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What was life like before we had disarable (sp) outcomes/curruluim guidance for the FS/B23?


I was in a staff meeting when someone (been qualified over 10 years) mentioned that she remembers PILES and not such stringent planning like we have been doing. Although we will be happier when September comes around with the new framework, much eaiser to organise. I sopose that the ones who have most experince know what area of learning we are meeting for our children in the setting without having to think about have we covered this and that.


I may think about doing this as my reserch practitioner (disteration) module for my FD or for the BA topup course. I have already though about linking our planning systems to other models around the world.




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Beth, been doing this job now for more years than i care to admit!!


I longingly remember the lovely days of doing all we do now really but NOT WRITING IT DOWN or trying to justify why we were doing it.

we all did learning through Play and children's interests and non topic and all that we are doing now!!


Children developed just the same, went to school with the same skills and were just as well cared for,

we had an annual Social Services check which took all day in our case but was very positive and helpful.


But the children went to school at the beginning of the term they turned 5 so most stayed in pre-schools a lot longer.


Have seen the Early years go through full circle really and come back to what I was originally trained to do, have been using my initial training from xxxx years ago (before DPP ) and the staff have been using all the paperwork and ideas to extend learning finding it all very helpful!!



Our planning was a note on the door to say we need XX out because yyy has developed a liking for it, and don't forget to get zzz out as we have not seen it for a while!!


So while paperwork is taking over and we begin to drown in the stuff, the job and way children learn has not really changed much from xxx years ago.



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After been qualified for 18 years also remember the piles fondly and the Mary Sheridan books and the good old NNEB complete with uniform and student badge those where the days maybe we should start up a thread on what we remember good and bad from the old days!

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its not just the planning paperwork hast has increased .( but ours is now not much more than we had then and we just write it down a bit more detail.. !!).

our policies etc were a leaflet to say how we worked, and while we had the accident book, risk assessments were not needed on everything and anything, along with all the other papers for all and sundry.......



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Did my NNEB 79-81 and was working as a nanny in London when Charles married Di. :o then quickly moved into education after 6 months shunning by Norlands.


And trying not to sound like a grumpy old woman but things aint what they used to be xD some good some bad.Class planning involved an blue exercise book and a double page was expected on the heads desk Monday morning with a weeks planning.


Our head came in to do a teacher observation last week and I was on child observation duty.He commented on the speed I was writing, questioned who and why I was observing and on reading the observation commented on how my experience showed in that I knew instinctively what I was observing and what was worth recording.I didn't know if to feel old or flattered :(

I have to say its the paper work I find challenging but the rest is instinct/experience

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Unfortunately I don't remember the Golden Years. I joined childcare at about the same time as the desirable outcomes did!!! xD Do remember social services visits. They were great, much more constructive than Mrs O!! :o But don't tell anyone!!!

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Hi Beth,


Couldn't help but join in!


I remember Desirable Learning Outcomes from when I was chair of the Pre-school that I am now Supervisor for! When I joined officially we were still using PILES but I think it relates pretty well to BT3. Anyway where oop north are you from? I was born in Doncaster but am now in Essex.



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The recollections from Inge are spot on. I started in EY's 22 yrs ago. :o


I first became supervisor a year before the big O, I remember the 'advisory' role of the Under 8's officer from Social Services, she was that nice, I still remember her name ( and her subsequant married name). Each setting had the same S.S 'Inspector' every year and worked with her throughout the year, thus the annual check was from someone who really knew the group, it's strengths and development plans. The first Ofsted Inspection, I remember was terrifying, an unknown person judging ( and getting to know us) during just one day. I remember she expected us to be teaching the children how to tell the time xD


I'll come back to this thread later and add some more of my memories of such times. Interesting topic Beth 1. :(


Off to bed now. :(




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I EY joined in 96. All I can remember about the planning at that time was 1 piece of paper with plans across various areas, would this have been the desirable outcomes? written in a spider web format.

I also recall writing notes about what Tom likes to play with or if Fred could share.


Mrs Social services was pretty good. Every year she would arrive, do her stuff and leave us with a new target. Even though she was there every year she always pulled one out of the bag. Without H&S the children were allowed to ride the bikes around the hall during the whole session, a trestle table was one piece of equipment we used and we could sit at the tables with a cup of tea. Egg boxes and loo rolls were in abundance and just about everything we used was second hand, scrounged or made by us.


