aren’t so bad to carry forward. It’s always great to be healthy and safe.

If you’re interested in enrolling your child to one of our facilities, check out how we’re keeping our children safe with some awesome new health and safety protocols.

Not ready to return to a physical location yet? Learn more about our virtual classes and home activity kits by clicking on your nearest center’s FB page below, or emailing us at mychild@greatstartearlylearning.com

Included Home Activity Kits Makes Preschool Virtual Learning More Manageable to Working Parents

Though our centers are re-opening starting June 15, we are offering alternative learning options to families that are not ready to return yet.
Though our centers are re-opening starting June 15, we are offering alternative learning options to families that are not ready to return yet.

Welcome to our Enhanced Home School Connection Learning Series. It’s designed to encourage your child and assist you in your home preschool environment.

In these changing times, we understand that the transition to home pre-schooling has not been easy for parents, as they juggle between their needs to work remotely, as well as find materials and activities for their children. We understand the need to continue educating kids through new media such as remote learning and home schooling activity kits, and that it should be presented with parents’ limited time in mind.

And that’s how these kits were developed — with you in mind. We’ve included the materials, worksheets and calendar schedule, and step-by-step guide on how to do the activities at home with very minimal supervision. Teachers will supplement the kits with regular virtual classes. These activities will reinforce and strengthen age-appropriate learning foundations necessary to master and move to the next program.

We trust that you and the child will have fun while enjoying learning.

Not ready to return to a physical location yet? Learn more about our virtual classes and home activity kits by clicking on your nearest center’s FB page below, or emailing us at mychild@greatstartearlylearning.com

If you’re interested in enrolling your child to one of our facilities, check out how we’re keeping our children safe with some awesome new health and safety protocols

How We’re Keeping Children Safe In Our Childcare Facilities in this COVID-19 Pandemic

Childcare Reserve A Spot
Spaces will be limited due to reduced capacity following social distancing guidelines. Reserve your spot now.

We are very excited to announce that our facilities in New Jersey will re-open beginning June 15.

We will be following new guidelines set forth by the NJ Department of Office and Families and the CDC. But aside from that, we are implementing additional enhanced safety protocols to ensure our children and staff are safe and healthy.

Kids temperature check using infrared thermometer
Temperature checks upon arrival and throughout the day

New Safety Protocols
Here are some of our health and safety policies and procedures. The complete list is in our parent handbook. We require parents’ strict adherence to these protocols to ensure everyone’s safety. Note that some methods and procedures may vary by location.

  1. Parents are Visitors are not allowed inside the facility. Children are to be dropped-off and picked-up in designated zones.
  2. Parents must wear masks when dropping-off or picking-up.
  3. Temperature checks upon arrival and throughout the day. Though the general guideline requires only an arrival check, we feel constant monitoring is very important so we can take quite actions, if necessary.
  4. Shoe soles are sanitized upon entry.
  5. Children must wash their hands upon arrival.
  6. Daily screening questions to parents to track potential outbreaks. We are in the process of adding an online capability to complete the questionnaire to make it easier to complete and save time.
  7. Families are required to install the COVID-19 app (available on iOS and Android devices) on their phones to allow contact tracing if such situation arises and there’s a need for it.
  8. Controlled Drop-Off Procedures. Families park in designated numbered spots upon drop-off. One at a time, families may enter the facility’s reception area. A spotlight will turn on to notify the other waiting families that someone is at the drop-off zone. Once the parent leaves the reception area, the spotlight will turn-off to signal the next family that they can proceed to drop-off.
  9. Controlled Pick-Up Procedures. Similar to the Drop-off Procedures, but families can call ahead to notify the school they’re parked. This way the staff can prepare their child’s bags and bring the child to the pick-up area.
  10. Masks are required to be worn by the staff at all times. If the parent wishes, child face shields are available as an option.
  11. Lower group sizes. Group sizes will be limited to 10 children, and groups are separated at least 10 feet apart at all times.
  12. Child-safe fogging sanitizing machines will be used frequently.
  13. Each child will have their own activity materials (e.g. crayons, scissors, glue stick, paper, etc.) bin to minimize sharing of commonly used items
  14. Stricter return from sickness policy.
  15. Hand sanitizing stations installed throughout the facility (for adults).
  16. Installation of UV-C chambers in the facility to sanitize face masks and face shields frequently
  17. Installation of UV-C lights in HVAC intakes to constantly disinfect and sanitize circulating air inside the facility.
  18. No shaking hands policy. We bow. Children will be taught to do it also.
  19. All surfaces indoors and outdoors will be disinfected more frequently.
  20. New floor markings throughout the facility to promote social distancing.
  21. No administering of over-the-counter fever-related medications in the school.

