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Update On Playgroup


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

Thought I would share what has been happening with us this week at Playgroup. As you know I have been posting over the last couple of weeks about different children and problems we have had. Both myself and my deputy have become very stressed and resulted in a few accusations flying most notably from my deputy stating that we were not working together any longer and I was holding back on her. I have taken this very seriously and that coupled with what happened at our Parents meeting last night has caused me to reflect on whether I can continue in the current role as leader - without full confidence in me doing the job I am paid to do by my staff I think shows that there is a problem with my leadership role and how I am viewed as a person. I have tried unsucessful to speak to my Committee as I think it is appropriate to bring them in on the problems I am encountering and offer to step out of this role with immediate effect.

 

At the beginning of the week I felt that everything I said or did within the Playgroup was being questioned by my Deputy at the end of each session and it was as though I was the assistant and she in charge of everything ie leader. I do not like this position and feel incapable of standing up for myself as I know she is probably correct in everything she has said. It is difficult to know what to do in the circumstances we are facing at present but it escalated yesterday with our little boy who has the broken arm continuously kicking both my deputy and volunteer helper during rhyme time. I had to ask the mother to speak to me at the end of session and explained that this was endangering my staff and he had been also hitting out at the children which was causing them a great deal of upset. His circumstances at home were to blame - his older disabled brother has been reacting very violently to him at home and obviously he is bringing that into the Playgroup. Today was no better with again some kicking and thumping both to children and staff.

 

 

 

I have had another parent who is questioning what her child is saying in Playgroup as he appears to be using quite insolent language at home - definately not coming from within our environment but it is a case of reassurance for the parent at this stage with the need to be more vigilant by ourselves.

 

Our little girl that was unsettled remains so with very few signs of being able to let go of mum in the very near future.

 

We had a Parents Meeting last night. At their suggestion last May we decided to meet with a view to raise money by way of a Recipe Booklet. It is not a great money maker but would give us something to put towards the likes of paint, glue, paper etc and for us easier that say a Christmas Hamper. We went down the line of talking about having a coffee morning in December and throwing it open to the local community to come in and buy the booklet if they wanted to. We had 2 particular parents who objected to this idea and were quite forceful in their objections. Result was we had 2 other parents who were at the meeting coming into Playgroup this morning saying to both my Deputy and I that they felt both these parents were down right rude and it was obvious they were not prepared to be involved in any work of raising money for the Playgroup. Again another nail in the coffin for me as I don't know how to be a mediator in this situation.

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Well I'm not sure how the events you describe (and the way you have dealt with them) show that you are not up to the leadership role, terrydoo73. All these things can happen to any of us at any time and it seems to me that your responses are reasonable given the circumstances.

 

I think the main problem is the relationship with your deputy who seems determined to try to undermine you. Is there a committee member with responsibility for employee issues? If so maybe s/he or the Chair can conduct a mediated interview with you both to iron out these difficulties. It seems to me she is unsure where your role ends and hers begins and if she isn't aware of how her behaviour is impacting on you and your self-esteem then she certainly needs help to recognise this and change her approach.

 

Obviously only you know whether you are truly ready to throw in the towel or whether you'd be better off working to make things better in your setting. You may have to reflect on your own performance, but it sounds to me like you're doing that already and not giving yourself credit for everything you've achieved. Certainly your deputy is not right in every situation: just because someone says something confidently and loudly it doesn't mean they are right.

 

What do other staff members think about the situation? Maybe if you address the issues as a team you can pull through and emerge as a stronger, more cohesive team who are more aware of its strengths as well as its weaknesses.

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It sounds like you're getting a very hard time and I think it is undeserved. I'm not sure why you think your deputy is right in her end of session comments. The comments you've reported from her on here haven't exactly met with a chorus of approval. You're the pne reflecting on your practice and trying to improve. Could it be that she find this threatening and is criticising you in self-defence?

 

I think you need to try to let the comments about the little boy's language wash over you if you know it's not coming from your setting.

 

I also thin you need to try to just let the little girl who is unsettled not make any significant progress for a while. Think of it as a period of consolidation while you focus elsewhere.

 

It is not your job to mediate for the committee. That is the chair's job so don't take it on.

 

The one thing you should be focussing on is the little boy kicking out. Have you asked for support from outside the setting? If nothing else you should probably get some manual handling training if you are going to need to restrain him. Do you have access to an area SENCo who could come in and advise you on next steps?

 

Please don't walk away from your setting. It s clear that you are very much needed.

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Totally agree with Upsy Daisy on these issues Terrydoo. It can be quite demoralising when there appears to be a mountain of issues to climb, but Upsy Daisy has offered very good advice here. Main priority is your lad who is being aggressive.

 

Your deputy may have worked in childcare nursery situation in the past, but that doesn't always make what she says right. You have shown good judgement in the past. Childcare is rarely easy, you can step up to the challenges, but don't view them all at the same time. Deal with them one at a time and try not to have a knee jerk reaction to what your deputy says.

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Terrydoo, someone told me years ago to ask questions of people who critisise my work. So how about you say to your deputy 'thats an interesting opinion, can you direct me to the research so I can read more about it?

Dont presume she knows better than you. We all have a different way of working, I can think on my feet and come up with an activilty to fill in a few minutes, my deputy was organised and was able to remind me of paperwork that needed doing, of the two assistance we had one was so H&S conscious it drove me mad but also tempered my wilder moments and the other was able to calm the children ready for story etc after I'd had them dancing and running round like lions or mice or russian ballerians.

