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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?

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!!

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 09-Jan-13 08:57:14

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.

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