The first O visit consisted of 2 inspectors stationed at different parts of the church hall. Neither of them spoke to anyone but the leader and the children gave their areas a wide berth the whole time.


Those were the days!

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It's been lovely reading this thread. I've only been in the 'job' for nearly four years, even though I'm a bit further south of 40 than I want to be!!!! xD I've only ever known what we have in practice now so its lovely to hear what went on before.

Keep the memories coming!!! :o

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So many Health and Safety issues that have changed. If we did a Life on Mars visit back we would be horrified.


In nursery we had a cup of coffee mid session in the room with the children :o

In main school teachers took a hot drink outside with them when on playground duty xD

Children had 2 sweet biscuits with their milk mid morning and we sold crisps at playtime-I don't think Jamie Oliver was born :(

Children had a glass bottle for their milk but they were recyclable unlike the cartons. :(

Children brought sweets for playtime but they also brought skipping ropes and footballs without anyone worrying about injuries.

Teachers smoked in classrooms (when the children were out of the room) and in the staffroom.Someone complained and I remember a big debate about dividing the staffroom into smoking and non smoking areas.

Planning and recording was minimal

Worksheets were rare as there were no photocopiers only spirit bander machines.You had to give a TA the ink copy and wait a week until it was banded off.It smelt of white spirit and made the kids 'high' as they like to sniff the paper.

When I was in day nursery one member of staff was on toast duty every day for staff breaks-no counting ratio's etc

In the materity hospital babies milk was made in small glass bottles and the teats were covered with foil tops.I liked being on milk kitchen duty as you had to be there at 4am to autoclave the bottles but there was a wonderful stillness.Expressed Prem baby milk was in a seperate fridge and we used to follow babies progress as the amounts increased and when the name disappeared at 4oz you knew the baby had gone home-occasitional an order was cancelled :(


oh dear it must be the dementia i'm rambling again...

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I wasn't working in early years back then but my 2 oldest children went to a super playgroup. Like others have said, they instinctively planned around the children in a very spontaneous fashion. I was attracted to that playgroup rather than the 'nursery' at the squash club as they had a philosophy of play and no worksheets in sight. I knew many people who sent their children to the squash club nursery confident that there their child would get a proper preparation to school as they did real work. :o

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This brings back many happy memories. We also had a lovely social services inspector. She came on a yearly basis and always bought a basic small gift with her e.g. cardboard. When I took over the pre-school in 1980 I had very limited resourses but she gave me some equipment. Health and safety was very basic but adequate. The only paperwork that I had was register, PLA membership. Insurance, milk claims form,list of equipment and waiting list. The equipment was rotated in order . All staff HAD to be "police checked".

according to childrens interests on that day. Most children only attended 2 sessions a week.

We didn't have many toys, lots of the equipment were natural materials.

I remember the Children Act of 1989. We were sent a white folder with guidelines in it.

We didn't have to do observations, plans and evaluations. We just remembered each childs likes, dislikes and achievements. Parents only expected children to play.

My own children attended a lovely playgroup. I remained friends with the supervisor who gave me use of her premises when my hall was condemned.providing I could fit in her children She now works for me.

Children will always learn better through play so sometimes i think we haven't really gone forwards. I feel that the curriculum is just natural learning put in" little boxes".

The government originally introduced the funding as a vote- catcher, they then wanted something back in return and introduced Ofsted inspections.

Its good that parents now don't have to pay. Children can come for 5 sessions so children benefit socially. Many parents treat the pre-school experience as their childs main activity for the day instead of taking them out themselves.

I DO still ENJOY what I do and we have mostly good days because i refuse to get "obsessed by paperwork". Yes it is turning full circle BUT their is still too much paperwork.

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I'm like you lot did the PPA Foundation course in 87/88 playgroups were children orientated and we spent more time playing with the children.

We still do the same activities just less tiem with the children and more paper work. The people that worked with children did it because they really liked children not because the school couldn't find any course other than child care to put them on. Present company excluded.

Children have become more difficult and less able to talk. More nappy's to change as we only did it at pre-school if there was a real problem and the mother was having an awful time at home for some reason.


Mothers do seem less capable but maybe thats just my group.


Still its just as much fun and when those little arms go round your neck and give you a hug its all worth while!!!!

