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Dear all,

 

I have just been registered by Ofsted as a daycare provider, and officially opened the pre-school in sept. I have 6 children attending the nursery at present between the ages of 2-4, (registered for 26 children) the problem is we seem (myself , the manager and 1 nursery assistant) not to be structured, and am afraid that once we have at least 20 children :o it might get really difficult to get into a right routine.

 

My background is not in the pre-school field, but it has been my ambition to set a pre-school, l will be undertaking a DPP course shortly. I employed a manager who has 4 years experience, but not as a manager she was a room leader in a private nursery.

 

The nursery is based in a church hall, plus a room, we bring all the toys out daily, which distracts the children during the pre-school work i.e pencil control, numbers and letters activities, b/c the manager work was previously in a house converted nursery arranging the hall, and controlling the children just 6 at the moment l think is not her strong points b/c all the activities and children are based in a room.

 

we also have to pack, and unpack every single day, am so sorry for waffling, :( but i strongly need advise from any of you lovely ladies and gents l add, who also work from a church hall to give advise on routines and setting up, do you bring all the toys out daily, how do you start your day etc etc.. The Nursery is open from 8am to 2pm l have to get to the hall every day at 7 am to set up, and we are still setting up till past 9, something is not right. please help xD

 

thank you :(

 

opps another quick question b/f l go to bed, get up at 6 everyday now enough about my personal life. I heard not sure whether it is true or not that all managers from october 05 must have NVQ level 4 in management and all staff must have NVQ level 2 or above.

 

thanking you again :)

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Hi Toro

Our preschool meets in a church hall and we have to get the equipment out every day. Fortunately 4 members of staff arrive soon after 8.00 and usually we have everything set up before 9.00 when we open. We have 3 moveable display boards which we use to divide the hall. We do have a daily plan which states what equipment is needed, eg. construction could be Lego and small world could be the Brio set.

 

When the children arrive they self register and the parents sign in. The children go to their keyworker and play with whatever is on their table. Once the last parent has gone we all get together for register, the weather and letter of the week. The children then have free choice until 10.45 when everyone helps to tidy up. They then have singing followed by snack time in keyworker groups, book time/story and we finish with ring games, the parachute, musical instruments etc.

 

This routine works for us and I hope that you'll find some ideas here, and from others to help you.

We sometimes wish we had a building where we could leave everything out and have permanent displays but we do have a lovely bright hall and we move things about so that we can do all kinds of activities.

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Anita my routine is nearly the same as yours.

I arrive at 8.00 my deputy at 8.15. The other staff between 8.45 and 8.55. We have lots of activities out that the children can do with minimal adult help at the start of the session. After the children self-register I gather them together at 9.15 to formally call the register with the help of another staff member. We talk about different things.This gives the other staff time to prepare art and focus of the day.

My aim when setting up is to include one activity for each of the 6 ELG's.

Tidy up time is at 11.00 2 staff members gather children together for story or circle time whist rest of staff clear away large equipment. At 11.15 we have music, dancing,races,ball games with all staff joining in.

Don't wear yourself out setting up Toro as you will be exhausted before the day has begun. Try and extend each activity to include more opportunities within itself.

For instance today we had our sit-on-ride train out so we had a small table for the office and one for the kiosk.

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Hi Toro, we have pretty much the same kind of set up as Anita. There are four staff, we arrive at 8am - 8.15 and follow the plan on which activities to get out. We have room dividers, rugs and tables which tend to go in the same place each day but with different things on. The Home corner is always in one part of the room, the sand/water in another etc. The activities change to accomodate the weekly plans. Having to get equipment out and put it away is not ideal but it can work. You could start with an inventory, which you use to rotate the toys/ activities until you are more settled in your routines. I would definitly get all of your choosen activities set up before the children arrive. I am a bit worried as to why the children are doing 'pre-school work' before they can access other equipment, the idea of the Foundation Stage is that the children learn through play based activities, are they having to sit at tables with worksheets? The pre-school work you describe can and should be done through games and play activities. Pencil control is quite a lot to aiming for and can be learnt through painting at easles, drawing in the sand, threading.... but before all this they need the development necessary to hold a pencil. Sorry for going on, I would access your DPP as soon as you can, and have a talk with your new manager concerning the best way to lay out the room and the equipment you will feel so much better then. As to your question about having to hold the NVQ4....I b****y hope not! :D Good luck :D

