Nursery school and lunch time pickup. (Long, sorry)(36 Posts)
Hi all, DS1 attends nursery Monday to Friday from 9-12 under the free 15 hours scheme. The nursery is attached to a school. There is an option to send DS1 for lunch in which case he would be at nursery from 9-12.30, but as he is only just 3 and it is his first time in nursery I prefer to pick him up and he has lunch at home with me and DS2. Most other children have lunch at nursery. Until recently, when I arrived to pick up DS1 he would be in the classroom with two or three other 'morning' children and the class teacher, while the other children were in the school hall having lunch. This time with the nursery teacher seemed relaxed and usually they would be reading stories together, helping tidy up etc. Last week the nursery changed the pick up process as they found the nursery teacher did not have enough time for her own lunch break. Now DS1 and the other 'morning' children are zipped into their coats, given their bags and then made to wait on a bench in the school hall under the eye of support staff until they are picked up. The support staff do not play or interact with the children as they are busy serving lunch to the others. I have just discovered that they are made to wait from about 11.40-11.45 while the other children are served lunch and eat. They are given a few books to look at but are expected to sit still on the bench all this time.
I am pretty annoyed about this as I think it is quite mean to expect a little 3 year old to sit and wait while other children eat lunch in front of them - DS1 will be hungry by then, and probably hot in his coat. Also I can't see that this is in any way any kind of quality experience since he is not free to move about, has no activities other than a couple of books (he cannot read obviously). Of course I think the teacher deserves her break, but I would prefer the nursery school to own up and say they do not have the staff child ratios to provide the full 15 hours of 'educational provision'. Now that I am aware of the timings I will be picking him up at 11.40 in future but wondered if this is acceptable and common practice in other nursery schools? Just wanted to add, I have always been punctual in picking him up at 12 until now and as far as I am aware so have the other 'morning' parents. This is meant to be an Ofsted-rated 'good' setting but their approach to this particular issue seems like poor quality provision to me. I would really appreciate other views.
I would not be happy with this. Did the Nursery explain this from the beginning? Over the week that would be more than an hour of your 15 hours that they are not actually teaching, just watching.
Our nursery kids don't get to eat in school, though I wish they did. I think the only option would be for them to stop the dinners. Then everyone leaves at the same time.
I do think you are being a bit PFB about 5 minutes in a coat (which isn't a huge deal) and not letting him stay the extra 30 mins for lunch (since he's already been there for a term?).
Why not just let him stay for lunch? I think it's brilliant they offer this.
Interesting you say this... A few of the preschools around here do 9-12 and 12.30-3.30 with the option to stay for lunch and/or the afternoon.
Sod's law that the one I want dd to go to just goes 9-12 or 12-3. I asked what happens if she goes for just the afternoon and she would be expected to have had lunch already for when she arrives at 12, meaning she would be sitting there watching the others eat and it left me to presume the session wouldn't start for a good half hour or so after all the lunch things were put away!! I wasn't planning on having her do afternoons only but now definitely won't be!! I'm actually considering seeing if they would consider 12:30-3:30 as that would work better when I'll have the school run to do as well otherwise I can't work out how I pick up two children from two seperate places yet both at 3pm!!
If she is expected to have had lunch already then so will all the other kids. . Why will she be watching them eat?
You could ask to drop him in at 8.45 to make up his 15mins. They may say no, but it may be that the staff are in class and setting up anyway so they will take him in to do free play.
My DS goes into pre-school at 'early drop off' time when the staff are setting up. I think he gets a nice quiet start to his day before the hurly burly of social interaction kicks in.
I would not want DS to sit in his coat with little to do for 20mins either.
OP said they only wait from 11.40-11.45. What do they do from 11.45-12?
Not ok at all - he should be getting his full session, the school are being funded for 15 hours. I would speak to the Head immediately.
At DS's nursery the morning children finish at 11.45, the all day children have lunch 11.45-12.30, the afternoon children arrive at 12.30. They have lunchtime staff so the classroom staff have their break 11.45-12.30.
Thanks for your replies. Merry, I probably am being a bit PFB, but it is not 5 mins in a coat it is 15-20, as well as sitting waiting on a bench for that time which I find inappropriate for his age.
It is good that they offer lunch. It would cost £2.00 per meal if I chose this option. I prefer to have him coming home with us at this stage though.
