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Nursery timetable and general support needed please!


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Hi all

 

Ok after a particularly challenging day today I feel like I need some major support!

 

I lead a school nursery (am pm sessions) for children who have just turned 3 to year before reception. We were low on numbers which is why we now take children the day after they turn 3.

 

After a very challenging afternoon session today I just wondered how other nurseries cope with this and fitting in directed tasks and adult led individual or small group tasks too. We also have a child who will potentially have an EHCP or old version statement soon who started very recently. We do not have one to one yet and although myself and my nursery nurse only have 15 children between us at the moment in the afternoons it has been really hard to fit planned activities in.

 

I just feel like I'm managing children at the moment rather than teaching and supporting their learning. A couple of our new 3 year olds have to be watched very closely as they have a tendency to hurt the others or just throw everything on the floor and one of us is supporting our child with sen.

 

I just wanted some advice on how to still support the older children and more able with their next steps and how to fit in directed activities too as at present unless I have all children minus our child with sen who is with my other adult the small group individual tasks are not getting taught.

 

As for written observations when you're changing children who are not toilet trained as well as supporting learning through child initiated play these are few and far between.

 

I don't mean to sound negative but it's been a particularly challenging week and we have appraisal observations next week in the afternoon too and when I don't feel like I'm coping it fills me with dread!

 

Ok rant over but if anyone has any suggestions on ways forward or timetables they could share I'd be truly grateful...

 

Thanks for reading!

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Hi there prowlerchick you have come to the right place. Most of us have been there at some points and members will share their experiences.

It's hard to tell from your post but I wonder if you are trying to do too many focused adult led activities? Would you be able to share with us roughly what you do at the moment?

With your send child, what are the needs and are you getting in referrals and strategies for support?

 

In terms of observations, you don't need to write them all down, so again it might be worth looking at what you are expecting of yourselves.

 

The other thing you might want to look at is what is happening in the environment in terms of continuous provision.

Finally if you have been struggling for a while do you have an early years team or peer network in your locality?

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Like Mundia says, it would be helpful to know a little more about your situation regarding the number and type of activities you are trying to fit in. When I ran a playgroup any adult led activities were approached in a fairly informal way and children encouraged to take part during free flow play.

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Know what you mean prowler chick as for tidy up time that's an experience in itself, we have 18 children - myself as teacher and a nursery nurse, also tricky trying to change children in toilet after accidents when an adult is outside during child initiated time !

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you could be talking about us ..... 3 of us and 37 children. 9 started after christmas and 4 are in nappies. 2 of class going into reception in september are in nappies too .... 1 is send child, other is not. the new ones are into transporting everything, so we set up a shop last week and they just put all the food in the shopping baskets and take it to the other end of class, so when the older ones come to play there is no shopping to buy ...... and lots of time spent changing ..... and i have a group of 15 for group time and my nursery nurse has 13, with the 9 being in the third group with the other nursery nurse. we don't want the younger ones with the older, as we are trying to segment/blend/do 1 more etc and they can't sit for more than 5 mins, but older happy to sit for 20 mins if it's interactive/active learning. we have very autistic boy and IDS have not given funding for him. last year we'd have got match funding... the children are coming in lower and lower and new code of conduct is not working because children are not being picked up by health visitors at 2 year check and ECHP is having to be done by schools, and it takes ages. we will have him in nursery needing 1-1 with no extra support being put in for the rest of the year i expect. so unfair on class

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You could also be talking about our nursery!!

Last half term was physically and mentally tiring to say the least.

 

We had 6 new starters in January, and each one came with some great level of need.

These 6 took us to 31 children.

6 still in nappies.

11 with individual provision maps

One needing constant 1:1 (I believe 100% that he is autistic and at the severe end and we are not offered any support) and 2 others needing 1:1 most of the time.

In amongst this I have 19 children who are going to school in September and a couple working at about 8-20 month level re language.

 

We have 2 qualified staff each session and four days a week we have an apprentice.

 

I have felt like we have managed to keep everyone safe (just about) and that's about all.

 

Anyway I hold the Head the SENCO and the nursery management committee ( we are attached to a school but not a maintained nursery but we are fun by the governing body) and I now have an extra pair of hands 5 sessions a week.

 

It has helped with the day to day running and this past week I feel we have managed to get on and do some individual work etc.

 

Good luck all x

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... the children are coming in lower and lower and new code of conduct is not working because children are not being picked up by health visitors at 2 year check and ECHP is having to be done by schools, and it takes ages. we will have him in nursery needing 1-1 with no extra support being put in for the rest of the year i expect. so unfair on class

They are coming in lower and lower because we are now being run ragged by 2 year olds, supporting lots of children with Sen/ behaviour concerns with no support, constant nappy patrol and for children far older than should be, as you say HV checks are saying 'no concerns' (joke....come into the setting and do them, not in a cosy 1:1 situation with parent present ), we have no time to do the things we used to do with the children when only 3&4 yr olds, supervisions this term have revealed one newly qualified L3 saying "I think I made the wrong career change" and a 10+ years experience saying "I'm not sure I can do this anymore" .....it's all unravelling :(

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Prowlerchick it seems to me that you might be trying to run a nursery class the same way as a reception class (forgive me if this is not the case just seeing it from the post) . I think what we have to remember is that these are VERY young children (and i would have to say i don't think they should EVER be in a 1:13 ratio but that's another issue). We have one next step per child, these are all completed during child led activities so everybody is busy all the time at the planned and unplanned activities we have out.

We should remember that toilet training is a vital part of LEARNING....they cannot complete their health and self care skills without it, so it should be planned for just as much as 'teaching' other skills, teaching how to get on with others how to play etc etc should all be part of your 'planning' i feel, because without these vital skills they will not be able to concentrate to learn more complex issues.

