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AIBU To Be Narked About This Playgroup "Session"...

(25 Posts)
Bathsheba Wed 15-Jun-11 11:47:07

DD2 is coming to the end of her "playgroup career" as she starts at school in P1 in August. This brings my playgroup career to a bit of a hiatus as I have about 18 months before DD3 will be of an age to go. DD1 went there as well and I've been a constant fixture at this playgroup for almost 5 years.

We work, like most playgroups on a "parent rota" system, where parents have to take their turn as a helper for a number of sessions. When I am on rota duty I need to arrange for my Mum to collect DD1 from school as school finishes at 15:05 and playgroup at 15:30 (and school is 2 miles away). When I'm on duty I also have to take DD3 (17 months) with me, and she potters around the playgroup session woth "the big ones" as its a safe place for her to be (doors locked etc).

Thats the background...

Anyway, as its getting into summer and the last few weeks of term, playgroup have decided on replacing sessions with "outings" if the weather is nice. Last week it was a picnic and trip to the park (that was rained off and became a normal playgroup session instead), and this week its a trip to the local woodland.

All sounds lovely and nice and outdoorsy and great for the kids...

Except they insist that for these special sessions, that all parents stay.

Which means I need to get my Mum to collect DD1, and either look after DD3 for me (so I can have a relaxing chat at the swing park rather than running arund after dd3) or I have to take DD3 with me - again, fine, but not very relaxing - I DO take them all to the woodland but its NOT a quiet relaxing time having a woodland picnic with I'm chasing after DD3 all the time.

AND I get charged the normal price for a playgroup session - when I've done all my rota duties and yet I still have to attend for the whole session (rather than coming home and getting my hoovering done etc...)

So I'm a tad narked that a playgroup childcare session that I pay for, has turned into an outing that I have to arrange childcare for, and attend and still have to pay for.

We have recently had a questionaire home about our thoughts on playgroup - am I right to put this down in the "any other comments" section to say I'm not happy for these outdoor trips to replace normal playgroup sessions.

Insomnia11 Wed 15-Jun-11 11:50:08

Yes. YANBU. Surely other parents will be in the same position, having more than one child?

Bathsheba Wed 15-Jun-11 11:55:44

The theory does seem to be "come and have a lovely outdoors time bonding with your child" with no regard for

- having other children
- having other arrangements
- frankly needing a break from your 4 year old - I use my 2 sessions a week for that

Its a (vvvvv) "middle class" area (I live slightly outside the area so no boasting here) so there actually is no reason to believe that the playgroup children wouldn't otherwise go to the park and the woodland.

I have the choice to go, take DD2 and DD3 and get my Mum to collect DD1...or NOT go, get charged £5 anyway because you still get charged for sessions that you miss, and also not get my "alone time" with DD3 that we normally have when DD2 is at playgroup....

eurochick Wed 15-Jun-11 11:57:53

Have you drawn this to the attention of the playgroup leaders? It sounds like they just haven't thought it through.

cjbartlett Wed 15-Jun-11 11:59:57

We have one outing a year!

cjbartlett Wed 15-Jun-11 12:00:18

Forgot to say yanbu

Mumwithadragontattoo Wed 15-Jun-11 12:03:13

YANBU - it sounds nice in theory but obviously is impractical for you and presumably for others too. Certainly worth pointing this out on the form.

wotss Wed 15-Jun-11 12:26:26

I would pay the £5 and just not go (if you can afford to) - maybe they need one adult per child since it's an outing, but if you both don't go you won't be inconveniencing them surely?

And just enjoy the summer afternoons with your DDs & no rushing around.

Bathsheba Wed 15-Jun-11 12:42:29

My plan is to stay at home with DD2 and DD3 and have a friend round so DD2 will still get her playing time - I'll just pick DD1 up at her normal time...

I have to pay £5 though for not going to playgroup

Journey Wed 15-Jun-11 12:43:10

YANBU - I'd feel the same.

TattyDevine Wed 15-Jun-11 12:51:29

Nope, that is totally unacceptable. Its not in the spirit of the scheme which is basically pay, and do your turn at supervision, and reap the reward of child-free time when its not your turn. Everyone has their turn. Except you. You have to pay and not get your turn.

Its not fair. YANBU.

I would at the very least state that I expected my £5 to be refunded/not taken if I were not able to take the opportunity to have child-free time when it was my turn and I'd done my rota duty.

honeyandsalt Wed 15-Jun-11 13:01:22

I would question whether 1:1 supervision was really neccessary. Yes, you need a higher adult to child ratio but it seems OTT, and perhaps a revised rota system would be more sane.

thegruffalosma Wed 15-Jun-11 13:13:46

What is the £5 for? Is it towards transport costs? I wouldn't be too pleased about having to pay if I wasn't going. It's usually the case with these things that if not enough people can go to cover the cost of the trip it just gets cancelled isn't it?
Whether it is 'fair' that you all have to attend depends on whether everyone else has had their turn at rota duty. If this is the case maybe that's part of the reason why they are insisting everyone should attend the last few sessions - so no-one has to do it twice?

Bathsheba Wed 15-Jun-11 13:18:05

The £5 is the standard session fee - no provided transport involved - I've just to "take her to this location in the woods rather than bringing her to playgroup" - liftshares were being arranged for those with no transport but thats a share with another parent who is going, not a taxi/minibus etc...