Its better that we're all different but it helps if we can work together acknowledging each others strengths and weaknesses. Dont let your deputy focus on your weaknesses at the expense of her own.

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Hi there Terrydoo,

I just wanted to offer my support - it is sometimes lonely at the top, but if you feel you know deep down you are doing your best and your right hand woman or deputy is criticising or undoing you, please consider why you feel they might be right? Rea and the others here are right, take a step back, separate the issues and deal with one thing at a time, but most importantly please do not blame yourself.....that is bad for your health! I speak from experience.

 

Take care of yourself,

Spiral x

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Hi terrydoo73

Firstly can i say i have read your posts over the past few weeks and feel i must reply.

You truly are a reflective practitioner that is trying to do your best with the children and families within your setting/provision.

As a manager of which i am one too comes an immense sense of responsibility and beating yourself up when things are not going smoothly, or as you would genuinely like them to be.

I think its very easy to see it as a huge burden when you package it all together and then start to doubt yourself and your job role.

You have started up your pre-school with limited resources, support and encouragement from anyone and i for one feel you should be congratulated for that.

Okay so you have some children presently that are finding it hard to separate, you have a deputy that appears to question you at every turn, and now you have committee members/parents also making it difficult in terms of fundraising.

So firstly the child that is finding it extremely difficult to separate from mum i feel may benefit from mum either staying for the whole session, so she begins to feel safe, secure and reassured that its a lovely place to be, with mum gradually holding back and allowing you as staff to take on more of that role, or as a previous person suggested to arrive later and stay until the end leaving on a positive note.

The child that is being aggressive to both yourselves and the children, needs to have clear consistent boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour or not, giving lots of praise for keeping their hands/feet to themselves etc. Do you have a support network for behavioural issues that may arise for guidance.

Finally with regard to any fundraising efforts, i really do believe as the supervisor/manager you should only be there in a supporting role and not the decision maker.

Do you belong to any association such as the PSLA or an equivalent as they should be able to support your committee with any issues that arise.

Please try to stay positive as i'm sure things will come good for you in the end. :o

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Have a hug terrydoo (((terrydoo)))

How did you get to be manager? Did you apply and get appointed? Did the deputy also apply? It's always easy to think you can do better - look at quiz programmes when you yell the answers at the TV LOL. Also on here, people post questions or ask for advice and it's so easy from the outside to see what needs to or could be done. It's a different story when you're there!

You talk of stepping out of the position which sounds like you'd still work there but not be in charge. Do you think that would actually help? I think if this deputy is intent on belittling you, she may continue to do so... I agree with the others that she is probably threatened by your desire to actually improve.

Next time she starts I would either, as has been suggested, question her. OK you think I handled it badly - what do you think I should have done? How would that have been better? What are you basing that on... etc OR have courage of your convictions and tell her why you did what you did. Justify your actions. If you agree with what she's saying then say so. It takes a big person to admit they're wrong you know!

My deputy is flipping fantastic and I'm really lucky. I acknowledge the things she is better at - in particular settling in LOL. I defer to her totally for that!

 

How are the other staff?

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Guest terrydoo73

There are just the 2 of us with 2 other volunteers who are actually part of our Management Committee ie they pay our salary! It was agreed when we set up in January that I would have a weekly meeting with a member of this Committee to inform them of what was happening, future plans etc but this has never been implemented. Originally there were meant to be 3 staff but when the Assistant pulled out due to the lack of registration quickly enough the Committee decided to cut back in terms of staffing costs and provided the 2 volunteers. I cannot invisage this lasting much longer that next June but I could be wrong. The Committee are planning to buy a local school which will mean we move in there possibly next September. This will mean our room size will be bigger and incorporate toilets and kitchen facilities in the one area which at present we do not have hence our need to have 3 people staffing the place at all times ie issues with children leaving the room to go to the bathroom which we must supervise and preparation of snack.

 

I received a phone call from an outside consultant last night who has been involved with the setting up of the Playgroup since January and was supposedly to provide us with contracts of employment, induction training etc. This person is continually throwing things at us that knock us for 6 by way of preparing us for what is yet to come. Last night he informed me that as we are looking for funding for the purchase of the school we have to provide evidence of fundraising plans for the coming year to the tune of approximately £250 per month for 12 months!

 

I don't think I can take much more with all this pressure and I really am crying for help now. I have once again asked for help from the Committee as I feel some of the things we have to deal with should be shared and handled by them much more than at present. I have had difficulty sleeping most nights this week - yes I want to and need to sleep but when I go to bed all these thoughts go round and round in my head and usually don't sleep until 1 or 2 in the morning and then waken early knowing I have to face all these problems once again.

 

Today the atmosphere in the Playgroup was so much better and relaxed. We had only 10 today with the little boy with the broken arm not in as he only comes in 3 days a week and I am not saying it was because he wasn't there but it is partly true as we have all tried desperately hard to work one to one with him and not really succeeding in terms of stopping the kicking, slapping etc Our little unsettled child with her mother appears to be more at ease at present - it was her birthday today and a lot of the children made a real fuss of her. Perhaps this is the breakthrough we need - for other children to get to know her and she might become more happier and settled in herself.

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