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Setting Up Before Session


fimbo
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we are looking at how we can re-organise our setting up / packing away proceedures, and was wondering how other sessional playgroups manage theirs ?

currently we open everyday for a 3 hour session (but all day on a tuesday)

we have an after school club use our building after our sessions (from 3.15pm) therefore we can leave nothing out -basically making us a packaway setting

our morning sessions run 9-12 (tues,thurs,fri)

our afternoons run 12-3

 

currently we have 2 members of staff coming in for half an hour each before the session -in this time cupboards, chairs,tables, activities have to be set up, risk assesment done,signing in sheet out, snack prepared etc, outdoor activites and toys etc are set out, also during this time if things are needing to be prepared -ie things cut up,playdough making,paint / craft activites made.

 

we plan our activites based on the childrens interest etc from the previous week, we have the 6 areas of learning and try and put out 1 activity for each (based on the planning) children are also free to take out whatever they choose.

 

after the session the 2 members of staff then have 15 mins to clear away and pack up , put all the cuboards, tables,chairs etc away, and clean the toilets,sinks and bathroom floor.

 

if no duty parent is on -then the art /craft items need to be cleaned and put away as well as the plates and cups from snack.

 

we are looking into how this time could be reduced - i have heard that some settings do not put any activites out for the children, and they solely 'self select ' - but how can this then be documented in planning etc ?

 

any advice is really appreciated

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It doesnt seem to be much time. We have 5 staff who all arrive at 8.15 to set up for 9am opening. That includes the kitchen, all equipment, tables, chairs, mats, coat rack, notices, bikes, toys.

Mot of teh activities are choosen from the previous week obs with staff selected stuff too.

Pack away starts about half hour before the children leave. One member of staff clears away (they have a rota for that) while the others take the children outside or do some other activity away from the cupboard. The rest of the stuff is put away when the children have left and staff have the hall for another half an hour.

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Ours is basically the same as Rea - we have 2 staff in at 8 am who start from scratch putting out planned activities and all furniture , others between 8.30 and 9 to make 4 members of staff. At tidy up we have a big thing of getting the children to help , they pack toys into boxes , spray and wipe tables , sweep the floor , at the point of heavy stuff being moved 3 staff take the children off to story, singing type activity and 1 member of staff finishes moving heavy stuff ( mostly on wheels trolleys) into the cupboard . Once the children have gone 2 members of staff stay behind for 15mins to put final bits away , clean toliets , mop floor . Dizzzz

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thanks for the replies - i thought we had it shaved down as much as we could, but we are being asked to do it in less time, as it is i feel as if we are running from pillar to post before and after the session !

our commitee have told us that some setting do not set any activites out at all and they would like us to try this and save some time -but i cant see how that can work ? how does the planning work ? is it all then retrospective ? then doesnt planning take longer ?

 

its making my head spin !! lol !

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We are a packaway sedtting. Myself and 4 members of staff start putting out all indoor and outdoor equipment, sorting out the kitchen, doing risk assessments, doing the check list, at 8am - ready to open at 9am. sometimes if there is a bit of time before we open we have a quick cuppa, while either doing 10 mins paperwork (Learning Journals), talking about what we will be doing during the day or discussing any concerns about children.

 

Pretty much the same as Rea - packing away. about 11.30 the children help tidy up the smaller things and then they go to circle time. The other staff pack away some of the larger equipment. After the children have left the rest of the equipment, tables, chairs, display boards, parents info boards and table from the lobby, posters etc etc are packed away in a cupboard. The staff take up to half an hour to pack it all away after the children have left. everything has to go in a certain way or the door won't close - THAT'S A CHALLENGE IN ITSELF!!!!!!!

 

I would prefer not to pack anything away until after all of the children have left but that would mean staff working longer hours and I would have to pay more. I hope that doesn't sound meanie - my staff all work hard (over and above) but as it it strenuous work setting up and packing away, I know they want to get away home. Everyday i wish i could wave a magic wand and everything get packed away neatly in the cupboard without any of us struggling - wouldn't that be nice? :o

 

Sue J

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Gosh, I was panicking after reading first post that perhaps we spend to long setting up!

 

But reading others felt better. We also have 4 staff starting at 8.15 for 9.15 opening- with another 2 coming in at 9.

Packing away similar, althought we have to be out 15mins after children, so have to start with children still there- so they help!

xxx

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Mary Poppins springs to mind, golly gosh have they ever tried to do it themselves in such a short time :o we have two staff in everyday at 8.00am one other member of staff in as well 8.00am two days per week, all other staff in 8.30am open doors to children and families at nine.

Sometimes thats even a struggle but we are a total packaway setting so everything and i mean everything has to come out each day and we do have a huge hall, plus outside area.

Edited by bridger
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We start setting up at 8.45 for a 9.15 opening and then pack away during lunch time and after the children have left. We couldn't possibly have the children self selecting from the cupboard because frankly when the cupboards are fully packed away they are probably a health and safety risk. I'm not sure if there is one answer because I think it all depends on your setting and situation.

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We're pretty much the same as everyone else, 30 mins either end (and we are not really full packaway unless there is an event on in the hall).

 

Tell your committee from the chair of another committee that it is not reasonable to expect you to do it in any less time (and that 15 mins should really be 30 mins after session).

 

When packaway is rushed, things get stuffed away and damaged. It really is a false economy.

 

You could leave one area with a notice saying 'children's choice' but you have to resource most areas, it is not practical to spend the session getting stuff out, you need to focus on the children.

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thanks all, feel alot better now ! i didnt want to dismiss their suggestion outright -as we are trying to show that we can be 'adaptable' - as we have been accused of basically being awkward !

maybe i should suggest they come in and observe a set up ?

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Yes definitely but really they should do more than that ... I'm there helping set up when I know staff are pushed for time, as are other committee members at our setting.

 

Good luck!

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I set up on my own. i arrive at 7 to 7.15 and it takes me until 8.30

 

I set up book area 2 role play areas, self selection area, messy area, computer, easel and 2 other mat areas for construction and music

i also put out names for the children to self register, time lines and sheets with toilet, cupboard etc on. display boards and sharing boards as well as notice boards for staff and parents phew and boxes of wellie boots

 

sdtaff arrive at 9 and set up role play area with either shop or home corner. another goes outside to lock up up and set a few areas out side eg book area, music and mark making

 

paints are made the day before at the end of the session, playdough is made begininng of week with the children, we dont pre-cut anything and any type of craft or cooking is got ready at 9

 

children arrive at 9.15.

staff are paid for an extra half hour at end to pasck away but a lot has to be done with the children still in. Not a problem normally as 1 have 3 staff with the children and 2 clearing

It's my only form of keep fit and put out to Chris Evans on radio 2 :o

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Hi

 

We are the same as everyone else here too, we are a packaway setting and have three staff start at 8.15 for a 9.00 open doors, then we get the children to help pack away a bit and we have a house keeper who helps with washing up messy play things etc. and then we have from when the children leave (normally about 12.10 by the time all the parents have left) till 12.45 to packaway but I have to say we are normally a bit late and often leave 1/1.30 depending on what kind of day its been. we are always doing prep stuff in our own time as well!!

Maybe you could ask your committee which setting they know that don't have activities out and arrange to go see them (that might make them feel you are at least being open to the idea) but to be honest I wonder what impression not having anything out would give to parents when they walk in? you want to keep them happy too

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