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?

carocaro Wed 09-Jan-13 08:02:05

They are probably writing it with toddlers crawling all over them, trying remember each child, using clipped language to be quicker and more succinct. He could say somthing, but it will only piss them off. Is you daughter happy? Do they take good cre of her? If yes, then leave it alone. If it was a teacher at school it would be a whole different story. My reports for my children were the same more or less, but both loved nursery and learned a lot, crying when they left and which is more important. So in a kind word your DH needs to spend more time thinking of other stuff!

Jeezaloo Wed 09-Jan-13 08:02:26

I'm afriad I'm very judgey about this sort of thing, so it would really bother me.

That said, I'm also a wuss, so don't know how I'd tackle it!

HecatePropolos Wed 09-Jan-13 08:02:48

A bit. Its not great but its nursery and its for 2 days a week. Your child's bigger influence right now is the two of you. So reading with her and talking to her how you want her to absorb it should be fine. She'll come into contact with many different ways of talking and many people with poor literacy skills. That's ok. You sort that.
I grew up on a sinkhole council estate in a mining village in 'ee by gum' territory grin. I was terrorised for my 'posh' way of talking grin ... because through all that, my parents taught me how to talk, read and write.
So tell him to not worry and to just crack on with it himself.

ZillionChocolate Wed 09-Jan-13 08:02:54

It would annoy me too. I suppose it wouldn't matter so much if she was 2 weeks old but I assume she's older than that. Isn't it important to model good use of language?

HecatePropolos Wed 09-Jan-13 08:03:43

Apols for typing. Am on pad!

MusicalEndorphins Wed 09-Jan-13 08:06:19

Hmmm. Correct it with a red pen? grin
Not sure, would depend on what other child care is available, poor grammar isn't the worst thing if they take good care of the dc. You can always correct your dc if they pick it up.

Jelly15 Wed 09-Jan-13 08:06:37

Personally I wouldn't sweat about it, she is only there two days so most of the time she will be with people who speak correctly. If she attended five days I would be concerned.

RedHelenB Wed 09-Jan-13 08:07:11

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. Remember it is a minimum wage job.

MusicalEndorphins Wed 09-Jan-13 08:08:01

Were you aware of how they spoke when you choose them?

Grumpla Wed 09-Jan-13 08:08:08

I think that the literacy levels of the staff are not great but that they wouldn't be the top of my list in terms of assessing a nursery.

The keyworker for my ds1 used to make fairly frequent spelling mistakes in his journal but given that ds1 was about 18months at that stage it didn't really bother me, it wasn't as if she was teaching him to spell! I thought her other abilities more than made up for it. She was very patient and caring, and ds1 really loved & trusted her. The nursery as a whole is really well-run, and I also think you need to bear in mind the fact that staff have at least three or four journals to update, and they don't spend all day over it! Now ds1 is in the "big" room I notice that all the resources, posters, labels etc are always correct, I think mistakes in those would worry me much more than journals etc which are only intended as a means of communication for parents.

Also they have never ever spelt my DS's name wrong (there are several spellings). The nursery he was at previously frequently spelt it wrong on his paint splodges masterpieces and that did bother me.

Gumby Wed 09-Jan-13 08:09:58

Agree with redhelen

Unfortunately for many people childcare work is low paid & what Sch leavers do when they're not educated well enough to go any further in education

catgirl1976 Wed 09-Jan-13 08:11:25

His key worker is unlikely to be educated beyond their NVQ in childcare

I don't know. A lot of the workers at DS's nursery have degrees in childcare (Early Years?)

YorkshireDeb Wed 09-Jan-13 08:11:45

It's not unreasonable to be bothered by it, but even speaking to them is unlikely to change things. Nurserys are staffed by people with childcare qualifications i.e. their ability to care for children, not their ability to spell or understand good grammar. So I guess if you're happy with their care of your child then you might have to grin & bear it. x

lannyshrops Wed 09-Jan-13 08:15:45

Hmmm..carocaro may be on to something, is it their attempt at cute baby speak? Although the fact that you say they do talk like this indicates possibly not.
I personally do not like baby speak and for what I am aware of it is important to use correct language / grammar when speaking to children as that is how they learn.
To be honest, it would probably concern me a little to I do not think your OH is being unreasonable, but additionally I'm not sure its a huge issue it is so I do not think UABU either.
She is only there 2 days a week so you and DH remain her primary influence, if she is happy and appears to love it, I would probably let it be. However if OH is really concerned maybe a chat with the managerwould be helpful/put his mind at rest?

