Tricky Nursery Problem

(31 Posts)
dunnetoson Sun 29-Jan-12 19:35:29

Hi All,

I hope this is the right place to post this thread and I hope you can offer me some good advice.

My DD, aged 3 attends the local council run nursery. I was lucky to get her a place there as its the best in the area and places are highly sought after. It has an excellent reputation.

The thing i loved about it most was the teachers are all a little older and are all parents themselves. They are all highly trained and qualified and left 100% confident in their abilities and that my DD was safe, loved and secure.

ANYWAY.... on Thursday they were out playing after lunch, the children were all brought back inside.... apart from my daughter. They forgot about her and left her in the playground. She was 'hiding' apparently. Anyway, she was outside on her own for about 10 mins, until a member of staff found her.

The gates to the playground are closed and locked with a sliding bolt so kids cant escape. But they are not locked and so my mind is going crazy thinking an adult could have taken her. Also, what if the bolt wasn't done and she had manage to wander out into the street.

Not to mention, that for those 10 mins, she was scared and alone. That in itself is bad enough.

On the Thursday my OH picked her up from nursery and the senior teacher explained briefly to him what happened, but it wasn't until he got home he realised the severity of it. I spoke the the senior teacher on the Fri morning, and was confident leaving her for a few hours. OH collected her again on the Fri and again spoke to the senior teacher.

Its only now I have had time to mull it over and talk about it with my Mum, that anger is replacing shock! Im amazed firstly that the head teacher hasnt been to speak to us. And i dont know what to do next.

Im shocked and angry, but those feelings have had taken few days to sink in. Perhaps I shouldnt have left her on Friday? I have until now trusted them completely with the most precious thing in my life. And although im confident that it wont happen again, I feel that I should do something more than accept their apology.

Do the other parent have a right to know? Should I report it to the care commission? Or should I accept their word its a one off and allow them to rebuild my confidence? I dont want to rock the boat too much, as I still hope that its the best nursery and the mistakes of one person should not cause the whole nursery problems.

Im disappointed in the headteacher not talking to us, and I plan on speaking with her on Monday but im so confused about it all I dont know where to start. What do I ask? What do I want to hear from her? And how do I proceed? My head is in a spin!

Your advice and support would be so greatly appreciated and I would love to hear from any mums with your thoughts. Id also love to hear your opinion of you are a childcare provider.

Many thanks in advance!

OP’s posts: |
LipstickLover Sun 29-Jan-12 19:54:09

They should do a head count when taking children in an out. It's negligence, you have every right to be annoyed.

rubyslippers Sun 29-Jan-12 19:56:47

It is totally unacceptable

As a PP said, a head count is utterly standard

You absolutely should speak to the head and ask for re-training of staff etc To make sure it never happens again

OlympicEater Sun 29-Jan-12 19:59:52

This exact same thing happened to me ten years ago.

I raised merry hell and was on the verge of withdrawing from the nursery, however they handled the situation very well, accepted full responsibility and immediately amended their procedures with a signed double checked headcount.

I guess it boils down to how confident you are that this will never happen again and that your DC is kept safe.

dunnetoson Sun 29-Jan-12 20:04:11

thanks ladies, they said they did a headcount before leaving the playground, but when walking in the door, she must have run off and hidden. I suspect they should have done a headcount as they were going in the front door instead.

Would you make an official complaint to the Care Commission? Should it be logged in some kind of way at the nursery?

I dont want to ruin this teachers career by making an official complaint and reporting her. But if it were to happen again in the future to another child, id be horrified to know what my lack of action could have prevented it.

OP’s posts: |
DarkMatter Sun 29-Jan-12 20:05:25

That happened to me when I was 3, on my first day! My mum happened to be driving past (nursery was pretty near our house) and saw me crying outside on my own. I'm sure she gave them hell, but I know I stayed at the nursery.

south345 Sun 29-Jan-12 20:09:18

I'm a childminder but witnessed this happening at my ds' school but they hadn't head counted and the nursery nurse didn't tell the other one that was present, I told her as this girl is very lively and could easily have escaped. Another mum saw it too but they could easily have been reported for this.


ElphabaisWicked Sun 29-Jan-12 20:18:31

I think the fact that she was only missed for 10 mins shows that they do regular headcounts and it would actually reassure me that a child couldn;t be missing for long.

If she ran off after the headcount then they did everythng reasonable.

south345 Sun 29-Jan-12 20:25:30

10 mins is a long time it should definitely be logged as an incident by the school.

LipstickLover Sun 29-Jan-12 20:31:14

They Should head count as they lead them inside not 10 mins later, she could have hurt herself in those ten mins unsupervised.

dunnetoson Sun 29-Jan-12 20:37:00

I think the reason im so worried ElphabaisWicked is that although it was "only" 10 mins, to my DD thats a lifetime! In 10 mins she could have been taken. In 10 mins she could have attempted to get out and walk home accross the main road. Or hurt herself in the playground.... I wouldnt leave a 3 year old unattended outside anywhere for 10 seconds, so im shocked that they did.