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Guest MaryEMac

I can relate to all of the above. I helped out at the playgroup just before my son started school in 1986. In the July the supervisor announced that she was leaving. The SS under 8's advisor asked me if I would like to have a go at the job and I was hired. Admittedly I had worked as a houseparent at a school for children with Cerebral Palsy in the early 70's before I had my own children so I had quite a bit of knowledge about child development.

I would take my own children to school and then get to PG for about 8.50 am. We would decide when we got there what we were going to do or what we hadn't had out for ages. The only paperwork I did was the register, the rest of the time was with the children. I was never worried when the time came for the annual inspection, we had known her for years and she often spent her time there on the floor with the children. The first Ofsted inspector had no grounding in early years and had previously worked in secondary education!

I know everything needed regulating but I sometimes hanker back to the more relaxed sessions that I used to really enjoy.



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It is really interesting to read all these memories and they are very like the stories my manager and ex manager tell of the "old days". I agree that the government sees regulation as important to ensure it is getting value for money and that standards and care are kept, but listening to you all, what strikes me is how relaxed you all seem to remember being. Surely if the staff at a setting are relaxed and have time to spend with the children, then the children will benefit? Personally I thrive on organisation and really enjoy having to organise things so I do enjoy(??!!) the paperwork side of things, but I think if it was taken away from me I would be able to help the children develop their thinking and problem solving skills so much better than I manage at the moment by applying my organisation side to that, if that makes sense.

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another thing, in 'those' days the only visitors you had were the postman, milkman, local vicar, local policeman, local tutor(students), PLA development worker, Parents - community people, and one under 8's officer.


Now we have....


Area Senco

Early Years Advisor

Health visitor

Quality Assurance Assessor

Quality Assurance Verifier

Inclusion Officer

Grant funding auditor

English as an additional language advisor


Local teacher

Local school liason person (used to visit us once a term)

NVQ Assessor

Student tutor

Work experience teacher

Employment agency advisor ( giving young unemployed support in work placement )

Annual Environmental health officer (checking everyone has a basic food hygiene certificate and is following it in practice)

Electrical equipment tester ( sorry don't know the title)

Library storyteller

Salesmen/women on the latest computor hard/software, and 'educational' toys/equipment.

Uncle Tom Cobbly and all

Two Ofsted Inspectors



Some of the above have been of benefit but they all arrived according to their agenda's and not necessarily according to mine.


oh, and in 'those days past' we had much less meetings, staff meeting once a term, which often included a social, Committee meeting once a term plus AGM. Very occasional Child protection case conference ( actually I was only asked to one, a days notice and they didn't know my name, just that I was 'from the playgroup')


Now we have more frequent

staff meetings, in-service training days



planning meeting

supervision and appraisal meetings

parent/staff meetings

child protection meetings ( including review meetings for LAC)

Senco meetings (team around the child)

Senco support group meetings

Early years group meetings (local interested settings)

Quality Assurance meetings

Business planning meetings

Budget meetings

LEA meetings ( you know the ones where they listen to your views AFTER they've written the 'plan')

sustainability meetings

meetings to plan what other meetings we need to plan


Phew, I'm sure I've missed out a few from each list, but certainly shows that the simplicity and spontenaety has diminished, but on the positive we are recognised as equivilant professionals as others in Education, Health and Social services.



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"but on the positive we are recognised as equivilant professionals as others in Education, Health and Social services."


Ah now Peggy if only someone would find the money to pay us all as equivalent!


The people listed in your first list made me smile also as currently we have two people from the LA who are carrying out about seven of those roles. They always come to visit us in pairs (we must be that scary at our pre-school!), only come when they want to tell us to change something, and are never available to advise when we need them to.

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Agree Peggy, less visitors then , we had a library story teller then and we also had a road safety officer visit once a term with her props, songs and a very loud voice! Actually quite scary person she was.


Our most prominent visitor was the local Padre who had the church next door, he popped in for coffee regularly just to play.... The time he lost his car keys in the sand and spent ages trying to find them was an interesting day.


And being a military group we also had lots of men in uniform around and about with their batons and guns etc.Often coming in for coffee break. That was so normal, and the number of 3 year olds who checked cars before getting into them was incredible, Funny thing was I found myself doing it the other day!! Some habits are hard to get out of!



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