Should I speak to nursery about this? If so what to say? Or am I overreacting

(27 Posts)
DougalTheCheshireCat Wed 09-Mar-16 11:22:00

In the last few months, DD has been less and less happy at nursery. To help this, last week I went and spent two hours there with her on a ‘parents in the classroom’ scheme they offer on the day she usually spends with me. The idea was to spend a bit more time there and support her in improving relationships (she’s only there two days a week and her key worker has been off a lot recently). In that time I saw some things which are bothering me:

First, during a structured activity outside in the playground, another girl, let’s call her Sarah, was given her turn during a game. She set off. DD set off shortly after. I was calling her to come back as it wasn’t her turn. She didn’t (not clear to me whether she’d not understood the instructions, or was enjoying ignoring me) I was about to go and bring her back when Sarah turn around, ran back to DD and pushed DD hard, knocking her off her feet. This wasn’t during play with lots of kids, they were the only two there. And two nursery workers watching. One of the workers scoped a shocked and crying DD up, and told Sarah she mustn’t do that. I took DD to comfort her, but also acknowledged it wasn’t her turn and she shouldn’t have been there. I can understand Sarah minding DD gatecrashing her turn. And I know this age is fairly toddler eat toddler and I don’t think the physical response from Sarah itself is that surprising, although it was quite calculated – DD wasn't close or passing, Sarah turned around and ran towards her specifically to push her over. However, the nursery has clear ‘golden rules’ for children’s behaviour. And what bothers me is the aggressive physical response from Sarah wasn’t properly addressed. There was a brief ‘no pushing’ said to her back as she ran off inside with no further follow up.

Second, later on when the children were playing inside. DD was playing with toys and several other children joined in. they were doing ok with taking turns and sharing with my support. One of the other boys got over excited and slammed a large toy down onto DD’s hand on the table. It hurt, she cried. I don’t think he was being malicious and I was dealing with it (look you’ve hurt somebody, please be more careful, time to say sorry) when one of the nursery workers heard the noise, came over and without asking what happened, told both him and DD off for not sharing.

In general what I saw was that the team in the room spend a lot of time organising and sorting stuff, and much less proactively focused on the children.

The upshot of this is that the behaviour of some of the more boisterous or demanding children is going unchecked, which is driving more of this kind of behaviour from them and others (retaliation / copying) and lots of incidents of this are happening, many unnoticed and unchecked. When the incidents do attract attention, they are not being properly addressed. DD is no angel, but we don’t accept those kinds of behaviours from her, ever. So as well as being an unpleasant environment, it feels unfair to her.

Would you approach the nursery about this? Or is this just standard nursery rough and tumble (the kids are aged 2-3) and I'm overreacting?

if you approach would you focus on the specific incidents involving DD, or the general pattern, or both?

RaniyaFi Wed 09-Mar-16 11:25:34

Sounds pretty standard to me

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 09-Mar-16 11:33:25

I would be concerned at staff spending more time organising activities than engaging with the children.

HSMMaCM Wed 09-Mar-16 13:05:32

You can ask about their behaviour policy if you like, but it sounds fairly normal.

The staff spending more time on admin than with the children sounds more concerning, but maybe you were there the day they had something specific to organise ?

parrotonmyshoulder Wed 09-Mar-16 13:22:21

I have recently taken my DS from nursery because I only ever saw staff doing organising or directing/ admonishing behaviour. I didn't see any positive interaction with children. DS was so, so miserable (he was only there for 5 weeks p/t but had been full time and happy in a previous nursery).

He's so happy now he's left.

DougalTheCheshireCat Wed 09-Mar-16 13:53:33

Really? a child going out of their way to push another child over during a structured activity, with no real addressing of that behaviour is 'pretty standard'?

the admin thing is always like that, at least at drop offs that's always what's going on.

When the children moved up to this room several parents raised that there was little to no pro-active acknowledgement / engagement with children at drop off, which was making it hard for lots of them, both new and previously in the nursery, to settle in the new room.

What I see is that the more admin than interaction thing drives these behaviours as the kids are craving attention and not being supervised closely enough.

The nursery pitches itself as a Steiner nursery, and it is expensive, which we can manage and were happy to pay last year when the 1-2 room was great, warm and hands on.

