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This was given out at a Stay & Play session I attend as a childminder...

 

"Due to budget cuts and restraints upon staff time and resources only fruit and water will be provided in any session delivered by xxxx Children's Centre for both children and adults.

 

No hot drinks are to be consumed in children's sessions.

 

Please note parents and carers are politely asked not to bring their any of their own snacks/drinks/food into any XXXX Children's Centre session.

 

Your co-operation is gratefully received.

 

Thank you.

 

Children's Centre Manager

 

It's caused a lot of negative feedback so I'd like to know... Do other CC's have this policy? What about babies that need a "solid" breakfast after the school run? Lots of Mums said it would stop them attending with young babies/toddlers.

 

Additionally, everyone makes a voluntary donation to cover the cost of drinks and snacks, which are prepared by the parents!

 

Please share your thoughts. Thanks

 

Nona

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Gosh! I volunteer at my local CC (not sure of the correct terminology, but we have no childcare in our Centres) and at our stay and play we provide tea, coffee and water to drink, and a selection of fruit and/or vegetables plus breadsticks to eat.

 

Our parents have offered to make a contribution towards refreshments but have always been told that the CC is unable to accept monetary donations as this is part of the service we offer. We do accept donations of food for our Christmas party, however.

 

I think it is unreasonable to ask parents not to bring their own food and drink - lots of ours bring their children's lunch with them for instance if they have only just woken up or have come to us on their way home from another activity, or whatever.

 

All in all it isn't exactly very welcoming or inclusive is it? I wonder what the intention is behind this - I can understand there being concerns about hot drinks at a stay and play session in terms of scalds and so on, but not for budgetary and staff time constraints.

 

I imagine people will vote with their feet and go elsewhere - as a volunteer I sometimes bring lunch with me because I come to the Centre straight from my day job. Would I be prevented from doing that too?

 

Will be interested to hear the views of those members who work in a CC, especially in a leadership role. Where's Wolfie when you need her?

 

Maz

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The centres in my LA also have the same policy on not bringing food in. I wouldn't mind but they don't seem to take account of dietary requirements as my nephew is vegetarian and on a recent vist was handed a plastic cup with a breadstick and a slice of ham in it! They have registration sheets but clearly don't read them. My sister is always embarrassed at the end of the session as her two are ravenous because they have quite good amount of snack at home mid morning and the meagre amounts offered don't even touch the sides. Consequently they spend the last ten minutes complaining loudly about being hungry! I appreciate the need to promote healthy eating in the centres but to be honest I'm really unimpressed with some of the parent partnership I've seen going on at the centres and this is just one aspect of it.

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We also provide a variety of snacks, and would not restrict to just fruit and water, and especially not if parents are contributing (ours don't).

 

We do expect parents to remain in one part of the room if they have hot drinks.

 

We are quite strict about what parents bring in because we have 3 major allergies (all different), and its really easy to just forget, so we prefer that parents don't bring their own food to sessions. We have never had any problems with this, or any complaints. I wouldn't imagine that this is the case here though, as we have huge signs up everywhere stating that certain foods are banned in all their forms in our centre.

 

Nona, I think Id be inclined to ask for clarification of the reasons for that decision. I would guess there is another reason hiding in there somewhere.

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Nona, I think Id be inclined to ask for clarification of the reasons for that decision. I would guess there is another reason hiding in there somewhere.

 

I'd love to but the manager literally dropped them and ran and left her staff member to take the flak :(

 

I just wondered if I was over-reacting!? Goes against parent partnership, building links with the community, encouraging children to make choices, teaching children about risks.... I could go on xD

 

Head teacher at school Stay & Play running at not happy and has offered to provide tea, coffee, sugar from school. Parents already contribute financially but have offered to pay more or have termly kitty to cover drinks and snack.

 

I later spoke to the Head of the school where the CC is based and he knew nothing about it but said it wasn't on and could we please put our comments in writing to the Governor in charge of extended services (feel there's friction between head and CC manager - axe to grind?!) I only mentioned it to him as I really felt for the member of staff left to face the wrath of the group!

 

CC Manager rang later and said she was sorry I was upset :o Explained that it was ALL parents/carers who were concerned - it's a church school and some families travel a considerable distance to bring their children to the school and attend the group with their siblings. We've worked hard over 2 years to get the numbers up to the regular 22+ who attend and this could have a major impact.

