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How Do You Respond To Withdrawal Of Children From A Playgroup?


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

Yesterday we received 2 letters from parents pulling their children out of our Playgroup. There was no reason given just a thank you for the time their child has been with us and asking that any photos or information we have to be either posted or destroyed.

 

We have heard on the grapevine that they have gone to another playgroup but are not sure whether it is because they have got a free place ie government paid or if there is something we are not doing correctly.

 

My dilemma is this - should I contact the parents and ask them outright whether they had some problem with us or whether they just went because of this "free" offer or should I just acknowledge the letter and enclose the photos and information we need to pass back to them? My employers have said just to let it go and accept the fact they have moved on but from what we are hearing already they are running us down a bit - they have said that we are too regimental and there is no come and go.

 

It is just one more blow to us as we are going through such stressful times at the moment. On the other hand it leaves us open to offer those part timers we presently have a full time place which means we would have 6 preschoolers and 6 pre-preschoolers.

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It sounds like the kind of situation where a questionnaire could come in handy. You could make it a standard one which also gives parents the opportunity to offer feedback when their child moves on to school or even one which covers existing parents too.

 

That way you're giving people the opportunity to let you know if there's a problem without being too 'in your face' about it.

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Sometimes we have asked in a letter form so they can choose to respond or not, and others we have let it go. But I would say that if you feel strongly about it and also feel that they may be leaving for reasons which you might want to reflect on (even if you conclude that you don't want to change your practice) then ask them. Possibly the best way to do it might be to send a letter acknowledging their withdrawal and also a pro forma asking for their feedback as you are always striving to offer a service which is appropriate to the needs of parents. You could include a range of questions which cover aspects you feel they might have moved over and other things you are curious as to their impressions on. They might not respond but at least you have given them the chance. In the future if it becomes evident they are running your setting down, and they haven't responded, you could always ask them why they didn't use that opportunity.

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it all comes back to parental choice... and they decided to use it. and really they are removing the children from your setting to use another.. I always think of withdrawal as something where they are removing a child and not going somewhere else, but because there has been a major issue or complaint..

 

but , from being in a setting where this often happened, it was usually the free place that was the reason for the move.. before the funding for all we had many children move to a school nursery where they were free and only used us until a place came up.. it was disheartening.

 

we did do a letter to ask why and made it easy so a tick would do and a box to write more, even included an SAE.. cannot ever remember getting one back though .

 

if they are commenting about you to others this can also cause an issue, but I did take on board any that came back to me , usually by other parents so all hearsay, and asked myself if what they were saying was actually happening and if so how could I change it or improve on it.. along with asking parents currently using the setting it helped develop the setting and our practice.. although not pleasant to hear i did try to turn it round to a positive..

Edited by Inge
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I had a parent leave years ago, who talked about our playgroup in such terms that I didnt recognise us at all.

Straight afterwards I did a parent questionnaire, asking what they liked, what they would like to see happening, did they know who to go to with a concern and others I cant remember. They could put their name or leave it blank and it was posted in a box in the foyer.

The answers back were really positive with a couple of good suggestions for activities if memory serves. It gave me a boost to know our parents had no issues and knew to approach if they did, something the other parent said we were bad at. There was also a comments box which made the heart glad to read.

Dont let one or two people stop you from what you're doing, just be prepared to acknowledge any criticisms and look to see if they're valid points or just bad mouthing. I think we made a few adjustments to our initial visit information.

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I agree with the others regarding making a standard feedback questionnaire if you feel you really want to know. You do need to make sure its short, simple to complete and sticks to the relevant issues. Any questions are better off being simple yes/no ones or with some sort of rating scale (very good, good, average, poor, very poor). Don't expect to get a reply though!

 

Its important that you tackle this in a professional manner so that you don't give them 'fuel' if they are bad mouthing your setting. Also, if some of what they are saying filters back then reflect upon it and see if you can perhaps improve upon what you already do.

 

Finally remember that however much you try, you will never please everyone and trying to will just lead to madness. :o

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