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Pack Away Groups


littleanna
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I am looking into opening a small pre school in a hall.

Can you please advise me of any problems I might need to take into account? What hours are you open,how long does it take staff to set up /pack away.If lots of your staff are parents themselves how do they work the hours you need to offer 3 hour sessions and get their own lunch entitlment ?

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i ran a pack away group - took us 30 mins (5 of us working fast) to set up and pack away...

 

lunches can be tricky - we used to have to go on a rota to keep in ratios as we finished one session at 12 and started again at 12.15........

 

good luck :o

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I currently work in a pack away setting. We open on Monday and Thursdays 9.30 til 3.00pm, we work right through, the children have lunch, staff have 1/2 hour lunch breaks, (4 staff) we have a lunch cover person, to ensure we keep to ratio's.

 

Wednesday and Fridays we open from 9.30 til 12.15.

 

We also employ a domestic assistant, who doesnt work directly with the children, but who is in charge of housekeeping, such as mopping up spills, washing up paint pots, snack bowls, hoovering at end of session etc, we also have a duty parent on Mondays and Thursdays, parents volunteer for this and work alongside the domestic assistant.

 

We start setting up at 9am, we work really fast and efficiently, each staff member has an area to set up, this stops confusion etc. We dont start packing away until all children have left for the day, at the end we have the hall for an extra hour, so children finish at 3pm and 12.15, so we have the hall until 4pm and 1:15 etc.

 

It is challenging but very doable, as long as each staff member is deployed and everyone works together.

 

Goodluck with your venture, it sounds really exciting.

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Guest jenpercy

As an after school group we set up when we arrive with the children and we have put away and had evaluatin meeting by our official finish time - but then often all our children have gone by then too

Jen

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We are pack away and EVERYTHING has to go in a garage in the garden, so if it's raining we have to wipe all the resources, chairs and tables once in the hall, it takes us 30 mins to set up but we are working flat out and are exhausted once the children arrive!! and 1 hour to put away.

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I arrive at my setting around 7am and my deputy arrives at about 7.45

We set up a large area together, we chat planning and discussing all issues until staff arrive at approx 8.45

We can not afford to pay staff to arrive earlier and many of them have children of primary age. Being older I don't have to do school run etc anymore (YAH) :o

 

Sometimes too many staff in at the same time can be a disadvantage as they will chat (just general gossip chat) and we can get very behind in the task of setting up.

Our outdoor area is set up by the children when they arrive.

 

Clearing away - most resources go away during our end recall time but we clear the larger things etc after children are collected.

 

Its all been if I am honest TRIAL and ERROR- lots of errors some weeks

 

Be reflective in your thinking and things will work out I LOVE IT and see the setting up as my GYM TIME because boy does it keep me fit xD Holidays I always pile on the pounds!!!

 

GOOD LUCK

Sue

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I too actually like the pack away setting... keps you fit.. certainly and makes you think about your environment a lot..

 

as to how it works this will greatly depend on the kind of place being hired and facilities it has, what rhey allow you to do or not.. etc.

 

I have worked in many different ones - just a few examples......

 

One where everything had to go into a small cupboard which had to become Aladdin's cave, tables, chairs nothing could be left out, walls nothing on, and we had to leave it spotless.. they even provided a hoover for us to make sure we did it at end of the session! This was a logistical nightmare as they charged for the whole time we were in the hall, no allowance for setting up or putting away... so we had no option but to keep it at the shorted possible time... so all arrived 20 mins before the session started and it was a case of everyone had a task and no one stopped until it was al out.. putting away we ended session with a group time so others could start putting away in the cupboard.. children sometimes helped with the small stuff at this stage before coming together... but continuous provision was hard to set up, even with trolleys and shelves on wheels, as we had limited storage so limited number we could have..

 

Another let us have low level cupboards around the walls and even provided them and allowed us to leave tables and chairs out, and they provided a cleaner at the end of the session to clean after us... that was luxury.. we also had a corner we could leave out as the home corner providing it was tidy and did not interfere with other groups... so all in all a better one.. didn't take long to set up, we still had the Aladdin's cave but this held bigger items... This was a lucky find as there was no rent at all.... they considered it a donation to charity!

 

then another we could decorate walls as we wanted, leave items out in home corner, so long as it was covered, put in cupboards around the walls, decorate, generally go lots so long as we paid for it... and allowed space for other hall users to have a cupboard for storage and did not get our stuff in their way... no one complained.. we just had to ensure anything left out was of no value... things walked! another Aladdin's cave.. this took longer to set up and put away.. why? because we had to do the tables in and out but also clean before the session.. no cleaner... and tidy up after other groups.. and was generally a nightmare at times.. but this was the one I would have chosen to hire if I had to again... it was the freedom aspect of it all which was empowering and made for the best we could offer.. and they didn't charge for set up or put away in the hall charge... only the hours the children were present... we could come and go so long as no one else had booked it..

 

so now i have ranted on you will see there is much to do with the place you hire as to how long it will take to set up etc, and will be trial and error as to how you manage it..

