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Merging 2 Years In With Preschooler And Afterschool Children


urwin
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hello everybody!

 

I work within a setting that takes children from 6months to 12 years. The babies and toddlers are mixed but do have a divider for safety while across the hall the preschool and after school are mixed. My problem is that our waiting list has a massive demand for babies so management/committee want to combine the toddlers in with the older age ranges. Current staff have approached management about their concerns but are receiving a very autocratic response from them. There is not going to be a division of the room so how this will affect focus activity time as well as having age appropriate toys out i do not know. I'm having an image in my head of a young 2 year old playing with toys meant for a 12 year old and trip to A&E (or am i being paranoid?)

 

As well as they want to put in place when the room leader is absent for an unqualified to be in charge of the room as well as write up planning and learning journeys. Can this or has this ever been done?

 

Is their any tips advice that anyone can give me about their success of combining vast age gaps together or worries as i am due to attend a meeting to raise any concerns i will be very grateful.

Edited by urwin
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hello everybody!

 

I work within a setting that takes children from 6months to 12 years. The babies and toddlers are mixed but do have a divider for safety while across the hall the preschool and after school are mixed. My problem is that our waiting list has a massive demand for babies so management/committee want to combine the toddlers in with the older age ranges. Current staff have approached management about their concerns but are receiving a very autocratic response from them. There is not going to be a division of the room so how this will affect focus activity time as well as having age appropriate toys out i do not know. I'm having an image in my head of a young 2 year old playing with toys meant for a 12 year old and trip to A&E (or am i being paranoid?)

 

As well as they want to put in place when the room leader is absent for an unqualified to be in charge of the room as well as write up planning and learning journeys. Can this or has this ever been done?

 

Is their any tips advice that anyone can give me about their success of combining vast age gaps together or worries as i am due to attend a meeting to raise any concerns i will be very grateful.

 

Hi

I think I need a bit more info before I comment :o

 

What sort of setting are you..it seems that you are privately run?

Who manages the setting?

This all takes place in a hall?

How many children are you allowed?

How many staff do you currently have?

How many with qualifications?

 

An after school club does cater for 4 yrs and above and manages ok. I wouldnt be happy with any ages below that but it could depend on the numbers of children. Agree with all your concerns. An unqualified cannot be left in charge it has to be level 3 but again if you had a very experienced unqualified and an inexperienced qualified this is different. OFSTED would require a level 3 present though. We do have unqualified staff completing learning journals as they too are keyperson and it is after all part of the job.

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we are charity, run by a committee and is managed by the manager we are based in a porta-cabin.

there are 2 level 3s, 1 level 2, 1 unqualified and they are appointing someone for maternity cover that will be working in there.

the room usually takes 24 3-5 year old's but obviously this will change when the 6 toddlers move up.

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There are many preschools which successfully run with 2-5 year olds in same room...

 

but you must have correct staff ratio for the children and correct qualifications ..

 

with 6 under 3 yrs they will need to factor in the ratio of 1:4 in which is different to the ratio for the 3+, 24 children of 1:8 so for the 30 children would need 5 staff. They cannot just move the 6 children up and assume the ratio will be correct with 4 staff... you will need one more.

 

one of them must be a level 3 and at least half of the others level 2 or above... all info is in the EYFS .

 

Who is 'in charge' can depend as Marley has said on experience but they must be supported or have the level 3 present as well.. it is not usual to have the unqualified run the session with a level 3 present but I have done it for the staff to get experience- not as a regular thing though.

 

not sure where the up to 12 comes in unless it is after school - and then do you still have the same number of children you have had during the day as well...?

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Guest jenpercy

Don't think OFSTED would be happy about 2 year olds mixing with 12 year olds. They were always recomending to us that our older children were too boisterous for our 5 year olds. We could defend ourselves and say that 5 year olds are going to move up into mixed infant playground soon and need to learn the skills to cope there. I would say that mix would not be fiair on older children either, as I think they miss out with all the focus on EYFS. Since that was introduced we haven't been able to stretch them enough.

 

I would imagine that OFSTED would not allow it.

 

As for leaving an unqualified in charge of the room - it is possible for someone who has nearly completed a Level 3 - with express permission from OFSTED to take charge, with as Level 3 on the premises. We have done this, but not for children that young. If the unqualified is to be in charge, what qualifications would the rest of the staff in the room have. How many after school do you have and how many staff for them?

 

you said that they would be mixing with 12 year olds, and then said that the room holds 24 3-5 year olds. Are they all still in there when the 12 year olds arrive?

 

you only mention 4 (soon to be 5) staff. Is that for the pre-school room only? As I see it you need 3 at the moment for that room and definately more than that for the baby/toddler room.

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We run a setting that takes from 2ish to 12 and everyone is in together 50 weeks a yr from 7am to 6pm. The kids benefit, Ofsted was impressed and the families love having all their children together (some with families of 4 ranging from 3 to 10). The older ones become considerate of the younger ones and the younger ones run to catchup and are supported by the older ones as they would be at home within a family.

 

We use a points system to ensure we are always within ratios and each staff gets 8 points with under 2yr worth 3 point, 2-3yr worth 2 points and a 3yr+ worth 1 point and have colour coded velcro-ed labels on the doors to ensure a two free flow rooms always have the right ratios in. Always have at least 1 level 3 leading and usually rest are 3's or 2's with some apprentices being used when appropriate and I'm an EYP and lead the setting and the floor when I can.

 

It works for us but because we choose to make it work and we are invested in ensuring that we work for the benefit of the children and their development and experience and not for the sake of space, ratios or convenience. It's hard and the staff spend a lot of energy making sure the centre works for all but I sat and watched a 6 year old read a story to a 2 year old today when they were tried till they feel asleep and the pride the 6 year old felt when she came to tell me the 2yr old was asleep was unmistakeable. It's what makes it worth it.

 

If it's being done because it will save space, be easier to staff or to cut corners then no I think it'll be a nightmare but for the right reasons - well, everyone that comes to see us has given us fantastic feedback and we got praised in our recent Ofsted for the extremely well behaved, confident children they saw and the high levels of communication skills the children developed which I put down in a large part to this v lg mixed setting.

 

It sounds like you are not comfortable with the reasoning behind the choices and maybe that's the real issue?

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