Or rather is DH being unreasonable?

(103 Posts)
2beornot Wed 09-Jan-13 07:56:32

DH asked me to start this thread off, I'll show it to him later.

The workers at dd's nursery (she goes two days per week) at exceptionally bad when it comes to grammar, spelling and general use of the English language.

Here is an excerpt from dd's nursery book yesterday:

"Iv had a lovley day today we done singing and painting and we also went in a lovley walk to the shops to by some some snack" (I've been very careful to copy it exactly!).

This book is written by dd's key worker at nursery. It's not just written though, they speak in a similar way.

Now this really bothers DH. Partly because its annoying wherever you see incorrect spellings etc. but I think it's more of an issue as they spend so much time with dd. Whereas I just think that they've got more important things to worry about and in the grand scheme of things it's minor.

So, is he BU?

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 10:01:40

Oh pull your head out of your bottom Larry. You sound preposterous.

Nursery is about learning social skills and dealing with routine, as well as expression through play.
I suggest you let your pre schoolers just be pre schoolers, and stop worrying about things that make no odds to them at this stage.

The clue is in pre schoolers. As in not at school yet. Literacy is something children deal with at school.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 10:03:55

People go on and on about their children being their most precious possession and then are perfectly willing to go to the cheapest nursery and give them to staff as thick as pig shit with no qualifications.
Why is a level of English important? Why not send your child who is severely allergic to milk to a nursery with staff unable to read the ingredients on a packet of food? Oh yeah, because they might die.
If somebody isn't very clever when it comes to writing or talking, what makes you think they're going to be any better at keeping your child safe, let alone planning to meet their developmental needs?

"They're not teaching her reading or spelling". No. It's like, they're teaching her to, ya know, talk an' stuff, innit?

"His key worker is unlikely to be educated beyond their NVQ in childcare, they are not teachers who have to have GCSEs in English & maths." The government were talking about all nursery practitioners being educated up to degree level. Not sure how they would get that given the standard of many of the workers and the pay, but it was seriously mooted. (I love that I just said "seriously mooted! grin

"Remember it is a minimum wage job." Many nurseries rely on having apprentices that they can pay £2.65 an hour, and boy do you get what you pay for!

"I work in a nursery and this infuriates me. To the point I've rewritten things. We have a member of staff who doesn't even capitalise the child's name." I once saw a planning sheet with 15 words on it summing up the children's education for the week. 9 words were spelt wrong. [facepalm]

"I have to say it wouldn't matter to me how they spoke as long as they were good at their job but hey, Ho." Speaking well is their job. Children will copy them.

As a childcare professional I get sick and tired of people thinking nurseries are just somewhere to go and play and get looked after by people with no special abilities other than being cuddly. I'm doing a lot of supply work in lots of nurseries at the moment. Standards are low. Many staff are extremely poor at their job, usually because they find it gets in the way of their personal life, or just don't care about a job that pays so little. Owners fill their nurseries with these rubbish staff because they're cheap and parents care about price more than quality.

You should all expect more from a nursery.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 10:05:21

Pictish language is something children deal with from 6 weeks.

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 10:06:08

Pictish,

Let's agree to disagree on this one. Luckily everyone at our children's nursery speaks and writes grammatically and I am thankful for it and would not send them somewhere where they didn't.

What age do you think children start learning grammar? And to say it makes no odds to them is bollocks. Toddlers who cannot express themselves are often frustrated and unhappy. I would not go to the length of learning and teaching sign language to pre verbal babies (that is too anal, even for me) but I can see that the ability to clearly signal one's needs and desires prevents a lot of frustration at any age.

It is not as if it is any harder to speak grammatically than non grammatically.

manicbmc Wed 09-Jan-13 10:07:10

Tbh, at nursery age, they should be following an early years curriculum which does include some basic literacy.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 10:09:04

That's very true, it isn't.

