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Paddling pool


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We were all very excited yesterday when our nursery teacher brought in a paddling pool. We did a risk assessment to decide where and how, tested it out and then emailed our parents to introduce it, telling them that if they would like their child to have a splash in the pool to please send in appropriate swimwear and a towel.

As the children arrived this morning eagerly clutching their swimming gear, we got a message from the headmaster saying that the paddling pool was a definite no-no, his main issues being:

  • some parents may object to boys and girls getting changed together, e.g. on religious grounds
  • safeguarding issues - e.g. "towel drying children"
  • apparently it doesn't give the right 'impression' (we're a private school nursery)

We honestly just saw it as an extension of our water play and didn't anticipate it causing such a storm. We had to hold up our hands to our parents this morning and say that we had jumped the gun and unfortunately the pool wasn't allowed for safeguarding reasons. They shuffled off dejectedly with the abandoned swimming bags under their arms, saying how ridiculous they thought it all was.

Wondering if anybody else has experienced similar problems and whether they managed to find a way around them?

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we don't use a pool day to day but we use 3 or 4 on our summer party day and the children, staff and parents all love the fact that we do. We support children in getting changed which may include us helping to dry them but we do only take 2 or 3 children in to change at a time and there is a member of staff with each one. There has never been an issue, worry, concern, complaint etc etc from a single one of the parents or carers....... Couldn't you ensure that the girls and boys either go into the classroom separately or have girls in one room and boys in the other?

Also with regards to the towel drying issue - surely it's not as intimate as changing a child's nappy?

Edited by mrsbat
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Thanks mrsbat and sunnyday - at least we know we're not the only ones who think it's a shame.

And re changing nappies, that's exactly what we all said!! I think the hm has forgotten that the nursery deals with intimate care on a daily basis. Maybe we should tell him that we would be completely willing to change boys and girls separately if required, although we never have before for any of the nativity plays or other activities involving changing in the eight years I've worked there. If he thinks there may be an objection, perhaps we should start doing so?

And maybe we should also ask him if he would allow it with a parents permission form, like you say? Although I think "do you consent to members of staff towelling down your child when wet?" sound so ridiculous. How would we approach it?!

Thanks for your ideas :1b

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How sad! I haven't really any more advice to add, but I do hope you can resolve it and your children can have a lovely splash in the pool. We use one during the summer holidays if the weather is warm enough and help children change, get dry etc. They absolutely love it. We also plan a water fight on one day each summer holiday and warn all staff involved to bring a change of clothes (adults or children don't have to take part if they don't want to!) We have a lovely time and have children asking "Is it water fight day today?" There's enough seriousness in the world...bring out the paddling pools! :D

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Honestly what a killjoy your headmaster is. We had some fabulous water play at the end of last year with TWO paddling pools, a water volcano and water syphons. Like Stargrower we also had a "water fight" in which the staff were involved - very few if any "rules" apart from one member of staff who insisted that they couldn't get their hair wet (bless her) and the children were brilliant about it. They all "managed their risk", had plenty of practice in dressing and undressing and most importantly had great fun.

One of my fondest memories of my son's reception year was the day that school broke up for the summer - on a lovely hot and sunny day the way home we passed a small council flower bed and the sprinkler was on. My son asked if he could run underneath it and given that his shoes and uniform had done a years service and were past their prime I didn't see any harm in it - he had the most amazing time run through the water spray time and time again and half the fun was getting wet through whilst fully dressed in his uniform - he's 25 now and still remembers doing this - a really precious memory of his early years B)

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Funny you should say that Susan, because one of the parents told us today that they are indeed going to petition the headmaster! :P Thanks everyone for your commiserations - I'll let you know what happens ....

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We regularly use a paddling pool and have never asked permission as such, just make parents realise how lucky they are that we do such lovely things with their children :P

We actually do not change them into swimming gear but the children obviously take shoes and socks off and usually paddle in their shorts.

Our risk assessment is covered under all our water play.

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  • 1 month later...

We have a paddling pool at our preschool,we haven't asked permission from parents although children don't bring swimming clothes. We only allow them to paddle with their feet and hands, rolling up trousers etc. I think this is a great activity because not only does it explore water play it also helps their PSE skills by encouraging taking their own shoes/socks on and off!

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Oh dear how silly.

We also have a paddling pool during the warmer days and its great for every area of learning as well as being fun!! We normally have a line of shoes which a child will want to line up in order of size, washing lines set up every where so children can hang their wet clothes up then decide when their items are dry, oh and lots of socks every where so it definitely becomes a learning activity when children start their independent dressing.

You are right its extended water play which is also following the children's interests. Regarding changing etc you support them normally with nappy changes and accidents so not sure how that is a problem for your head. However if you had a tepee/den set up children who wanted a more private space could take turns to use it. Also if a parent/child is not happy with paddling pool play there will be plenty of other experiences/activities to take part in.

Hopefully with the petition the head will see reason and spontaneous fun (and learning of course) will be restored.

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such a sad read :( we have a paddling pool too. Reception teachers would love you I bet getting children used to undressing and dressing as I know our local school dread PE time as a lot of children can't do the dressing bit, not to mention all the other positive learning outcomes.

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