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nurseries for profit

20 replies

Delonge · 12/10/2011 17:23

Since working for a private chain I am fast finding myself against childcare services as businesses.

I'm seeing more concern about budget and costings than I am the children themselves.
Also (and I mean no offence when I say this so apologies in advance) I am receiving a lot unfair and unrealistic requests from parents i.e
'I don't want X playing in water because it gives him/her colds, eczema or sand because its a nightmare to get out of hair'.
'He/she must go to the toilet before I pick them up, I don't want accidents in my car' (we cannot force a child to pee on demand regardless of routine).
As well as sending children to nursery in designer clothes and being told to not let them near paint.
This makes our jobs very hard as it is detrimental to a child's development as well as emotional well being to deny them these tactile experiences and to continually remove them from activities (9 times out of 10 kicking and screaming).

However my point is the place I work for will never contest or question parents as they are the customer and as such come first. How would you deal with this?

As a childcare professional this makes me uncomfortable as I believe that EVERY child be entitled to explore and experience everything the setting provides (age appropriate)
Obviously unless there is a very real reason, medical or otherwise however I have yet to come across one.

So I was wondering what you as parents and/or childcare professionals think about this and maybe help me either understand better or just relate to someone.

sorry its long and thanks for reading.

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TiggyD · 12/10/2011 19:38

In childcare customers do not come first. Our first responsibility is to the child. I think you need to be honest with the parent and risk having them leave to a lesser nursery. (One that stops children playing and makes them cry).

SazZaVoom · 12/10/2011 19:40

Mine went to a CM and a charity preschool for a reason. Not that everyone has those choices, but yes, i would prefer to avoid 'commercial' nurseries, especially the chains. I think the same about nursing homes too.

StetsonsAreCool · 12/10/2011 19:55

I don't really know. I see what you're saying, but maybe it's because I'm not that sort of parent because I have a great relationship with DD's nursery. She's there 2 (out of the 4) days that I work, and I don't think I've ever seen evidence that money comes above the care of my daughter. Obviously money is very important, as it is a business enterprise, but they're not overtly 'budgeting'.

They have spare clothes if DD gets in a state, they have coveralls to protect her clothes. I wouldn't dream of saying that she couldn't join in with somethine because she might get dirty.

I don't know, maybe I'm not the best person to be answering. I think if DD comes home as clean as I dropped her off, then she's probably had a pretty crap day.

It's a shame that we do have to take our kids to a money-making establishment to receive the care they need to enable us to make the money we need to keep a roof over our heads. But I don't begrudge somebody having the business. I grumble about how much it costs, but then I work it out and I'm paying about £3.30 an hour for somebody to look after my daughter, including 3 meals, two snacks and more toys than I could ever afford to buy. So then it becomes a bargain Blush

To answer your other question, just tell the parents to stop being ridiculous. Kids get dirty when they're having fun. All these tactile experiences are fun! And it isn't fair on their precious little one to be sat at the side having to watch the rest having so much fun - why are they denying them that?

Delonge · 12/10/2011 19:58

TwiggyD I totally agree with you and to be honest not a day goes by when I don't have a moan about a silly request or the fact that we must cater to kids who are fussy eaters and insist on cheese sandwiches, I think that's awful and I do take it upon myself to focus on the children who wont eat and not even try the food. I'v had 2 breakthroughs this week, 1 clean plate so I know its possible to change the habits.
However I am constantly met with the 'we have no choice' speech and I once dared to argue my point and was reprimanded for it (it wasn't with a parent but I fell out with a member of staff because she panicked that the kids got paint on their shoes.I stayed half an hour extra washing it off lol)
Its like the staff are conditioned by the powers that be that parents come first and we cant loose business. It frustrates me no end and if it wasn't for other factors and the fact that I feel a loyalty to the children I would go else where.
SazZAvOOM you are also right, this could include any kind of profit making care provider companies.

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RitaMorgan · 12/10/2011 20:01

I wouldn't work for a private nursery again. It's all about the profit (it has to be) - minimum legal number of staff, maximum number of children for the space etc. Baby rooms with 9 or 12 children. Lowest wages they can get away with.

It's not possible to provide the best quality care/education in that kind of environment.

Delonge · 12/10/2011 20:06

StetsonsAreCool thanks :) and its not so much that people have to pay, of course that's the way the world works, its the owners of the companies treating as a business and feeling that they cant argue in case people leave and they loose money, i guess a better way of putting it is its the concept that upsets me, and I obviously can only speak for what I know, I'm comforted to know that not all private places take this attitude. And if all parents were like you we'd be laughing hehe.
We do have a supply of spare clothes but they have a habit of not coming back and all parents are asked to give spares for their children but unfortunately not all of them do and just ask that they dont get messy :(

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Delonge · 12/10/2011 20:10

Rita i'm glad its not just me, you feel my pain lol. although fingers crossed that extent of it only applies to a small number of companies.

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Matsikula · 12/10/2011 20:18

Not all parents, and not all nurseries are like that. I can't ever imagine making those requests to our son's nursery, and I would like to think I would be quietly ignored if I did.