WinkyWinkola Wed 09-Jan-13 08:17:33

Your dd is going to meet people for all walks of life - hopefully - and it's important that she does so.

Nursery isn't going to be her education in terms of spelling/grammar etc and if she picks up ways of speaking that you don't approve of, then I'm sure at this stage your influence will stop it.

It is poor writing and I too would raise an eyebrow, but it doesn't really matter because it won't affect your child. As long as she is well looked after in terms of time, affection and playing then that's all you can hope for in a nursery.

tarantula Wed 09-Jan-13 08:17:48

Am presuming this is a nursery rather than a nursery school, so the people who work there are doing a stressful job looking after kids and the money isn't great either so it isn't a generally a job that attracts people with brilliant academic skills but rather people who are intested and care about children. They are also having to sort out the diaries inbetween other duties so probably spelling and grammar aren't top of their agenda. As long as your child is well cared for and is enjoying it then that is what matters. Would you prefer that the staff spent longer making sure their spelling was correct or playing with the children?

SomebodySaveMe Wed 09-Jan-13 08:19:41

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.

Bejesus - the snobby assumptions on this thread?

Unfortunately for many people childcare work is low paid & what Sch leavers do when they're not educated well enough to go any further in education - why must a school leaver be uneducated? How do you know how they did at school? A uni degree does not mean you are suddenly Bamber Gascoine!

I understand what you are saying btw OP because where i work sometimes my colleagues and even bosses put up notices that are badly spelt and it does make me cringe. It's a public building so sometimes i take them down and put them up redone.

It's not just written though, they speak in a similar way. - 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.
If it bothers your DH so much maybe he should show the manager an excerpt from the book. The Worker may have dsylexia. Don't assume grammatical errors reflect intelligence Mumsnet.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 09-Jan-13 08:25:05

It would massively bother me.

I could maybe live with it if they spoke properly and the care they gave was excellent in all other areas, but if they are talking like this too then I'd be worried.

How much time does your dd spend at the nursery? If its a couple of mornings a week, I'd let it go, but if she's there for quite a bit of time then she is likely to pick up the wrong use of language. I work with Early Years, we are supposed to model good behaviour for a reason!

Now i'm sniggering because i spelt dyslexia wrong grin

Dolallytats Wed 09-Jan-13 08:30:08

It would bug me, but probably not to the extent that I would say something. I live in a part of East London where the teenagers/young adults sentences are littered with 'innit', 'y'get me' and 'y'know wha' I mean' and this drives me loopy!!

Goldmandra Wed 09-Jan-13 08:30:15

It would irritate me in the same way that it irritates me in other places that don't matter, including MN.

However, the ability to form a secure bond with your child and help her to be a confident and enthusiastic learner is far more important than literacy skills at this age. Your DD is hearing and processing far more language than that which she hears at nursery and all you need to do is model the speech you would like her to use when she is with you. Work out how many waking hours a week she spends with them and how many with you. You will then see how much greater your influence is.

TBH, being able to adapt your speech patterns to fit in with those around you can be a useful skill so this could be a positive learning experience.

The person writing the diary may well be qualified to Foundation Degree level or beyond. Many Early Years practitioners are. He or she may also have dyslexia. Whatever the reason I wouldn't worry about it.

If your DD is getting the opportunity to learn through really good quality play experiences, exploring and investigating alongside adults who nurture her and keep her safe she is getting what she needs at this stage in her development.

SomebodySaveMe Wed 09-Jan-13 08:34:36

One of our keyworker says yeah after every sentence, drops her t's and is very loud. The kids then pick up on it.

Startail Wed 09-Jan-13 08:35:37

Written wouldn't bother me, I'm dyslexic and despite loads of qualifications my spelling is dire.