Im not sure I can blame a 3 year old for causing this. Perhaps she did run off and hide, but surely its the adults job to ensure everyone is safley back inside? but perhaps its because she is my baby, I cant blame her!

I think im going to ask to see the incident report, and then see what assurances they can offer me that it cant ever happen again. I guess the outcome of that meeting will determin my next move. Im dissapointed the headteacher hasnt been in touch with us! Thanks for your comments so far, its greatly appreciated x

OP’s posts: |
RitaMorgan Mon 30-Jan-12 09:21:28

Was she really upset and scared about it? I mean, if she was only in the garden surely she could have just gone back inside if she wanted to confused

It was only 10 minutes - so they got all the kids inside, took coats and shoes off, sat them down, noticed she was missing, went and got her.

Really, what are the chances that a child abductor happened to choose those 10 minutes to break into a nursery and scour the grounds on the off-chance a child might be hiding somewhere? So minimal you might as well worry about asteroids.

Try to keep it in perspective.

coccyx Mon 30-Jan-12 09:27:12

well i think you should speak to the manager/head but thats as far as it needs to go.
Tell your daughter not to run off and hide maybe!

Pozzled Mon 30-Jan-12 09:36:25

If that had happened to my 3 year old DD, I would be more angry with her than the nursery. She lined up, was counted then ran and hid? My DD would know that was very naughty. I know that depends on the child though, and she may not have fully realised what she was doing. I do wonder how they failed to notice her run away though- I'd expect someone to be at the back as they went in, with the whole group in sight.

What is your DD'S version? When did she realize that they had all gone in?

ElphabaisWicked Mon 30-Jan-12 09:54:49

I have to add that a similar thing happened to my ds in reception except he hid in a classroom when they were going into the hall.

I was told about it in the context that they were all very worried and he must learn never to do that again.

breatheslowly Mon 30-Jan-12 10:04:28

I would expect them to explain that it has been logged as an incident and how they will alter their procedures to ensure it doesn't happen again. The risk if a child wandering off in those circumstances would be my main concern.

inmysparetime Mon 30-Jan-12 13:36:12

I would talk to the Headteacher ASAP to make sure the matter has been addressed.
Although, I have been affected by an over-cautious approach to head counting.
I checked my voicemail upon finishing work at 6. There was a message from afterschool telling me to inform them next time I took my child out of afterschool as they thought she was missing (cue panic as I hadn't taken her, I was at work).
Another message 5 mins later saying "it's alright, she was behind a pillar, not to worry!" Too late, I was shaking with fear then anger. I would rather they actually checked whether she was missing before calling me.

EBDteacher Mon 30-Jan-12 19:53:10

Are nurseries not all supposed to be working towards having free flow between their inside and outside areas? That's what many of the ofsted reports I've read have been banging on about achieving. The outside play area of your nursery should be a secure space where the children can't get out and access from the street is very controlled.

Aside from issues about escape/ intrusion if the playground is so hazardous that there are genuine risk concerns about a child not having an adults eyes on them for 10mins then it is not a very well thought through space.

(Note: this is all said in my rational mind. I actually have a recurring dream that DS gets left somewhere by his CM and a lion attacks him so I do understand where you are coming from!!)

LynetteScavo Mon 30-Jan-12 20:02:13

EBDteacher, that is exactly what I was thinking!

LipstickLover Mon 30-Jan-12 20:08:32

Free flow is fine if there is someone supervising? Surely no one is advocating that 3 yr olds be left unsupervised, no matter how "safe" the environment.

EBDteacher Mon 30-Jan-12 20:27:22

In my experience of very busy free flow environments I'm pretty sure each child goes for regular periods of several minutes when an adult does not have their eyes directly on them. The difference is whether there is an adult who will pick up quickly on difficulties available at all times.

My point was not that it should be OK for the OP's child to be left unsupervised in the outside area but that the nursery should be working towards the outside area being fully secure and supervised all the time- hence no problem if a child doesn't want to come in.

(Not saying I fully agree with the play wherever you want to thing- but that's another thread. It seems to be what the powers that be want.) I do, however think that nursery play areas should be fully secure.

LipstickLover Mon 30-Jan-12 20:31:13

Yes agree but this was clearly a case of the child being forgotten outside...not free flow.

EBDteacher Mon 30-Jan-12 20:36:39

Yes indeed.

But the OP might want to ask pointed questions about the nursery's inside/ outside policy as well as just being very cross about her DD being left outside.

LipstickLover Mon 30-Jan-12 20:37:39


RitaMorgan Mon 30-Jan-12 22:54:32

The point with free flow is - you could have free flow play from 9am-10.20am, with adults supervising inside and outside, and then everyone in at 10.20am for snack time at half past. You can't do a headcount outside because you don't know who is inside and who is outside.

So, everyone in, coats off, change shoes, sit on the carpet for the register and it is easily 10 minutes til you notice one child has run off to hide instead of coming in with everyone else.

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