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Any Advice... Collection Of Issues


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HI all,

 

well my manager is off sick for the next week (she was off last week too) i am the assistant manager but am normally room based most of the time.... hence i am not always up to speed on what is going on in the office side of the nursery. i have spent the last week in the office, kind of picking up the pieces and surviving (just). My nursery is part of a chain so my manager has her own boss and he does not like me or the manager...... he also has concerns about our nursery (low occupancy!).......

 

anyhow....... there are several issues, if i lay them all out i would appreciate thoughts, thanks:

 

1) My managers boss questions my managers capability as manager and mine as assistant manager.... to my knowledge he has no reason to do so (he has never seen me working, but he has seen me at training and yes i can be quiet in these situations). I used to manage a setting so i have the skills. We are low occupancy so maybe this is why he questions our capabilities..... anyway my question.... he is coming on tuesday to see us and i want to make sure i can impress him, but i am not sure how.... it seems anything i do just does not impress..... so aside from making sure the nursery is clean and staff and children engaged i don't know what i can do... any ideas ?

 

2) The staff are far to comfortable at being lazy (some of them). we are quiet therefore i feel the children should be getting even better care and stimualtion and the nursery should be tidy, boards nice and activities interesting.... this does not always happen.... if i am honest this has been a long standing issue that my manager has kind of ignored a little. our third in charge feels that a supervisor sits back and directs (oh how wrong she is, and i told her!). the other week my managers boss was in and he asked the staff how many children they had in the room and they had no idea (shocking i know, and makes us all look damm incompetent!).... now i have called a staff meeting for wednesday night and i want to broach the issues of staff being lapse, lazy and appearing uninterested.... i don't really want to sit and lecture them.... i would like to make it engaging and make the staff think for themselves about good practice....any ideas about how i can motivate the staff whilst getting my message across?

 

3) ideas for marketing our nursery...... any ideas that have worked for you guys would be greatly appreciated.

 

any help really appreciated.

 

Dawn

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A range of issues here really , will answer the best I can from my experience.

 

The bosses boss who comes in and is critical of your skills etc - has he ever actually been critical or is it just the feeling you get that he isn't happy ? Maybe he needs challenging 'in a nice way' as to what it is he appears unhappy with and what he suggests you can do to change/improve things ? Ask about some time shadowing another 'outstanding' manager in the group to see what it might be you are missing ( or not as the case may be)

 

Motivating lazy staff - always a difficult one, seems as if they have got used to coasting, and as you are under numbers is there an issue about jobs not being secure ? Maybe you could try a stick and carrot approach - ask them three things they feel they can improve in thier practice, and get them to write an action plan on how they are going to achieve this, with a prize for the one who best applies and improves themselves. Maybe suggest if numbers don't rise there is a possibility some staff may be surplus to need - and a relocation or loss of job could be possible - if this is the case.

 

Get the staff on board also with ideas to raise numbers - if they are sat around twiddling thier thumbs then get some flyers printed and send them out posting them through letterboxes. Another way is to use your exisitng parents ( best advert for a setting) Offer a free days fees or a session free (whatever you can afford) for each new parent they introduce. Open days are alwasy a good one - but make sure it is well advertised and organised, or see if the local paper is doing a childcare advertising article and put an ad in , it costs but it can work well.

 

Good luck :o

.

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Thanks for all that fantastic advice :-)

 

The bosses boss has said to my boss that he 'does not see me and the manager managing the nursery' though he never explained why..... to be honest the staff have had it a bit too easy recently, with getting away with things that should maybe have been stamped on, and although i am not passing the buck, when the manager is in, she is the one that wants to be in charge and won't always listen to my ideas about how the staff need to be dealt with.

My bosses boss is the type of boss that demands answers, he wants us to come up with solutions and will then knock them down if they are not what he was thinking! he is not approachable at all :-(

 

i love the ideas for motivating staff.

 

thank you

 

Dawn

 

 

A range of issues here really , will answer the best I can from my experience.