Add crawling toddlers and I dread to think.

Spoken language would bother me more (as that is what effects the child).

However, as others say you chatter, read and spend far more one to one time with your DD than the nursery staff.

lynniep Wed 09-Jan-13 08:36:18

It doesnt particularly bother me. Some of the staff at our nursery can spell, others not so great, but at the end of the day they can write a legible diary and thats all I'm fussed about on that front.
I'm more worried about whether they can adequately care about my child. What they write in his diary is irrelevant to him - he can't read it - the stuff they write at nursery is always fine (like cards to mummy and daddy etc which the children do see).
Yes from a language point of view it might be an issue, but small children can be corrected at home. You can't change how they speak, so if you arent happy with it you need to think about moving your DC to somewhere with well spoken staff...

diddl Wed 09-Jan-13 08:44:33

Spelling I could just about let go.

But I do think when you write something that others read & will reflect on the whole workplace it doesn´t look good.

But "we done singing"

And "by some snack".

That´s just not correct!

Surely even if you speak like that you don´t write it-even if you did leave education at 16!!

Reading it makes my eyeballs bleed and both me and my DH are Class 1 Pedants (we bonded over correcting each others' emails...seriously blush)

However, in this case, I think I'd smile tolerantly at the nursery staff and scream into a pillow in private. She's only there two days a week. They're not teaching her reading or spelling thank Jesus. I was at nursery five days a week from the time I was a tiny baby and my accent and manner of speech, not to mention über-pedantry, is that of my slightly posh-sounding parents, not the nursery staff who I technically spent more of my waking hours with.

NumericalMum Wed 09-Jan-13 09:04:01

My dd has a terrible habit of saying "we was" and other lovely south London things from nursery. I correct her all the time and she is slowly learning not to say them. Honestly it bugs me a lot but she had 3 years at nursery where she was so happy, well looked after and has become such a well rounded child thanks to this. I will happily overlook the fact a few of her nursery teachers didn't speak BBC English! I amsure in a year she will speak like her peers at school!

2beornot Wed 09-Jan-13 09:04:27

Trying to respond to everyone:

Yes, they take good care of her. The love her to bits and last night when we left, dd told her key worker that she'd miss her!

Yes, I guess we did know of their spoken language but not their written spelling and grammar. And there has been quite a change around of staff.

I will keep an eye out for the posters and stuff, especially in the preschool part as they should be fine, and it would be a bigger worry if not.

There's nothing we can do, except move her and I'm not doing that!!!

Sugarice Wed 09-Jan-13 09:09:39

I wouldn't worry too much at her gae , caring for them in a loving and caring environment is far more important in my opinion. smile

2beornot Wed 09-Jan-13 09:09:46

The irony of course is that whilst I know some of the rules (and can write fairly well when I think about it) my speech isn't great. I'm from a southern city and sound quite common!!

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

*age not gae!

Hullygully Wed 09-Jan-13 09:12:52

It would irritate me, but that is my problem. The most important thing is that when not in your care she is happy, loved and secure.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 09:17:53

If it's due to dyslexia I would expect a parent would be told so they can make allowances rather than thinking the worker is badly educated or thick.

AutumnMadness Wed 09-Jan-13 09:24:03

2beornot, I suggest that you DH reads some books by a linguist called Steven Pinker. Pinker (and many others) would argue that there is not such thing as "ungrammatical" language in healthy adults. Particularly spoken language. The speech of the nursery workers may sound ungrammatical to you, but it is only because it uses different grammatical conventions. If you actually examine its structure, you will find that it is just as consistent as the structure of your own language. It is just a different version of English.

So technically, you DH's problem is one of snobbery and not of grammar. He is concerned that your child will acquire language of a low social status group as opposed to the elite.

Beside that it's not nice to be snobbish, I seriously doubt that the language spoken in the nursery (unless it is rude and abusive, of course) will make any difference by the time your DC is in primary school.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 09-Jan-13 09:26:57

Well, there's clearly a market for an RP nursery run by English Language graduates.