Though these new safety protocols are necessary, the one thing that doesn’t change is how our children are treated. We will continue to give them the same love, care, affection, and education that we’ve been known for. Now more than ever, the children need to feel that everything is alright… comfort them about why things have to be; reassure them that we are the same loving teachers behind the masks; and nurture them through these most important stages of their life development.

For families that are not yet comfortable returning to a physical center, we continue to offer distant learning. Check out more details here –> https://greatstartinternational.org/included-home-activity-kits-makes-preschool-virtual-learning-more-manageable-to-working-parents/

Due to reduced capacity, spots will be very limited. Please go to https://greatstartinternational.org/landingpage/reserve-a-spot/ to check out our most-up-to-date spot availability and reserve now.

3 Songs that will make your toddler enjoy Hand Washing

3 Hand Washing Songs that will make your toddler enjoy hand washing
Now, more than ever, it is so important to ensure we teach our kids the proper hand washing techniques. Making it more fun makes it easier for them to remember it.

Hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), follow these five steps to wash hands properly:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. You can hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice to use as a timer. Or better yet, check our list below of 3 awesome songs you can use.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Alternatively, you can use the following songs:

Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands
(to the tune of “Row Row Row Your Boat)

Wash, wash, wash your hands
Wash them nice and clean
Wash them on top,
Wash them on bottom and fingers in between.
Wash, wash, wash your hands
Wash them nice and clean
Wash them on top,
Wash them on bottom and fingers in between.


If You’re Happy and You Know It Wash Your Hands

If you’re happy and you know it,
Wash your hands!
If you’re happy and you know it,
Wash your hands!
If you’re happy and you know it,
then your face will surely show it,
If you’re happy and you know it,
Wash your hands!


Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle little star
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
Look how clean my two hands are,
Soap and water, wash and scrub,
Get those germs off rub-a-dub,
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
Look how clean my two hands are.


Did you know you can decrease your child’s illnesses by as much as 50% by simply washing his or her hands before leaving schools, public places, or other social gatherings? Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. At all our Greatstart schools, both teachers and children, wash our hands regularly throughout the day and always before we eat.

Any other songs you know? Comment and share below.

https://greatstartinternational.org/2019/10/07/the-impact-of-bullying-in-preschools/

Like this article? Check out more helpful articles from our blog.

SAFETY MEASURES: ASH FALL FROM TAAL VOLCANO

Taal Volcano, located in Batangas City, started releasing severe ashes at 2:20pm Philippine time on January 12, 2020. The areas affected are Cavite, Batangas and Metro Manila.

A view of the eruption of Taal Volcano, about 50km from Manila. Photo Credit: Twitter/Ivan Castro

Here are some recommendations you can follow for yourself and your family’s safety.

  1. Be Calm. Stay Indoors.
  2. Close windows and doors to avoid ash from entering.
  3. Wear dust masks (recommended N85 masks) for breathing and eye glasses for eye protection when outdoors.
  4. Keep all pets indoors.
  5. Use closed food containers to avoid ash contamination.
  6. When driving, make sure to drive slow because ash can affect road visibility.
  7. Do not open air-conditioning units and clothes dryers.
  8. Clean your roof of ash. Do not allow the ash to accumulate.
  9. Follow any evacuation orders issued by authorities.
  10. Listen to radio, watch television/online streaming for updates on news related to ash fall activity.

Be mindful of Ash Fall health impact because it may result in the following:

  • Noise and throat irritation
  • Coughing
  • Discomfort while breathing
  • Eye irritation
  • Minor skin problems

Any additional tips or ideas that you may have? Share it below.

How Screen Time Can Affect Your Preschooler’s Brain Development

Living in a digital age, there has been an ongoing debate on when and if parents should be exposing their children to the world of electronics. From tablets to smartphones to even television, the tech list goes on and on. Of course, as parents, we only want to provide what’s best for our children. So how does screen time affect a child’s brain development?

