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Key workers constant negativity about 3yo

(41 Posts)
PonderLand Thu 19-Dec-19 16:06:03

My son has been at nursery since he was two, he moved up into the 3-4 room in September, he is summer born. He's had a few health problems in his 3 years but he's doing really well considering. He's extremely shy and always has been however at nursery he has come on really well, he has lots of friends there and he always talks about them at home, he's always playing and seems happy when we pick him up. He's fully potty trained and has been since before his 3rd birthday, he's seeing a speech therapist at nursery and he's making big improvements but as he's so shy he doesn't communicate much or talk to the staff much, he doesn't shout or anything he talks to them in a really quiet voice under his breath. At home he never stops chatting.

Now since starting in the 3-4 room whenever we pick him up his keyworker is always very negative, she will never say he's had a good day or 'he did this this and this' I can't remember the last time he even got a sticker, maybe October?

The negative things are like 'refused to wear his hat so couldn't go outside today' 'can't put his coat on so didn't go outside, we fall out about his coat every morning' my son couldn't actually do his coat but he's got the hang of it now.

At the Christmas party I spoke to her and she told me she has all the summer born children in her group and children like my son are going to really struggle in reception unless she 'toughens them up'.

My son has never hit or done anything that I'd consider naughty, it always seems to be stubborn toddler stuff. Today my partner went to pick up my son and she didn't say hi just 'he keeps picking his face' it was my sons last day before Christmas and she never said have a good Christmas or anything! She walked off and my partner left the chocolates for the staff on the side.

It's so odd, his last keyworker always had a little story every now and then and she laughed off the shyness or silly stuff and I still knew about the 'problems' to help my son cooperate more.

When we drop him off we have to wait for a staff member to get him and take him into the room and encourage him to join in. It takes about 2 minutes and my son joins in a lot quicker, with his keyworker she will sign him in and then walk off into the room so I'm stood there with my son, when I've tried to leave he gets very upset and quiet, faces the wall closes his eyes, says he wants to go home, gets tears in his eyes etc. He refuses to walk over to a group of children without them inviting him over. It is really sad as I know once he's in he is absolutely fine and will go up to them on his own. He just needs a bit of encouragement to get going on a morning and I can't leave him on his own at the cloakroom like that. If the keyworkers not in the other staff say hi to him and offer their hand to walk him into the room, it doesn't seem a problem to them at all.

Is it normal for us to feel like this about nursery? It feels really intense and like the pressure is already on for school when I don't think he's ready yet, some kids in his class are a year older than him which is a big difference at that age and he can't be expected to behave the same as them can he?

OP’s posts: |
Absoluteunit Thu 19-Dec-19 16:26:24

She sounds awful. Have you spoken to the manager to see if he can move groups?

Patchworksack Thu 19-Dec-19 16:32:08

She sounds horrible - go and see the manager and say you want a different keyworker. Nothing wrong with working on the skills he'll need for school but "toughen them up"??

MistyMinge2 Thu 19-Dec-19 16:34:06

I understand that children need to be prepped for school, but that's still 9 months away. Not letting him outside because he couldn't do his own coat seems cruel to me. I still have to help my 4.5 year old do his zip sometimes. I would be asking to speak to the nursery manager about her attitude.

PonderLand Thu 19-Dec-19 16:39:28

@Absoluteunit she used to work in the younger group and moved up at the same time as my son, I must admit I had a sense of dread about it as even though she only handed my son over when his keyworker wasn't there I got the same negative vibe from her. There isn't another group unfortunately, unless you mean swapping key workers? I'm a bit nervous about doing anything official incase it affects my son, he's there until September. Luckily he seems totally clueless about the atmosphere when she's talking to us! I try and remain positive but it's getting draining now and like I have to defend my sons abilities and things he can't manage yet every single day. I'm used to people telling me all children do things at different times so this is different for me.

