How to handle this?

(12 Posts)
Allthelittlefoxes Mon 19-May-14 11:42:46

A situation has arisen at DS2's nursery and I am really unsure how best to approach it, and wondered if anyone has any advice??! I'm really sorry if this is long!!

DS2 is at a nursery attached to DS1's prep school. The nursery is divided into 4 rooms by age, and DS2 is in the toddler room. The girls in his room are excellent, energetic, positive and very warm. However, on 3 occasions now I have witnesses behaviour from staff in the baby room (for the youngest children, aged 3 months to about 20 months) which has made me really uncomfortable.

In short, I have seen crying infants either shouted at or ignored when they are clearly distressed and in need of comfort.

On the first occasion a baby of around 1 was sitting in a highchair at dinner time crying. A senior member of the nursery staff glared at the little girl and 'shooshed' her quite aggressively, and told her to be quiet. When she saw me watching she tried to turn it into a light-hearted 'what are you like' sort of thing, but her manner with the child was really unpleasant.

The 2nd time, all the children were in the nursery garden and a little boy of around 10 months was sitting on the ground by himself crying quite hard. 4 or 5 members of staff were standing near him just looking at him and making no attempt to comfort him or interest him in something. Only when one of the girls from DS2's room came outside, did she pick him up and try and engage him.

On the third occasion (this morning) I was dropping off DS2 and there were two little boys crying in the baby room (just beside the doorway) A member of staff was standing on the other side of the room and shouted at them quite loudly to 'be quiet'. Now these kids were quite little (about 1?) and were obviously distressed at being left by their parents.

I appreciate that staff cant always drop everything, or pick up a child every time they cry, but the response to their distress was just so cold! They weren't being 'naughty' on any of these occasion, so telling them off / ignoring them just seemed like a completely inappropriate response.

I should just say that I am not a parent who panders to tantrums or carry-on's but surely the staff in a baby room especially should be looking at comforting / distracting the children in their care not just telling them to shut it??!

I've requested a meeting with the nursery manager this afternoon to let him know what I've seen, as after this morning I just felt terrible for the children. The two little boys were hanging over the baby gate in floods, holding their wee comforters and nobody seemed to give a stuff about them sad

So the question is, how do I discuss this with him without seeming like the nightmare interfering parent?? Im not looking for anyone to get a bollocking but the attitude in the room definitely needs addressed?

Hoping someone can offer some words of wisdom?

OP’s posts: |
Allthelittlefoxes Mon 19-May-14 12:17:55

Sorry that ended up like War and Peace! Didn't want to drip-feed...

OP’s posts: |
grumpalumpgrumped Mon 19-May-14 12:40:37

As a nursery manager i would be horrified if my staff behaved like that and if for some reason I was unaware, I would want to know.

Tell him everything you said above. I would be moving staff, disciplining, observing etc etc

nicename Mon 19-May-14 12:51:04

Not good at all. Tell the manager what you have seen and s/he will handle it. Ask what steps will be taken with regards to staff/training.

I'm surprised a prep nursery takes children so young. Most I've seen take them from 2.5 years.

Where I work there is a nursery and I am in and out a lot for my job. I have never seen a child snapped at, shusshed or ignored when crying. I've seen children bawl and cry when they miss their mummy and been treated with utmost patience, calmness and affection. The staff - every one of them - are people I would leave my child with (and they aren't 'on best behaviour' just because I'm there - they are genuinely child-friendly peple).

There is a national minimum staff to child ratio, so the excuse 'they are looking after too many children' does not wash if they try that one!

Allthelittlefoxes Mon 19-May-14 13:58:16

Thank you grump and nice - the nursery is generally very good and it's only the last couple of weeks that I've noticed this so hopefully if I talk it through with the manager he'll have the chance to get to the bottom of things.... Never sure I'm over-reacting or not!!

OP’s posts: |
somewheresomehow Thu 22-May-14 20:33:54

As a supply nursery nurse/assistant I have been in many settings and have never seen staff treat their babies/toddlers the way you have described. That is appallingly unprofessional from the staff and if you do not get a suitable answer and/or reaction to your complaint I would report them to ofsted

SueDNim Thu 22-May-14 21:44:30

How did your meeting go? It is great that you are willing to speak up for other people's children.


Dinosaursdontgrowontrees Thu 22-May-14 22:42:33

Any update op??

Allthelittlefoxes Fri 23-May-14 10:28:35

Hi guys,
I had a meeting with the nursery manager. I have mixed feelings about how it went.... In response to the query about leaving children crying - he stated that certain parents had requested that they not be picked up when they cry! I do believe this actually as he was able to tell me which children it was who I'd seen being left. When I asked about the snapping at / shushing of children he asked me who it was and said that he would be doing increased observations and also reminding all staff about 'appropriate styles of observation'. I think he is doing everything I would expect him to - I did ask him not to single out the staff I reported as they would know it was me who complained.
Apart from keeping an eye on things is there anything else I should be doing / looking out for?

OP’s posts: |
SueDNim Fri 23-May-14 20:07:55

I think you did the right thing and his response was pretty good. I don't think you need to do anything else at the moment.

I am surprised that parents ask for their children not to be picked up when they cry, but I guess they know their children confused. It must be hard to work with children and not be allowed to comfort them.

Imperial Fri 23-May-14 20:16:12

But even if they don't pick them up surely they could be sitting next to them talking to them or trying to engage with them and actually I would not be happy caring for children whose parents wanted them treated like that. Heartbreaking for those poor tiny children.

KateMoose Fri 06-Jun-14 20:47:13

I run a nursery. His reply, whilst it might sound like its reasonable because he could name the children, it's bollocks. They should be explaining attachment theory to the parents who requested that their children be allowed to cry and ensuring the children's' happiness. You can report them to OFSTED so they come round and have a look. It's absolutely the best thing to do in this situation. The OFSTED website tells you how to go about it.

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