The playgroup cannot function without the correct number of Mums on rota duty, so if someone just doesn;t turn up and take their turn, then someone else has to stay instead (there is a space on the rota for "disaster duty" for every session in case someone doesn't turn up) so if someone hasn't been rota-ed on for enough duties well thats the fault of the committee member who is in charge of the rota...

TBH I'm seriously reconsidering DD2's "leaving present" for playgroup (some books that we have bought for her to give them when she is leaving) and I'm considering just giving those books to her school nursery instead.

Bathsheba Wed 15-Jun-11 13:18:53

If its too rainy then the playgroup session will run just as normal - with mums taking their turn on rota duty and children being left - the trip to the woodland with compulsory staying is only on if its sunny.....

bubblecoral Wed 15-Jun-11 13:21:53

I think it depends how often this happens. If it happens once a week, then I think it's fine, although I see it can be a problem if you only use two sessions.

Trips like this are a lovely thing to do, and tbf, the idea is really not that you get time to relax! Also, you should still have to pay, I can't see whay anyone is saying you shouldn't. The staff still have to be paid! And it would be your choice not to go.

YANBU to write on the comments that you find these trips an inconvenience, but I don't think you should be aiming to get rid of them, maybe just reduce them slightly if they are too frequent.

Could you change the days that your dd is at playgroup so thet she doesn't attend on outing days? Or go, but leave early to pick up your oldest?

fedupofnamechanging Wed 15-Jun-11 13:22:16

Being picky, but you do know that working class people take their DC to the park too. No reason to assume that being in a middle class area makes these children any more likely to be taken out than anyone else's.

To answer your OP, I think you were being a bit of a mug to put up with this in the first place. You ought to have said that this is unfair and you won't be attending/paying your £5. By saying nothing, you have given the impression that you are okay with this.

I honestly don't 'get' why people don't just speak up in the first place. The organisers have probably just thought that this will be a nice thing for the children and haven't given it any more consideration.

veritythebrave Wed 15-Jun-11 13:29:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chelstonmum Wed 15-Jun-11 13:37:47

Does the playgroup run on another day when your daughter could attend? (ie. not a trip day).

I would be pretty peeved too. Try to explain your situation, childcare etc to the other parents, you may find you are far from alone!

thegruffalosma Wed 15-Jun-11 13:40:05

Bathsheba a few more q's? Have all the other mums who go done a stint duty? When you did your stint was it on the proviso that you would have childcare for x amount of weeks?
I would tell the playgroup organiser that you aren't happy to have to pay £5 when you aren't getting any childcare in return - after all you could take the kids there yourself for free - what would be stopping you?

Bathsheba Wed 15-Jun-11 14:11:47

Hi - The afternoon sessions are Monday/Tuesday and Thursday - DD2 goes Monday and Thursday - Tuesday is when she has her dance class and she is finishing in 3 weeks anyway, so not worth changing really.

I didn;t speak up in the first place as the first of these sessions (trip to the park) was last week and it was rained off in the meantime and they replaced it with a "normal" session...its really only over the last week coming up to this week's outing that the full range of "hassle" that it is for me has crept up as I've realised what I'll need to get my Mum to do, and what chores I'd need to do around the house that I would normally do on a Thursday afternoon that I'd not be able to do.

When you sign up to have your child at playgroup, you are agreeing to take on your responsibilities for your duties - there is a formula that the playgroup has been using for years to work out how many sessions you are expected to comer depending on how many children you have at playgroup and how many sessions your child attends. I basically do 1 rota per month, so 1 in 8 sessions...however there are mums with twins in for 3 or more sessions a week who end up doing 1 in 6 or yeah, I guess when I last did my duty (which wasn;t even mine, I was covering for another mum who had been called in to work that day..) then it was on the basis that I had taken my "turn" and I'd not need to do another turn.

(And Sorry Karma, of course I know that everyone takes their kids to the park, I was trying to clumsily say that these are not "deprived inner city kids where this might be the only sight of grass they have all year" - most of them have wither a full time SAHP or at least a part time SAHP (you kind of need to be to do the rota duties and things) so these kids probably go to the park at least the national average of times that kids go to the park..._

fedupofnamechanging Wed 15-Jun-11 14:15:02

Ahh, take no notice of me Bathsheba. Sometimes MN brings out the grumpiness in me. Sorry

Lemonsole Wed 15-Jun-11 14:22:50

If your playgroup session is funded, you cannot be required to stay. You can be invited to, but not obliged to.

Bathsheba Wed 15-Jun-11 14:25:33

My playgroup sessions aren't funded - my funding goes to the preschool nursery that she goes to which is attached top the school she is starting in August......

BranchingOut Thu 16-Jun-11 08:33:36

I can see that it is really annoying to have to do extra turns of something that you think is finished. I have often breathed a huge sigh of relief when an activity which involved a bit of hassle is finally over, no matter how enjoyable or worthwhile it has been. So I can see why it would get your goat...

However, it sounds as if this is a good playgroup and you have got a lot out of its provision over the years, so it would be a shame for this to taint your relationship as you are leaving. Still give the books, because surely they reflect your feelings about the playgroup over a long period of time, not just these few weeks?

I also think that this is where the overall aims of the provision should be taken into account - presumably to provide good quality early years education for local families. A trip to the woods is beneficial from a curriculum point of view, so that is the basis on which the staff put it into their planning. And if they do let you bring your younger toddler then it can surely be argued that they are accommodating the fact that you have another child, even if that means that the trip to the woods is not particularly relaxing for you...

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