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I went on an excellent management course last week, with managers from across the care sector, including residential care managers, etc.

 

One lady said that if staff had to compile a task-list, whereabouts would interacting with the children be on it?

Staff are often so wrapped up in cleaning, tidying-up, getting snacks prepared, etc, that they forget about the important stuff.

 

I fully understand that these are all vital duties, but really want staff to see that sometimes things can wait; or that it doesn't take 2 staff members to clean a table whilst the children are running riot!

 

Went back to work all positive today after my course, and within the first 5 minutes was asked whether there could be another staff member on the late shift, as even though they are paid to work until 6:15, they want to get away at 6pm when the last child leaves, having done all the cleaning whilst the children are still there. I was livid, but so far have managed to keep it bottled up (until now that is!). Will deal with it when I've calmed down and had time to reflect on my response!!

 

Shelley

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you have to act on your instinct though cos when you have calmed down you wont always say what you feel (thats me anyhow)

it isnt easy being the boss is it? Especially when your colleagues are your friends!

I try and remember I am in this position for a reason and I do know best and if I have made the wrong decision am willing to listen to others point of view.

it isnt right that the children are ignored while they clean up ofcourse it isnt.Is there another member of staff could read the group a story leaving another member to get the bulk of it done?

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Luckily I'm in the fortunate position where I've come into a team that are a lot younger than me, and whilst I get on with them, we wouldn't class one another as friends.

 

You are dead right about sometimes having to act straight away, as often you do calm down and let things go, don't you?

 

As far as 1 member of staff reading a story, etc, then they are already in a perfect postion to be doing this, and I can't believe that they are still thinking about themselves and not the children, as their number 1 priority. I already knew this anyway, but the fact that they've just confirmed it by actually asking me.

 

Thanks for your advice. It was just a good forum to be able to let off some steam, more than anything. Will have a quick chat with my deputy tomorrow and then kick a$$!!

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had to speak to two of my staff tonight on the very same subject. after tea i went off to do little tasks that need doing like emptying bins . making sure the toilets were clean and stocked ,washing up etc. which i was doing because although technically i had finished for the day and should have gone home we had a staff meeting so stayed on .and i thought i would save the late shift staff a job.

when i passed through my room i found two staff who are friends one of whom is expecting sitting and discussing an avon catalogue whilst the children were getting noisy and out of hand. one would look up ever now and then to shout at the children and i pointed out that nice as it was to sit and chat looking after and interacting with the children would be better. well if looks could kill i would be six foot under by now.

fast losing patience . :o

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Hi

I know exactly how you are feeling, i walked into our outside area today, 24 children playing, 3 staff stood in the corner having a lovelly conversation, it happens all the time as soon as i'm not looking they start chatting, many times now i have asked them to interact with the children....... it really makes my blood boil................... or another favourite is one member of staff telling the story, 2 cleaning tables, putting toys in cupboards, what ever happened with sitting down and listening to the story with the children..........

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Shelley,

 

What is the cost to you in terms of the 15 minutes after work for x amount of staff to stay and clean? I would be tempted to employ ONE person to do that work and therefore reduce the 6pm leavers salary.

 

I also agree that interaction is a priority, but not at the expense of cleaning not getting done. It is a matter of effectively deploying staff. Also I encourage my staff to see how much can be done with the children. For example, we have to put everything away each day, I found that staff were moving furniture 45 mins before end of session, to the detriment of interaction with the children :o . I got them to look at what furniture could be put away at lunch times ( not needed in the afternoon lesser numbers and children are static, eating lunch) and to look at how to involve the children at the end of the day. Give a child a cloth and they will gladely wipe down tables and chairs ( practice makes perfect, believe me), the children also enjoy 'helping' by carrying a chair at a time to the storage area, they even know that they musn't be stacked more than 4 high ( a bit of maths in the process xD ).

I used to pay all my staff the time spent at end of day to clear away, then I said i would only pay for 30 mins ( the time I thought it would take), they soon did it much quicker than previously. In fact, my deputy found that one member of staff was dragging her feet, so to speak at clear away time, so she said to her, I'm doing this and this, you can do this and this, and when i'm finished i'm going, you can lock up. Amazing how quick she became, not leaving it all to my deputy.

 

The examples of non-interaction during sessions is best addressed with 'peer' observations, these really show the effect on the children, not just leave the staff feeling nagged at for taking time out to chat now and then. We are all sociable human beings, we do 'chat', however, there is always a time and place and sometimes this needs to be addressed, factually with observations helps de-personalise the situation.

 

Peggy

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Ha Ha Guess what you guys? youve made me feel so much better -- I know it goes on everywhere but hey doesnt it make you feel better when you know we are not alone. Staff aye, its a full time job just managing them! Cleaning ! I dread to think what some of their homes looklike!

I could cheerfully scream cry and visit beachy head at the mo- talk about banging your head against a wall!

 

Chins up

x

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Peggy - we are just about to start our QA, and I was told that we would need to do peer-on-peer observations as part of it. The QA person is coming to do a staff meeting on them. The staff have never done anything like it before, so I'm looking forward to it!!

 

Thanks for the advise - I had already planned to use them as part of our development of our outdoor area and the practitioner's role. I'll definitely try them for reflecting on our practice at the end of the day.

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We all do peer observations every day, just that we do it informally ( subjectively) and feedback through chats, even gossip ( subjectively) that is why its good to do it formally / professionaly, it's really raises the professional status of everyone and enables objective observations that are used to promote personal development ( not to undermine or find fault with anyone) If done correctly, and I mean by that, with the right attitude from everyone, they aren't a bad thing and certainly better than the subjective observations we carry out daily. :o

Good luck with your QA, although it is extra work, I have certainly found mine to be very worthwhile, only a third the way through though.

 

Peggy

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