He had surgery on his penis in September and started his new year two weeks after but the recovery takes about 6 weeks for bruising to go down, he had a catheter in for two weeks and I explained he will have accidents as he's had so long with a catheter but still she seemed annoyed about the accidents. At the same time as that she was going on about the coat thing and that was really the last thing on my mind after what he'd been through. He'd basically had two weeks bed rest, he was walking like a baby that had just started walking. It really knocked him back on all the progress he's made and it was upsetting she couldn't empathise with that or understand why.

OP’s posts: |
happytoday73 Thu 19-Dec-19 16:39:58

Agree... New key worker. She doesn't seem a good match for him. At best she isn't going to be the nurturing help he needs at that stage... At worst it'll put him back.

He's got a while yet till summer born child always seemed to flourish each April for some reason after struggling earlier in year.. And reception don't expect a summer born child to be as grown up as an older child so she shouldn't either

DodgeRainClouds Thu 19-Dec-19 17:06:49

Sadly some people shouldn’t work with children and I’m afraid she is one of them. You need to talk to the manager and if you are not happy move him if you can to another setting.

limpingparrot Thu 19-Dec-19 17:16:46

My son is summer born and shy. At nursery every morning he sits on a particular chair and plays with whatever is there until he gets into the swing of it. Never a negative word said about it and only what a sweet kind boy he is who never leaves anyone out. Your key worker sounds horrible. They don’t need ‘toughening up’ for school.

Wildorchidz Thu 19-Dec-19 17:22:31

I’d move him ASAP.

PonderLand Thu 19-Dec-19 17:34:50

Thankyou for your replies, I thought maybe we were a bit precious so I'm glad that isn't the case. I will find a way to change things once he returns, moving nurseries would be a last resort as he has settled in so well and he's got friends there who will be going to the same reception etc changing key workers seems perfect, the other staff always sing his praises and how he's no trouble at all. I am a bit worried about the key workers reaction but hopefully the manager can do it in a positive way??

@limpingparrot yes my son is very similar, they need warming up don't they. Not every child has the confidence to join in straight away and it seems cruel to make them suffer for that. We took my son to his cousins birthday party two weeks ago and he didn't join in at all despite all his family been there and him been very close to his cousin who's the same age. He just wanted to sit on my knee and watch from the sidelines, when I put him down he put his head in my lap and got more and more panicked about it. He's the same at any big group stuff and he always has been like that. He won't change no matter how much he needs to toughen up for reception.

OP’s posts: |
BelleSausage Thu 19-Dec-19 17:38:37

She sounds awful! Definitely speak to the manager. He needs a new key worker. Good luck!

shouldhavecalleditoatabix Thu 19-Dec-19 17:42:03

Agree that you should ask for a new key worker. In the meantime I would definitely call her out on it. "Have you got anything positive to say today key worker?" "It would be nice to hear the good stuff about my son too". Some people just need to know you're not prepared to put up with that shit. I always call people out when they moan about jobs etc (not the day to day but the ones that never have a good word to say about anything). I will say things like, yeah but the pay is great compared to xxx or point out the good things. It's amazing how fast people back track when you question it. She probably doesn't even realise how negative she is.

limpingparrot Thu 19-Dec-19 17:51:39

My son is the same at parties, he’s a watcher too. I really don’t thing it’s negative, he can be really chatty sometimes, it’s just who he is. I really think his nursery love him for as he is. It’s a lovely place where feedback is always kind and constructive. As, at the end of the day, they’re tiny children just learning to be smile

converseandjeans Thu 19-Dec-19 17:55:29

I'd contact the manager. She sounds awful. Poor boy. Maybe you could look at a childminder instead? He might prefer a smaller set up.

wellthatwasthat Thu 19-Dec-19 17:56:06

I wouldn't be happy about this at all. She might be all right with extrovert kids but she is not the right personality to be working with your ds to get the best out of him.

How big is the nursery? Could they swap him to someone else?

