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2 Year Olds In Setting


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Hi there - we are a fairly new pre-school and finding our feet as such. Currently we have 2 members of staff and take 8 - 3yrs olds and 4- 2yrs olds. At the moment we have 8 3 years olds and setting is ticking along well. However we had a 2 year old start yesterday and another 6 starting through the next few months. My question is - how do you organise the session to ensure time is spent on the focused activity bearing in mind we only operate for 2.5 hours including snack and nappy changing etc. The reason I ask this is because little one who started yesterday is lovely bless but spent the whole time wanting to wash her hands in the bathroom or then painting them and wanting to wash them. i don't mind them painting their hands at all but spent nearly half an hour washing hands and sitting 2 of them on the potty. I know now I need to look at the organising so when we are full we can cope. We have one member of staff inside and the other outdoor supervising - any thoughts please?

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We have a mix of 4,3 and 2 year olds and to be honest, we don't expect children to do a focussed activity. One's on offer, a couple a week but there's no pressure for any child to so it if they aren't interested, or are absorbed in something else. I imagine you got a nice lot of learning out of the water play today!

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I know now I need to look at the organising so when we are full we can cope. We have one member of staff inside and the other outdoor supervising - any thoughts please?

I so recognise the child who wants to spend time washing hands all day - just this afternoon at the Children's centre I watched several under threes delicately dabbing at the paint on offer just so they could trundle back to wash their hands for the tenth time in as many minutes. Added to that the child who is fascinated by the way the glue drips from the spreader but doesn't actually want to use it to stick anything, and you've got your work cut out!

 

My initial reaction is that working on minimum ratios with children of this age may make it difficult for you, no matter how well organised you are. You say you have six under threes starting in the next few months - am I right in thinking that they will be starting as and when other children turn three? Although legal ratios change when a child turns three, their needs don't automatically decrease on their third birthday. Is there anyway you can get another member of staff on board, or to attract a volunteer to help share the load?

 

I agree with Cait about the focussed activity - but actually I wonder how you can spare an adult to sit at that activity when there are so many demands on your time? A telephone call and a child's nappy to be changed at the same time would turn it into a child-led activity anyway!

 

Good luck - let us know how things go.

 

Maz

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Hi there - no ratios are def maintained - the 2 years olds scattered over different days once they turn 3 we will then have them the full 5 sessions but by then some of our will have left for school. Another concern is how do settings manage visits in this situation? Parents want to find out about the setting but I can't spare all my time showing them around? Sorry lots of questions I am just trying to get some ideas of how too make things easier.

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If you really need a focused activity - I would do as Cait has suggested - only those who want to actually do it, need to do it, and for the present time, keep that activity simple and to have a very broad appeal - or even make it a whole group activity to join in such as active songs - head shoulders knees toes etc., rather than a sit and do type of activity.

 

Definitely get some extra help, what would happen if one of your new entrant 2 year olds has a behavioural disorder or delay of any kind, you would definitely struggle working on 2 people. If anything should happen to one of the adults, that would leave the other adult coping with all the children on their own, that isn't practical either is it?

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If we are showing parents round I make sure I'm supernumary so I'm able to give them - and their child, my undivided attention.

 

A focussed activity might not always involve an adult being 'away' from the group at large, they may be working with a small group of children - as Maz says, it's not always practicable to have an adult 'tied' up with an activity - especially if there are only 2 adults in. In this case we need to be much more flexible in our approach to adult directed activities. We have 4 adults in during the mornings with 19 children, so we're able to have any focussed activity then

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I know that ratios are maintained bluemandie, and wouldn't suggest otherwise - but working with minimum ratios as you are it will always be difficult to do everything you need to do, including showing parents around, answering telephone queries or talking to parents about their child's development.

 

I'm sure there was a conversation on here a while ago about the difficulties of having only two staff members at each session, but I can't find it. Might be worth a forum search.

 

In the meantime, perhaps it would help if you started thinking about the various aspects of the session that are likely to cause difficulties such as toileting and have a bit of a brain storming session to see if you can think up some bright ways of overcoming them?

 

Maz

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Thanks for your replies I would love another staff member and will ask boss but I know they will say no money for extra. I have a child starting soon with learning difficulties so this really adds to my worries - I was thinking about an appreciate just to ease the burden. I will certainly look at my focus activities - but struggle as some of my children who will go to school next year are asking to write their names and want to sit play games ect. it's just a juggle and I need to find my feet bfore we are full - thanlks for all your help - any other suggestions appreciated - ps will look for the other thread that was suggested! - Cheersx

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Hi, even though we sometimes only have 8 children in the setting (mix of 2/3 year olds), we always have at least 3 staff. They are such a valuable resource that I would rather fund raise to cover the cost than go with only 2. You certainly can't do free flow indoors/outdoors with only 2 staff.

 

I would put forward a strong case for having another person in, I know it's hard (are you a committee run setting?) but as chair I see it as vital and so does my leader.

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I.

 

I'm sure there was a conversation on here a while ago about the difficulties of having only two staff members at each session, but I can't find it. Might be worth a forum search.

 

 

Maz

 

Not sure if this is the thread you were thinking of Maz - it is a bit off tangent. There was a discussion started by Annie-pops on 1st June 2009 regarding First Aid Box contents which got rather silly later on discussing whether the children should be allowed access to the first aid box in the event that the adults were wiped out by some mystery illness :o

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Hi

 

We take children from two, some of them have literally turned two and are only a day over. We have a free flow session then split and the end for story into keyworker groups. All the children mix together and access all the same activities. We only have one focused activity a week and this comes on the childrens current interests. Keyworkers add names of their children who would benefit from this activity who we encourage but do not insist they do the activity.

 

We have a minimum of 4 staff, one outside, one on snack, one on craft and floater/toilet duty. We also try to have a student when we can, it is easier with 5 as we are not in a purpose built building. Currently we have between 14 - 15 children a session with several 2 yr olds in each. Sessions ususally go up to approx. 25-30 by the summer term when we employ a fifth person if we can`t get a student as we need the extra pair of hands!

 

Two year olds can be hard work as they have a tendancy to trash things, but I like the mixed ages as they all learn from each other. Also (and there aren`t many times you will hear me say something positive about the EYFS) now we have one curriculum we no longer have to change records.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Sally

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