Lots of people, educated to all levels, speak in local dialect. Your child will come into intact with them and learning to see them as lovely people who just sound a bit different from you is a valuable lesson for life.

I am easily bothered by poor grammar and spelling but your DH needs to stop focusing on how it makes him feel and focus on how it affects your dd. She is the more important customer here.

I would feel very strongly if these were notes from teachers. Nursery workers will have quite different qualification and practise requirements. Perhaps check what these are and, if you still think it's really important in the wider context of your dd's life, talk to the manager.

steppemum Wed 09-Jan-13 09:32:42

it would really grate with me.
But at dd2s preschool her key worker spoke and wrote a bit like this (not as bad though) I loved her to bits and so did dd2 and I wouldn't have moved her for anything
dd2 never picked up any of it, as others have said, she speaks like me (whether that is a good thing or not time will tell grin )

school is another matter.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 09:34:21

Your daughter can't read?

I understand it being annoying, but it won't affect your dd whatsoever. Why make problems when there isn't one? Why look for things to moan about?

She can't read, so the nursery staff being crap at spelling and grammar is neither here nor there. As long as she is being treated with warmth and care it's a non issue. Imho.

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 09:36:36

I would side firmly with your husband. At that age, children are learning language and working out how phrases are constructed. They will definitely benefit from properly spoken English. In addition, I don't think there is anything snobbish about wanting your children to sound like you. You are from the same family after all. At our pre school (2.5-reception) everyone speaks grammatically and has appropriate early years' qualifications.


That sounds like a very politically correct theory. Good grammar is there to make language accurate and unambivalent. As an example from the OP: "by some snack". How many snacks are involved? Some implies more than one but snack implies just one. It is self contradictory and probably very confusing for someone just learning language.

You don't need to be an English Language graduate to speak grammatically. Regional accents and dialects can be a positive but that does not mean ungrammatical speech.

strumpetpumpkin Wed 09-Jan-13 09:37:25

There were quite a few of the nursery staff who spoke like that, although I think their writing was a better. They were excellent though and really knew their stuff about child development and were caring and affectionate and genuinely lovely people, if a bit rough round the edges. I was very happy for my dcs to be cared for by them. The only bad speech habits they ever picked up were dropping their Ts, but I corrected them, and even thats fine now theyre at school.
They are always going to hear people speaking colloquially and with bad grammar, but I dont think its a hugely important point at that age, as long as the parents speak properly. Don't worry too much. Id be more worried if it was their school teacher, but that would be unlikely.

CailinDana Wed 09-Jan-13 09:37:49

If my husband DH that paragraph it wouldn't be much better. He has a PhD and is currently being paid silly money to consult on a massive project. Some people can't spell. It's not great if you're working in an education setting but seeing as it's a nursery where the children can't read anyway it doesn't really matter.

CailinDana Wed 09-Jan-13 09:39:45

God I don't know what happened there. Of course that should say "If my DH wrote that paragraph"

CailinDana Wed 09-Jan-13 09:41:13

Small point Larry but I say "some snack" because I (and all my friends) use "snack" in the same way as we use "lunch" - so we would equally say "we went out to buy some lunch."

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 09:49:36


Hmm, interesting point, maybe it is a dialectical thing. I have never thought of "some lunch" that way. On the other hand, I do tend to think quite carefully about how I speak to my two pre schoolers as I believe that getting them to appreciate the nuances of language and grammar will give them a head start in life. I will actually stop using "some lunch" now with them as it is ambiguous and confusing.

I think that getting the basic literacy and numeracy building blocks in place at an early age is critical (and both my children happen to be WAY ahead in speech, I like to think at least partly because it is something I give a lot of thought to). I am not sure why people would think it more important that a school teacher spoke correctly than a nursery teacher. For me, by the time they get to school, they will pretty much know how to speak grammatically so the influence of a poor speaking teacher will be less.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 09:50:56

* I do tend to think quite carefully about how I speak to my two pre schoolers as I believe that getting them to appreciate the nuances of language and grammar will give them a head start in life. I will actually stop using "some lunch" now with them as it is ambiguous and confusing.*

Will you really?