The first five years of a child’s life are the most crucial time for the development of the brain. Early experiences impact brain development and influence the way in which the circuits of the brain become wired. A new MRI study found that children between the ages of 3-5 who used screens for more than the one hour a day recommendation without parental involvement had lower levels of development in the brain’s white matter. White matter is the area of the brain responsible for the development of language, literacy, and cognitive skills. 

Because of this, the World Health Organization has established new guidelines for children’s screen time. They suggest that children between the ages of 2-4 should have no more than one hour of screen time while children under the age of 1 should have no screen time at all. It is not the use of electronics itself that causes this “brain damage” but rather the amount of time a child spends on the screen.

There are a wide variety of early activities that can be implemented to positively impact a child’s brain development. Some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • Reading to kick starts language and communication skills
  • Arts and crafts to practice fine motor skills
  • Getting kids involved in activities they can assist you with such as cooking or gardening
  • Interactive play to spark imagination and creativity
  • Exploring the outdoors by going on a walk or hike

As caregivers, it is important that we show our children the value of problem-solving skills and social skills early on in life to enhance their development. We’d love to hear what activities you do in your own home to replace screen time!

Halloween Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

Halloween is an exciting time of year for our young ones. It’s the day children dress up in costumes and prep their bags as they go around from house to house collecting as many treats as they can! However, trick-or-treating can be dangerous without taking proper safety precautions.

Here are some Halloween Safety Tips to ensure that your child has a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience this year!

Photo credit: CDC Public Health Matters

1. Never let your child go trick-or-treating alone. Have your child walk with a trusted parent or guardian.

2. Map out the route. Only trick-or-treat in areas that you are familiar with. Plan your walking route out in advance.

3. Use a flashlight and bring extra batteries to help you see others. Have your child wear a glow necklace or add reflective tape to their costume so others can see them.

4. Walk, do not run, in well-lit areas. Stay on the sidewalks and avoid walking through people’s lawns or dark alleyways. 

5. Look both ways when crossing the street. Use crosswalks as much as possible. Do not assume cars will stop for you.

6. Check the candy or “treats” your child receives. Examine the goodies to make sure that the packaging is not tampered with and that they are not a choking hazard to your child.

Photo credit: Photo Getty

The safety of our children is of the utmost importance. By following these tips, your children will surely have a safe and spooktacular Halloween!

For more information, check us out on Instagram (@greatstartearlylearning).

The Impact of Bullying in Preschools

Bullying in schools is a worldwide, complex issue that can have short-term and long-term negative effects on a child, especially those in preschool who are engaging in an environment outside their own home for the first time. During this time, their level of social interaction increases tremendously as children meet new people, such as their teachers and classmates. They also participate in their school activities and lessons on a day-to-day basis.

According to research studies, about 7-20% of preschool and early school-aged children have levels of disruptive, aggressive behaviors that are severe enough to qualify for a mental health diagnosis (Fox et al., 2003). If these disruptive and aggressive behaviors go on without correction, it is very likely that a child will become a severe bully as he/she gets older.

Typically, children at this age don’t speak up about being bullied, so it is important that parents, guardians, teachers, and staff can identify the signs of bullying. Some signs to look out for if a child is being bullied include, but are not limited to:

– Bruises, scrapes, marks, or other unexplained injuries
– Sudden changes in behavior or mood
– Clothing and / or other belongings that are often missing, torn, or broken
– Indicators or statements that they don’t have any friends or that no one likes them
– Refusal or reluctance to go to daycare or preschool

– Statements that they “hate” daycare or preschool
– Complaints of stomach aches, headaches, or saying they’re sick
– Problems with eating or sleeping
– Regressed behavior (e.g. bedwetting)

So how can childcare providers and teachers help in this matter?

Since October is Bullying Prevention Month, we want to focus on training for childcare professionals that help identify and address bullying behaviors. Training in childcare challenges that arise is an important way to help teachers be prepared for many tough situations. 

Transform your classroom into a safe, bully-free environment with this online training program:

Bullying Prevention and Response Training and Continuing Education Online Program. Courtesy of stopbullying.gov

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#BullyingPreventionMonth