However, if the staff member concerned is warm and giving, and relates well to the children she looks after, and they are happy and feel safe and nurtured in her company, I would find it within myself to overlook some poor grammar.

Life is too short to look for things to get in a stew about imho. To me, this issue is just complaining for the sake of it.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 10:12:33

Ever ask your child not to run?

Studies have shown (I learnt at college doing my childcare qualification) That children (and adults) respond more positively to positive instructions. Saying "please walk" gets better results than "don't run". Children also remember the last word in a sentence more than the others, so they would hear "blah blah blah walk" as opposed to "blah blah blah run", which is also more likely to achieve the desired result.

diddl Wed 09-Jan-13 10:15:31

People speak differently, though.

Won´t the child take most cues from parents?

As long as they write correctly?

As I put earlier, it surprises me that someone would write "I/we done", for example, even if they say it.

I agree that the most important thing-especially at such a young age is that the child is being well cared for.

But such an attitude towards writing which would be seen by parents, would make me wonder what other aspects weren´t considered important/worth bothering with.

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 10:17:09

"As a childcare professional I get sick and tired of people thinking nurseries are just somewhere to go and play and get looked after by people with no special abilities other than being cuddly. I'm doing a lot of supply work in lots of nurseries at the moment. Standards are low. Many staff are extremely poor at their job, usually because they find it gets in the way of their personal life, or just don't care about a job that pays so little. Owners fill their nurseries with these rubbish staff because they're cheap and parents care about price more than quality.

You should all expect more from a nursery."

This is so true!

Around the time when our second child was born we sent our oldest to a "nursery" for about 6 weeks before we pulled him our because he was unhappy and my wife and I could see exactly why. This nursery had a very decent reputation (rated one under the best by Ofsted). There were a bunch of bored carers (and a few decent ones) in the "baby" room (up to 2 years old) who provided very limited stimulation to a lot of young children of variable ages. When I dropped my son off I tried to aid his settling in by reading to him for 10-20 minutes or so (with the nursery's permission and encouragement). Within about 2 minutes I was surrounded by about 10 eager young toddlers who were clearly enthused by an adult who could read clearly, ask questions of them and explain things in a clear and comprehensible manner. I did hear the staff read from time to time. They just read the book, sometimes confidently, sometimes themselves struggling to read the words clearly. They very rarely asked questions, provided explanations etc etc.

This nursery was in an area with a relatively wealthy demographic. I just struggle to see why people don't expect more and are not prepared to pay to get it.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 10:18:35

Maybe they can't afford it?

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 10:21:12

Pictish,

Maybe, but in that particular nursery, given the area it was in, the clothes the children wore and the large German cars parked outside at picking up time, I strongly suspect that the vast majority could.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 10:21:43

You can suspect all you like....doesn't make you right though.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 10:24:10

There are good cheap(ish) nurseries out there. The toys might be a bit old though clean, the paintwork might be overdue a repaint, but if the staff are good just about anything can be overcome to deliver good childcare.

CalamityKate Wed 09-Jan-13 10:30:36

It would massively grate on me but really, what can you do?

People don't misspell words or use bad grammar because its quicker. They do it because they don't know any better so unless you're going to offer to give them free literacy lessons nothing is going to change. Even if they start referring to a dictionary and a grammar guide while writing the updates that's going to take an awful lot of time away from interacting with the children.

Flobbadobs Wed 09-Jan-13 10:30:46

I think I must have struck bloody lucky with both my workplace and the nursery my DC's went to...
I qualified as a nursery nurse on the YT scheme (many moons ago) for £35 per week and the behaviour of staff described here would not be tolerated. The place I worked at was staffed by a close knit group of qualified professional women who took great care of the children and enjoyed spending time with them. Anyone who came in looking for an easy way to earn money was soon found out and put straight. There are was to expand your working knowledge and experience through different courses. Only a fool would turn them down.
It's not the best paid job in the world by any stretch of the imagination but the rewards are huge. It makes me rather sad to see that apparently a vocation has been turned into either a dumping ground for people who can't be bothered or a thankless grind.