 

She used every excuse in the book - what other CC's do, budget/government cutbacks, health and safety, wastes staff time making drinks (they don't!) healthy eating policy(even though we offer toast, breadsticks, crumpets etc) has to be the same at all sessions (how does that fit in with unique child?) blah. blah.....

 

I'm doing my homework before writing to the Governor linking it all to current policy, EYFS etc in the hope that they'll revoke this decision. 4 parents with children under 2 have already said they won't be coming again if they can't feed the children while they're there :(

 

Thanks for your feedback, I just needed reassurance. Wish me luck!

 

Nona

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Do you think there is a compromise in there somewhere?

I can see that having 22 children and parents all getting their own food out whenever they wish during the session, could cause some disruption to the groups, and it can become much less social. It may also cause problems if the food they bring needs heating or preparing and there just isn't room in the kitchen for that, or parents are popping off to the kitchen and leaving their child, or worse, taking their child with them etc etc. I.

 

Are the babies in question not having anything before they leave in the morning, (eg having breakfast with their siblings who are going off to school?) Perhaps the centre is trying to encourage that good start to the day by encouraging that they may have something as a family before school, and then they would only need their milk and finger foods when they come to group? (If the school run takes a long time, then that means baby isn't being fed until well after 9am/9.30 even on days when they are not having a group.. I wonder what times the babies in question are getting up in the morning?...) Obviously I don't know the circumstances, I'm just throwing a few things out there for consideration.

 

Would a compromise be to find out what parents of the under 2s would like provided that would meet their child's needs, (within reason) and then see if that can be worked into what is provided by the centre, with an emphasis on easy to prepare?

 

Good luck with your complaint, sometimes the best way to make a complaint is not to just demand a reinstatement, but to find a way through to a compromise that is workable for everyone.

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Yes, I would agree that there is a hidden agenda there. Maybe people were bringing in foods which may cause allergy, or were inappropriate, or even offensive to other members of the group.

 

I once fed my child a peanut butter sandwich on the way to church and ended up sending another child into shock (can't spell anaphalactic) just by cuddling. It's important that CC's are seen to be looking after the needs of all children by finding the lowest common denominator.

 

Honey

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The issue here seems to be the way it is phrased.

 

If it had said:

 

'No hot drinks are to be consumed in children's sessions. We have to ask this because of the very real danger of scalding when young children are playing near adults holding hot drinks.'

 

No one would have objected.

 

They need to explain their reasoning, I find parents are very reasonable generally once you do that. As lots of people have said, perhaps it is allergy related.

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Wish I could find the reasoning, it's all being done in the name of "budget restrictions" :o

 

The sessions have been running well, hot drink on arrival for the parents, free play and focussed activity, tidy up time before a play outside until the school playtime, back in for snack (which has been prepared by volunteer and staff member)

 

No issues with allergies (thankfully!) and it's a really social time with children, parents and carers sit at the table for fruit, toast, breadsticks etc. Lots of lovely sharing, taking turns, chatter etc

 

Lots of the babies have milk before coming and solid breakfast mid-morning, sitting at the table with everyone else and often trying the snack of the day.

 

Parents and carers have offered compromise - pay for snack, make increased weekly donation, bring contribution to group snack rather than catering for individual children, prepare the snack with no help from staff member....

 

It's really upset people. Some say "they can stick it, we'll go elsewhere" others "why are they messing with a routine that works well" " a hungry child will be irritable and unlikely to get much from the session"

 

They're talking about a petition or contacting the local newspaper.

 

Nona

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The users of your facility do appear at first glance to be actively looking at alternative arrangements to resolve the issues raised.Perhaps wait and see what the Centre Manager says first before taking any other action, there maybe real concerns that haven't been shared.I would have thought that by contacting the press it could only do the group harm in the long run and undo all the good work you have already acheived.

Good luck with this and let us know :o

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The users of your facility do appear at first glance to be actively looking at alternative arrangements to resolve the issues raised.Perhaps wait and see what the Centre Manager says first before taking any other action, there maybe real concerns that haven't been shared.I would have thought that by contacting the press it could only do the group harm in the long run and undo all the good work you have already achieved.

