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advice needed - am clueless about what I should expect from nursery!

8 replies

GoingPostal · 18/05/2010 09:41

I think I need to speak to the manager at ds's (age 3) nursery (day care) but want to have my facts right before I do so - would any of the following bother you? / how does it work at your dc's nurseries?

  • are all children supposed to have a key-worker? If ds does I don't know who it is.

  • there is a pool of staff at the nursery but the same people don't seem to be consistently in his room. Every week at pick up it might be one of about 4 people who talks to me about his day (ie one week it could be X, next week it is Y and X isn't there at all)

  • I don't get any written feedback about ds. I am not too bothered about this but I did see the other day that there were a couple of sheets filled in for other children so wonder why ds doesn't have one.

  • the manager and deputy manager of the nursery are level 3, and one or other is in charge of ds's room. They are not always in the room however. This morning there were 3 staff, two are nursery assistants and one is a Level 2. Ratios are fine, it was quiet in fact so would this be why no level 3 in room? Does it matter?

  • just noticed they have a TV now, which is new. this hasn't been mentioned at all. DS is a telly addict given the chance and I am not keen for him to watch TV at nursery. am I being precious? I'm on my own with him so sometimes I just have to put the TV on at home to keep him occupied while I get on with something dull. I don't want him watching more at nursery when there is plenty of supervision and activities to be getting on with.

  • they play in the garden and last week ds said he had been cold outside. his coat was in his bag when I dropped him off, and was still folded up in his bag when I picked him up. This just feels a bit daft really - why wouldn't they have made sure he had a coat on? They've sent him home with shoes but no socks on before (in February!). Does this point to carelessness or is it just a bit of a slip or two that don't matter?

On the positive side it is a bright cheerful space with cheerful staff and ds seems to enjoy his time there (despite a few tears at drop off this morning). He only goes 1 day a week so on the whole I am quite relaxed about things, but he is going to increase to 2 or maybe 3 days soon so I want to be sure it's the right place. But I don't want to launch into what seems like a list of criticisms with the manager if I'm being precious.

Would be very grateful for any feedback please. Am about to go out for the morning but will check in later. Thank you!
OP posts:
BornToFolk · 18/05/2010 10:06

Yes, all children are supposed to have key-workers and you are supposed to know who they are. Having said that, I'm not 100% on who my DS's is at the moment! It's changed recently and I know it's one of two people and I'm fine with that.

There are two people that are consistently in DS's room but I might get the end of day handover from someone else if they are not around for any reason. DS is in the 2-3 year old room but they do spend time with the 3+ group so I might get handover from someone in that room.

What do you mean by written feedback? At our nursery, they keep a development folder (think they are required to do this under EYFS) with observations and examples of DS's work in. We've seen this at parents' evening and I'm sure we could look at it at other times if we wanted. They also keep a daily diary of what he's eaten, when he slept and had nappy changes and what he's done during the day (a high-level summary e.g. played with Duplo). That stays at nursery. There's also a weekend diary that comes home for us to fill in.

Not sure about levels, sorry!

The coat thing wouldn't worry me unless it happened a lot. I misjudge the weather sometimes so I'm sure that the staff do as well. Can you just tell him to ask the staff for his coat if he gets cold outside?

There's a TV at DS's nursery too. Once, (in the 6 months he's been in that room) I've picked him up and they've all been watching Night Garden. DS also seems to know about Chuggington and he's never watched that at home...He's clearly not watching it all the time at nursery though so I'm fine with a bit of age-appropriate TV here and there.

If I was you, I'd organise a meeting with the manager and go through your concerns. In the context of wanting to increase his sessions, it makes sense to clear up all those things first and any good manager would want to help you. I've had to raise a couple of concerns with DS's nursery (just minor things) and have been pleasantly surprised at how they've been put dealt with.

GoingPostal · 18/05/2010 17:01

thanks for your views Born, that's really helpful. if anyone else can let me know about how things are at their nursery I'd be very grateful - thanks.

OP posts:
Crapweasel · 18/05/2010 17:15

DD is also 3 and is in the "pre school" of the private nursery where she has been since 8 months old.

Yes, she has a key worker although her last key worker is on mat leave and I have to admit I don't know who the current one is (was meant to be assingned "soon"). Don't know if it is mandatory but TBH I haven't found it a very meaningful relationship (see below)

"Every week at pick up it might be one of about 4 people who talks to me about his day". Yes, in my experience this is absolutely the way with nurseries. It is frustrating if you have a specific question and "sorry they weren't there" but it's also part of the positives for a nursery IMO as DD isn't just with one adult all day.

I stopped getting written feedback for DD once she reached pre-school so maybe the regulations change at 3?. TBH I don't miss it - it was usually pretty generic and I still get an "ate all her tea/played in the sandpit" type handover verbally.

I have no idea about levels, sorry. I'd imagine that there has to be a senior person in the building but don't know about individual rooms. You could ask but if you are overall happy with the ratios (a far more crucial safety issue and not every nursery complies all the time) then perhaps it's not important. TBH I often find the "lower" level staff much more interactive and engaged whilst the "senior" staff can be much more into their paperwork etc.

TV at nursery does bother me. Ours doesn't have one. I would question the amount of time it's on for (maybe an hours quiet time whist others nap is OK?)

I'm not sure about the coat issue. It's hardly been warm recently and if your DS said he was cold then that's a bit . My DD is a monster for refusing to put her coat on. Perhaps worth a mention? You certainly want to be sure that they will be on the ball with hats/suncream etc in the summer.


atworknotworking · 18/05/2010 18:40

The nursery manager or assistant manager must be on the premises at all times whilst care is being provided.