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I'm in the village hall and work on my own. I start work at 8.30 and have to get all the equipment out by 9.15. The duty helper is supposed to turn up to help me at 8.45 but I often don't get help until gone 9 so I'm used to working really quickly by myself to get everything out. In the main hall I have the physical apparatus (might be climbing frame, trikes, obstacle course - just one out each session), tables with puzzles and games (which is cleared at snack time), 2 mats for the construction and small world resources, sand and water trays which are both on wheels and a story corner with book trolley (again on wheels) which is sectioned off with lightweight dividers. We also have use of an annexe, which I'm very lucky in that it doesn't always have to be cleared away each session, in which I set up the roleplay area, writing area and two tables for sensory and art/crafts. All the equipment is out ready for when the children arrive and they get to choose freely throughout the session. The children self register and I just take my own register as well as they arrive. We have group time before snack (because the duty helper has to disappear in the kitchen to prepare snack) which may be singing, instruments, discussions etc. After snack I sometimes organise an activity session (sticky kids, games etc), which generally all the children join in with but are free to choose not to if they don't want to. We have tidy up time 20mins before the end of the session when the children gather up the toys and put them in the containers but we never move the tables or equipment until after the session has ended. Then we go into the story corner for a story and the mums arrive to pick the children up.

 

I am a firm believer in learning through play and letting the children have free choice. I offer a wide variety of activities and resources and the children are learning constantly. I am abit worried about 'preschool work' and a formalised system of pencil control, letter and number work. You should be doing this through play activities as Rea has pointed out. Please remember that these children are just young - there is plenty of time for more formal learning when they get older. :o

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i work in a nursdery so can't help you with the planning but you seem to be getting excellent help and advice (as always) form others in the forum. Best of luck with the venture.

I too think that formal writing is intorduced too early at times. It would be much better if chidlren are given oppoertuntiies to develop the muscles and coordination that they need for later writing.

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Hi Toro

 

Im a manager in a pre school setting up every day in a church hall. We are open mon-fri 9.30 - 12.00 and wed/fri 12.30-2.45. I have 5 memers of staff including myself each day with 24 children 21/2-5yrs.

 

We arrive at 8.45 to set up for 9.30 attached is our plan for the morning.

 

 

We have the main activities in the large room but like you have a smaller room where we do registration, singing, groups and show/tell and story - our Ofsted inspecter said that our layout and structure were excellent.

 

1st freeplay is 4 tables ...tactile, writers workshop,craft and maths/science with activies on rotation throughout the term.

Home corner changed each wk

book corner

large comstruction on floor.

 

2nd freeplay (if we are not outdoors is much larger physicla equipment whicjh is set up while the children are in singing time, we do leave out the book corner and home corner!!

As for the level 4 that is not true as long as you have a level 3 and are up to date with important couses such as child protection/equal ops etc you are fine :D

Daily_Rota.doc

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Dear all,

 

I cannot believe yet again the level of responses l got after 2 days of postings thanks to all :o. definitely worth the subscription, i have recommended the site to 2 friends. l had a talk with the manager, and discussed some of the response l got, which will definitely be put into practice. I will let you know how we got on.

 

Thanks again, although i am still open to any advise you can give :)

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Just had a thought Toro is all your equipment labelled and easily accessible. I have recently changed premises so I had a chance to have a good clear out. My husband put more shelves up. I have labelled the storage boxes and the space where the box is returned to. I have even marked where I want the larger equipment stored in the cupboard. It makes it much quicker and easier to set up and pack away. You have to involve ALL STAFF otherwise stuff gets lost.

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We too have a church hall and are open for 2 sessions per day, and have worked for many years in different halls.

It is important that everyone knows what is expected of them, and a plan or layout of where things are to be places or used is helpful. Our routine is much as the others just that we plan what toys are to come out for the week and this is diplayed for staff to follow, it doesnt always work, changes are made depending on the children but it does give everyone an ides of what to do and can be referred to. (we do more detailed plans to show stepping stones etc seperately) Everyone refers to the chart and puts out items accordingly.

 

learning through play is the basis of all our plans and we work on 2 free play sessions, we do have a writing or drawing area as well as a book corner every day too. we have to have a structured middle section to allow someone to make the toast for break, it does give a good time to change the activites and we do ask the children if there is anything they feel they want to play with. I would not be happy with any formal writing although I do know nurserys in this area who do this as a way of keeping children occupied under control.

 

we are lucky to have recruited a local gym owner to come in once a week on different days to do some exercise and music and movement with the children.

Our small garden for outdoor play with climbing frame etc. which is used solely by us, it took years of negotiating for the church to allow us to fence off a piece of the grounds.

 

We manage to set up everyday in 20 mins now, 3 team members at the moment and only 2 put away at the end in about the same. As numbers increase during the year we will have 4 staff mornings and 3 afternoons and we will be even faster.

 

 

have tried attachment of a weekly plan - it is changed each week and all staff take turns - less work for me!

weekly_plan.doc

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That's a lot of choice you havve out there. Do your chidlren also help in tidying up or do the staff do it themsleves?

in my nursery, chidlren usually set things up themsleves and tidy up (supposed to) by thmelseves but that is only bec the things are out all the time. It must be more difficult if you have to set up from sctrach each day.

