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Procedure For Settling In


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Hello there. I run a Playgroup for 3 - 4 year olds, and we recently had an inspection (in June). The inspector commented on the fact that some of the children still found it difficult to share, and suggested that this was usually as a result of a poor settling in procedure.


So I was wondering if any of you more experienced folk could cast an eye over our settling in procedure and maybe suggest how we could make it better.


At present, we settle all 24 of the children in over 4 weeks (September) by staggering the intake.


On the first day we usually take about 6 - 8 children (usually the quietest ones which we would have observed on our open day). We then add about two more children each Wednesday and Friday until all are in.


The normal Playgroup day is 9 - 12.15, but for the settling in month it is 9 - 11. During this time we focus on toileting procedures, routines, getting to know the children and parents. We also have minimum equipment out so that the children arent tempted to play with everything at once, and our theme focuses on myself and my family. There are also three of us working in the room all day.


To be honest, I didnt think the settling in was that bad. I suppose it just becomes more difficult to settle the ones coming in at the end of the month because we havent really had enough time with the others. I had considered extending the settling in to October, but some parents get annoyed when they hear their child is starting at the end of September, so I can imagine the response when they hear its going to be October.


Anyway, I hope some of you can help, because our Inspector will be back at some stage to check what plans we have made for next years settling in, and Im not sure what way to change things.


Many thanks in anticipation,



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Well, to be honest, I'm afraid I don't agree with your Inspector! I think it's much more down to individual children and their stage of development. It sounds like someone who doesn't have a strong enough understanding of the needs and development of FS age children, but at the end of the day, they are your Inspector!

Your settling in sounds OK, you know what works best for you as a team and the children in your care. Have you contacted your Development Worker to see if they have any ideas? I certainly don't think you should extend the settling period any further, for pretty much the reasons you cite, as well as the fact that it could slow things down by not allowing the group dynamics to develop sufficiently. Might you try adding another couple of children each time, to help the whole group integration - just a suggestion.


Any help?


Sue :D

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I have to agree with Sue here - it sounds like the inspector is talking out of their .......... xD:D .


As to the settling in - I'll tell you how our local nursery does it just to give you another idea to bounce around. I'm not necessarily saying it's better though.


The children are put into four groups of 6, A,B,C+D. These groups are made up according to who the children already know and presumably they take into account who are quieter/more disruptive/special needs etc. so that they don't get a particularly 'difficult' group. :o


Then, over a 3 week period the children are settled in like this: -


Wk 1 (one and a half hours only with parents staying)

M Staff only



Th C



Wk 2 (2hrs)




Th B+D



Wk 3 (Full session from Tuesday onwards)




Th A+C+D



This way the staff have an opportunity to get to know all the children and the children each other, in smaller groups. Parents don't like it much because it is a lot of messing around for the first couple of weeks but you can't please everyone! :D

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In my pre-school we invite the new children to attend with their parent for an hour on one of their intended session days during the half term before they are due to start. I make it clear to parents that they are responsible for their own child. Parents can see how the group runs and are encouraged to ask any questions, read all our plans, learn about the F.S. curriculum and inspection reports etc. During the first 2 weeks of September we have an extra staff member at each session. We play lots of games to encourage sharing and learning new names.

Goldilocks I agree with Sue I wonder where the inspector has been all this time because often children find it hard to share whatever their age. I find that younger children are too scared to snatch and argue but as soon as they gain more confidence they are more forceful. If you feel that your settling in period is O.K. then stick with it.

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I didn't know that Ofsted come back soon to check on their recommendations - is that usual now?


I agree with the others tho. I don't see how the settling in procedure has any bearing on sharing. If that was the case then surely children in their own homes would all be perfect at sharing :o


Our settling in procedure is far less rigorous than yours - although we have new ones coming in as they turn 2 years 9 months rather than necessarily termly. They have a visit day that they attend with a parent who stays and then it is down to the child's needs after that!


If there really is a sharing 'problem' then it would surely be better to work on that than reassess the settling in policy....


Have just reread your post. This inspector is saying in JUNE that these children can't share because of poor settling in SEPTEMBER???? I don't think so!

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Many thanks for all your comments, especially those related to sharing. I feel more reassured now that my settling in phase sounds okay. I don't think I'll make any drastic changes yet :)


On the whole though we had a very positive inspection, and the inspectors couldnt have been nicer or more helpful, but as I havent been doing this too long its always good to hear a broader opinion.


I should also add that it was an inspection in NI (which is why they will be coming back so soon), and all of the children would have been in Playgroup for 10 months, i.e. no other new children started after the settling in in September.


Sorry for any confusion - I should have mentioned that at the start - not too sure how much this differs from OFSTED :)


Thanks again


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