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Advice About Different Ages!


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Hi

Well just looking for some more free advice!

 

Background......Our numbers have dropped significantly in the last 3 months. I was due to lose my job but other assistant thankfully dropped to part time and we job share. So now everyday there is a supervisor and deputy (NVQ3 qualified) and either myself (preschool diploma in training) or other assistant (NVQ2 in training). The committee only recently put the fees up to £6.95 (an extra pound) but still less than funding.

 

Got 25 children on the roll and the most we have in on any one day is 15. Of those 25, only 7 are girls leaving 18 boys!! We also have a maximum of 4 under 3yrs in per day (all boys!). The committee say that we are now so desperate to get more number that they are going to let a 2 year old boy start. Ok, they can only come in on a day when there is only 3 other under 3yrs (ratios) but still there is a massive age difference ie 2 up to 4 1/2 yrs. Given that they all share the same hall we are really struggling with only 3 staff! We are trying to challenge the older ones more but till trying to ensure the younger ones are happy too. We have split storytime up (takes 2 staff) but can anyone think of anything else we can do? Reading the routine on another post made me smile...registration 15 mins...we are lucky if we get 5 ! The little boys just will not sit still and unless you want 2 members of staff getting up and bringing them back its a nightmare! We constantly have to cut registration, songtime and storytime short. On top of that thers the nappy changes/toilet/washing hands fiasco!!! All very hectic for the 3 of us. The way the hall is and set out we could not split it either.

 

Have got lots of floor based activities but playing circle games is impossible as the little ones just want to run around whereas the older ones want to play the game. The deputy is saying it is impossible to work like this and get anything else done apart from child care. I can see where she is coming from as you just dont have 5 mins to sit back and do any sort of longer focused observation more than a quick post it or photo. She wants to say that we shouldnt be taking on really young ones if were are to run as pre-school. As she says in a nursery these ages are totally seperate and it not fair to the children.

 

As part of an assignment for my training course I have to spend time doing 4 different types of observations eg long narrative, oxford target child, time sampling, tracker etc etc and so that i can do it i am actually going into pre-school on days that i dont work as otherwise i dont think it would be possible to do. Is anyone else the same? Are any of you using these types of obs at the moment or are you more like us and just scribbling on post its?

 

Any ideas or thoughts?

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Just a quickie but my first thought is your committee have to realise that although you maybe within ratio staff wise- this is only a minimum ratio and also the welfare requiremnets are quite definate on this and state that the ratio should be enough to cover to allow staff to do toilet runs/nappy changes/talk to parents. Looking at your ratios you would only have to have one staff member stuck in the toilet with just 1 or 2 children for a while or on the phone and your ratios are gone. I understand about the money aspect but what I cannot understand is why are these committees dont listen to their staff?

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I know Lynn! Its awful isnt it? We have all written an official letter to the committee for 4 staff but they say they cant afford it. As you say we are running it very tight!

What would OFSTED say do you think? We cant force the committee to hire more staff but we would really like to be doing our jobs properly.

Like many on here most of the admin gets done in our own times...what would happen if we just stopped doing everything in our own time? Im getting sick of having to stay 30 mins after i should have left because there is only me tidying up (other staff are at school covering lunch club). Have now decided to claim for this in the hope that the comm will realise just how long it takes to hoover, wash up etc etc. But its not the money that bothers me its the time!

 

Sorry about the moaning...love the kids!

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marley, I understand what you are saying. We have children ranging from 2 years old to school age and find it difficult at times. I was just thinking about it today and unfortunately don't really have any answers but thought I would let you know you are not the only one feeling like this. Like you we split story time which works really well but we don't do registration, don't really see the need to get the children to sit down any longer than necessary. Parents sign children in which I feel is sufficient. mrsW

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We don't have registration time-we take the register as the children arrive and they also self register. We have small group sessions and these vary in time between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the age and ability of the children. The very young children tend to be in there for about 10 minutes but sometimes the older group can take half an hour depending on what the activity is and how involved they are.

We split our children into two groups by age for story and our end of morning physical activity. We sometimes then split the younger children into two groups for story as there are so many of them.

I know it's difficult when you are limited for space but can you divide the hall somehow so that they can be separated into different groups?

Linda

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We do split our older group from the younger end. I am the key person for the 4 year olds and almost 4 year olds and they tend to want to be with me anyway for most of the session. But there are only 7 or 8 of them at any one time, so perhaps easier. The younger children have 2 adults with them and tend to stay together at the other end of the room. I find that by having the more difficult jigsaws and complicated toys at one end and the simple board inset puzzles and pegs and duplo etc. down the other end of the room helps too.

 

We have had the huge age range for many years, and i suppose we have just got used to it over the years

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