Good nurseries operate a key worker system, if they have this system in place then you should certainly be aware of who it is. Your childs key worker will not necessarily be present with your child at all times, however they should be the person who knows your child best and who is mainly responsible for planning and observations EYFS etc for your child.

It isn't unusual to get feedback from several people, each nursery worker will have several children that they are key worker for, and at collection times issues may have arisen with other key workers children that require more urgent attention IYSWIM. However your key worker should be working in partnership with you as a parent and sharing DS's portfolio with you, if your child only attends 1 day per week this portfolio may not necessarily be very big (don't know how long he has been attending).

The not having coat on wouldn't worry me too much unless it was a regular occurance, same with socks, children this age quite often play hide their socks (drives me potty).

Generally their is a senior worker in charge of a room or Room Leader, room leader's must have a L3 qualification, and at least half of the other staff must also be L3, students must not be counted in the ratios and a Level 3 must be in the room at all times as should a person who is paediatric first aid trained.

The TV thing I don't particually like, although their are some good things that children can watch which help them learn and remember things. Also a lot of nurseries use the rooms for training as well and we are inundated with useful DVD's to watch so this could also be a reason. If use appropriatley it should be ok, if they are stuck in front of it every day then I wouldn't like it personally but then that's my oppinion.

chinook · 18/05/2010 19:18

Dd is 4 and has attended private nursery since she was 10 months. We always know who her key woker is, in fact there is a display on the wall with the all the 'teams', with photos of the children and team leaders so there is no confusion. All the EYFS folders are underneath the display so you can check them out at any time.

I don't always get a handover from her key worker as she is not always working at collection time. I like this though as they all (there are 4 of them) seem to give a different perspective of her. I do get more detail from her key worker though and really get the impression she keeps a special eye on her, which I like.

The coat/sock thing would bother me actually. It shows a lack of attention and as a previous poster said, I would worry about sun hats and cream being properly applied.

I also wouldn't like the fact there is a tv, though I guess you should check how often it is used? Several times a day dd's nursery has 'circle time' where they have stories read or discuss things. This seems a better way to have quiet time during the day than watching tv.

The way you described the nursery at the end of your post suggested to me that you aren't totally enamoured by it. If your ds is to spend more time there it might be worth checking out a few other places to compare?

purepurple · 19/05/2010 07:44

Goingpostal, I work in a day nursery and can give you another perspective.

  1. All children are supposed to be assigned a key person. In some nurseries this means that person deals with that child, talks to parents, assesses and plans for that child. Other nurseries may have a different approaoch which means that they just do that child's learning journey.

  2. The room I work in has 4 members of staff. We work different shifts to cover the opening hours of 8 -5.45. This week, I am on 8.15 -5.15, so if you were dropping off at my nursery before 8.15 and collecting after 5.15 you wouldn't see me. We do have a system that ensures that important info is passed on to parents though.

  3. written feedback in our nursery is only given to babies and toddlers and contains details of feeds and nappies. Some days we have 23 children in our room. It would take ages to do written feedback for each child. Each child does have a development folder called a Learning Journey in our nursery. This should be available for parents to see if they ask. Just ask the nursery if you can see it.

  4. Maybe the level 3 was taking advantage of the fact that it was quiet and was catching up on some paperwork? that's what we do. I wouldn't get hung up over levels. I know many Level 2s that are more capable than some level 3s.

  5. I personally don't like children watching TV at nursery, but I doubt they have it on during activity time. A lot of nurseries use it for a quiet time after dinner, especially if the staff in the room don't get any extra cover for staff lunch breaks and they may have clearing up to do after dinner.

  6. Re the coat in his bag. Sometimes parents expect us to be mindreaders. I don't look in bags unless I need to change a child. I am teaching children independence, sometimes thay need to learn that thay are responsible for getting their own coats and putting them on (all good practice for school). Maybe your DC didn't tell the staff that he was cold? As for the socks, it happens. We are always running out of spare clothes.

    If you are not happy, then you should speak to somebody at the nursery. But, i really don't think you can bring up things that happened in February. You shoulkd have said something at the time.
GoingPostal · 19/05/2010 12:05

Hi purepurple, thanks for your views - does help me to crystallise what's important and what's not. Overall, I am happy but the big nursery experience is new to me - he's only been with a CM before where obviously the parent/carer relationship was 1-1 whereas now there are new people and new ways of doing things to adjust to. I wanted to ask here first so I didn't just launch into a list of stuff with the manager which, I see now, are not that big a deal in reality.

Re the socks, I did mention it when it happened. I just thought it was an odd thing to do, to put a child's shoes straight onto bare feet when there were spare socks in his bag - we're asked to provide a complete set of spare clothing, so I had done so, including socks. Ds couldn't do his shoes on his own then.

OP posts:
Missus84 · 19/05/2010 18:42

My nursery sounds similar to purepurple's in that we don't do daily written feedback for the over 2s, but they do all have a learning journal which parents can see and take home to look at.

We also have shifts of 8-5, 8.30-5.30 and 9-6 which rotate, so it's different people doing late and early shifts each week.

As for the coats, it can be a bit chaotic getting 25 children into their coats and outside - our preschool children are sent to their pegs to fetch their coats themselves and we obviously help any that need it, but there are always some children who don't want to wear their coat (or who aren't sent with one) but unless it's cold or rainy outside I wouldn't insist everyone has a coat - so in that situation I can see how your DS's coat was overlooked if he couldn't find it himself and didn't ask a staff member for help.

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