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Feeling Fed Up...


Deb
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Hi

 

Sorry about the mysterious disappearing post - just thought better of it afterwards - not that it was offensive in anyway I hasten to add.

 

Basically, I'm really enjoying learning about the importance of child initiated play through my studies and from reading all the threads on here. The difficulty is convincing my colleagues. We've had a half-hearted attempt at it, and it has been deemed to have failed, but if the fundamental problem is that from the top down, most other staff do not, shall we say, value observations to begin with the process is somewhat doomed. I feel that every child should have the curriculum more tailored to their needs because they are so different. One size does not fit all.

 

I know from reading other posts that motivating co-workers is a perennial (sp) problem and that change is difficult.

 

I'd like to work in a setting where a shared understanding can be developed by working together, with open and honest dialogue during meetings, not silence followed by whisperings.

 

So I am looking for a new job in a setting who want to follow children's interests in East Dorset, deputy or leader, depending on the organisation and if anybody hears of one - please let me know.

 

Thanks for listening :o

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Some people are scared of change and dont see the need. If it was good enough in the past then its good enough now! So frustrating isnt it?

Have you asked them why they think its failed? Are there any areas they could change so that it doesnt fail? Would training in any aspects of observations, assessing help?

How long have you tried it for? I used to tell staff we'd try something new for half a term, tweek it and continue untill we were all satisfied it worked or didnt. Then try something new.

The EYFS is all about observing and using the obs to plan, so you might be able to point them at the relevent sections in the folder.

Good luck :o

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Hi Deb - hope you are feeling more positive. I know how frustrating it can be - we have meetings and everyone nods and agrees we r going to do this that and the other then no- one actually takes a project on!! We sit and discuss how we need to be flexible to the childrens needs then I over hear colleagues telling the children off for taking the playdough to the role play kitchen or to put the musical instruments "back on the table". I think you either get the concept or you don't!!

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Hi Deb

Sorry to hear you are feeling down. I'm sure there is a setting out there who would love to employ someone with your enthusiam and forward thinking.

The problem is that we are being encouraged to do these courses to develop our understanding but it seems difficult to put into practice the professional development we have learned.

I am new to the childcare profession and have found it frustrating that what I have learned on my course doesn't hold much weight with my setting. I too would love to move over to a more child initiated setting but unfortunately the more experienced staff see observations as something to be endured and only when absolutely necessary.

Good luck and try to stay positive.

 

Sally

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Hi Debs,

I know exactly how you feel- I am in the same boat myself - I dread going back to work tomorrow, and am seriously thinking of leaving childcare, although I proberly won't!!!!

 

Also like you I could easily write things here that I might regre(not sure that's the word I'm looking for)t later), so I'm just going to wish you well and hope you can find a new job soon... shame we don't live closer -we could open our own place!

 

xxxxx

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Hi Debs,

Try not to be too despondent lots of us have been in your situation so understand how frustrating it can be!

It can take a long time for people to become confident with the unfamiliar.

When any of us feel a bit insecure we revert to our old familiar habits could this be what is happening in your setting?

I have made the mistake of trying to change too much too soon for the best of reasons.Maybe try supporting your staff to just take on one new thing at a time. e.g be confident in their observations.

Don't give up your setting needs you!

Good luck.

Biker.

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Welcome Biker (have I welcomed you before??)

 

That's a really good piece of advice about not trying to change too much too soon. If the staff in Deb's setting haven't taken on board the importance of observations then moving towards a more child-initiated approach might be a step too far.

 

Sometimes we have to roll up our sleeves and start again - but if these attitudes are coming from the top down this can be very hard to do unless you have a clear responsibility (and the clout!) to challenge and provoke change.

 

Deb - I hope that whether you decide to stay or go that you will find a better working environment where you can be part of a team which is mutually supportive and committed to improving practice. Any setting would be lucky to have you!

 

(and I'm also about to advertise a post but I think the commute might be a bit of a trek for you :o )

 

Maz

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Hi, we have spent the last year moving to a more child initiated approach- at first many co workers were reticent- we spent 2 terms using some planning sheets where based on observed interests we planned activities for children in all curric areas based on interest- although this was very adult directed in some senses it helped support the staff- many of whom have no training- this planning was done alongside myself - this I think has benefitted us as many staff have far more confidence to pick out interests etc from observations and we are now using a less formal system. This is because we are all more confident now and have developed a better understanding of what the children can direct for themselves and how much more they learn in child initiated play. I know this is possibly not an ideal way to work however it gave a lot of support to staff who were very content with working through strongly adult directed activities and were sceptical as to whether the children would learn anything unless it was planned for them. We are now using this approach in reception again as a support for staff and a graduated step into more child initiated learning. We were a very formal and traditional setting and I do think this has helped us to adapt to change albeit rather slowly

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We want yo here, too (Essex) - but it's too far for you to go home for lunch!

 

My co-manager and I have had a depressing half term too. We had a staff meeting at the start of the week, where we explained we would be introducing more staff appraisals - not just once a year - and would set small targets. We had decided to do this as we were fed up with seeing the same people continuing with bad habits as regards practice, even though we had tried to be diplomatic and discuss such inappropriate practices during staff meetings (we not told them that bit).

 

Well, the floodgates opened.

 

One staff member in particular took great exception to this - she thought we were a team, it's now a them and us situation, they don't know what's going on anymore, why change it if it's successful, etc. etc......... Apparently it's not such a happy atmosphere anymore!

 

Co-manager and I were gobsmacked! We agreed things had changed, which may be inevitable (we were a charity but needed to move on as no committee so co-manager and I now own the business). The 2 of us worked through all the paperwork involved to achieve our accreditation and receive a brilliant Ofsted report with no volunteers to help us and we didn't ask as we do it for no extra money - they compain if they have to do anything outside session times!!!