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our children tidy up the toys before we move on, as I am sure thwy do in all settings, just that with lack of accessable storage we have to plan daily for the toys rather than give more free choice.

Labelling on our boxes is by picture so that when we signal time to tidy they get the boxes themselves and put the items away, we move them as there always seems to be a disagreement as to who will try to carry the box!

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Dear all,

 

I need your valuable advise ASAP :o . My manager just informed me that she can no longer cope with the packing and has just this evening (called me at home) and handed in her resignation.

 

She said she will come in tomorrow, which l doubt, in respect of OFSTED, am not sure if i can still open the nursery bearing in mind i have not got the relevant qualification to be a manager, and i have only a week to find an experienced manager.

 

Am really desparate, pls help xD

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We have not had a manager for 9 months so the deputy who is untrained has been in charge.Ofsted have been and said that she must train up but that they would not close us.So don't worry carry on the good work till you get a replacement!!

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Toro, our PLA region has just set up an agency staff pool, if you have something like that I think they can be ready to help at pretty short notice. If not I suppose you could try another agency, but I'm not at all sure about this. Good luck :D

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keep ofsted informed they are not really in the job just to close us down , they are usually understanding, particularly as you are planning to train asap. PLA may be able to offer advice and well as Early Years dep. You should contact these too and let them know the situation. May be able to offer advice and support, I have worked as a temp in another setting in an emergency via our PLA as I had a fully trained staff until a they found a suitable replacement. Let us know what happens.

 

Inge

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Hi Toro,

Sorry you are in a mess. I, like Inge, don't think Ofsted will want to close you down, as long as you show that you are willing to qualify. Get in touch with your EYDCP for support here; they will have a development officer for your area who will help with this.

I've not heard that managers will need NVQ4 from next year. Any idea where that came from?

As for all staff having NVQ2, I can't see that working either; what about staff training whilst they are working? You have to start somewhere. The rule I thought was that the manager had to have NVQ3, and 50% of the rest of the staff should have NVQ2. What do others think?

Your best bet to getting the setting organised is to think about the layout first; areas for gross motor play, fine motor, investigational activity, writing area, book area, creative art, role play, etc. Then think about a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities, outside facilities, music and movement, snack and lunchtime, and begin to build your basic structure. Being in a hall, I expect that the noise level will have an impact on when you choose to group certain activities together?!

Don't give up, we're here to help! :D

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Helen thats excatly what our Inspector said,we have no manager deputy has been there for years and no knowledge of fs.I am working there as nearly two years ago decided enough was enough and went as a assisant,soon up graded to be supervisir on one day and ended up doing all paperwork for Ofsted in three weeks!!!!!! Inspector said deputy must train and we must have 50 percent trained staff.We have had no manager for one year,one stayed for 5 weeks,usless!!

She also said she would not close us down and in the end got a generally good.

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Am now in a DN, but used to be in a PSPG in a commumity hall, the advice you have been given is excellent, so won't waffle! (for once!) I agree with Helen about the Manager Level 3 and 50% NVQ2, and all that's been said about 'working towards' Level whatever as being OK in my experience. Provided you actually ARE training, of course!! :o

 

Good luck,

 

Sue :D

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Good to hear Toro,

 

better luck this time .

 

must admit I always have at least one other member of staff at level 3 to ensure continuity, particularly so I can have days off and holidays (yes I do take them in term time its cheaper) without worrying. in fact we have been very busy training staff this last 3 years and in March ALL staff in the pre-school will be level3. It is good on all levels, paperwork is shared, or allocated to others, and no one has to do it all , parents are impressed too, good for advertising etc etc.

 

good luck

 

inge

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Lots of great advice here! I'm glad you found someone to replace your manager.

 

I'd strongly suggest that you work together from the start to come up with a system for setting out in the mornings, using the great suggestions here. The more you make it a team system, the more chance you have of success.

 

I second the recommendations for clear labelling and organisation of materials before you even start with a system. Photos of the toys in a box along with a written label can really help children so that they can take responsibiilty for some tidying up. Also, think about different storage systems - plastic pockets, shoe holders etc (all those awful things you see advertised on TV!), then having hooks in places around the room to put things. The more organised your 'stuff' is, the better chance you have of getting it out efficiently each morning.

 

There are suggestions in both of my FS books (The Thinking Child and The Thinking Child Resource Book) for managing a shared environment. If you can't borrow a copy from the library or a colleague, email me via my website at www.acceleratedlearning.co.uk and I'll cut and paste some sections that may be of help to you.

 

Nicola

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