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 10:32:29

This used to really wind me up I must say but actually both DCs absolutely loved the pre-school and the staff and the care was top class.

The nursery manager was dyslexic and some of the staff's spelling/grammar was awful in the homelink books however once I became involved in the pre-school I realised they were writing these homelink books whilst looking after the children and all they were trying to do is keep us informed of what the DCs were doing in an informal way.

The reports are well written and are checked and double checked but the informal communication is not written perfectly.

The staff are NOT teachers or qualified to be teachers, they are paid minimum wage and are NOT actually supposed to be teaching spelling or grammar in a written form anyway, only letters and sounds at the most.

I think at this age the care and learning about social skills is much more important, I didn't feel like this at first but I definitely do now. I couldn't have asked for a better start for my boys regardless and actually one of the boys is exceptional at literacy so it did him no harm.

FWIW I'd be absolutely with your husband on this if it was at school though!

Badvoc Wed 09-Jan-13 10:35:28

It would bother me in a teacher, not a nursery worker.
As long as your dd is being well cared for and loved I wouldn't worry.

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 10:35:57

BTW I would not like it if they spoke really awfully (a member of staff that was 'asked' to leave actually used to say 'oi' to the DCs - she did not last long) but we do live in a Southern city and people generally do not speak that well but the pre-school staff are fine and speak acceptably so maybe that is why I don't mind.

Also their teaching of literacy/speaking is brilliant and they are accredited for it also!

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 10:36:11

"It would massively grate on me but really, what can you do?" - Tell the Manager that you think spelling is important as lack of it makes you wonder about their general ability. Maybe the Manager will think about the quality of staff they employ in the future.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 10:41:11

I agree mrsmelons - and tbh I think parents are becoming more and more self important as time goes on. They expect an awful lot from people who are not qualified as teachers and get paid very little for a heck of a lot.

"Oh but there's a spelling mistake in Tarquin's learning story! His entry to Oxford has been compromised already, and he's only 3!! Heads will roll...heads will ROLL!"

This is a total non issue. Get over yourselves, please.

tarantula Wed 09-Jan-13 10:42:27

I think that it is good for young children to be exposed to different dialects, accents and informal spoken grammar and to learn early that the English language is a fluid medium that changes over time and that people will speak it in many different ways. This gives them a great advantage in life IMO. Learning 'correct' grammar is IMO the easy bit and children generally pick this up at home without a problem if their parents are keen for then to learn that.
Dd when young could move fluently between RP, Sarf London, 'posh' Kildare and broad Dublin without blinking (often in the same sentance). It was funny to listen to but has IMO helped her as she is now learning other languages and it has helped develop her ear for accents.

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 10:48:20

Once involved in the pre-school I did mention it but not as a big deal, this ensured that 'official' reports are checked properly as it would not be acceptable to send these out with bad spelling etc.

If you really wanted you could show the manager but I would be concerned that they would not bother writing in the books if they were criticised. On the other hand the member of staff may be offered some help with their spelling grammar.

I do think people are quite OTT over their 'pre' school children and often miss the important things that children need to achieve at this age as they are so busy teaching them to read Harry Potter or something!

diddl Wed 09-Jan-13 10:49:44

Well, sorry, but I think it´s terrible if a workplace thinks it´s acceptable that "we/I done" is an acceptable thing for staff to be writing down for parents to see.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 10:50:32

Let's face it...the real issue about this, is that parents are scared their children will catch 'common'.

No harm whatsoever can come from a bit of poor grammar in the nursery book.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 10:54:04

"they are paid minimum wage and are NOT actually supposed to be teaching spelling or grammar in a written form anyway, only letters and sounds at the most." We are paid to follow the EYFS. This is one of the learning goals:

"Writing: children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.

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