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3 year old dislike of nursery teacher

(7 Posts)
Cloud1220 Tue 19-Jan-21 11:03:26

My DS has been going to nursery since he was 1. He’s now 3 and for the first time ever we’ve had ‘I don’t want to go to nursery’ in the morning, before bed, and he even got out of bed one night to put away the clothes he thought I’d left out for nursery even when nursery hadn’t been spoken about because the following day wasn’t a nursery day!

When I’ve asked him why, he can’t/won’t articulate anything that stands out but has started expressing a dislike for one of his teachers. When I’ve asked him to explain he says ‘she’s not kind’, ‘she’s stinky’ (genuinely don’t think he’s using this as an insult - it’s just a word we us to describe something and of course it could be that she has a scent - perfume perhaps - he did smell quite strongly of someone’s fragrance the other week now I think about it?!) and ‘she tells us to tidy up’. Now, I’m well aware that a 3 year old could object to being asked to tidy up but I’m starting to wonder if there’s more to it... we have never had this with any of the other staff and he’s got excellent bonds with his current and former key workers (to the point that he’s a bit bashful with them, it’s very endearing).

FWIW, this member of staff is a trainee and without wanting to sound awful, she’s one of only a couple of staff members throughout our time with nursery who I’ve not felt 100% confident in. The others all seem very child orientated, give lengthy descriptions about his day etc. whereas I’ve overheard her debriefs at end of the day handover where she has literally said the same thing word for word to more than one parent, which did get me doubting at the time, have they really all eaten exactly the same amount of every meal?! I also saw her supervising a group playing outside and there was zero interaction (now I’m writing this it feels super judgemental - I realise I have very little to go on!). Perhaps more of it is instinct?!

This morning at drop off it was the teacher in question who came to the gate to collect my son and he literally buried his head into his scarf, hid his face behind his bag and kind of shuffled in. I’ve never seen anything like it before! Usually he greets the staff and skips in happily with a wave to me.

So... what do I do from here?!
Do I speak to nursery to see if there’s anything going on? Perhaps there’s been some negative behaviour she’s talked to him about which has not been mentioned to me...?
Do I name the staff member?
Do I speak to him about it and say he needs to behave politely with Miss X? Or do I ignore and hope it passes through fear of an even stronger resistance to going to nursery?
Do I speak to another parent?!

I’m well aware that this could just be an awkward three year old not liking being asked to tidy up etc but if on the off chance there’s more to it, I don’t want to ignore these clues he’s giving me - I need him to know I’m his advocate.

I did mention last week to the room leader and his key worker that he’d started to say he didn’t want to come to nursery and that it was unlike him. They checked in with him during the day and he told them he was having fun and happy etc. I thought he was perhaps starting to realise I’m not going to work after I’ve dropped him off and am at home with his baby brother, and/or perhaps also getting a bit unsettled with hearing Covid talk and ‘nurseries closing’ in the news/random lady at the park. But since this morning’s reaction to this staff member I’m thinking it’s possibly not (just) these things.

Appreciate your advice! (Gosh that got unintentionally long!!)

OP’s posts: |
Gunpowder Tue 19-Jan-21 14:03:35

I would definitely follow this up with his keyworker or the head of the nursery.

I remember DD1 telling me about a nursery worker who she didn’t like who shouted at her when she changed her nappy (DD was 2 but a good talker.) I really wish I’d followed up on this but we could never get hold of management and she moved nursery soon after.

I also still feel bad about not finding out why DD2 suddenly stopped wanting to go to nursery. I’d just had twins and assumed it was to do with the upheaval of their arrival - but after she’d left she told me a boy had been pinching her every day (when they were lining up etc) She had been too scared to tell anyone. sad

As you say you are his advocate and if he likes everyone else and was happy at nursery before I would trust your instincts. Maybe you won’t be the only person to say their child is unhappy.

Cloud1220 Tue 19-Jan-21 16:04:45

Thank you @Gunpowder for sharing your experiences. Wasn’t sure whether I was being a neurotic parent or if there is an issue which needs nipping in the bud. MIL thinks they could be waiting for parents to say something to be able to take action, who knows! Will find out how best to speak with the room leader when little ears are t listening... Covid making it tricky

OP’s posts: |
Cloud1220 Tue 19-Jan-21 16:06:35

Aren’t listening **

OP’s posts: |
StacySoloman Tue 19-Jan-21 16:12:50

Speak to his key person or room leader. If the staff member is a trainee then she is still learning - feeding back to parents is a skill, interacting with children is something she will be developing.

Cloud1220 Tue 19-Jan-21 19:55:11

Thanks @StacySoloman!

Tonight at pick up I hadn’t planned to say anything, I was going to email tomorrow to try and arrange a quick call away from little ears, but my son actually did it for me by saying ‘mummy miss X went for her tea so I’m happy now’ in front of the room leader. Yikes- from the mouths of babes! Room leader had nothing immediate to share with me but had noticed his reluctance this morning and said will keep an eye out and follow up - so we’ll see!

OP’s posts: |
Gunpowder Tue 19-Jan-21 21:08:29

Oh good for him! I think it’s brilliant he is able to tell you and the other staff that he’s unhappy and why.

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