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big boys inthe pre-school

(103 Posts)
steppemum Thu 02-Dec-10 10:04:29

We have a small village pre-school, on some days there are just 3 kids. It is lovely, like playing at a friends house, with all the fun stuff (paint, cooking etc)
One of the staff has is now home schooling 3 of her kids, boys aged 13, 11 and 8. She is bringing them in to the pre-school with her. So we have one room portacabin set up for toddlers, and on Monday there were 3 little girls aged 2 and 3, and 3 big boys doing their home school stuff, and generally being boys.

I am not happy, I think it completely upsets the balance of the room. I asked dd (in a bright jolly sort of voice) Was it fun having the big boys there today to play with? and she said very emphatically No, I didn't like it, I want to play with my friends. I have nothing against the individual or her sons, or her decision to home school, but I just don't think those big boys should be there.

I spoke to the play leader on Monday, she says Ofsted says it is OK, bit I don't think she is very happy about it. I have phoned the PATA and asked for advice, and they said as long as Ofsted says it is OK and their insurance says it is ok, then there is no reason why they shouldn't be there ( a bit like when you have a mums and toddler's group and older siblings come in the school holidays)

No-one else seems to think it is appropriate, I have asked a couple of friends with experience running pre-school groups and they think it isn't good. I have started to hear negative comments from other villagers who have nothing to do with the school 'what on earth are those big boys doing in the pre-school?'

I am in a difficult situation, the 3 kids on monday were my dd, the staff members own dd (little sister of the 3 boys) and one other girl whose mother I have never met and do't know (she doesn't live here in the village) the other mums I do know send their kids on different days when this member of staff doesn't work and so no boys.

Of course I could just switch dd to the other days but after Christmas I wanted her to do 3 days which would have to include one day with this situation. Also it seems like a cop out to just move dd and not address the issue. This is a great little pre-school with an outstanding ofsted and I don't want to see it damaged by this.

I just don't think they should be there. AIBU? and if it isn't unreasonable, what would you do?

I forgot to mention the person concerned who brings in her kids is chairperson of the manegement committee...

GypsyMoth Thu 02-Dec-10 10:10:01

what are these boys actually doing which is so wrong??

also,if they are 'stopped' from coming,then presumably the pre school will lose a sttaff member,and a pre schooler if the little sister no longer comes in

how is it ever going to be viable to keep it open for what? 2 kids??

maybe the boys being there is keeping it open??

FunkySnowSkeleton Thu 02-Dec-10 10:13:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Limez Thu 02-Dec-10 10:13:31

I'm sorry, I really don't see what your problem is.

GypsyMoth Thu 02-Dec-10 10:14:30

can you expand on this op???

lalalonglegs Thu 02-Dec-10 10:15:40

I really don't understand what the problem is. Are they noisy? Do they stop the smaller children playing with the toys? It sounds as if you are desperately trying to find other people to take your side and cause some sort of confrontation with the member of staff. If you don't like it then why don't you just swap days - there's no issue to address.

samay Thu 02-Dec-10 10:15:49

Message withdrawn

steppemum Thu 02-Dec-10 10:17:03

the room is small and all toys and furniture are 2 year old size. They dominate the room, it is like having 5 adults and 3 kids, it isn't a pre-school setting anymore, there physically isn't space for them and also they mess around together, so a little kid lying on the floor playing with the cars is very likely to get trodden on.
The school would loose a member of staff, but that isn't an issue, there are others who could/would do the hours. The little sister would probably keep coming.

If a prospective parent visited looking for a pre-school on one of those days they were they I am pretty certain they would choose somewhere else. The boys are not keeping it open. This is a new situation, the boys were pulled out of school in the last month, so before that there was no problem.

GypsyMoth Thu 02-Dec-10 10:20:32

maybe get some bigger chairs for the boys to sit at then?

Limez Thu 02-Dec-10 10:21:57

Nope, still not seing the problem.

I'd love to hear someone else's take on this situation, because you seriously sound like you have a grudge.

Stop being so precious.

GypsyMoth Thu 02-Dec-10 10:21:58

i dont think you CAN be sure prospective parents viewing would be put

steppemum Thu 02-Dec-10 10:23:00

I am not trying to find anyone to take my side. I am trying to take time to assess the situation and see if this is just my problem, in which case i just move days and I can't send her 3 days after Christmas, or if this is generally percieved as being inappropriate.

This is a small village, I deliberately have asked people out of the context for their thoughts, becuase I don't want to cause any trouble here ona whim.