How anal!

maddening Wed 09-Jan-13 09:50:58

Being dyslexic does not mean you talk or write like that. The spelling wouldn't bother me but " I done singing and painting" would do my head in whether written or spoken.

I am dyslexic and definitely do not speak like that smile

Flobbadobs Wed 09-Jan-13 09:54:10

Nursery workers are poorly educated in minimum wage jobs? I must tell my former colleagues that (all of whom have either studied or are studying to degree level..). Such snobbery on this thread, I'm suprised that anyone lets their children be looked after by these people...
Anyway, I think you both have a point. If the nursery staff are spending good quality time with your child then that is the main thing. However that particular report isn't the best example of well written english!
In my (thankfully short) time as a keyworker I had about 10 minutes a day to write about 12 reports for parents. This is on top on any playplans, which can't be just thrown together, they have to be done in conjunction with the EYFS guidlines (8 pages long when I worked there) and set up my section of the nursery. Each child needs one to one as well as group play and if your child is getting a lot out of going to nursery then I would overlook this.

CailinDana Wed 09-Jan-13 09:54:59

The "I done" thing is annoying, I'll admit. But even if children pick that up they tend to grow out of it if later on no one around them says it.

I'm surprised you're going to stop saying "some lunch" Larry - I think children should pick up language as it's spoken, not some sanitised version that is supposedly clearer. If people in general say "some lunch" then that's what children should be learning, otherwise they're not getting access to the typical way of speaking in their community IMO. The ability for children to cope with ambiguity in language is impressive, don't underestimate your children, especially if they have good language skills generally.

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 09:56:37


Guess I am anal then, but I think you learn rules and then exceptions. And my children will speak proper English and have large vocabularies (as they already do for their respective ages). And ommitting a superfluous word is hardly going to cost me too much emotional or intellectual energy! When it comes to language and maths, I am super anal and I don't think it is a bad thing at all. I have seen people's lives made miserable by poor english or maths' blocks because their parents/teachers could not be bothered to make things easy and comprehensible for them.

I am actually amazed how many people are happy to let their pre schoolers be educated (and yes, it is education) by someone who can best be described as semi literate.

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


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


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.

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 10:56:45


You seem to have an agenda here. You clearly write grammatical well phrased English. I imagine your children do as well and that you help them to do so (depending on their ages). I am curious as to whether you would send/are sending/did send your own children to a nursery where the staff spoke as poorly as at the OP's nursery. Are you as relaxed with your own children's speech and grammar as you are with others or is it that the benefit of good speech is only for the intellectual elite (you and your family and friends)?

There is a whiff of champagne socialism (i.e hypocrisy) coming from your perfectly worded posts.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 10:57:12

Not common Pictish. It's more a worry that they're getting looked after by stupid people who can't do their job properly.

Goldmandra Wed 09-Jan-13 11:03:14

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.

There are numerous skills involved in being an effective EYFS practitioner and supporting children's play is the most important of all. Nurseries are most emphatically somewhere children go to play because it is through play that they learn best. Nothing beats play.

Children of this age need practitioners who are skilled in developing positive relationships with the children and providing them with the resources they need to drive their own learning. They do this through play!

Using RP and writing grammatically correct messages in the diary are NOT skills required in an Early year practitioner. Children's language development is not dominated by their experiences in pre-school. Their resilience, self-esteem and drive to learn, however, are and I would employ a practitioner who understood this over one used RP any day.

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 11:07:56


Incidentally your posts are hugely insulting to those who work very hard and professionally in Early Years Education to give each child under their care the best start in life. The idea that it is only cuddles and play that matter is a huge insult to the hard professional study and practice that they have undertaken. The headmistress of our nursery has an MBE for her services to early years' education. I suspect that you may find a chat with her enlightening.

Of course social interaction and good quality care are a very important part of Early Years but, to understand those properly, one does need to have a basic level of education and interest in the job. The report we receive on our son shows their achievement in the Early Years' curriculum backed up with photographs to demonstrate their progress and a well written report to us as parents. They will also happily advise us on any parenting issues we may have etc etc.

