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Accepting 18month olds


klc106
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Hi

 

As you may know, we are struggling to stay open for September as we don't have enough children. We have been thinking of maybe accepting children from a younger age (18months) for 1 session per week in order to gain more interest as none of the other local pre-schools do this. A couple of our current parents are already interested in this.

 

We have a building with a large hall which we use at the minute and it has an adjoining smaller room which is not very often used.

 

We thought if we use the small room for the 18 month olds with 1 staff member with a stair gate at the door so staff can be seen at all times. We will then continue to keep the 2-4 year olds with 2 staff in the main room.

 

We thought we could perhaps bring them together at certain times of the day such as snack time, singing, home time and occassionally outdoor play.

 

We also thought that the little ones could explore the bigger hall at times when the older ones are perhaps outside (providing the toys are not unsuitable for them)

 

It seems strange that we have been considering this and thinking of contacting ofsted and then we recieved a letter today to say that our registration certificate is being removed of all ages and numbers of children we care for and it will be down to the setting to ensure that the correct ratio's etc are followed.

 

Do you think this idea sounds workable? or are we being totally stupid!

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I think if you already have parents interested and you have the space then it's certainly worth looking into :-)

 

Would your parents be willing to use the space for meet and greet/get-togethers on other days...or canvas childminders to see if they want a meeting place <for a nominal charge!>

Sounds like perfect timing in line with the de-registration...a good omen?!

Edited by gingerbreadman
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I guess you'd need to work out if you'll actually make any money if every 3 (at the moment) will need a member of staff, and if the older ones are outside with their 2 staff you'd only have one staff member inside, I'm stressing enough at the thought of having more 2 year olds :/

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I'm not sure how having only one member of staff would sit with Ofsted, even with a stair gate. We have stair gates across the doors of all our rooms but we still have a minimum of two staff in a room, other than when someone leaves the room for a short time, e.g. toilet. I'd check this out first.

Hope it works out for you though.

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Hi, I have discussed our low numbers with our PLA rep and she suggested doing exactly what you are thinking, but mixing them into our 2,3&4 yr olds - she also suggested staying open during half term and taking until they are 8 all in one room!!

We have a very mixed age group this year but with a higher than normal level of 2 yr olds, and its one heck of a challenge, having spoken to staff and worked out the actual cost, we decided against it.

Are you still lucky enough to have a Early Years advisor? They might be able to help advise if Ofsted would be happy with reference to the stair gate 1 member of staff scenario.

One thing I've learnt with our low numbers challenge is, the ideas the PLA are coming up with certainly don't match early years idea of 'best practice'

Good luck

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