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Too Messy?


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Hello everyone, as you may be aware my situation in a new position has been slightly rocky to start with and I am still coming up against it with my Admin Manager.....we have our job descriptions, we have our roles and although she is of a different school of thought to me....we, last week had a good week and I genuinely thought things were going to be ok.

Well today she asked me to help her with the SEF (that I wrote for her and she is tweaking) - so being the adult that I am I asked if she was ok with the changes I have made....I wish I hadn't asked she reiterated all of the things she said to me the first day she talked to me aggressively and angrily and said that the nursery was a mess and that she was embarassed to show parents around.....she said the place was too cluttered and that the children had no space to play.

 

We set things out in the morning based on previous observational interests and the children are aware that lots of other resources are accessible if they choose making space by tidying if need be but not if it was part of the game..... how it was different prior to my arrival was that there was bare tables and the children accessed all of the resources as and when they wanted but tidied completely before using another resource...I understand this practice but prefer to have things out and other things on offer - my thinking is that this is a compromise and it is how I like to work....I have asked all staff members at a meeting if they are ok with this and they all agree it works well?

The other thing that I think i mentioned before is that children clear tables and replace all resources from whence they came before moving on to another resource....staff have adapted to my 'tidy up as a team' before transition and not having to clear the table completely all the time.

I have good feedback from the parents, backing of the committee and all but one of the staff happy but this one sticking point with the Admin manager is really difficult....she insists that I have not respected her routine, but I can't because I don't believe in the 'strictness' of it and I interpret the EYFS as a more free-flow system.

Prior to my arrival also the children were not allowed outside until they had concentrated on some 'work' - the Admin manager is obviously finding it difficult to adjust but this is making question my judgements?

 

We plan as a team - we have a hour and half weekly meeting to talk about the children and discuss interests to reflect EYFS outcomes...provide opportunities for children to achieve...key persons home in on their children (and others) to promote learning, we have a focus activity going on throughout the week which is encouraged.

But basically it is free-flow, pracititioners observe and intervene when support is needed and to extend learning...the children play, play, play......am I wrong, I am going to visit a few settings, but I have been a manager before and never doubted myself so much.....I think it may be because the x-manager does talk the talk and has a powerful attitude of military style (she was in the army) and a superiority that kicks me in the stomach.....I have let the committee know about today....it is all such a shame as the setting is an amazing place.

Any advice greatly accepted....especially from any Montessori peeps....is Montessori really that strict?

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I think the fact that she thinks children should earn outdoor play by doing work says it all.

 

Do you have an early years advisor who you could get to come in and observe a session and then meet with you both and the chair to help back up your ethos?

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I think maybe you need to do a bit of role play to find ways of telling her how you feel when she talks to you angrily and aggressively - its hard to concentrate on what she's saying when she is behaving that way. Hopefully that will make her reflect on what she is doing (or trying to do) and realise that it isn't working (even though it is clearly working because here you are questioning yourself when you know your ideas and ethos are sound). However, she doesn't need to know that does she?

 

This really needs sorting out once and for all I think - I'm not sure what your job title is but the clue is that hers is 'admin manager'. This pretty much shows the demarcation line between her responsibilities and yours - she gave herself away when she accused you of not respecting her routine. It isn't her routine any more, and she made the choice to stand down from that position for reasons of her own. She may need support to step away, but she must do it if she is ever to be happy in her job.

 

I am not an expert on the methods of the Montessori setting, but you've said before that yours is not a Montessori group anyway. It sounds to me that you have got a good team spirit going - the staff are behind you and seem to be enjoying the new regime. You have had positive feedback from parents, and your children are engaged and happy - these are the most important things to focus on.

 

Stick to your guns shirel, and by what you know in your heart is good practice. Keep the communication channels open, and keep the committee aware of what is going on. No-one deserves to be spoken to aggressively, no matter how unhappy someone is in the job. I really think it is time for her to move on because I don't think she is in the right place to accept what your aims and objectives are, let alone begin to give you credit for the positive effects you have made on practice in your setting.

 

I've been exactly where you are, and I have to say the sense of relief when my predecessor left was enormous. I really feel from that day I was able to breathe more easily and stop looking over my shoulder to see what particular configuration of disapproval she was setting her face into at my latest bright idea!