Good luck with this and let us know :o

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not sure about budget cuts but we have had a no food policy in groups for at least 6 years now, due to allergies or other problems with tube fed children.

 

But we do allow parents to take children to reception area or a room if avalable if they would like to feed their children.

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We have a similer issue with our cc, they introduced a 'room use contract' for all the stay and play groups, childminder drop in, creches and it was very much done in a dictatory manner!!

 

This meant trying to find keys to get basic equipment out and i know it seems minor in a way but by not being able to have a cuppa after what had turned into a 1 hour round school run(new school) it really spoilt the enjoyment of the groups, so myself and quite a few others voted with our feet, we met up with manager as they had done a similer things and just left the forms for us to sign which we would not at the childminder group as some things were treating us like children and not adults and by no means other professionals!!

 

They decided a few months ago we were also not allowed to have a cuppa or soup at the allotment group we run on behalf of cc, we had bbq's planned for the summer and our haloween planning had a pumkin carving and home made soup at the allotment, so again we walked from this as i am not standing in the freezing cold for 2 hours running a group for them and not being able to have a hot drink, the parents who were attending also stopped going so they closed the group :o

 

They did not have a food policy apart from any snacks must be healthy, but i used to get a lo dropped off at the drop in and she would not have had her breakfast as she would vomit during the jouney if she travelled soon after eating and she is a fab little sleeper and her parents have no reason to wake her too early so this would really have caused a problem for me!!

 

I

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Everyone present last week had a phone call yesterday from the CC asking if their contact details could be passed to the School Governor in charge of Extended Services as he'd like to address our concerns direct :o

 

I wonder what tomorrows Stay & Play will be like - I won't be there as I'm at a CAF meeting elsewhere....

 

Nona

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An update.... tonight the Governor in charge of Extended Services telephoned everyone who was at the session. He made some very interesting points

 

* the Governors and Headteacher were unaware that this decision had been made and that these notices were being issued

* He feels "strongly that the needs and requests of the group are not being met"

* that this decision is NOT budget based but the "cutbacks" are being used as an excuse to cover up an underlying issue

* that parents/carers are capable of deciding what and when to feed their children and the CC has no right to say otherwise

* he will not support a ban on drinks on H&S grounds - children, including his own, have to learn about being safe around hot drinks

* fruit and water alone, offered at every session, does not constitute a balanced diet

 

He's offered to come along to the session on Thursday to meet people face to face and see how the group runs before a meeting is held on Nov 4th with the CC manager, Head Teacher, himself, other Governors and " representatives from the LEA to address the concerns raised by the parents and carers of this and other groups run by the CC which have arisen since this notice was issued.

 

Thanks for all your views - he was very interested to hear how other settings addressed these issues.

 

Nona

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Thats great news. Lets hope clear consistent and positive outcomes are produced as a result of this, for the benefit of all users.

As we know sometimes comments and actions can and do have a negative effect, and this shows a regard for others views, and also that we are all human and we can all make mistakes.

Onward and upward. :o

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Read these posts with interest!

 

I do wonder how sterile we are making everything. To whose benefit are these rules anyway? Do children not also have to understand that adults also have a need to eat and drink? More to the point should the adult not be modelling eating and drinking?

 

I wonder how childminders cope at home, not having an offical staff break if you like - drinking away in another room out of sight of any child? do they do this. NO. They eat and drink with the children and teach the children about eating and drinking safely, to include being around hot food and drink!

 

Also Nona if you are attending a parent session as a childminder you are lucky. In my area we are only encouraged to attend the childminder sessions as the others are meant to be for parents. As we are working in our childminder professional capacity and not allowed to take up parent spaces.

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Also Nona if you are attending a parent session as a childminder you are lucky. In my area we are only encouraged to attend the childminder sessions as the others are meant to be for parents. As we are working in our childminder professional capacity and not allowed to take up parent spaces.

 

I know just what you mean!! This is an outreach Stay and Play for parents and carers where we childminders are made welcome but often when we try to access other CC services we're second class citizens because we "take up too many spaces with our lots of children" A real bugbear when it comes to tickets for Christmas party etc The recent newsletter has statistics that show that 14 childminders accessed the centre in Spring this year and only 7 in the summer - wonder how many, if any, for the autumn?

