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Disaster Unfolding At Nursery


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Hi

 

well after four days off i return to chaos! (curse the deputy and senior :o )

I walk into work and 'sense' an atmosphere.

 

Bitching has been rife, coming from my deputy and senior, seems they have spent time rubbing others up the wrong way! and doing a whole lot of nothing else.

 

before i went off on annual leave i had moved my deputy from baby room to pre-school room, basically because she was not pulling her weight in babies, she did meet their care needs and they were in no means neglected but she did not do the displays, the room looked dismal and bless the other member of staff that was in there with her, she worked so hard to try and develop the room but my deputy stamped on her creativity and enthusiasm and soon she lost interest and became as laid back as the deputy = 2 laid back people in one room = NOT GOOD!

at the same time as having issues with my deputy in babies i had issues with my member of staff in pre-school (in so much as she liked to shout, and did very little interaction with children, she was fab at planning and observing them but fell down with the hands on stuff, she very much needed to be working with someone else and currently we only have one staff member needed in pre-school. so i swapped my deputy with this member of staff.

The staff member that has moved into baby room has lots of enthusiasm now, and the diplsays / activities have come on a treat... baby room is bright, children are happy and stimulated , planning is getting done (it wasn't whilst my deputy was in there), staff in there are happy and i am happy with how the room is developing.

 

I put my deputy in pre-school as she used to be a pre-school leader and is very experienced with that age. I did her a weeks worth of planning and all she had to do was carry out the activity and observe it... well in a week she did one planned activity. she did not fill in the daily plans which documents children's choice etc....

she has said to me she prefers to just be there playing with the children, and i undertsand that but equally planning and observation is an important part of pre-school life (or am i wrong in thinking that?)

so my deputy has obviously decided not to do the planning ....eeeekkkk, what do i do.... i mean i told her it needed to be done, she knows how to do it... for christ sake i did a week for her, yet still she won't even follow the plans i did, never mind plan her own plans xD

 

The deputy has rearranged the pre-school room, which is okay for anyone to rearrange their room without consulting me, but the deputy has done away with the book corner (we used to have a defined area, very cosy with a storage unit for books, it was sectioned off and utilised as book / quiet corner) ofsted loved it and said it was a great area... it has now gone.... and we are left with a few cushions randomly piles in a corner and a box of books.... (i know from experience our pre-school children will not access the books as freely from a box as they did from the storage unit,) and now they have no defiend area.....

then the home corner has also gone :( because she felt it took up too much room. we have an addition of two tables (and she wants more), i agree that in pre-school it is nice to have table top activities (and thus more tables) but the introduction of another two tables has now comprimissed the children having a home corner (which i definetly want them to have) and a defined book corner (which again i want them to have)

 

i can just see the pre-school room going down hill and fast!, which is hard, firstly its hard because i used to work in there and i pulled it up to the level it was at before i left the room.... and secondly as a manager i worry about seieng it go downwards. I don't doubt the children are cared for and happy, as i know they are.

but the 'education' side (and as we know this is a biggie with OFSTED will be going down hill fast.... so the 'good' grade we received recently may be the last 'good' we see if it continues.

 

now i can't move deputy out of there as there really is no one else that would work in there.... two staff can't because there children are in there, and the other staff don't want to and i really don't want to force anyone to work somewhere they don't wnat to be, as again i know it will be a recipe for disaster.

 

what a mess!!!!!

 

its really stressing me out, i know i need to challenge deputy over planning but bar doing it for her (and even when i do that she doesn't follow them) what am i going to do!

I have made it clear i want a home corner, book corner and a writing area back in the room she was not impressed at that idea.....

 

hmmmm, i struggle with my deputy as she is 30 years my senior and is bitter towards me because i got the job over her...... and i don't like confrontations.... (i know im a wimp LOL)

 

hmmm ideas?, how would you handle this situation????

 

Dawn

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My goodness - what a lot of issues going on there :o It sounds to me like your Deputy is butting against the changes, and the let down of not getting the job - its possible that it wouldnt matter what you did, she still wouldnt be happy with it - how did she react about the news she was moving to preschool? Have you had any real in-depth conversations with her about how she is feeling - would the opportunity of futher training courses help - sometimes these can get a person motivated again?

 

It sounds to me like you are trying your best to act in the best interests of the children, hang in there.

 

Sorry I cant be more helpful - Im sure there will be others who can offer you some more advice.

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Sit down calmly and take a big breath. then make a list of the things that you don't like and write how you want to change them. Then bring each leader in and go through them slowly with them. keep calm emphasize the reason why you want to change things i.e. Ofsted liked one thing. curriculum calls for another thing. Don't be patronizing but let them know that you don't mind things being totally changed but if they have changed them you need to know the reason. If their reasons are valid but you still don't like them, then give them your reasons why you want them changed back.

Just remember the calmer you are and the nicer you are the less reason they will have for complaining afterwards.

Good luck remember big breath and calm aura!!!!!!! :D:D

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HI Goldilocks

how did she react about the news she was moving to preschool? Have you had any real in-depth conversations with her about how she is feeling - would the opportunity of futher training courses help - sometimes these can get a person motivated again?

She was okay about going into pre-school, but she wouldn't directly tell me otherwise anyway (she would just bitch behind my back!) Recently i talked to her about more training, she is not interested :o . I am doing appraisals soon, maybe that will shed some light over all this.

 

Steph,

Sit down calmly and take a big breath. then make a list of the things that you don't like and write how you want to change them. Then bring each leader in and go through them slowly with them. keep calm emphasize the reason why you want to change things i.e. Ofsted liked one thing. curriculum calls for another thing. Don't be patronizing but let them know that you don't mind things being totally changed but if they have changed them you need to know the reason. If their reasons are valid but you still don't like them, then give them your reasons why you want them changed back.

