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Please Help! Flexible Hours Change In School Nursery


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:o Please if anyone could help me it would be gratefully appreciated! I work in an Early Years unit within a school. We are changing from traditional morning and afternoon sessions in our Nursery to flexible hours where the children can take their 12.5hrs entitlement over 3 days in various ways. The school have decided to be VERY flexible on how these 12.5hrs can be taken and as a result I have Nursery start times being 9am, 11, 11.30, 12, 12.30 and 1pm! with children arriving at these times and going home at various times during the day. I am really unsure how I am going to plan carpet times etc and have had my idea of having an adult focussed activity running through the week questioned and been suggested that I dont do any adult focussed activities at all.

Please does anyone have any tips or advice on how I can run my day, adult focussed activities and any planning grids/templates.

We also have one door into Nursery and there is the safety issue of an almost constant flow of parents dropping off and collecting children through it. I am also unsure about what to do with doing a register of the children.

My mind is swirling! Thank you anyone who replies with any advice. xD

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Hi

I work within daycare which is totally different and we do not have a problem with the flexible hours, we operate a free flow system with the children self registering on arraival by finding their picture and placing it on the I am here board, with the security of the door is it possible to have a intercom type system installed, with the carpet time and focused activities we repeat these throughout the day but we do have a large staff team and obviously our situation is different to yours but I am sure someone more experienced in this area will be along with some fantastic suggestions

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We are offering the 15 hours free nursery provision from September as part of the second pilot and will be opening 8.45 - 3.30. We decided it was best to ask our parents what they wanted rather than go down the route your school has decided on with regards to flexibility. All of our parents wanted to keep to school times more or less mainly because of older children only 3 out of 56 wanted full days rather than the traditional AM or PM. It means we can work on the same format as we have always followed but parents can choose the combination of 3hour sessions to suit their needs. Not a great deal of help I know but as Belle says daycare and school settings are very different in their staffing making it very difficult to be truly flexible.

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I think full flexibility is extremely difficult in a school and Claire you might need to go back to your leadership group and ask them how you are expected to manage this. The biggest problem i can see if children starting at essentially lunch time, which is not ideal for them, or for staffing as your staff will also need to have their break at some time too. And what happens if all your parents want a morning (I had this problem many years ago, in the end we had to be the ones to make the decision as to who got the morning places) As Marion said, can you ask the parents what they want and see if their is a trend which will then make this easier to manage?

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The parents were told the options before they were asked what they wanted so the majority have gone for very flexible hours and out of 60 children I only have 14 who are doing a traditional morning or afternoon. Im feeling really under pressure and really cant see how I am going to manage this! Its going to be especially hard as we are a unit with reception.

How many adult focussed activities do you think I should do in a week? School have now said I should nt be doing any and that all Nursery staff should just be supporting play in continuous provision. I really feel that I would like to do at least one running through the week that the children hit as they come in. They also dont really want me to be doing any carpet times either! any ideas? Thanks

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Hi Claire,

 

I have merged 2 of your posts together and deleted the third one. It is much better to decide which part of the forum is the most suitable for your question and just post once. :o I hope you can manage to sort out your problems - it certainly does seem to be a bit of a headache and I can imagine why you are feeling desperate for answers!

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Hi,

When I was employed as a CC teacher for a year, we had similar times for arriving and picking up, and it was a complete nightmare. It was the first thing I changed: children were completely unable to settle and focus on anything with a constant stream of people coming and going. Several members of staff were sharing information with parents virtually all the time, and this prevented them from interacting with the children at play. These then, were undirected and wandered about (or ran about) causing havoc because they were pretty much unsupervised. I really can't see the advantage for the children at all, although of course the flexibility does help parents juggling work and other things.

 

I think we have to move away from the image of a nursery being any kind of "drop in " centre. If we want quality provision, the children need an element of routine and stability over the course of a session. I can't see how good observation/recording/planning/assessment techniques can possibly work with all this coming and going :o

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Can't agree with you more Helen. Such a shame the powers that be can't see it too. we will have only have 30 mins between sessions and that will reduce down to 15 as it takes our morning parents 15mins to collect (we've been timing them). But as our afternoon session will start at 12-15 and most of our parents can't seem to make it for 12-45 I can't see us being busy till later, so why are we having to increase the session?

Anne

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It sounds pretty tricky and I'm glad not a situation I have to deal with! Have you asked the head how you will manage lunch breaks for staff & for the children? I'm guessing some of the children are going to be staying at school for lunch.

 

I'm in a preschool and we still do an adult focussed acitivity, though our liaision teacher would like us to only have play based provision.That's something we're not keen on though, apart from the fact that most of the children enjoy having focussed time with a teacher! What we have done though, is change from having a different activity each session (10 a week) to 1 activity over the week. It's let us move to more complex activities, as we're only aiming to give each child the opportunity over the week (50 children ÷ 10 sessions = 5 a session) instead of each child each session (20 children ÷ 1 session = 20 a session) :o That might be someting to try, though I know a lot of nursery classes near us have moved to a totally play based provision.

 

In terms of children coming in, how secure is your setting, both in the school & on the road? Would a self registration system like Belle's work or do you & your children & parents need a person physically there to make sure children come in/go out at the right times & right person, pass on info to parents, reassure parents/children...

 

About carpet times, I think I'd be thinking about having more, shorter times (clearly I don't know what you do at the moment, but I'm guessing!) eg 9 o'clock a morning song & chat about what's happening today, 10.30 a story... If you have the space & staff, maybe have it as an optional time that the children can take part in or choose to play quietly elsewhere, while noting who takes part & what they prefer.

 

(I find a drawback to free play in my setting (mobile classroom with 1 playroom & no quiet spaces) is that we'll have 4 or 5 children wanting a story in the book corner while 4 or 5 others want to be charging up & down shouting loudly. But then we don't have the facility for free flow in & out which would help there.)

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