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Lunch/rest Breaks


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Hello All

 

We are a pack away setting in a community centre and are fortunately very busy at the moment, we run sessions from 0905 - 1205 and 1220 - 1450 daily. Staff arrive at 0830 and are paid until 1500 but rarely leave at that time.

 

We are all exhausted as we hardly get any break inbetween sessions because parents picking up children from the morning session are arriving late or are wanting to talk to staff members for long periods of time.

 

We have tried charging parents if they are late! I do not want parents to have to make appointments to speak with us but I am at a loss as to what to do. The staff can not go on working like this, morale is at an all time low.

 

I understood that we were meant to have a clear 20 minutes break away from the children. Does anyone else have difficulties like this and how did you overcome them?

 

Thank you

Debbie

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Hi we are a pack away preschool too and run 8.45 - 11.45 then 12.30 - 3.30 with lunch club in between.

 

We are a team of 5 and it does sometimes seem that I do not sit down from the moment i get in at 7.30 until I leave at around 4pm. We manage lunch by 2 staff members running lunch club and the other 3 having lunch after tidying up ready for the afternoon session.

 

then the ones who have run lunch club take it in turns after the afternoon children have arrived to take thier half hour lunch break. We do not have tea breaks.

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We have one staff member that does mornings and one that does afternoons and they lap over which helps with lunch time.

It sounds like we do similar to Emmawill, with staff taking turns to do lunches.

 

We each have 20 mins break (well in theory that is) but as we haven't a separate room for staff we do have to be careful that staff having their break don't get left supervising the slow eaters!

 

As for the parents wanting to talk - we encourage longer discussions at drop off times rather than pick up (have to well practised at this, so's not to upset parents wanting to chat about the actuall session though) If we think a converstion is going to take longer we invite parent to make an appointment.

 

Not easy and to be honest at the end of the day we're all shattered, and I for one can get very cross when comments are made about my 'part-time' job!!!!!

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Our numbers change daily,

 

We run our lunch club from the school dinner hall so our children have the choice of a school dinner or they can bring a packed lunch. our numbers range from 8 on a monday to 15 on a wednesday( school roast dinner day) it averages out to 10 a day.

 

OUr staff qualifications are Me - Just Finished Foundation Degree, SUpervisor level 3, 2 playworkers level 3 and new member of staff working towards level 2

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That sounds fab Emmawill, Louby lou I know exactly where you are coming from 'part time job' well really :o

 

We did consider doing a lunch club, we have 5 members of staff the only trouble being is that we have currently 27 children attending morning sessions and 20 children attending the afternoons. We can have a maximum of 30 children per session. In the end we had that many children wanting the lunch session that we could'nt provide it! We have 60 children registered with us at the moment with a waiting list for at least another 20. No matter what I think of I just keep going round and round in circles. Staff need as many hours as they can get but rightly complain if they do not get a break!

 

I need a fairy godmother to come and wave a magic wand and solve all my problems.

 

Sorry to rant on but since the introduction of the 15 hours our lives have become nightmares and I know that we should be grateful that we have such a popular pre-school.

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Debster I know exactly what you mean, we have recently increased from 20 per session to 26 , we have 71 on books. Since increasing to 3 hrs sessions last september we are knackered! .

 

I do not think we realised how much the extra work load would give us with increased occupancy.

 

This week i have had our LA development officer in to help condense keyworker files and planning as we just cannot keep on top of it.

 

If only a teachers wage came with the job it might not seem that bad!! well make the stress seem worth it!!

 

Don't get me wrong I love my job but I do sometimes feel that it has taken over my life and we are not getting the credit we deserve!

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I'm sure you've thought of this but those seem very funny session times. Is there no way to alter them so that there is a longer time between the two sessions. Even starting at 9am and 12.30pm respectively might give you 10 minutes peace inbetween!

 

Alternatively is there a room away from the children where staff can go to take their break on a rota basis rather than you all trying to take that 20 minutes between sessions when you get caught up with parents and tidying/setting out?

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Bless you and thank you for trying to resolve my predicament Kariana.

 

We have tried the rota but it didn't work, 1 member of staff on training course, 1 child has a toileting accident and another falls over and hurts themselves, poor member of staff in the kitchen trying to have their break felt guilty for being in there when the rest of the staff were running around like headless chickens! Also we ran out of time for all members of staff to take a break because all staff were needed to be in ratio with the children we had in the afternoons.

 

Those hours were mentioned, 3 hrs in the morning 9-12 and 2 1/2 in the afternoon 1230-3pm but our primary school children also leave at 3pm and this directly clashed with their opening and closing times (we are a good 7mins walk with a toddler away).

 

I will keep on thinking, thank you all for your suggestions and I welcome many more

 

Debbie

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If finishing at the same time as the school isn't possible would you be able to finish after them? So in the afternoon run from 1-3.30. Of course this would only work if you could get the building access and didn't have staff who needed to collect from school then too, but it would give you a longer break in the middle of the day which might enable you all to have a rest and regroup before the afternoon. You could even use the time to sit together and discuss the sessions, key children, planning, etc if you could all eat and talk together.

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We were in a similar situation in the Autumn term and agreed the half hour between the two sessions did not work for us. Trying to get 6 staff lunched and chatting to parents at the end of the morning session, I found I was having a 10 minute break at the most, while still answering the telephone if it rang.

 

So we changed the procedure so children staying for lunch started eating before the am session finished at 11.30a.m and those children going home went home at 11.45a.m and half the staff went to lunch between 11.30- 12 and the other half 12 - 12.30 pm. The new afternoon children still arrive at 12.15p.m and go to join the lunch children who are looking at books / watching a DVD. Our parents were very understanding and now all know this is the procedure and are quite happy.

 

I think it is important the staff are seen to get a break and are valued, as it is exhausting work for those that work all day. We also took on a parent just to do lunches and who would not need a break. Their child gets a free lunch session and the parent fits the work in when they collect their child from the morning session + they get a small wage.

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hiya

 

it is a huge dilema

 

we run from 9-3 with children arriving and leaving at 12 and leaving at 1. lunch for them is 12-1

 

i have a max of 42 per day, generally 30ish for lunch, so 6 staff plus me for lunch ,

 

we have a rota, starting at 11.40 and fininshing when everyone has had thier 20 mins, they have to go one at a time, but are lucky to have a seperate room. the others are therefore still well within 1:8 ratio and actually cope really well. they all know that breaks are needed

 

it is a problem working it out was a right headache at the beginning when we changed from sessions but was needed with the SFF.

 

hope it works out

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Some of your sessions sound so complicated but i guess they work for you. My staff choose not to take a break and eat lunch with the children. They work 8.30-3.30.

 

Our sessions are 9-12, 9-12.50 or 9-3 We also run afternoon sessions for 2-3year olds from 1.00-3.00.

 

We also have approx 3o staying for lunch with 5 staff.

 

Our spare room is only spare for about an hour so not sure how all staff could have lunch in that time. Like idea of parent coming in will have to have a think.

 

Buttercup

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