 

Incidentally, for my degree I did a child study on one of our oldest (and brightest boys) and from closely observing him I realised that we were trying to make him fit into our model of 'work' and 'play' rather than match our routines to his needs. So when we were trying to get him to engage in what your colleague would call 'work' he was busily trying to run off his energy. Then, just as he was calming down and was ready to engage in something that stretched and engaged him, we'd whisk him off outside to play. We now go outside first thing in the morning (can't free flow) and find that children are engaging in much higher level play than before, both indoors and out.

 

You know all this, of course but in the face of continued questioning and undermining (and some might even say bullying) it is easy to see how you could begin to doubt yourself. Remember that they offered you this post because they saw you were the best person for the job. The committee believed in you then and I'm sure they believe in you now. You just need to maintain your belief in yourself even in the face of everything she throws at you.

 

Keep your chin up - tomorrow is another day!

 

Maz x

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Thank you....I have had a few tears tonight but when I read your post I felt myself regaining strength to build myself back up again....you are so right...I don't deserve to be spoken to in that way and I am sooo enthusiastic about what I do, I love my job and work very hard,

 

I do think it is healthy to reflect and question practice but I shouldn't have to feel like this.

I know that life situations like this are often helpful in learning about yourself and how to deal with things when life throws this kind of stuff at you and I honestly am an easy-going kind of person who is ameanable but not to the point that my confidence is diminished......thank you again....you are such a support to me....I am even going to have a Mars bar to help build myself back up! (then read the 'How to be Outstanding info!) :o

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As always some great advise from Maz!

I just wanted to add that it sounds as if the Admin manager does not truly understand the principles and ethos of the EYFS.

I should stick to what you believe is in the best interest of the children and have faith in your own judgement as a practitioner.

You are not alone in the way that you set up and the ethos that you have created for your setting, we are very similar. We have gone away from strict routines and have become very free-flow, following the children's interests and have an adult led activity that the children can access if they wish to.

Please don't doubt yourself !

Your doing a great job !

Motherclangerx

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Maz has said it all I think (and quite beautifully said as well) You know what is right, children playing at what they want, when they want and adults supporting and extending this play si exactly how we work and it's great! Dont be put off by someone doesnn't sound as if she knows what she is talking about and quite frankly just seems to be trying to bully you in to doing what she says.

it does seem as though you have to get this sorted once and for all, before things go too far. listen to me, I'm the worlds worst at 'sorting things out' I let things go and let them go and then blow up over what appears to be nothing. Please try not to do this though. Pehaps she thinks she can wear you down? Good luck

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listen to me, I'm the worlds worst at 'sorting things out' I let things go and let them go and then blow up over what appears to be nothing.

Ah but isn't that just the beauty of this Forum, lynned55? We get to dish out advice to all and sundry safe in the knowledge that we're not very good at taking our own advice! I'm getting better, but it is still tempting to take the line of least resistance sometimes, even though in my heart I know that I'm not doing myself any favours in the long term. Things have a habit of coming back to bite you in the bum if you don't deal with them effectively the first time. Been there, done (or rather, not done) that and worn the t-shirt so many times!

 

Maz

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We had a similar situation a while back where one staff member wanted to do it in the 'old school' way and our leader had to really stick to her guns to get changes made.

 

I think where you have a fundamental disagreement on your philosophy of early years you at least get to think fully about why you believe in free flow play, and you are pushed into justifying your approaches. I know this can knock your confidence but in the long run if you stand up for what you believe you will feel all the better for it.

 

Good luck.

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good advice and words form all

 

i do think she is finding it very hard to let go... she is no longer the one to set the routines, but i believe she still feels she is, and that all her work has 'gone to waste' .

 

you may need to ride this out until she realises that you are now taking over this role. and stick to your beliefs, perhaps a few phrases you can use when she begins to criticise , and if it was me I think having had her view of changes already would probably not ask again!

 

not sure if its all, but our local Montessori does just as you describe, from observing for a couple of hours - everything is taken from a shelf used and then returned before being able to select the next , and they did not have any role play when I visited them. but this was a couple of years ago now, don't know how eyfs has affected their practice.

 

Inge

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