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How would you react to/interpret these comments from nursery owner?

(16 Posts)
BR44 Tue 19-Mar-13 14:25:23

My DS (2.6) attends nursery two mornings a week. He has been doing this since January.

We've had the usual and expected teething troubles. Some days he has been upset at being left, others less so. Some days he is a bit wild and gets put in time out for pushing and snatching, others not. Last week his behaviour was apparently good and he came home with a gold star sticker. He was calm and happy and they seemed pleased with him. I asked for a progress report after 4 weeks and while they did comment that he was a bit more challenging than some of the other children in terms of sharing/snatching etc, overall the feeling was that he'd settled in well for a child who was only doing two mornings a week. I have always backed them up when he has been put in time out for unacceptable behaviour and have always talked to him about it afterwards. I know he can be difficult at times, so I'm certainly not taking the 'oh no, surely not from my little angel' line. Far from it. I'm well aware of the fact that he often needs a lot of supervision and can appreciate that from a nursery POV that can be tricky.

It's a small nursery - two staff both in their 20s and the owner, a lady who had no previous professional experience of childcare until she decided to start up the nursery last summer. The two younger staff are always frank with me about his behaviour, good and bad, constructive in their comments and generally helpful. They clearly like my DS and accept that toddlers don't just come from one mould and that some present different challenges to others. They also seem to get that just because they are fine one week, doesn't mean that they are going to be completely settled and easy the next week. In the poor kid's defense I should say here that in addition to snatching diggers and running round a bit manically he also does lovely drawings, listens to stories, makes me crafty things and plays nicely - all of which has been reported back to me by the two staff - and for the most part he looks like his usual jolly little self when I collect him.

My issue is with the owner, who frequently answers the door to me looking like a woman on the edge, and without even a hello launches in to "He pushed another child!", "He doesn't stop moving! He's so energetic he needs one on one attention", "I do have 8 other children here you know. I have their parents to think of". "He needs to learn how to interact more calmly with other kids! It's crazy!". I always take on board what she says and agree that my son is at a point where he needs to learn how to interact with his peers in a less crazy way BUT BUT BUT she is meant to be a childcare professional, isn't she? I am starting to find her comments and negativity grating, and wonder if I would now be justified in saying "Yes, he can be quite challenging and I fully support the structures you have in place for disciplining him, but ultimately I am paying you for childcare as a professional nursery and you need to either be able to manage him or tell me you don't want him here because you find him too disruptive." From the way she acts you'd think she'd never met another 2 year old who didn;t just do as he's told and I think this is her problem ratbher than mine.

Basically, I guess what I'm asking is am I being too sensitive or is she just unprofessional? I am trying to disengage my frustrations with her from my opinion of the nursery, but that's getting increasingly hard. I certainly don't want to disrupt his 'routine' unless I think he's unhappy there, and overall I don't. But as much as I like the other staff her comments and manner are slowly making me lose confidence in the place and I am worried that she is labelling my DS as a problem child when really the problem is that she has unrealistic ideas about what professional child care involves.

Thoughts please? I'm thinking myself into a stupor over this one and want very much to remain objective for my DS's sake.

ThingummyBob Tue 19-Mar-13 14:39:28

Hmm, you seem to have made a few assumptions about what the owner of the nursery does/doesn't know confused

It does seem to be true that children who attend less frequently spend longer settling in at a nursery so maybe just wait a while and see how you go on? Provided you are happy with the care he receives and the other staff I wouldn't stress over how the manager makes clumsy comments tbh.

BR44 Tue 19-Mar-13 14:53:50

What assumptions do you think I've made? Not being arsey, just not sure?!?

You are right, it's the care he is receiving I'm trying to focus on rather than her personally, as I think if I start thinking I have to like everyone involved in his upbringing and education I'm settling myself up for a hard time over the next 15 years...

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Mar-13 15:01:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReetPetit Tue 19-Mar-13 15:01:26

it sounds as though she is maybe not very experienced in being tactful with parents - as a childcare professional you learn over time to keep some opinions to yourself wink

i would just say to her next time, 'well as you know, i am really very willing to work with you to make ds easier to care for so what are your suggestions?'

she should be organising reviews/meetings with your ds keyworker for you and you should be getting feedback as to whether they think there are any underlying issues such as special needs etc.

i think you need to put the ball back in their court and ask them for their suggestions...

if you feel he in genuinely not liked there then i would look at another setting - he may just not be suited to that nursery/may be picking up they don't like him - might he do better with a single carer - nanny/childminder?? or maybe a bigger nursery where they can't pick over his faults as they seem to be there rather than acknowledging the good things he does....

