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Toileting In Nursery - Who Should Change Children At Lunch Times?


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Hi there...

 

I know that this topic has been covered many times before, but I wanted to ask about staffing for toileting.

 

We have a solid Personal Care policy that is in place in our Foundation Stage, and during normal classroom hours, this is working well. If a child is wet or soiled, their key person will change them and subsequently report to parents.

 

The issue that we're having is with lunchtimes. What procedures do you have in place for lunchtimes, when teaching staff and TAs are on lunch breaks? In Reception, my TAs do dinner duties too, so it works out okay, but for Nursery, there are several lunchtime organisers (specifically for Nursery) who do not see it part of their job to change a child. This could mean teaching staff being taken off their lunch break. In truth, at this time of year when toileting is an issue for quite a number of the hcildren, they are not bothered by that, but what about for children for whom toileting is a real problem? Is it reasonable to expect the child's key person to lose their (already short!) lunch break? Or should lunchtime organisers do it?

 

I'm not sure what I think, and would appreciate some advice please!

 

Thanks! :-)

 

Sandie

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Well being from a pre-school background, I'm afraid I'm a bit hardcore on these things and believe that if lunchtime controllers are specifically there to work with nursery children then dealing with toileting should be part of their job description, and your personal care policy should be operational for all the time the child is on your premises.

 

However I guess you could say that this is easy for me to say since I don't actually work in a school. I would counter by saying that it is the school's duty to ensure that the whole staff team are equipped to effectively meet children's needs, and this includes making arrangements to support their toileting needs during lunchtime.

 

That does sound a bit uncompromising doesn't it? The problem of course is that children need kindly and caring adults to look after them when they have toileting accidents or even if they just need a bit of support when using the school loos, come to that because this is often what children are most worried about when they start at 'big school'. So if the adults around them show any hint of resentment or distaste in providing intimate care, the children might be unwilling to approach them for help in future. Who knows where that might lead? :o

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Hi Sandie.

When I worked in nursery class, our dinner supervisors were teamed up each with a member of staff and therefore became the child's key person lunchtime buddy. They would then take responsibility for changing at these times. It was rarely a problem, and they knew it was part of the job when they took it one. Occasionally they grumbled that the others working with older children didn't have to do it, but then those working with the older ones often had other issues to deal with. Swings and roundabouts if you like.

Its always difficult if there is a prevailing culture of not doing it, and the being asked to, but when I joined my former school is was already embedded into practice there and so wasn't often a problem.

 

I would suggest that you speak to whoever line manages these staff and if necessary also discuss it with your head about responsibilities.

 

Just as an aside, in our reception class where we had just one dinner supervisor, the head said she would change children if they were wet during lunch times. Two weeks later she advertised for another supervisor!

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I would expect the lunchtime supervisors to be professional and meet all the children's needs promptly and with care and compassion. If the children's needs include toileting or changing then that is what they must do.

 

It probably would have been better had this been explicitly included in their job descriptions but you can make sure this happens in the future.

 

In the meantime I would take a zero tolerance approach on refusals to change children. If you choose to work with nursery aged children you should expect to deal with all sorts of bodily fluids, nappies, etc and how you feel about it should never be apparent to the child.

 

Anyone who is not willing to meet the children's needs in this way should probably consider finding a job in a different sort of environment.

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Thank you for all your replies...they fit with my overall feeling to be honest. I'm having a meeting with the lunchtime organisers tomorrow, so I'll let you know how it goes!

 

Thanks again!

 

Sandie

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