Just a few short years ago these children would still be at home with a parent or carer and most of your just turned 3 years old are probably still working on a two year old level (so 3 prime areas only)

Schools have an sen budget is it not possible for you to get some additional support for this little one? he/she will not progress at the rate of others without targeted support (and to be honest you will not get an EHCP if this is no proof of what you have already done)

Maybe you need a rethink of what you are trying to achieve? perhaps this could be the focus for your appraisals? so use it as an evaluation and what to do next??

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Thanks everyone for your replies.

 

We had a much better afternoon yesterday as for half the time we had an extra adult for 1:1 support for our send child.

 

The problem we have at school is a real lack of staff I've never known it so low (i only started here last year and was previously in another school for 10+ years so got a fair amount of experience!)

 

The problem I'm faced with as well is our reception classes are run like year 1s and although I've been left to it in nursery the slt still want to see progress in non prime areas of literary and maths and aren't interested in prime areas which I've tried to argue are not the most important in children this age!! To no avail :-(

 

We currently work like this:

 

Children enter child initiated from activities we've set out and self chosen from continuous provision

We try to put in intervention groups here for older children such as fine motor skills or psed groups- my nursery nurse has to run an intervention group for her own appraisal target!

 

Stop about half hour later for quick carpet session hello time then split when we can into two smaller groups (max 10) for adult led task. Sometimes we may stay together for story singing etc.

 

Then we have child initiated free flow time indoor outdoor after max 10-15 mins group time. One adult in, one out.

During this time we have 4 adult led activities we try to cover a week as well as run a snack bar inside and support CI play.

 

We then stop 20 minutes before home time and tidy and get coats etc for story or maths songs etc on carpet.

 

We were thinking of having fewer group adult led tasks during CI time, maybe one a week for each adult but put in a short activity at end of session to target drawing, number, shape, uw, and circle time type listening activities instead.

 

We have some bright older children in both our sessions but also very young children so we have to be careful with resources we have out and it is soul destroying when you've spent time with children setting up activities or role play for the younger ones to trash it in 5 seconds :-(

 

I know we're not the only one's in this position but it feels to me because we're attached to a school there are more expectations for progress and school readiness making some aspects more like a reception class.

 

I had three adults at my last school nursery which made it so much easier (although more children).

 

I just feel like I start supporting or working with a child/children and have to leave them because there's another need elsewhere, toilet training or altercation and the more able are getting left because the younger children need more support.

 

We've got more children starting after Easter so this won't get any easier later on in year either.

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I haven't worked in a school but having helped out on a voluntary basis I'm well aware how things may differ from a playgroup. I think what you need to bear in mind is that with good observation you will still be able to identify where the children are in their development and which areas they would benefit in developing. With this information you can enable the children to take control of their own learning by providing the necessary resources and opportunities. The richest learning takes place naturally but the skill is in making sure the children are able to access it at the right time.

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Hi prowlerchick. Your issue appears to be trying to do adult led activities when you have one adult in and one out? When you have just two adults and they are in difference places, I would try to ensure you both support children's play at that time. Time spent supporting play pays dividends later on where your younger children understand how to interact with the resources etc. You are already doing your interventions (which could be your adult led ideas), and some whole group input, first thing and later on, so that is probably enough.

In the meantime, keep saying like a stuck record to your SLT about the importance of the prime areas. At the end of the day, children still wont reach the GLD if they dont have these in place, so it doesnt matter how well they can 'read, write and count', if they cant relate to each other, communicate their needs, and toilet themselves they wont reach those ELGS. Its tough when heads just don't get it.

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Hi, just to say you sound the same as us. Lots of children needing a little extra support but with only two of us its hard..trying to run free flow, oversee snack table and toilets. We only have one adult focussed activity and struggle to do that! Although in ratio I feel we need an extra staff but as we do not make any money its not going to happen. Have got some funding for senbut the Max is only for half the session.

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Not school nursery, but those who are joining you in the 'day they are 3' group (who should still be at pre-school :( ) DO they really need to complete the adult led activities? after all they will be in your class next academic year too

Could that younger group benefit from supported play, perhaps outside, whilst the older entering reception class children do their adult led inside the class (or vice versa)

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Hi prowlerchick. Your issue appears to be trying to do adult led activities when you have one adult in and one out? When you have just two adults and they are in difference places, I would try to ensure you both support children's play at that time. Time spent supporting play pays dividends later on where your younger children understand how to interact with the resources etc. You are already doing your interventions (which could be your adult led ideas), and some whole group input, first thing and later on, so that is probably enough.

In the meantime, keep saying like a stuck record to your SLT about the importance of the prime areas. At the end of the day, children still wont reach the GLD if they dont have these in place, so it doesnt matter how well they can 'read, write and count', if they cant relate to each other, communicate their needs, and toilet themselves they wont reach those ELGS. Its tough when heads just don't get it.

I totally agree with you and may others who've commented. I really appreciate everyone's comments.

Recently had my performance management and head is now questioning my lack of adult focused tasks as they've not seen any when doing walk through observations or timed observations and are 'concerned' about the lack of these and having children in groups coming over to do a task with an adult getting them ready for Reception. It's so hard!!

I explained that we do have focused tasks based around needs of children from observations/assessments but we don't always have a set plan for these as we take objectives to children from provision planner and we do run adult focused tasks but they haven't been in whilst we've been teaching them!

Does anyone have any examples of planning for specific groups of children or ideas on how to show we use assessments to inform planning for adult focused tasks in more detail?

If we are running adult focused tasks as well I'm not sure how they expect us to also observe children's independent learning - I think they are under the impression that we should be making assessment notes when working with a focused task group rather than seeing how those children use that learning within their own play...

Am I getting this all wrong as I feel like everything I know is being questioned????

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