Greenglassteacup Thu 19-Dec-19 17:59:26

She sounds awful OP, not at all caring and kind. Your little boy deserves better. Speak to the manager and ask for a different key worker

PonderLand Thu 19-Dec-19 18:06:39

@shouldhavecalleditoatabix funny you should say that as I've just been suggesting the same to dp. I did call her out on it last week but I made a bit of a fool of myself and apologised for it. Sort of a 'sorry but could you just come and walk him into the class as I can't leave him otherwise' I was annoyed she'd walked off at drop off again and left me there for 5 minutes trying to encourage him to step inside. She gave me the eye from across the room as if to say 'go then'. How much trouble is it for her to take his hand when she signs him in? I can't understand why she walks off every single time when no other staff do. It's a rubbish way for both of us to start the day and seems like she's making it difficult on purpose.

OP’s posts: |
SnugStars Thu 19-Dec-19 18:24:34

* Sadly some people shouldn’t work with children and I’m afraid she is one of them. You need to talk to the manager and if you are not happy move him if you can to another setting.*

This says it all

SnugStars Thu 19-Dec-19 18:29:53

I know moving him will be a last resort, but definitely speak to the manager, maybe word it as “a clash of personalities”. The manager will be well aware of what this staff member is like, they should be anyway. So should be happy to change his key worker.
My eldest is very much a watch and wait kind of kid. My Mum always says he’s very sensible to be a bit cautious and take his time deciding whether he wants to join in. Like you’ve said they’re all different and that’s ok.
It’s so important to be able to feel happy that when you leave them they’re with people who will care for them and nurture them. I hope you get it sorted.

shouldhavecalleditoatabix Thu 19-Dec-19 20:29:11

@PonderLand I honestly think it's an effective way of dealing with that kind of thing. Calling people out on their behaviour, particularly in a professional environment (after all this is her job) often has a great effect. "Key worker, I actually need a word if you don't mind. DS has had a very difficult year with the operation and I need you to help with morning handovers by taking him into the room and starting him off. I know he will grow out of this as he gets older and lets face it, They're only young once so why are we forcing them to grow up too fast? If that's not ok with you that's fine, I can ask for a change of key worker because this isn't working for me like this and if you both aren't compatible that's absolutely ok" all said with sweet smile on face.

I can be a PA little wanker at times though! 😂

SomeHalfHumanCreatureThing Thu 19-Dec-19 21:11:26

What shouldhavecalleditoatabix said, seriously.

PonderLand Thu 19-Dec-19 21:56:45

Oh wow that is brilliant @shouldhavecalleditoatabix

I'm the complete opposite and struggle with difficult conversations. The manager of the same nursery gave my son a cup of milk that he is intolerant to, she told me at pick up and I just kind of mumbled okay bye and shoved us both out of the door. I did go back and have a meeting about it after a hellish week due to that incident but my immediate reaction is always to stay nice and be totally absolutely fine with everything blush you'd think that approach would make things easier but I think it's made them take the piss even more.

OP’s posts: |
shouldhavecalleditoatabix Thu 19-Dec-19 22:09:13

@PonderLand honestly if people don't know you are unhappy about something there is a chance they don't pick up on the clues themselves. I always think if you don't speak out then it's hard to complain about things. I'm not saying you don't have a right to be upset because she's not doing her job properly but I promise if you find your voice then you will notice people around you behave different. I try not to be rude (though it has been said my facial expressions tell their own story confused) but I will speak out if I am unhappy. You can be polite yet firm and after all, this is your son and we all have a lioness inside us when we protect our children. You just need to channel yours. thanks

problembottom Fri 20-Dec-19 10:41:00

You’ve had some great advice. I had too much negative feedback when my DD struggled to settle in at eight months, to the point where I called the (far too blunt) manager and said I didn’t think their nursery was for DD. They’ve been lovely and positive ever since.

beachysandy81 Fri 20-Dec-19 10:51:17

I am feeling sad for your son. That sounds rubbish. Would a childminder be better to build up his confidence a bit or just a new nursery with a nice atmosphere? Most reception classes are more nurturing than what is being offered to your son at the moment, so I wouldn't worry about her theory of getting him ready for big school.

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