 

The bosses boss who comes in and is critical of your skills etc - has he ever actually been critical or is it just the feeling you get that he isn't happy ? Maybe he needs challenging 'in a nice way' as to what it is he appears unhappy with and what he suggests you can do to change/improve things ? Ask about some time shadowing another 'outstanding' manager in the group to see what it might be you are missing ( or not as the case may be)

 

Motivating lazy staff - always a difficult one, seems as if they have got used to coasting, and as you are under numbers is there an issue about jobs not being secure ? Maybe you could try a stick and carrot approach - ask them three things they feel they can improve in thier practice, and get them to write an action plan on how they are going to achieve this, with a prize for the one who best applies and improves themselves. Maybe suggest if numbers don't rise there is a possibility some staff may be surplus to need - and a relocation or loss of job could be possible - if this is the case.

 

Get the staff on board also with ideas to raise numbers - if they are sat around twiddling thier thumbs then get some flyers printed and send them out posting them through letterboxes. Another way is to use your exisitng parents ( best advert for a setting) Offer a free days fees or a session free (whatever you can afford) for each new parent they introduce. Open days are alwasy a good one - but make sure it is well advertised and organised, or see if the local paper is doing a childcare advertising article and put an ad in , it costs but it can work well.

 

Good luck :o

.

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he sounds like a difficult person to work with - maybe one way you can impress him is by showing him a list of ideas to improve occupancy - maybe a copy of the flyer/plan/ leaflet if you have time to get this drafted. Another way may be to get one of the staff members to show him round and point out things they would like to do /improve( maybe your lazy third in charge who thinks it's her job to 'supervise' on her backside! )

Tell him what you have done - and give him ideas if what else is going to be done - be pro-active, not complacent. If he is critical then ask him to come back in a few weeks and see the difference. :o

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Low occupancy is hard to overcome. Are there any other settings in your area offering things you're not, are they full or do they have the same low numbers? What does the outside look like? Is it smart and neat, with good paintwork and tidy garden, or its it overgrown and tatty?

Get the staff to have a change around of the rooms and equipment, change the curtains, the rugs, swop amongst rooms, take a good look at the toys, what are they offering are there any boxes that arent used because they're at the back of the cupboard? Play motivational music and get the children involved helping out. If you think the staff are bored that will translate to the children, no-one will be having a good time. Shake 'em up.

People who criticise but who fail to help with ideas arent worth worrying about. Have a list of things you'd like to do ready to discuss with the boss, if she doesnt like them ask why, tell her you very much want to make the nursery work and ask for his ideas for you to work on.

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Hi Dawn

 

This is a very difficult situation, especially given your job role and the temporary nature of managing the nursery in the manager's absence as anything you might agree or suggest will have to be sensitively put forward upon the manager's return by the sound of it. You are stuck in the middle between a rock and hard place by the sound of things!

 

The staff sound like they need some strong leadership.

 

Some excellent suggestions put forward by redjayne to improve occupancy, it sounds like your manager's boss' bottom line is bums on seats as it were, which of course is understandable. Whilst as you say you do not want to lecture the staff, I also agree with redjayne that you should spell out to staff the possible reason behind the visit, that low occupancy long term could affect staffing levels and the fact that it is in everybody's interests to make sure displays are good, the learning environment is inviting and everyone is engaged with the children, and supervisors should lead by example! Great idea to ask the staff for suggestions to improve occupancy, you could let staff know that they will be given credit to the boss for any good suggestions or even better get the member of staff to explain the suggestion.

 

Also let staff know that you will be asking them at any odd time of the day how many children they have in their care at any given time! Have you addressed this issue? We have a whiteboard which clearly shows how many children are present, this can be easily altered for late arrivals etc and is highly visible to everyone, perhaps you could have something similar in each room? This sort of thing would show that you have acted on this issue and offer reassurance to the boss of the setting's commitment to safeguarding children.

 

To make the setting as welcoming as possible for the boss' visit could you have an activity on offer such as baking bread. We made some recently and added grated cheese and chives snipped with scissors by the children, they were delicious. Would make good scones too!

 

Good luck for the visit.

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