I admit we are a bit rubbish at providing the spare clothes as mornings are such a rush, and to be honest our son doesn't have that many clothes, but surely frequent laundering is just part and parcel of being a parent?

hope there are some aspects of the job that are a bit less depressing for you...

I am sure our son's nursery is designed to make maximum profits in terms of staff ratio, but they have their own cook and what seems llike a really good bunch of staff (including a man). I just wish I could stay there all day too....

CaptainNancy · 12/10/2011 20:23

The kind of parent that sends their cchild in designer clothes then demands the child doesn't paint is a) a tosser, b) likely to behave like that regardless of setting.

CaptainNancy · 12/10/2011 20:26

Do you expect all nurseries to be run as charities then? People who run businesses expect to make a profit, why else would they do it?
Should there be no profit-making businesses in the elderly care sector either?

RitaMorgan · 12/10/2011 20:30

I don't expect nurseries to be run as charities, but ime council nurseries are much better than private nurseries.

StetsonsAreCool · 12/10/2011 20:44

Matsikula - I often joke that to DD's (baby room) workers - she eats better than I do! Grin Their menus are fab.

It is a local chain of about 8 sites, it's not a national chain. Some of those were depressing to look at when I was choosing somewhere. I can totally imagine that some of them would have the attitude that you describe Delonge. The one I picked, I've recommended to everyone I know, and 3 or 4 have ended up sending their children there too. Maybe part of the reason I picked it was because they wouldn't let me be a precious parent.

Rita - there are 12 babies in the baby room, with 4/5 staff depending on the time of day. They are clearly maximising their margins, but they seem very good at doing it in a way that also puts the child first. It doesn't feel anxious or chaotic and none of the babies are unhappy. I imagine they have a great management structure running it very well to get the balance right. Although I know nothing about the technical side of it, from a 'customer' perspective it seems great.

I couldn't imagine asking somebody to try and make DD not get messy Confused I have a pair of bottoms and a tshirt that live in her nursery bag, and they almost never get used. The one time I didn't have a spare tshirt, she came home in a nursery one. I don't think I returned it at the time, but I do give them occasional hand me downs as DD grows out of stuff.

Work your way up to management! Then you can lead from example. Or set up your own nursery (simple as that apparently Hmm Smile)

RitaMorgan · 12/10/2011 20:48

I don't feel a baby room of 12 children is putting the child first at all. I wouldn't choose to work in such a setting.

BrawToken · 12/10/2011 20:52

I searched high and low for the right nursery which, although it is a profit making enterprise, it delivers wonderful, quality care (and is the same one I sent my dd1 to 10 years ago despite me having to cross town to get there). There are great nurseries out there who are in it for the right reasons.

StetsonsAreCool · 12/10/2011 20:55

There aren't 12 children all day every day - it normally averages about 9, with 3 or 4 of those being half days. Maybe 5 full day babies, with a couple of morning ones and a couple of afternoon ones. Like I said, it doesn't feel at all like any of them are being put second, and they have four full time staff, with a fifth that comes in at busier times, like dropping/picking.

Delonge · 12/10/2011 21:27

hmmm, its obvious that my company need some advice on how to grow a bit of backbone when it comes to requests, having said that it may be difficult for the long term children who's parents are used to having their wishes granted, I think if I bring it up often enough I may get somewhere.
I totally agree that the best way for me personally, rather than going on some sort of crusade is to work my way up until my opinion counts for something.
I think CaptainNancy, you got the wrong end of the stick, its not the fact that nurseries and other places charge that's the issue, its the mentality in which some are run which is my problem.
And of course Matsikula, EVERY other aspect of my job is less depressing, I love my job and what I do with every bit of me no matter where I work, hey I do it for free with my Cub group! You can NEVER work in childcare just to pay the bills, If you don't love it you cant do it properly if at all.

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TiggyD · 12/10/2011 22:48

You could try the trick where you do every stupid thing somebody asks you. Maybe you should put up signs near the things children in question can't play with to remind the children they can't play with it? Ofsted would LOVE that!

dribbleface · 13/10/2011 12:35

your company sounds rubbish, but you won't change that type of ethos, so you need to either find ways around them - shower caps for sand, removed designer outfits before really messy outfits, or find a smaller nursery to work for. does your setting have an EYP? Most big nurseries do, have a word with them? do you do parents evening? could you set out the days activities with narratives to show development? or a room newsletter?

lisa1968 · 13/10/2011 21:57

I'm a registered childminder and when children first start with me I say to the parents;
'Never dress them in their best clothes.We WILL get messy, grubby, wet, stained and dirty throughout the day during activities and, although I supply aprons,it still happens.At the end of the day, your child will have fun and thats the main thing'
If a parent asked for their child not to do a certain activity because, for example, it aggrivated their eczma, then I would find a way around it-I wouldn't want the child to suffer.But if it was just because they had designer clothes on then-tough.I'd still do the activity-what parents choose to dress their child in is up to them.

Delonge · 14/10/2011 17:36

Lol @ TwiggyD that would be funny, shall bring it up at next staff meeting.
Dribbleface those are good ideas I shall take them on bored. As I'm only part time I don't meet with parents other than when they come to pick up or drop off. Will def check out the EYP.
Rapidly loosing faith in OFSTED though :(
Good on you Lisa.

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