Millionprammiles Wed 09-Mar-16 14:50:41

Dougal - you say your dd has been unhappy for months. You're also clearly unhappy with the nursery. Even if you complain to the nursery your dd (and therefore you) might continue to be unhappy. Perhaps look for alternative childcare instead?

I've never spent a day at dd's nursery, it might be completely feral when I'm not there for all I know.
But I've never been concerned as dd is happy, she adores the staff and has formed close friendships with other kids. The kids there look visibly happy and rush in excitedly in the morning, they cuddle each other and the staff unreservedly. That's the biggest indicator to me that the nursery is caring for and stimulating the kids properly and its what I would look for in a nursery.
(That and the endless craft work/baking/feeding bunny rabbits etc...).

DougalTheCheshireCat Wed 09-Mar-16 15:13:28

Perhaps look for alternative childcare instead?

Well that is an option but it seems a bit black and white to jump straight to that with no discussion with them.

We have a lot going on at home, we're renovating so have moved out and have a longer more complicated journey to nursery. I'd put a lot of DD's unhappiness so far down to that. And that she's only there two days a week. (She also does two days with our lovely nanny and one day a week with me).

She started there at one yr old and after the usual settling in was very happy for a year there. We were impressed by the baby room where the team are warm and hands on. After a few weeks she was happy to be left and after a term, she would rush in smiling and I’d be hard pushed to get a goodbye out of her.

I like and respect the nursery manager, but think the team in DD's current room are struggling (lots of personnel change, no head of room for months, they look unhappy and stressed, lack of engagement with the children etc). A recent newsletter says they are recruiting for that room.

Fugghetaboutit Wed 09-Mar-16 15:17:12

How old are they?

I don't believe in heavily disciplining children at nursery like time out etc. they picked your dd up and told the other girl no pushing. Not sure what else you want them to do really.

confusedandemployed Wed 09-Mar-16 15:19:50

What Million said, to a T. DD loves her nursery, her care givers and her friends. What I have seen is positive: lots of engaging with the children and loads and loads of activities. She has always been happy there.

This is a gut instinct thing. If you and your DD are not happy, there is a reason, even if you can't put your finger on it. I too would be concerned at the lack of engagement.

TBH I'd be looking for a new nursery.

DougalTheCheshireCat Wed 09-Mar-16 15:49:16

How old are they?
2-3

I don't believe in heavily disciplining children at nursery like time out etc.

No, neither do I. the boy that hit DD with his toy got full on shouted at by one of the workers in the room at a different point, and told he'd get no outside games. But I think kids this age are too young for that kind of sanction to be meaningful.

In general what I saw is that none of the kids, but especially the boisterous ones are getting enough positive close attention, so these behaviours happen and are then either not dealt with or attract negative attention, which drives the cycle.

they picked your dd up and told the other girl no pushing. Not sure what else you want them to do really.

For something minor, in the run of things, fine. But this was a hefty, planned, shove. A 'we don't push' called out to her back isn't enough in that situation in my opinion.

I would expect one of the workers to catch her (she was running off) take her aside, help her calm down, explain that pushing is wrong, and that she hurt someone else. Then talk about alternative strategies (using words not pushing) and support them to say sorry to the child hurt.

That's what we do if DD takes / snatches / pushes etc.

Chinesealan Wed 09-Mar-16 15:53:34

Take her elsewhere.

Fugghetaboutit Thu 10-Mar-16 07:45:02

Yes change nurseries if you aren't happy with how they do things.

jclm Fri 11-Mar-16 09:56:16

Could you not just leave her with your nanny for these two days? Nurseries are always like this I think. Too much paper work and very low ratios. X

Jesabel Fri 11-Mar-16 19:42:37

I think Steiner nurseries tend to be quite hands off.

FineAsWeAre Tue 15-Mar-16 10:56:59

As Jesabel said, Steiner settings are, by their nature, more child-led. As for the pushing incident, yes it can be par for the course in early years and I agree that it's not nice and needs dealing with, however, practitioners are not allowed to 'catch' children - if the child has run off they are not able to restrain unless the child or another is in immediate danger. What do you mean by organising and sorting stuff? Also, you were there for two hours, you can't possibly know what the staff are doing all the time. They should interact with the children, but children also need to play without adults as well. Yes they probably are doing paperwork etc around drop off and pick up times because it will be the best time to do it - nursery staff are very low-paid and expected to achieve a hell of a lot of work in a very small time frame. Most settings do not pay their staff for additional hours when the children are not in but generally it's not detrimental to the children.