 

So, over half term co-manager & I have worked every day - rotas, newsletters, minutes of meeting, wages, new name pegs, children's profiles, etc, etc, getting angrier and angrier!!

 

We have invited them all to an extra, unminuted meeting (as 4 out of the 12 couldn't make the staff meeting), to address these issues.

 

We have spent the week imagining scenarios, discussions, problems, etc, to try to be prepared.

 

Not looking forward to it, but feel it needs to be sorted and that they realise that we are in charge! Any tips othe than a stiff drink first?

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I'm sorry to hear about your troubles Deb (and you too Di.S!). Unfortunately a lot of people become quite threatened by change and need to be dragged kicking and screaming all the way. However, this can become very tiring and sometimes a move is the only answer.

 

Di, my husband is in management and it is well recognised that a change of manager will inevitably bring about some resignations from people who don't like the changes that may follow. Just accept that you may lose some staff members but stick firm to what you believe in. It'll all settle eventually and you'll get the setting you are aiming for - those without the same vision as you may not really be what you want/need in any case.

 

Good luck both of you. :o

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(and I'm also about to advertise a post but I think the commute might be a bit of a trek for you :o )

 

Is your setting in Maidenhead Maz? We're relocating in the summer and are looking at possible areas to live. I am going to eventually go to university to do a degree and both Guildford and High Wycombe offer what I want to do, so your neck of the woods may be a possibility for us. I may need a bit of money in the meantime though - don't suppose you'll have a job going after the summer? xD

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Dont give up Deb it will happen, changes always takes time to implement. We implemented a new planning system based around our observations the childrens interests 18 months ago and at first it was hard for the staff to grasp because we were used to the monthly topics and we had teething troubles with it for a while but we worked through them as a team and now its working great. The staff are very motivated by this planning and so are the children because they get to have a say in whats being planned for them. So stick with it Deb because it worth it in the long run x jojom x

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Thank you everyone for your replies. It's good to talk!

 

Louby Loo - Perhaps we should set up a franchise? Instead of Forest Schools, we could be Forum Pre-Schools or Forum Friends United. Feel free to PM me if you want, we can moan together.

 

Why do they think it's failed - I think because they feel children are not progressing or they feel they should be being taught more.

 

I guess it started in September partly in response to staff grumbling about not being involved in planning. I feel this has been an ideal chance for them to become involved - and they have not taken the opportunity.

 

We all went on a short observation and assessment course a couple of years ago but nothing has changed. Observations weren't used in planning so what was the point. Perhaps it was expecting too much at once but I had hoped that if staff could see a reason for observing, and their efforts having a purpose it would motivate them, and they could have ownership of what they were doing, understand what they were trying to achieve with the children, and have increased job satisfaction.

 

We have more training coming up, it might help, but if there is not will to succeed I don't have much hope. They know that observations, and CI and parental involvement are all part of the new EYFS. I feel like pulling back and hoping that the training will help, in the meantime, looking for another job. Perhaps it is time to move, I just feel I am learning all the time, sometimes I feel I could become a leader other times I don't! I just want to use my time well and to the benefit of the children.

 

Di - I feel for you - we're going in to do bits and pieces during half term(in our own time) and it will be discussed then - not looking forward to it. Perhaps it would be a good time to implement your appraisals, more than once a year does not seem unreasonable to me, and speak to staff individually, show them it's not so bad, listen to their concerns, reassure them that you are a team.

 

I know I am feeling a bit isolated and frustrated at the moment and I shouldn't lose sight of the times we do work well together. It's just that this is a real sticking point. I would settle for observations being fully implemented and used.

 

Thanks again everyone.

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Is your setting in Maidenhead Maz? We're relocating in the summer and are looking at possible areas to live. I am going to eventually go to university to do a degree and both Guildford and High Wycombe offer what I want to do, so your neck of the woods may be a possibility for us. I may need a bit of money in the meantime though - don't suppose you'll have a job going after the summer? :o

Actually, yes Beau!

 

In addition to the lady who is leaving just before Easter, one of my other ladies is going on maternity leave in July! So I will be recruting someone on up to a year's temporary contract...

 

What degree are you going to do?

 

Maz

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What degree are you going to do?

 

I have this crazy notion about doing a Psychology degree with the eventual aim to become an Educational Psychologist. Our son has learning difficulties and has had very mixed help - some excellent and some poor. I started to think that I could do better myself........ :o

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Thanks, Deb & Beau. Isn't it difficult to love the job so much that you can't understand everyone else ever not putting in 200 per cent? Yes, you're right. Be calm, and speak to them individually. Quite looking forward to it now!

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Thanks, Deb & Beau. Isn't it difficult to love the job so much that you can't understand everyone else ever not putting in 200 per cent?

Gosh Di - you're so right. Sometimes you just have to accept that for others it is just a job - which is tricky when you want to build a team around you that are genuinely passionate about being advocates for children and striving to ensure they receive the best possible experiences that we can offer.

 

You can lead a horse to water, and all that...

 

Maz

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I have this crazy notion about doing a Psychology degree with the eventual aim to become an Educational Psychologist. Our son has learning difficulties and has had very mixed help - some excellent and some poor. I started to think that I could do better myself........ :o

A friend of mine is doing her psychology degree with the OU - not sure how long it will take though!

 

My impression is that there is a shortage of educational psychologists (or is it just that there are few positions available?) - but starting from a viewpoint that you know what is required and could do a better job than some of those you have come into contact with is very powerful. Especially as you know what it likes to be a parent who is coming to terms with their child's needs and the fact that they are not always being met by 'the system'.

 

I think you'll be fab!

 

Maz

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