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Some Advice Please


cupcake
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I currently feeling a little dejected and dont quite no what to do with these feelings, so thought I would write it down here and see what others think.

 

Our pre school will be moving into a new building in June and we will remain a pvi setting, but sharing a space with a CC. The CC have moved into the building already and we are signing our lease with County shortly.

 

I went into the building last week to conduct a risk assessment for Ofsted, before I got underway with the assessment the CC manager and lead centre officer said they had bought us a gift...as you can imagine myself and the deputy were very pleased. Basically they have totally decorated the small quiet room, with, two chocolate leather sofa's, cushions, rug, clock, prints of flowers and photo frames, it looks absolutely beautiful. However myself and the staff have spent along time planning a sensory room for this space and have quotes for resources, on reflection we feel a little flat because we were all excited about the prospect of working in partnership with the CC and they have made a decision about our provision without any discussion.

 

How would you have dealt with or reacted to this, am I being ungrateful etc, we did say how pleased we were when they showed us what they had done, because it does look beautiful, although very adult and we feel the children have been deprived on a small space which would have been ideal for a sensory/audio room.

 

We are also left wondering what other decisions they will take without consulting us, for example I have emailed them about some identified risks etc and have yet to even receive a reply, really feel like this isnt going to be such a positive move and I dont quite know how to handle raising our feelings with the CC without coming across as ungrateful etc.

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Oh gosh Cupcake. I know exactly where you are coming from!

 

I can see why you feel like they've taken over and also why you don't want to appear ungrateful. What a sticky corner to be in.

 

I really can't think of a good way to approach this issue off the top of my head. My reaction would probably be to see how things develop as the move is organised but then I am a head-in-the-sand kind of person.

 

I'm sure someone will be along soon with some better advice.

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Oh gosh Cupcake. I know exactly where you are coming from!

 

I can see why you feel like they've taken over and also why you don't want to appear ungrateful. What a sticky corner to be in.

 

I really can't think of a good way to approach this issue off the top of my head. My reaction would probably be to see how things develop as the move is organised but then I am a head-in-the-sand kind of person.

 

I'm sure someone will be along soon with some better advice.

 

Thanks for replying, its difficult isnt it. As you know most settings have wish lists and I suppose we feel that yes a gift is a lovely way of making us feel appreciated and welcome, however there are many more things we would have preferred than leather sofa's, that have totally dominated the space, there isnt room for anything else. The room is situated in the main room of the pre school, so should have and would have been for the children. I am now trying to see how I can move the sofa's out, without offending the CC, so that we can still factor in the sensory room.

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oh poor you what a tricky situation. Not sure I have any useful advice but just couldn't read and run!

 

I think I would go for 'honesty is the best policy' type thing and also 'start as you mean to go on'. I imagine they did this as some sort of welcoming gesture and with the best of intentions. It certainly wouldn't be easy but I think I would express my gratitude (again) and then sort of 'i dont want to offend .. and I find this difficult.. but we had planned to use that room as a sensory space for the children and I feel in an awkward postion now' and see what they say. I think they should be fine about it, you are not criticising their gift. Is there anywhere else the sofas etc could be used? or would it be possible to add your sensory resources maybe tactile 'throws' on the sofa as a start?

 

I understand you feeling flat but I don't really think this gesture signifies a lack of working in partnership. I imagine they did it tas a sincere and heartfelt gesture and perhaps felt it would ensure your working partnership 'got off on a good footing' by welcoming you into the space you will be sharing with them.

I wouldn't see it as them making decisions about your provision without consultation but it's easy for me to say that when it hasnt happened to me!

sorry not much use and I am sure someone with words of wisdom will be along soon :o

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I was just wondering if you could justify the move by saying that you have a child or children who need planned the sensory room so you have no choice but to provide it. Could one of the sofas stay as a relaxing part of the room?

 

It is very hard when you are feeling your feet in a new environment with new people. You don't want them to feel they can make all the decisions because that will cause enormous problems in the future. A very small part of me wonders if that could be a part of the motivation to decorate the room. I can ride roughshod over people's feelings without meaning to but even I wouldn't feel able to allocate the use of rooms in someone else's new setting!

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oh poor you what a tricky situation. Not sure I have any useful advice but just couldn't read and run!

 

I think I would go for 'honesty is the best policy' type thing and also 'start as you mean to go on'. I imagine they did this as some sort of welcoming gesture and with the best of intentions. It certainly wouldn't be easy but I think I would express my gratitude (again) and then sort of 'i dont want to offend .. and I find this difficult.. but we had planned to use that room as a sensory space for the children and I feel in an awkward postion now' and see what they say. I think they should be fine about it, you are not criticising their gift. Is there anywhere else the sofas etc could be used? or would it be possible to add your sensory resources maybe tactile 'throws' on the sofa as a start?

