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Continous Provision- Inside/outside


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In our pre school room with around 24 children we have been operating with free access to the outside area but staff are saying they need 4 staff to keep it operational. There could be 18 out at any one time and the other 6 in with one staff member but say if needing the toilet this causes problems. It is not cost effective having 4 staff with 24 children. How are others coping with this problem. Any ideas would be appreciated. The idea works well but costing too much.

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Hi sadiesmith

I'm not sure if this helps as we are a nursery in an infant school. We have 4 staff and 52 PT children. We operate a free flow system and have to compromise greatly on our provision in order to operate in this way.

We also have a large main room and large creative studio. Our timetable/organsiation at the moment is - 1 adult in the creative area; 1 adult supporting play/observations, 1 adult on focus activity and the other outdoors. We have said that if the numbers get too big outdoors then the member of staff calls for support which would have to be the adult doing observations as they are the most flexible at that time. It is also important that those adults indoors keep aware of numbers (we can all get carried away with what we are doing and forget to look up at how many are around!)

 

We do struggle at times to ensure that the ratios are kept safe while trying to provide the opportunities stipulated in the EYFS.

I am sure we are not the only ones trying to get teh balance right and it's an issue that will run and run until the government provide us all with more funding (pigs might fly) or they bring the raitios down (as I said pigs might fly!!) :o

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To be honest, I think with 24 children you just DO need 4 staff for it to work.

 

On days where we have 18 children, our leader has asked for 4 staff and this is what we've given her. Of course it depends on the ages of the children but the absolute priority in terms of investment in my eyes is high ratios of staffing.

 

Sorry if that's not much help. We are a PVI and struggle to fund but somehow we manage to achieve this so it is possible.

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Well I have to agree with Suzie, we have 25 children in each day, no outdoor area and always have 5 staff employed every day, in fact 2 days we are up to 6 but I'm doing paperwork mostly those days. Anyway even with 25 children and 5 staff we're stretched thinly sometimes- if someone gets stuck in the toilet, someone is answering phone/door or talking to a visitor along with everything else that is going on. If we had a freeflow outdoors we would have to seriosly consider 6 staff every day.

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I shall be having 4 staff in on days with 18 children in September. Currently have 3 to 16 and feel we need more 'eyes' especially with many new 2 year olds. We're PVI too and it's not easy, fundingwise. But it will make staff chats much simpler with all 4 of us in together!

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Have you thought about introducing a 'system' for the children.

 

I have seen in operation a system where children have to take a 'scrunchie' to access the outdoor area. These are easy to make or could be cheap to buy and can be increased or decreased depending on staff numbers. Once the scrunchies have gone out of the basket or from an adults wrist then they would have to wait until someone decide to come in.

 

Not exactly free flow for all but from what I have seen a more practical solution.

 

HTH

Vicky

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Have you thought about introducing a 'system' for the children.

 

I have seen in operation a system where children have to take a 'scrunchie' to access the outdoor area. These are easy to make or could be cheap to buy and can be increased or decreased depending on staff numbers. Once the scrunchies have gone out of the basket or from an adults wrist then they would have to wait until someone decide to come in.

 

Not exactly free flow for all but from what I have seen a more practical solution.

 

HTH

Vicky

 

 

Do they wear the scrunchie on their wrists? I can see some of mine refusing to do that. The theory is good though, perhaps a card by the door where they put their names on a board with space for only a certain number of name cards.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry, I have to agree with the majority that with 24 children you need 4 staff, afterall the best results is from a happy and stress free staff team - and 24 children without free flow can be stressful, particularly with those difficult children, but with free flow outdoors you need to consider more factors than just what the ratio requires. We can have 16 children, not always full - but always have 3 staff - this also allows for some sneaky paperwork.

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We always have foru staff to 20 children and some maybe under three. We are in a church hall and find it difficult if some want to be in , some out and then some need toileting. I like the idea of the scrunchie but doubt our boys will wear them but like the concept. Think this could work for us.

 

smiles

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