 

In each case I was lucky , one had a school bus which stopped outside the setting.. so the older children used to come in help set up and then go using bus, others both had the school next door or close so children would come in with staff and then one of us would take children to the school... If one went to a different school that staff member would have hours starting later than the others so she could do this... and hence would be paid less... rota needed fine balancing for those days..

 

good luck

 

hope I didnt put you all to sleep with my story.... sorry it is so long..

 

 

Inge

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we always found we had less children over the lunch break.. which sort of solved this issue as we could allow one member of staff a break at a time .. we had 20 - 30 mins - and we were still in ratio.. staff sat and had lunch with the children as well,

 

or we had afternoon staff come in a bit earlier to cover a break or morning stayed a bit longer... not all our staff worked all day..

 

we did work to a high ratio all the time so in our case even if one member of staff left when we had all the children we were still in ratio... this allowed for the unforeseen things like visitors, child illness, etc which would take a pair of hands away from the session -

 

 

Inge

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I would sit down and have a long and serious chat with the committee who run the hall, get some things in place before you begin. What storage space can you use, can you leave some bits out (tables and chairs especially), how many other users are there, how many functions each year? We have a good relationships (mostly) with our committee and they let us leave all our stuff out on days when the hall is not used by others.

 

If there is a function, we have to pack it all away, but we have a space under the stage, a storage cupboard and 3 sheds outside.

 

A few tips:

 

- Be ruthless about how many toys you have, get a good quality box with lid for each one, label it and insist that your staff don't do the 'toy creep' thing where they pick up more stuff.

 

- Invest in some large display boards and if you are allowed, put some hooks onto these, and the corresponding eyes on the wall. Taking down displays used to take my staff an hour before I did this for them.

 

- Think about what you will do about storing all the paperwork that goes with preschool these days.

 

- Make any staff aware that there is lots of lifting involved, so the job is not suitable for anyone with back problems!

 

We have 30 minutes to set up and pack away each end of the day. It's tough on days when everything is away but staff get it done.

 

We are moving to afternoon opening shortly. We will be open 9.30 - 2.30 so legally won't need a break. I have insisted that staff must have some time away from children, but as lunch club has less children we should be able to achieve this.

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- Invest in some large display boards and if you are allowed, put some hooks onto these, and the corresponding eyes on the wall. Taking down displays used to take my staff an hour before I did this for them.

 

SuzieC8 Do you know where you purchased your boards from? We aren't allowed anything on the walls either.

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I got them from staples, they were quite expensive but I think worth it.

 

They have a kind of wooden frame which make it easy to get the hooks in. I just used net curtain hooks and eyes, with the eye bit staying in the wall (no sharp edges) and the hook bit attached to the board.

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Hi

I am pack away in church hall

everything has to come out of my tardis like cupboard, every pack away has one i believe!!

 

I start at 7.15 work on my own takes me till 8.30 -8.45 to set up

 

I arrive ealier on a Monday to change over rescources that the children have chosen for the following week

 

I look st it as keep fit and i put out listening to Chris Evans, such a funnt guy

 

I also think ans its a good time for reflection.

 

I agree with Sue sometimes having to many staff can lead to not an efficient set up

 

I do not put away at the end my staff do that. It has to go away perfect to keep me a happy bunny in the morning to get it out again :o

 

I also have to put up timelines, laminates, number lines and blue tack is a vital piece of kit!

 

my hall is light and large and we have access and offer free flow to a lovely mature garden

 

I love it, i sit eating my weetabix after my 'exercise' looking up at the wonderful old church that is attatched to hall and i feel calm and ready to face the morning!

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Hi

I am pack away in church hall

everything has to come out of my tardis like cupboard, every pack away has one i believe!!

 

I start at 7.15 work on my own takes me till 8.30 -8.45 to set up

 

I arrive ealier on a Monday to change over rescources that the children have chosen for the following week

 

I look st it as keep fit and i put out listening to Chris Evans, such a funnt guy

 

I also think ans its a good time for reflection.

 

I agree with Sue sometimes having to many staff can lead to not an efficient set up

 

I do not put away at the end my staff do that. It has to go away perfect to keep me a happy bunny in the morning to get it out again :o

 

I also have to put up timelines, laminates, number lines and blue tack is a vital piece of kit!

 

my hall is light and large and we have access and offer free flow to a lovely mature garden

 

I love it, i sit eating my weetabix after my 'exercise' looking up at the wonderful old church that is attatched to hall and i feel calm and ready to face the morning!

You make it sound lovely and do able.What happens if you are poorly?

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well luckily im not. But i do go out on courses and have a very lovely deputy who can come in to set up for me

 

I am sure though that the rest of the sfatt would cover the set up if really needed

most of them by 1 have young children to get to school and 1 staff does'nt wan to earn more money than she already does

so usually they wouldnt set up but they are a great bunch and im sure god forbid that i am ill they would all rally round

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well luckily im not. But i do go out on courses and have a very lovely deputy who can come in to set up for me

 

I am sure though that the rest of the sfatt would cover the set up if really needed

most of them by 1 have young children to get to school and 1 staff does'nt wan to earn more money than she already does

so usually they wouldnt set up but they are a great bunch and im sure god forbid that i am ill they would all rally round

 

it is all about give and take

Edited by Suer
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