I am sure those professionally qualified in Early Years could write the above better than me but, even as a parent, I can see that there is a LOT more to it than cuddles, feeding and cleaning.

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 11:08:26

Tiggy I am not sure I understand the point of your post. Having poor spelling/grammar does not mean the staff are not teaching phonics properly. BTW I know the EYFS pretty well.

What age are you referring to? Not many 2 or 3 year olds are able to write words using their phonics knowledge. I know there are some but definitely not many!

tarantula Wed 09-Jan-13 11:08:33

I work in IT and am a member of IT forum. Most of the people on this forum are highly intelligent people and they are working in high level jobs where making small mistakes can cost companies a fortune. You would not think it though from looking at the grammar and spelling that many use in their posts. Lack of grammar and spelling most certainly does not equal stupid and does not mean that said person is unable to do their job.

Kiriwawa Wed 09-Jan-13 11:10:27

Agree entirely with Godmandra. DS's key worker's written English was appalling but she cared for him brilliantly. He's at school now and it doesn't appear to have affected his progress.

What's the concern? That it will affect your child's long term development? That's it's harmful in some way?

garlicbollocks Wed 09-Jan-13 11:12:10

Steven Pinker ... the problem is one of snobbery and not of grammar.

I agree, and I'm a pedant! Like most others on the thread, I recognise that understandable language is valid language (I get angrier about incomprehensible 'businessballs'.) Your DD's diary entry makes me cringe momentarily, then I do a bit of a mental "Omm" and get on with it!

*2b's DH*: YANBU to mind, but YABU to care grin

It would (and did) annoy me, but at the end of the day, it's a very small part of a child's life and hardly likely to have a long-term detrimental effect on their language skills. I would rather my child was at a nursery with bad English which treated the children kindly and well than one with good grammar and poor childcare. Of course, one with both would be nice! grin

larrygrylls Wed 09-Jan-13 11:16:00


When I go to a restaurant I would far rather go to one with great hygiene than great food....but I don't think it unreasonable to expect both.

Feminine Wed 09-Jan-13 11:16:24

I have this 'problem' also...with DD3

I'm not bothered though. I am pretty well spoken and educated, was ribbed at school no end.

I thought being educated (and sounding it) was vital. I don't anymore. I don't think it matters.

I think the happiest humans are those that don't care/mind.

I understand where your DH is coming from, but I really wouldn't worry.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 11:17:25

Champagne socialism?? Ha ha! I will take that as a compliment of sorts, if I may!

You are quite wrong. I come from a working class background, and as yet, have no formal education of my own. I just happen to have a natural feel for vocabularly and literacy. My youngest child will start school next year, and then I plan to do a degree in English Literature. As it stands now, I am a sahm because I haven't the earning potential to pay for childcare as well. All I can expect are minimum wage jobs...of which I have done plenty....mostly care work, in amongst the other plebs like me.
In my time I have met some truly dedicated and selfless hard workers, and some of them couldn't spell for toffee...but oh my, they were bloody good at their jobs.

I met some dross as well, of course.

I am totally removed from being a champagne socialist, but you obviously think I'm educated so I am quite pleased by that!

I don't have an agenda of any sort, other than thinking that it's a waste of time to sweat the small stuff.
I see things from the nursery workers' pov you see?
Some of those people who could barely write a sentence, put me to shame with their motivation and generosity in their posts...even though they were getting paid peanuts.

These people are not teachers...and neither should they be expected to be.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 11:17:35

The phonics reference was a response to the poster who said nursery staff don't have to teach anything to do with writing. EYFS covers birth to 5. Even in nurseries children can pick up some spellings and have to learn that capital letters are for important words.

TiggyD Wed 09-Jan-13 11:19:54

By the way, I have the auto spellchecker well and truly turned on at the moment! smile

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 11:21:09

Wish I did - I just misspelled 'vocabulary'. grin

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 11:23:11

Larry that is exactly what I would expect from my DCs pre-school and it is exactly what they did get whilst there, there were just a few badly spelt entries in their informal homelink book which when I got over myself I could turn a blind eye to.

