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A Few Million Issues,


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well i have not been on here for ages and when i come i come back with a bundle of questions.


recently we have merged our children aged 2 - school age together, we have two rooms that had a connecting middle door, we removed this door so that now we have one large room with direct access to the garden. we now have a 'messy' room where sand, water, play dough, paint etc is out all the time (we also eat in here), we then have a 'cosy' room with book corner, computer, home corner, carpet play. from this room is the door to the garden so basically all children can move freely between the rooms.

we obviously staff this corerctly in accordance to ratio's so that is not an issue. we have a rota for where staff will be, for example two staff will be in the messy room for one day and two in the cosy room for a day, with two alternating for outdoor so the outdoor people only have to stay out for half a day each. staff will all move across the rooms each week.

we are just having more logistical issues so if i list them can i ask you to look at them and suggest your ideas?.


Key worker - right now we have key workers who are responsable for children's personal care i.e nappy changing and for maintaining profiles. this worked well when the groups were not mixed together, but now we are struggling to ensure that the key worker approch works for personal care because there are more children and because staff are 'based' in a room per day. so if we have key workers changing nappies / dealing with toileting accidents then when they have to do this they will have to leave their allocated room (unless its the creative room which is where the changing facilities are anyway!) to change a child, therefore causing disruption to staffing in the rooms.

is it acceptable do you think to have a nappy changing rota so that the staff in the messy room between them each day do all nappies in the group, (looking at about ten children per day), therefore staff do not have to come and go to change etc.... we are a small setting and all children know all staff so i know children will be comfortable being changed by any staff, and if we ever found a child that would not be happy to be changed by a certain member of staff then we would address that as needed.

how does the key worker approach work for you?. children would still have key workers only they would be more responsable for maintaining children's folders and talking with parents.


planning ~ the bain of my life and i hate it..... would you plan per room, so have a planning sheet for outside, one for cosy room and one for messy room and then the staff in each of those rooms would do the planning for thier room?, what would it cover.... ie we think that if someone in the creative room observes children trying to cut then they woould write that into the planning for the day that they (the staff member) is next in the room so that they could have continuity with planning. therefore each staff member could have ownership of their planning. just worried about how we are going to ensure children meet next steps and are all seen in the planning..... do any of you operate like us ( as in a large group across a large space?) if so how does you planning work, if anyone has any examples i would appreciate it.


group times ~ right now we do a whole group registration, calander, days of week song and lola's rules (last about ten minutes) we then go into play.... we have rolling snacks so children can still play. some staff want us to have group times where children are 'made' to sit down to do a focused activity. in line with EYFS and following children's interests i recognise that sit down group times is not always good for all children as a learning experience. WE think that we will have three smaller story times after tea (so smaller groups) where we do a story and star chart time but we are not that keen on having dedicate dgroup times where all children HAVE to sit down, what do you think?, do we need group times..... our older children (the one's going off to school next year) will do a kids talk programme which is organised via the speech and language department, but that is the only ' group time' we will impose and if children don't want to do it then they don't have to.

how do you manage group times?


knowing where all children are at all times ~ each daywe have a floating person that is not allocated to a room so they float where needed and take time to do profiles and planning etc.....but what we are encountering now is knowing where all children are at all times. the children can not get oout of the garden (and this area is staffed anyway), and they can not leave the nursery room without a member of staff opening the door for them (they leave the room for the bathroom as its off the hallway), but sometimes it seems like lots of children and i need to create a way to ensure that the staff know how many children they have got and where they are at all times.... any ideas?


so lots of questions, and im sure more to follow.


thanks in advance for you support and advice and encouragment! we need it :o



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I'm not sure I can help with everything but I didn't want to run without commenting. Regarding your planning queries - I am planning to have continuous provision throughout our big room and outdoor area which will be our medium term plan (as I might change it half termly/termly depending on how it is going). Then the short term plan will be based on children's next steps, such as the cutting you mention above. As the same staff won't always be in I intend to have staff note this in the diary for the next time the child is in, and any member of staff can then pick it up and support that child. We have been moving towards this way of working for the last 12 months but I'm still slightly hesitant as I don't have complete confidence in how it pan out.


I don't have any examples of how I'm planning to write this down as yet, but the planning will follow the child rather than the adult/keyperson. My plan is also to have a fortnightly tracking/focus observation on specific children. These children will be chosen in advance by their keyperson based on those children who seem to be missed by catch as you can post it note observations (we have a few of these!). In general the keyperson will carry out these obs but their intentions will be noted in the diary too so if they are off for any reason another staff member can take up the slack.


Did any of that help? I'm not sure as I'm very unsure myself at the moment.

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Hi Dawn


I think the answer to many of your queries is that you have to do what feels right for your setting - but it always helps to hear what others do so I'll share some stuff from our setting...


key persons - we have operated across two large rooms and an outdoor area with staff allocated to particular areas each day - our numbers of children meant there would be two staff in each area so if one needed to leave the area for any reason (toileting etc) there was always a member of staff left in the area and someone else would swap for a while if need be. we try where possible to have keypersons responsible for toileting / nappies but at times it might be another member of staff.


grouptimes - we don't have group times for our 2 year olds but they do have a group snack time and sing songs together during this time (we also sometimes continue this with our younger 3 year olds until they are ready to join the main group time).


knowing where all the children are - I don't worry about this - the register is marked as chidlren come in and the number displayed in our entrance area, the chidlren can't leave the building so we just head count / redo register at any transition times.

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I agree with nsunshine about knowing where children are. Of course their safety always has to come first, but if chlidren are unable to leave the setting or garden and your registers are kept up to date, I wouldn't worry about constantly keeping tabs on everyone.


Our group times are in the form of a short circle time each day. Our two year olds join this if appropriate and have extra adult support. Some of our adult led activities are 'sit down' activities, but children can choose whether or not to take part. These activities are planned in response to observations so generally the children we want to 'target' are keen to take part as it will be something that has been planned to capture their interest or extend learning.


We use a key person system for settling children, communication with parents, obs and learning journeys, and for when a child needs that 'special person'. We try to have key people for personal care, but its not a big priority.


I hope this gives an idea of how another setting works... but there is no right and wrong way. When you make changes, I always think its best to 'go with the flow' for a while if you can. The children will show you the way!



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Do you work a "buddy system" alongside the key person system? If you do then if the key person is unable to do the napppy changing etc then the buddy could do it thereby it would still be a familiar face to the child.

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Do you work a "buddy system" alongside the key person system? If you do then if the key person is unable to do the napppy changing etc then the buddy could do it thereby it would still be a familiar face to the child.



Having a buddy key person is part of a good KP policy as you never know if someone is going to be sick or away on holiday. Maybe not essential for older (4-5) ur olds, but definitely something I have experienced in settings in the past for under 3's. Also helpful if for some reaslon the key person can't establish a relationship with the family or child - then the buddy can take over without disrupting relationships.


About group times - do you ever take some of your children off for a music or story session, which is more developmentally/age apporpriate. We found that with mixed groups it was much easier to separate small groups of similar aged children out to do certain activities as their abilities and interests were so different. Some activities lend themselves to mixed group and differentiation, others need to be more focussed.

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