 

I understand you feeling flat but I don't really think this gesture signifies a lack of working in partnership. I imagine they did it tas a sincere and heartfelt gesture and perhaps felt it would ensure your working partnership 'got off on a good footing' by welcoming you into the space you will be sharing with them.

I wouldn't see it as them making decisions about your provision without consultation but it's easy for me to say that when it hasnt happened to me!

sorry not much use and I am sure someone with words of wisdom will be along soon :o

 

Thankyou Geraldine, I think the only way for me to deal with how I am feeling, is like you suggest be honest with the CC about the original plans that we had for the room. We have been thinking about keeping the room as it is for a few weeks, then seeing if we can incorporate the sofa's in the main room, for both parents and children to relax on, especially for new parents who stay during the sessions when settling in new children etc, then proceeding with the sensory room, that way we are still expressing our gratitude but also opening up the small room for the children.

 

I really want this partnership to work and have so far been very open and with regards to the CC visiting us at our present provision and discussing training opportunities for staff etc, I suppose this is just a little glitch and such a shift from having to wait such a long time for a much required resource, then suddenly to be gifted brand new leather sofa's and accessories was such a shock and so not in keeping to what we are used to.

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I was just wondering if you could justify the move by saying that you have a child or children who need planned the sensory room so you have no choice but to provide it. Could one of the sofas stay as a relaxing part of the room?

 

It is very hard when you are feeling your feet in a new environment with new people. You don't want them to feel they can make all the decisions because that will cause enormous problems in the future. A very small part of me wonders if that could be a part of the motivation to decorate the room. I can ride roughshod over people's feelings without meaning to but even I wouldn't feel able to allocate the use of rooms in someone else's new setting!

 

We will have a child starting with us who has very impaired vision, hence the plan for a sensory room, so yes I think we will be justified in moving the sofa's out. Like you, I wouldnt make plans about a provision that wasnt mine to do so. On reflection I think it would have been a much nicer gesture to say 'look we have x amount of money to buy the pre school a gift, what would you like, that way we could have opened it up to all staff, children, comittee and parents and arrived at the joint decision.

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I agree that you should be honest. You can say that you appreciate the thought and the effort and expense, but you had planned it as a sensory room to support a child. Ask if they could return the items to get their money back, or reuse them else where, or at another CC.

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I agree that you should be honest. You can say that you appreciate the thought and the effort and expense, but you had planned it as a sensory room to support a child. Ask if they could return the items to get their money back, or reuse them else where, or at another CC.

 

 

This is what I know I should be saying, however I really want this partnership to work and dont want the CC to think I am making a fuss about nothing, but dont want them to think that its ok to make decisions without consulting us in the future. I will give it some more thought and deal with it when we are actually in the building.

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Sorry to sound down about this but I think you need to be honest and frank from the start.

 

From my experience of working with Sure Start and Children Centre staff they have more money than it is sensible to let them loose with! They never consult those of us in the front line actually working with children and families or even the families that they are there to serve; I have seen about a million post it notes, pens, enough plastic toys - horrid colours - and all sort of stuff, including white soft furniture but not leather sofas I must admit that have all, eventually, ending up being dumped having wasted a fortune.

 

So get in there from the start and tell them about the plans you have made and how you have thought about those that will be using the facilities. I so hate to see PUBLIC money wasted, remember they might have thought that "they" got you a present but they didn't we paid for it, so if you explain it might hurt their feelings for all of 5 seconds.

 

Big rant over now, I hope it all works out and you enjoy your new environment but let them know that you are in the driving seat.

 

BMG

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Many thanks for all your replies. I have written an email to the CC and am just waiting to speak with my Chair before sending it. It basically explains how we are committed to working in partnership with the CC and feel for it to be succesful then the lines of communicatin need to be kept open and ours and their practice needs to be open and transparent. I explained how as a Pre School we have been left feeling excluded from important decisions about how our provision will be used and therefore felt the need to let them know, that although we were thrilled at the thought, expense of the kind gesture, we would in future like to be consulted about such decisions.

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I agree with all the responses advocating honesty. You are in partnership with the CC and this must be clear from the start. I must admit to also feeling horror at the amount of money spent on equiping that small room. Leather Sofas!!!!!!!! Pre school workers are on such low funding and yet this amounts of money are available to the CC's. My blood boils.

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