ElderlyKoreanLady Tue 15-Mar-16 11:17:55

They do things differently to how you want them done and you think your DD is unhappy there. Just change nurseries.

I send DD to a nursery where I've had a few issues and they've been sorted. But essentially DD is happy there and the issues weren't the kind where they had to completely change their way of working.

MeredithShepherd Fri 18-Mar-16 20:48:10

I'd say it seems standard. Your dd shouldn't have been ruining the other child's turn by messing about and not listening but doesn't sound like she was told off for this. .. the other girl was told not to push but toddlers generally lash out when they are frustrated as the girl was as your dd had ruined her turn.
There is a lot of organising to do in nurseries, trust me I work in one. Ofsted and the eyfs and ratios etc... but I'd be concerned about them never getting down on the floor with the children. We spend say 10 mins out of 30 organising and 20 minutes actually engaging.

antiqueroadhoe Fri 18-Mar-16 20:58:15

You cannot get embroiled in the minutiae of nursery life like this. Kids are always going to break the rules just a little off-centre - and you're always going to be hyper-sensitive about how best you would like your daughter dealt with.

FannyFifer Fri 18-Mar-16 21:08:33

It's a Steiner nursery?

Bambooshoots14 Fri 18-Mar-16 21:15:42

My ds moved up to the 2-3 room last month and it's definitely more hands off and I've noticed he's often less keen to go in the mornings, partly because he's so tired because it's so full on. But they'll get used to it. It's teaching them independence and relationships. Even if ds tells me he doesn't want to go in the big boy room because he's a baby

Primaryteach87 Sat 26-Mar-16 16:34:43

In my experience you are unlikely to get them to change anything. I think it sounds like a problem but I would move her to a nursery with a better sense of calm and control (for lack of a better word) from the staff.

I used to go into nurseries to try to train staff about supporting children with SEN. In my experience, the ones who were good already became excellent and the one's who didn't instinctively manage situations well, didn't get any better with training....

DougalTheCheshireCat Sun 03-Apr-16 12:31:17

Hi all, to update. I did approach the nursery about our concerns, on the basis that, if things carried on the way they were we would move her.

I have a good relationship with many of the staff and the manager, and if we move they'd ask us why. I realised if i explained then, they'd say 'but why didn't you talk to us sooner' so i did.

Emailed in along similar lines to my post, expressing concerns about the time i'd spent there but also more generally things DH and I have observed at pick up and drop off.

I'm happy to say that the response was great. Immediate reply from the manager acknowledging and saying she'd come back to me. Then a follow up a few days later inviting me in to discuss.

We had a good meeting a couple of weeks ago. She was receptive and honest. On the specific situations, the first she explained the relevant key worker had followed up with the child that pushed, and that usually they encourage the child who's made a mistake to come and apologise (as far as 2/3 year olds can) to the receipient. That didn't happen on this occasion and we discussed for a while how at the moment that sort of thing is important to DD and that without some acknowledgement, to her it seems that behaviour is acceptable.

On the other she could not trace, but said it was against their general policy, which is not to intervene if another adult is dealing with a situation, whether parent or staff. So, a mistake.

We discussed that the team in that room seem, in general, on the back foot, with both parents and children. She acknowledged this was the case, and that they had been finding it difficult to recruit a good replacement to someone that had left a few months ago, meaning the remaining team were struggling a bit.

She said our feedback was helpful to her in making the case to management to make some changes to how the teams are structured that would help.

Since then there has been a marked change, better engagement from the team, and a calmer atmosphere. Most importantly DD is happier. It is early days, so of course what matters is whether this is sustained.

But as so many responders said 'just move' which would be distruptive and therefore hard on DD, I wanted to share that a different approach is looking successful so far.

Thanks for your comments, though, they helped me clarify in my own mind what steps to take

HSMMaCM Mon 04-Apr-16 07:55:42

Good news op. It's always worth trying to talk to them before giving up.

HSMMaCM Mon 04-Apr-16 07:56:14

Good news op. It's always worth trying to talk to them before giving up.

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