Oh sorry, I meant they all seem to go into lunch around 11.40-11.45, then the morning children wait until 12 which is the official pickup time.
Ohhhhhh, I see. No, I wouldn't pay 2.00 per meal though. Our Nursery ran 8.45-11.45 and 12.30-3.30 so that the staff got a break. There was no lunch offered.
And 15-20 mins is a long time on a bench. It does need addressing.
At DS3's preschool, his sessions are 8.45 - 11.45, 4 mornings a week, but he stays for lunch club from 12.45 - 12.45 on three of those days.
So Monday 8.45 - 12.45, Wednesday 8.45 - 11.45, Thursday 8.45 - 12.45, Friday 8.45 - 12.45.
Haven't added up how many hours that is, but I'm not paying, so I assume it is 15 or less. DS3 was 3 a week ago.
He started in September, age 2y8m, but only did 8.45 - 11.45 three days a week until Christmas.
What's wrong with your DS staying for lunch? It's really good for them to get time doing the 'social eating' stuff. 3 isn't too young, I've had DC's in FT nursery all day, 5 days a week by 3yo, and that was DS2 with SN's, as I was working FT by then.
Thanks for all your replies. I am still cross about it and wondered if AIBU. I will bring it up with the school but didn't want to come across as some PFB unreasonable parent.
Maybe the OP just doesn't want to pay a tenner a week for lunches for a 3 year old? My 3 year old doesn't eat £2 worth of food at a meal.
It is totally off to have EYFS children sat around for that long (I am a senior teacher).
Do you have any idea how many children sit and wait? They should be able to leave them in the nursery with a TA unless they are seriously understaffed. I think you need to go in an see them about it TBH. You can (and want to) go and get your DS at 11.40 but go in and raise an issue with it for the sake of the other waiters.
CouthyMow, there is nothing wrong with him staying for lunch, but for a number of reasons that doesn't suit us for now, and there is a small number of other children that also don't stay for lunch. The nursery offers the options of morning sessions from 9-12 or 9-12.30 with lunch. Afternoon sessions are 12.30-3.30 without lunch or 12-3.30 with lunch. I just feel that realistically what they are offering at the moment is 9-11.40 without lunch and wish they had been a bit more upfront about it.
Charles, your reply is very interesting. There are up to four nursery children who sit and wait. Then the rest (approx 20) have lunch. Apart from the teacher there is one other who I think is a TA? Under the current arrangements she supervises lunchees/waitees with the assistance of the dinner lady. I've not overly concerned myself with lunch arrangements up til now but it seems that the lunch is provided in stages, so when the nursery children are finished they bring in the reception class, etc. I actually did wonder what the EYFS/Ofsted position would be on this waiting issue but don't know the right terms to Google about this.
Now, I'm absolutely not an EYFS specialist but I'm pretty sure the ratio for 3yo's is 1:8 so if they only have 2 adults for 24 children they are understaffed.
I don't think you are being unreasonable or PFB. Even 15 minutes is a long time for a 3 year old to sit on a bench with nothing to do (providing a few books doesn't count imho).
One other point, before this new system, did you get your child ready and into his coat after you collected him or had the staff done that already?
The reason I'm asking is although putting on your own coat and buttoning/zipping it up are a skill that need to be learnt, it will take the staff time to do this. Realistically you child's session only runs from 9am to 11.30am when everything will stop and coats/bags for "morning" children will be sorted.
You are then missing 30mins per day so 2 and a half hours a week.
I may be nit-picking, but I wouldn't be happy.
hmm, I have checked this and as they are a school and have a qualified teacher present for most of the time, then I think the ratio is 1:13 unfortunately. Still, not sure if the dinner lady counts so they may be understaffed for the lunch period especially if afternoon children arrive early.
That would be 1:8 when the teacher (assuming QTS) was not present i.e. at lunch time.
For our Nursery of 30 kids there is: Teacher, Nursery Nurse, TA, 'Helper' (ie. an adult but with less training). Sometimes the teacher is not there, then there would be 2 TA's. It sounds like quite low ratios you have there.
I mean high ratios. I dunno. Low on one end and high on the other! What do they do when the teacher has her PPA time?
What did the nursery say when you said you were not happy with the children sitting on the bench for 15-20 minutes and would therefore pick up at 11.40. You have discussed it with them right? You should point out it doesn't seem to be meeting the children's needs or be appropriate for early years.
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