GypsyMoth Thu 02-Dec-10 10:23:17 say a grudge?? i wonder if it were 3 GIRLS sat doing school work if it would then be such a problem for op??

A la little house on the prairie??!

Goblinchild Thu 02-Dec-10 10:23:42

So, with this home-schooling lark she's obviously decided to take them back to first principles then?
If they are under control, I'd co-opt them as unpaid help.
If they are messing around, they need to be given guidelines about their behaviour so that no one ends up stepped on or frightened.

GypsyMoth Thu 02-Dec-10 10:24:50

i live in a small my opinion and experience,you do all you can to keep the facilities in place. if that means this kind of thing,so long as its safe,so be it!!

villages seem to lose things quicker than any other place

Bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 02-Dec-10 10:26:32

I assume there is some kind of committee supporting the pre-school - are you on it? I would suggest you call for a meeting to discuss this 'situation' and see if there is a solution - instead of talking to everyone but the woman concerned take a more positive inclusive approach involve her |(the mother of the boys) and find a solution or a compromise everyone can accept. The boys themselves may not be delighted being confined to a hut.

curlymama Thu 02-Dec-10 10:28:11

It would put me off in such a small setting, and I can understand why you don't like it. It would affect the dynamic of the whole place if there are as many older children there as there are pre schoolers.

Apart from moving your dd's days though, I'm not sure that there is much you can do. This Mother obviously has some influence within the setting, and the manager has obviously chosen to let the boys be around rather than lose the member of staff.

steppemum Thu 02-Dec-10 10:29:22

I have boys myself, this isn't a girl boy, thing.
If this was a bigger context, it wouldn't be such an issue. The pre-school can only take a max of 7 kids because it is small. There is one table used for paint/play/lunch. No room for any bigger chairs. If the boys are doing their work at the table, no room for play. If little kids are doing painting big kids are trying to do their work on the floor. 3 big kids sprwled across the floor means no floor space left for those little ones who are not painting.

This is really a matter of size, space and balance. In a pre-school of 30 kids spread across 2 or 3 rooms the big kids wouldn't be a problem, they would be like big brothers /helpers or older kids on work experience. Here they are very in the way.

Vallhala Thu 02-Dec-10 10:29:29

I don't see the problem either. The room is small and so three extra boys "dominate the room"? hmm

What happens if your DD doesn't like another pre-schooler? Will you ask for that child to be moved out too?

It all sounds rather precious to me. A successful life is sometimes about sharing, and that might include a space or a room sometimes.

nancydrewrockinaroundxmastree Thu 02-Dec-10 10:29:42

Another not seeing the problem here.

OP your post comes across a bit PFB, with all that entails including an irrational dislike for older children who your perceive to be impinging on your DD's being.

I think you need to reassess your attitude and start to consider the ways in which your DD could benefit from having older children about.

purpleduck Thu 02-Dec-10 10:29:54

Sounds like you are being intolerant. It is a Good Thing for children of all ages to interact. It teaches the big ones about caring for those smaller than them, and little ones, in my experience tend to adore bigger kids.

If its so new - first of all, why not see how it all goes. Plus the parent may not home school for long. Be patient

GypsyMoth Thu 02-Dec-10 10:31:27

you're just a parent....surely the staff themselves working in this environment will raise this if it becomes an issue for them!

you arent working do you know all this for certain?

duchesse Thu 02-Dec-10 10:31:46

Depends what they're doing. If they're charging around playing football around the toddlers, then YANBU. If they're just sitting quietly doing their schoolwork as you say, then yes, YABU. It is good for your DD to see that not all big boys are demons as depicted in the press.

lalalonglegs Thu 02-Dec-10 10:32:16

You have phoned the PATA obviously hoping that they will say that she shouldn't bring them, you have spoken to the play leader whom you don't think is "very happy" about it; you have asked friends with playgroup experience and you have started to "hear negative comments" (what, while you are walking along the road minding your own business?) about the situation but you're not seeking out anyone to back up your own point of view? hmm

If the room really is so crowded - and bear in mind, that if it is, it's never going to be able to cope with more than 4 or 5 children and parents at one time, then can the older children use ancillary office space or be given a table around which to do some reading of their own? I'm really surprised that a room of that size can be used as a pre-school and get an outstanding Ofsted.

BangingNoise Thu 02-Dec-10 10:33:27

It would bother me. Surely the big boys needs some sort of supervision, which is there for the pre-schoolers.

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