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can anyone with experience of taking 2 yr olds help with some advice please?

we were told this week we will be accepting 2 yr olds for a trial basis for 5 weeks - we currently take from 2:9, and are in a semi pack away setting.

we are all in one room -luckily we have kitchen and bathroom facilities all directly off this main room.

we will only be accepting 4 2 year olds, and 8 3 -4 yr olds, and we will have 2 qualified staff members.


we have never had 2 yr olds, and i havent had experience of working with them (apart from my own children lol !!)


can anyone give any tips ? we cant seperate the room off -so all children will be in together.


although i did get one really helpful piece of advice from my commitee , " can you try and get the children to use the toilet at the same time, so you dont have to keep changing nappies" -very helpful i thought, not many 2 year olds are potty trained, and not many of our pre-school children are either.

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First thing that springs to mind is that you need 3 staff. Ratios are correct but how do you supervise with one staff member toileting and then how about going outside? How does that fit in?


We also got advised that we should split story time as 2year olds needs differnt to that of 4yr olds.


How can you accept for a trial basis of 5 weeks. If it doesnt work out do you tell parents sorry but cant do it anymore????!


I take it packing away is all done when children have gone home?


Settling in will could also be an issue to think carefully about ie stagger in take or more staff for support. You wouldnt want 4 upset 2 year olds with only 2 staff


It does work and our setting is a mix of 2 to 4 year olds but not with 2 staff! We also have 1 staff that is not inlcuded in ratio just to toilet the children and change nappies etc but we do have 40 children.


Just some other things to consider...think its the trail basis that concerns me!!

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You need to ensure you have appropriate age related resourses and activities. Split story/singing/group time to ensure the little ones are not sitting too long and are engaged when they are. Being in one room is no issue as the little ones will learn from the older children and they will love looking after the little ones.Ensure there is an appropirate space for 'quiet time or sleeping' if they get tired.


Trial period does sound like an issue what will you do if you feel its not working? although is set up properly should work well.

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Yes I would agree that you need three staff. As you say technically your ratios are right - but you would find it difficult at nappy times (or any emergency's)........ and who can predict when a 'stinker arrives'!!!

Could you have 3 staff and more children? (to cover cost of extra staff member)

We have 26 children with up to 8 unders and 5/6 staff.



The actual daily routines with the 2 yr olds shouldn't be a problem, and they do seem to benefit (and will surprise you) at being with older children.


The main problem we have is as Marley says - at storytime. But for us the problem is were are fully pack-away (NOTHING can be left out).. and we have to be out of the hall 15mins after we close. This means we have to pack away while the children are still with us, added to this the layout and acoustics of our hall makes it very difficult to split our stories - which is at the end of the session whilst staff packaway.



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one other consideration is that (i know cos we are) being a packaway its difficult to make sure everything is asessible (when yr limited on time for setting up) to all children and that items 3 to 4 year olds can reach and open 2 yr olds may not.


a good way is to get down to their level i found when i did this some of our boxes were to heavy for them to lift out.



How is a trial going to work? If it doesnt its too late you already have them or does it mean you wont take anymore?

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We also have ' just two's ' this term and it has changed session dynamics considerably. At the moment we have been running with an extra staff member and it wouldn't have worked without her.

Apart from nappies ( worst morning was 8!) the younger children like clearing things off tables - we now put most resources on floor; difficulties in settling - we have children that arrive later as they find 3 hours too long and their inability to sit for snack. We have completely changed routines to accommodate them and it is a lot better now. We are only a small setting (18 max) and have been running with only 12 children (max 6 under 3). Next term we are considering limiting new starters as we cannot afford to have an extra staff member all year. We are offering all our younger children more sessions instead. We still don't know the best way to manage this age group starting as each child is different. This year we had to have a lot of new starters as we lost most of our children to school but it should be better next Septembe ras more than half will be staying on.


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Also - and this was one of our major problems - is the choice of resources freely available.

We had a group of 'older' children this September that were stangely miffed when thier favorite 'tack and pin' and 'peg boards' suddenly became an 'adult supported only' activity when they came back after the summer break!!

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There are lots on here who can give you practical advise..I'm going to give you one major tip. We were in your position about two years back when economics and local policy meant we had to accept two year olds. We are a full pack away/set up setting...and sound very similar to your hall set up......from my experience what is most important is not the practicalities but your staff attitudes. If they are positive and accept that this is just how it is and IS part of their job then it can all work out well. We find our older children are very supportive of the younger ones and initially only one or two staff memebers were happy to change nappies etc....but gradually it has become an accepted part of our daily routine...the two year olds mix well with the older children...they are supported in their learning by the bigger ones and the bigger ones develop confidence and understanding of those less able than themselves. However when staff are moaning and unhappy about it then this complicates the process....get staff onboard and your well on the way!

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We have up to 12 children, of which up to 4 are 2 year olds with only one member of staff. Ideally you would have 3 but 2 is doable. We are not a packaway setting and our oilets are part of the main room. In an emergency we could sometimes call on the help of the administrator or another member of staff doing their keyperson time in the office but not always, they also helps out at snack time.


5 weeks may not be enough time for you to make the necessary adjustments and for practice to become embedded but if you are able to use some of the suggestions on here you should be well on the way to making it work.


We've had to make adjustments this year because the cohort seem particularly young. We've had to make everything much more flexible and engaging to tune in to the younger children needs.

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many thanks -great replies and advice (as always x)


we are hoping to trial 2 year olds just in the run up to christmas, firstly to see if we have a demand and secondly to see if we can manage.

there will only be myself and assistant -and commitee hope that by accepting younger children we will be financially more viable. both myself and my assistant are more than happy to try -nappy changes are no problem..im renound for being the fastest changer around lol !!


we are very much a free play setting, and try not to sit for too long -stories are usually pretty short, or are interactive with the children, so im hoping it wont take to much adapting for 2 yr olds.


thanks for highlighting things i hadn't though of...pegs, tappits, swiping things off tables etc.....we will go through our resources nxt week and risk assess / re -locate etc.


cheers again for your help x

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