ReetPetit Tue 19-Mar-13 15:03:36

but yes, agree with thesecondcoming - i wouldn't like it as a parent either if my ds was regularly being hurt by the same child - i would want to know the parent was dealing with the issues - i'm sure you are but it is important that you use the same discipline techniques at home and also maybe speak to your health visitor if you are concerned.

chocoflump Tue 19-Mar-13 15:14:20

Tbh I would look for another this is a small nursery with only 9 children, and she is relatively new to childcare it doesn't sound like she has the experience of how to deal with more challenging behaviour.

I have worked in a daycare nursery, in the toddler room with children aged 2-3. There were children who were more difficult than others but the parents would never be spoken to the way you were! She spoke to you like your child is an inconvenience to her- like she is doing you a favour by having him. In reality YOU are doing her the favour by paying her to look after him.

BR44 Tue 19-Mar-13 15:41:58

Thanks for the input everyone.

They use time out with him in nursery. At home I put him in his room with the door closed for a designated period if time before going in and talking to him about what he's done wrong. At home he's generally pretty good, just very physical and energetic, which I suppose I am used to. At nursery this side of him can turn into inappropriate behaviour with other kids, which is obviously what I need to work on. Interestingly, since he started nursery he has been much much better in situations like soft play - the last few times I've taken him I haven't had to correct him even once so I really thought the increased interaction with children at nursery was starting to bear fruit... Swings and roundabouts, I guess.

I fully understand that other parents would not be happy to think that their children were being pushed etc. and I agree! One of the reasons I decided to introduce a couple of mornings of nursery is so that he can get used to sharing time and space with his peers. I am happy to listen to their views and work with them to improve things, I'm just sick of her attitude which sounds put upon and whiny. I will suggest a review with her, his key worker and me when I go in tomorrow and take it from there.

BertramBertram Tue 19-Mar-13 15:52:48

I used to always ask how my 2 DS had been at nursery & the staff there were always honest - some days they were angels, some days demons!! I used to feel like a terrible mother if 2 days running I was told 'DS has been pushing/snatching etc'.

A friend told me to stop asking!! She said if either DS' behaviour was outside of the usual range for a child of their age, the nursery would tell me and that if I didn't trust them to tell me when there was a problem I ought to think about changing nursery!

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Mar-13 16:07:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Tue 19-Mar-13 16:08:32

I personally would hate the owners approach. It is unprofessional and unhelpful.

Your ds sounds like a typical child of that age, so her attitude towards the situation puzzles me. There are pretty standard strategies that can be used. Yes they should report on his behaviour, but it should immediately be backed up with what they are doing to deal with it.

I would change nurseries tbh.

BR44 Tue 19-Mar-13 16:38:01

Thesecondcoming - I do my best but at 8 months pregnant and with the recent appalling weather it's tricky sometimes. But yes, I take your point that his overall behaviour is way way calmer when he's had adequate physical exercise.

Iliketomoveit - thanks, I'm glad it's not just me being stupidly over sensitive. Its the fact that her complaints are not backed up by any practical suggestions thats pissing me off. I've decided to drive things forward myself, ask for a meeting tomorrow, get her views as well as the key workers' and then see what we can acheive. For what it's worth I also don't think that he's doing anything abnormal for a toddler but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like him to be able to learn to amend his behaviour.

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Mar-13 19:49:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TiggyD Wed 20-Mar-13 10:10:53

"a lady who had no previous professional experience of childcare until she decided to start up the nursery last summer"
So she can't be the Manager then, but as she owns it she has to feel she's in charge. I suggest having a meeting with the MANAGER. The owner will probably want to be present, so address all your questions to the MANAGER and start them by saying "As the MANAGER, do you think..." (Try to talk in capitals.)
There are lots of nurseries run like this. I hear Ofsted are now taking a very dim view of it and are now giving nurseries where the unqualified owners sit in on meetings with them a maximum grade of 'satisfactory'.

Actually, who is the MANAGER? Just re-read the OP and not sure who it could be.

poopnscoop Wed 20-Mar-13 16:53:57

A manager of a nursery has to have a minimum of a level 3 in childcare... The owner is not necessarily the manager.

She doesn't sound very professional to me.

insancerre Wed 20-Mar-13 17:06:42

This sounds like a very badly run nursery to me. Like the others have said, the owner cannot be the manager if she is not qualified.
This lady has no idea of two year olds and certainly hasn't heard of the BS sandwich- the best way of giving negative feedback- e.g ' Little BR44 has ben very helpful today, he helped put away the toys. Unfortunately, we have had to talk to him about not hitting the other children. we have been talking about how we all need kind hands at nursery. He has tried really hard to sit still for the story though.'
I would follow this with a question about how you manage his behaviour at home and see if there was any common ground to work from- such as time out or other snctions.
Imo, he sounds like he is not getting his needs met at this nursery.

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