Many pre-school practitioners are amazing and brilliant at their jobs and are worth WAY more than they are paid IMHO!

garlicbollocks Wed 09-Jan-13 11:27:25

"phonetically plausible"

Oh, I do like this! It reminds me of a picture my friend posted to Facebook, of her DD's captioned drawing of a multi-coloured "renbo". Aww wink

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 11:33:02

Tiggy that was me - I was being a bit blase in how I worded that - I meant the EYFS for pre-school aged children would be more around learning phonics as opposed to actual spelling which I know leads onto spelling of course. I should better as DS1 could spell pretty well at 3/4 yrs. I ran a pre-school for 5 years so I do know the EYFS well and understand what you are saying.

Just because the staff may spell badly in the homelink books doesn't mean they can't spell at all, especially to the level any 3 or 4 year old is able to spell.

My spelling is awful on MN I expect but at work I am sadly a pedant!

Weird how there seems to be a culture of looking down on the educated and people who speak well in this country. Sad how many of have said you've been teased or mocked for having good grammer etc at school.

larrygrylls - interesting comparison, but I don't think the two are entirely comparable. Especially as choice of nurseries is generally a lot more narrow than choices for restaurants!!

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 12:17:31

Weirdly the member of staff who's spelling and grammar was the worst actually had an English degree shock

hammyimo Wed 09-Jan-13 12:30:20

I think at nursery it doesn't matter so much. Especially if it's only two days a week. Our nursery was a bit like this and it hasn't affected mine. Mine also had a Polish primary teacher in reception who's English wasn't fluent. Again, it hasn't been a problem. I think it possibly would be further up the education system.

garlicbollocks Wed 09-Jan-13 12:48:08

Am I the only pedant snickering at the errors in posted opinions on this topic? [evil]

bachsingingmum Wed 09-Jan-13 13:14:24

I take grammar and spelling very seriously, both at work and with our DDs, but I really wouldn't be too concerned about this. We've had nannies whose written grammar etc was dreadful, and had the DDs at nursery where they acquired a very strong regional accent/dialect. But they didn't see what was written in the day books (they couldn't read at that age) and the accents moderated hugely shortly after they started school. What mattered to me was that as babies and toddlers they were loved, well cared for and played with. Whilst I often correct colleagues who don't know the difference between its and it's, I judged it would be a losing battle to try this with our nannies. There would not be enough time to correct those defects in their education and it would damage our relationship.

diddl Wed 09-Jan-13 13:25:27

But part of the job is to write in a book for parents to read!

LimburgseVlaai Wed 09-Jan-13 13:30:50

Not sure whether this has been mentioned yet (only skimmed the thread) but:

Children usually adapt their language use to their circumstances. So at nursery or school they are likely to use a different accent and different words from the ones they use at home, in front of their grandparents, in front of friends, and so on. In that sense they are almost multi-lingual.

DD1 used to use her nursery accent to annoy us: "Mummaaaaay! Daddaaaay!" She knew exactly what she was doing. Also DD2: "At home we have a loo, but at nursery it's called a toilet." [said in a prim voice]

So OP, continue to set a good example at home and don't worry about nursery. As someone further up this thread said: diversity is a good thing.

badguider Wed 09-Jan-13 13:31:45

written communication wouldn't bother me at all - nor would a bit of vernacular or dialect in spoken communications but things like 'we done painting today' would bother me i'm afraid, i would worry that at 2yo this is what a child would pick up and copy - i suppose it depends on the number of hours of nursery per week.

you can't say anything to the nursery, all you can do is consider carefully if it's where you want your child and if the benefits and good points of the staff make up for this shortcoming (and i do consider modelling bad grammar and poor speaking skills to be a shortcoming).

3smellysocks Wed 09-Jan-13 13:47:59

how good is she with your kids?

janelikesjam Wed 09-Jan-13 15:36:15

Wouldn't bother me. Its a very small part of your child's education and will not influence her speech at all in the long run so I think YABU. As long as its friendly, active and fun - I think thats what counts most in a nursery.

However, if it really bothers you, you could go elsewhere, but I think it would be rude to correct them. They are toddler playworkers, not teachers.

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