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to complain about this nursery worker? I honestly can't tell if IABU, please help!

(90 Posts)
Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 02:36:06

DD1 is four. Very verbal, very confident, very physically affectionate. Her best friend is likewise, and they tend to play together constantly, lots of role play games.

A is a new carer in the 'kindy room' at nursery (4-5y/olds), and very junior; because of this, A is usually allocated to general supervision of play, whereas the more senior staff are often doing the more structured stuff.

DD1 and her friend seem to have adopted A as their personal adult playmate, and both speak very enthusiastically about A. Which is great, in a lot of ways; it's nice for them that there's an adult there who is willing to join in their interminable pretend games and things. A seems really nice and has lots of energy, plays chase and gets out drums and generally joins in the fun.

But. DD1 has reported that their games involve "being little girls who run away from the monster who catches them and tickles them". Or "pretends to eat them". Or "ties them up". I don't think any actual tying up is going on, but it's all physical hands-on games. And BF's mum has picked her up early before and she's been sitting on A's lap.

And it seems - although obviously four year olds are not always reliable narrators - that A spends a lot of time playing with the two of them, as in, disproportionately to other kids, bearing in mind that there's a 1:10 ratio in that room. I have had chats with A when picking DD1 up - oh, you're with DD1 and her friend again, they both tell me how much they like you playing with them - that seem to support this: as in, A agrees that they've played together lots, had lots of fun. And this might well be initiated by the girls.

All of this might be initiated by the girls; both of them are very physically comfortable around adults, BF sat on my DH's lap the first time she met him (at a class where the adults were sitting cross legged on the floor), it might be that A is young, naive, wanting to please and not wanting to turn the girls down when they ask for adult company, in order to impress the senior staff and show willing.

But is it reasonable of me to have a quiet word with the boss? Just check whether there's a policy around how much hands-on-ness they encourage? Obviously the younger children need more intimate handling anyway, because of nappies and wiping clean after meals so of course part of being a child carer is being hands-on with kids as necessary. And it's a very reputable centre, I have no doubt that A's qualifications and security check (CRB equivalant) are up to scratch, the boss is very good and very involved. So I'm probably just being precious, right? Only, BF's mum brought this up with me yesterday as well, so we've both noticed and wondered.

Boutdesouffle Wed 06-Feb-13 02:42:12

Let me get this straight.. She plays with the children? And let's them sit on her knee? In a nursery? What exactly are you wanting a "quiet word with the boss about"?

wannabedomesticgoddess Wed 06-Feb-13 02:47:43

I think you are over reacting.

When DD1 was in nursery the leaders gave her cuddles a lot. She loved them and was happy.

A new worker is playing with the children, enjoying her job and making them laugh. Why would you have a word with anyone about it?

SquinkiesRule Wed 06-Feb-13 02:49:16

What does the other parent see as a problem? The sitting on A's knees or that her child gets so much attention? Does A give you that vibe that screams not appropriate?
I would be more annoyed if I were a parent of one of the others in that room as they don't get as much of her attention. Nothing you have mentioned would raise concerns for me. I the more seasoned staff don't like the games she is playing I'm sure they would be quick to re direct her. I'm not too freaked out by kids sitting on knees and playing chase. Dd sat on her Kindergarten teachers knee in K as have many others in that room. The Kindergarten teacher occasionally chased, lifted, chased all the kids. She gave each one a hug on the way out the door to go home as does Dd's 2nd grade teacher. It sounds like you are in the US, I have met lots of people who don't want anyone to even touch their kids at all, no hand holding by teachers, or anything.

Boutdesouffle Wed 06-Feb-13 02:51:51

Sounds like New Zealand to me. Teachers in the US are very warm and the parents expect that.

Mimishimi Wed 06-Feb-13 02:55:16

If you had told us that A has said to them that they will play a game that they shouldn't tell their mummies about or some such, you would have reason to worry. It sounds like your daughters are having fun and bring completely open about it. You did not specify whether A is male or female. Do you feel apprehensive if the carer is a male? Probably unwarranted but somewhat understandable. If the carer is female, my first impression is that you are jealous actually.

Delayingtactic Wed 06-Feb-13 02:55:54

I think yabu. She's playing normal games with children in her care. She's not asking them to go off to play with just her out of the view of the other care givers. They are ideally placed to spot if there's something amiss.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 02:56:04

Nope, I'm in Australia.