 

Perhaps the Decision Maker needs reminding that it's the working parents who pay the childminders, who all pay taxes that fund the CC's...... :o

 

Nona

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Perhaps the Decision Maker needs reminding that it's the working parents who pay the childminders, who all pay taxes that fund the CC's...... :o

Isn't one of the core objectives of the Children's Centre agenda to work closely with childminders and the families they work with?

 

Maz

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Thats terrible!! sO MUCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES AND EQUALITY AND INCLUSION! dO PARENTS OF MINDED CHILDREN KNOW THEIR CHILDREN MISS OUT JUST BECAUSE OF THE TYPE OF CHILDCARE THEY USE? We rely on a number of CMs to keep delivering the children each year.

 

 

Sorry, clicked CAPS by mistake, but strangely the shouting was relevent!! :o

Edited by Rea
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:( You make me feel SO good - think I'll print this thread off and carry it with me, ready for the next time the CC Manager says "it's for parents NOT childminders"

 

They run a Childminder session one morning a week but then they use the same room at the same time for the creche for the parenting skills course....result? CHAOS!! The last time I went, at the start of September, there were 4 babies under 12 months, 2 of them being left for the first time and only 2 creche workers :o

 

Lots of tears (and that was just the staff xD ) an urgent phone call to get cover staff in and meanwhile I and another childminder helped comfort distressed babies, amuse toddlers and kept the ratios in order until the cavalry arrived.

 

While I was cuddling a rather unhappy liitle one the creche worker commented "we're not allowed to do that, we can pick them up if they're crying but have to put them down as soon as they stop!"

 

The session is noisy, stressful and their working practices go against everything I passionately believe in - I haven't , and won't, go again.

 

Nona

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While I was cuddling a rather unhappy liitle one the creche worker commented "we're not allowed to do that, we can pick them up if they're crying but have to put them down as soon as they stop!"

So there's no "treat them how you'd want your own children to be treated" ethos then? :o

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Thats terrible!! sO MUCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES AND EQUALITY AND INCLUSION! dO PARENTS OF MINDED CHILDREN KNOW THEIR CHILDREN MISS OUT JUST BECAUSE OF THE TYPE OF CHILDCARE THEY USE? We rely on a number of CMs to keep delivering the children each year.

 

 

Sorry, clicked CAPS by mistake, but strangely the shouting was relevent!! xD

 

Oops, went off on one and forgot to answer your question :(

 

Yes, the parents know and we've commented on it on the feedback forms and satisfaction survey. our comments aren't featured in the newsletter and we can't seem to find where they feature in the pretty graphs or pie charts :(

 

and "No, we can't use the free pass to Dudley Zoo available to borrow from reception" because it's an incentive for the "hard to reach families not the middle-class ones who already attend" :o

 

Are you getting the picture??

 

Nona

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Inclusion, and fair to all springs to mind, sorry but i thought it was there to encourage participation not to dissuade people to attend. As for the don't we have to teach children about hot drinks and sitting down to eat, of course we do and what better way of modelling good and appropriate routines to do this.

Sorry getting off my soap box now. xD:o

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Sorry getting off my soap box now. :(xD

Well make sure you put down that cup of tea before you attempt to get down, and consider using a step ladder just to be on the safe side.

 

nona we have a childminder on our Children's Centre advisory group to ensure that all groups are represented. Perhaps you should put yourself forward for a similar role? :o

 

Maz

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While I was cuddling a rather unhappy liitle one the creche worker commented "we're not allowed to do that, we can pick them up if they're crying but have to put them down as soon as they stop!"

 

 

 

Nona

 

WHAT :o - yep- think that's all I have to say on that matter xD

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nona we have a childminder on our Children's Centre advisory group to ensure that all groups are represented. Perhaps you should put yourself forward for a similar role? :o

 

Maz

 

xD:(:( oh Maz, what a hilarious idea!!

 

That's a surefire way of encouraging the Manager to move on!! She can barely bring herself to be civil to me - I think it's because I speak up and refuse to allow her to pass her crackpot dictats off as local authority or government guidelines.

 

If she TRULY believed in the policies she's implementing, surely she'd want to take the credit for them!?!?

 

Nona

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