 

good advice, thanks.... i could feel my self getting cross today and i think that is why i didn't raise it directly with her today. I think i will tell all what i do expect in the nursery and just be a bit firmer with them.

hmmmm, staff eh! would be nice if my deputy actually communicated with me and worked with me rather than against me.....

 

Dawn

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remember you are the boss and for good reason Dawn.really good advice on here as said but if you want it that way cos you know better and if noone can come up with a valid reason why not it is done that way end of story.worse thing could happen she could leave :)

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remember you are the boss and for good reason Dawn.really good advice on here as said but if you want it that way cos you know better and if noone can come up with a valid reason why not it is done that way end of story.worse thing could happen she could leave :)

 

oooh, her leaving, that's a tempting idea :o

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Look for the positive Dawn, Ofsted liked you (the nursery). Can you sort this by looking at what you need to address too? Other positive, Ofsted is over and you havent that worry looming.

 

What a shame that all your hard work and your well earnt holiday has been spoilt.

 

Document this carefully too, your boss may need to know.

 

Good luck.

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you're doing great dawn, it seems to me that your deputy is not putting the needs of the children first - otherwise she would be carrying out important things such as planning and observation - also if she is not observing she will find it hard to act on childrens interests!

 

if she is not positively working to meet the needs/do the best for the children, and is not being professional with you - i.e. giving reasons for changes and consulting you in the necessary way, is this not a disciplinary matter? unsure because i don't work in a nursery?

 

if she is a good member of staff then you don't want to lose her, but with the examples you have given it seems to me that she is unhappy - i.e. not wanting to make the room better/being too laid back.

i think the appraisal will be a good place to start to find out what the underlying problems are and get them sorted fast!

 

good luck

laura x

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I personally wouldn't start rearranging rooms and areas without first speaking to the manager, because when all is said and done, the manager is the person running the show, for want of a better word. You were obviously the best person for the job and if your deputy still has issues with it, I think something needs to be done about it. You've been there as manager for a while now haven't you? This bitterness that your deputy still has over something that is pretty much done and dusted is unhealthy both for her (as an individual and as a team member) and ultimately for the children.

 

I agree that the forthcoming appraisals might be a good basis for finding out the deputy's gripes and for talking about the recent changes in the room. I think you should ask her why she felt those changes were needed, although not in a confrontational way. If you can talk about it, you can let her voice her opinions and then you can do the same and maybe, you two will be able to come to a compromise as to how the room layout works.

 

As for further training, planning etc, I have always found these to be parts not only of the job I have been trained and qualified to do, but also parts of any employment contracts. I think it is terrible that your deputy is not willing to undergo further training and development. To me, that is potentially dangerous (a bit of a harsh word, but I can't think of another for it!) situation for the children to be in, in terms of their care, learning and development.

 

I really hope you find a way round it Dawn. Do the steady breathing thing, and hopefully, someone will have some solutions to help you on your way. Good luck!

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What about trying to turn it on the head and take a positive tack:

In an informal situation (over coffee or whatever works for you) you could say 'gosh it must be really strange going back into the pre-school room, quite a struggle... I've heard from xxx that the creativity course (or or planning for imaginative play or whatever might be stimulating out of your training book) was really great. Would you like to go on it? Yes it might cost you in terms of staff cover but if it helps re-ignite her first enthusiasm for quality child care then its money well spent.

If she doesn't respond and things don't improve then it sounds like the first stage of a disciplinary meeting to me. The fact that you tried to support her and send her on training is only more power to your elbow then too!

 

Good luck - I'm sure you'll do the right thing. Its horrible working in an atmosphere, or having to be the 'boss', but the buck does stop with you and at the end of the day its the children that suffer most.

 

Let us know how you get on.

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I agree with previous comments, just to add it is often difficult for someone to follow others plans, ie: when planning I more or less visualise how I think the children will respond, what the experience will be like etc, but when just in black and white, may not seem so inspiring to follow. This is why it is so important for her to write her own plans, ( with other staff who work with these children). Most people are more motivated to follow their own ideas rather than someone elses. Plus I think she may be taking the micky, if she knows you will do it, then why should she bother. :o

 

Appraisals, I would suggest you have a director with you ( is this normal practice, or are they normally done with just the manager and staff member?) Mind you if you have 2 senior people in her appraisal you would have to plan this for all the 'room leader' appraisals, just to show equality.

 

Good luck, hopefully now you are back, the team will be more supportive of you, the atmosphere will change for the better and she will have lost some of her 'bad vibe power' which is sooo contagious.

Certainly shows that the directors made the right decision in giving you the job. Ask and expect their support with dealing with this member of staff.

 

Peggy

 

sorry just an after thought, appraisals should be positive, not aimed at disciplinary stuff. Turn it around to what are her aims for the next year, how can the nursery support her in achieveing her aims, how does she think her aims will benefit herself and the children etc etc.

 

Peggy

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Funnily enough I did appraisal training yesterday. I wouldn't bring this issue up in appraisal - I'd do it before hand. Appraisals should be an overview of the year, and should set targets/areas for development for the next year. There should be nothing out-of-the-blue in an appraisal, and it should not be used to bring up issues like this.

 

It is SO hard to address isssues such as this, and I REALLY feel for you. Just the thought of it makes me feel awful inside. Try not to bottle it up - I've done that so many times, and when I've finally addressed things it has been such a weight off of my mind - and has 9 time out of 10 gone much better than expected.

 

If she's done away with the book corner and home corner, etc, then get her to justify why they don't need to be there - I bet she can't. Maybe she doesn't value their importance - or understand their importance.

 

Try and get a good night's sleep x

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