I'm very relieved to hear IABU. I was coming down on the side of 'good for A' but my mother is convinced I should Take Some Action. I would hate for DD's experience in nursery to be without physical affection; certainly her younger sister gets cuddles and sits on laps, you'd expect that in the younger groups, I'd be horrified if their care giving was hands off!

Concern of other mother was like mine: disproportionate amount of time spent with our DDs, very physical games, is it completely appropriate or does it tip over into a little bit ... kind of wrong. But as I say, I don't get any sort of vibe from A except enthusiasm and possibly a touch of naivety.

MammaTJ Wed 06-Feb-13 04:52:25

I think these two confident little girls are demanding attention and the person caring for them is not experienced enough yet to reject them nicely, so they are continuing to get the demanded attention. They are having a lovely time. YABU!

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 04:58:35

Fabulous. Thank you all so much. One of those times where I really, really wanted to be U!

(A is male. It was a deliberately ambiguous post because I am pretty convinced that if A were female I wouldn't have the slightest qualm. And I hate feeling that way; I want my girls to have positive male role models in their life outside their family, so.)

newbielisa Wed 06-Feb-13 05:07:42

"A" might find it easier to bond/interact with older children.

This post made me really sad. Sad that we now live in a world where we question adults spending too much time with our young, that we question tickling games -every child's favourite, that reading your post made me want to shout Yes YABU but also made me question myself - what if I'm the one who's got it wrong.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 05:09:18

I totally agree, newbie.

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Wed 06-Feb-13 05:10:56

I actually assumed that A was a male, as I don't think this would've been posted if A had been female.

Another one here thinking you are being unreasonable, but you already accept that.

I am sure that he is under supervision if he is new to the job, and if he wasn't spending enough time with the other children it would be picked up on.

Boutdesouffle Wed 06-Feb-13 05:33:01

Ahhh, I should have realised it was a scary scary man. Very odd reaction OP. I feel so sorry for males working with children.

HoleyGhost Wed 06-Feb-13 05:49:52

I think male nursery workers are favoured by the children due to novelty value. My own dd talks about hers all the time.

Fightlikeagirl Wed 06-Feb-13 06:27:50

I went on a very interesting and thought provoking course yesterday about how important physical play is and how children bond with each other and adults through just running and chasing. And how much bloody good fun it actually is!! Your dd is very lucky to get this opportunity at her nursery.
And cuddles??!! Really?!! shes 4!! How sad that you think this is strange.
Like others have said it makes me so sad that male early years practitioners get this reaction, so very sad indeed.

Kyrptonite Wed 06-Feb-13 06:31:08

Erm really? A keyworker is interacting with your child and you think something dodgy is going on?

Thank Christ the parents at my nursery don't think like you.

Megatron Wed 06-Feb-13 07:12:44

As a nursery nurse, these kind of posts scare the life out of me. I guessed you were talking about a man as I doubt you would have raised any concerns had it been a woman. sad

YouKnowNothingoftheCrunch Wed 06-Feb-13 07:23:30


It's the one thing I've missed in the last couple of nurseries the dcs have used, no male staff. It's great when there are both male and female role models. The cuddles thing is also ridiculous. Dd is always sitting on, or cuddling the staff. It's great she feels so secure and cared for.

I really feel for nursery workers sad

Saski Wed 06-Feb-13 07:24:52

So, you feel that he is paying your daughter and her BF too much attention?

Please don't report him. That would be really, really bad for him.

nefertarii Wed 06-Feb-13 07:27:02

Yabu, but you know that.

is your mind problem that he is a man? Very strange.

seeker Wed 06-Feb-13 07:27:17

Please don't talk about this to anyone. Not even to your mum, or the other mother- it only takes a hint of a whisper, and you don't know who might overhear you.

Groovee Wed 06-Feb-13 07:37:09

As a NN I don't get the issue. Sounds like the other mother has her own issues to deal with.

strawberryswing Wed 06-Feb-13 07:39:38

YABVU. just doing his job (and seems to be doing this well) and gets this reaction just because hes a man.

Please dont complain, could you imagine the consequences for this man?

I agree with others I really hate how we live in a society where men cant be close with children anymore, whether it be their own family members or through work etc.

I understand being aware etc and sorry to be blunt but the bottom line is the overwhelming majority of men are simply not, in any way shape or form, paedophiles and they shouldnt automatically be treated as they are.

camgirl Wed 06-Feb-13 07:39:53

What everyone else said .. but also bear in mind that male nursery workers, like dads, might do more physical play with children. This is great and you are so lucky. It will increase the girl's confidence and sportiness no end.

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