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Starting From Scratch (sorry, Long!)


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As you all know, I recently got a job in a DN (it's my second day!). Today I was offered the position of Acting Baby Unit Leader, basically as a trial leading up to the role of 'Actual' Baby Unit Leader in January.


At present, the babies are following the FS Curriculum, but obviously this is something I intend on changing pretty pronto. The planning the staff are doing is way over and above what they should be doing and isn't relevant anyway.


The rooms are in a bit of a sorry state, but perfectly safe for the children. I have had soooo many ideas in the last 2 days and I wanted to run them past you all for honest opinions.


1. Removing the tables from the 0-1 yr room completely and maybe offering them to the pre-school unit so as they can experiment with free flow play :o . Our garden is huge and would be perfect for this. OUr 1-2 yr room has 2 tables and I want to kepp one for the children to sit around to eat and SOMETIMES for activities, depending obviously on what they are.


In their place I would like new mats and cushions dotted around the place so the children can play at floor level.


2. Scrapping themes and following the interests of the children (I know this is what we should be doing).


3. Displays that are the children's work at their level.


4. Doing away with area signs and any related FS paraphenalia.


5. Daily contact sheets for individual children, rather than a chart stuck on the wall that in my opinion, does not meet the needs of the parents in terms of sharing information with them, nor do they relate to confidentiality procedures. They would include the usual info such as nappy changes, sleep times, meal times, feeds etc.


6. A BTTM photograph board, showing what the children have been doing in each of the areas and captions to go with them, then giving the photogrpahs to the parents or for particularly good ones, using them as evidence in observation books.


This is just a few ideas I have had, but I believe they are the main ones.


I spoke to all the girls today about the current set up and nobody is very happy. Morale is quite low as there have been lots of changes already. Although the paperwork is pretty poor, the standard of the care of the children is faultless.


I want the unit to run smoothly obviously not only for the children, but also for the parents and staff. I want to make changes for the better and not rock the boat any further. I put forward some of my suggestions and the girls seemed really up for them, which was a relief as usually I am faced with criticism and hostility.


One of my main concerns though is that the girls appear to be frightened of our deputy, who apparently saunters in and makes all these changes, purely for the benefit of her 'friends' in the pre-school room when the children move to them. Apparently she calls them 'useless' and is generally quite rude. It is her that has apparently put the current planning format in place and is insisting it is followed because her job in pre-school is made more difficult if the children from the baby unit are not prepared for life in the FS.


So, I'm sorry this has been so long, but I have got so much going around in my head at the moment! I really want to do the right thing by the babies, staff and unit in general, but I also don't want to cause a row between us and the deputy.


One thing I am adamant about though, is that she will not come into the unit and start calling the girls useless, all the while I am overseeing things. it's not nice, it's not professional, and as I said earlier, the girls are frightened of her (despite raising this with the manager).


Your thoughts on my current situation would be gratefully received!!



Edited by Clare
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i am gobsmacked Claire! :o

I did a sort time in a DN many years ago and i really thought they had moved on What a godsend you are.

How do these people get away with it are they not inspected by the same inspectors as us?

Anyway,what you have said is wonderful,fantastic i say go for it! :D

As for doing away with what about the deputy for starters LOLS xD

I would leave my baby in your room anyhow.The parents will love it

Keep us updated


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Clare it all sounds fantastic and you seem so passionate and enthusiastic they are lucky to have you, just be careful that you pace yourself so as not to upset the apple cart so to speak, maybe make your changes gradual and your expertise should make it a lovely and much more appropriate environment, good for you, you are a ray of light!!! :D:D

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You are as always on the ball, but don't do away with area signs in Toddlers etc rooms completely, it will give them a connection when they move up!


In our setting we have signs and symbols in every room - equality??- and are fairly strong on having expectations, or how can the children achieve??




(As always, thoughts - kick them about?)

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Guest cathy m

well done clare, I absolutely agree with your ideas, I shocked to think that the room previously functioned in that inappropriate way.


You will be a breath of fresh air :)



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hi clare, sounds like you are doing a fantastic job, and are a fantastic leader!

Personally. i think this deputy needs some training on b23, you should be telling her that if she doesn't know where the children have come from and their previous experiences then she cant do her job properly.


stick at it you know you are making the best decisions for the children.


laura x

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Clare I agree with Sue R I have worked in toddler rooms with signs and symobles to help them to the next room.


You will get it sorted out soon best advice take one step at a time.! :D Dont do too much too soon or you staff will get confused. This is coming from past expeirences. You are right on the nose when you listed what needed to be done. I have worked in 0-1 room and there were no tables or these special low tables suitable for the age group from Community Playthings.



I wish you all the luck and hope you get the role proper!!! :D Now were's my room leader role gone? Ah maybe thats around the corner! :o




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Clare, I'm so pleased you've found a job you deserve! :D I also agree with Shirel about pacing yourself; 1 - so you don't upset your new staff and 2 - if they haven't had b23 training, they're not overwhelmed by a lot of new practices. I would start by making the room more stimulating for the children, but you'd know best where to start. Have fun.



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Sounds like you've found yourself a job to really get your teeth into and make your mark :D

I agree with others comments, especially pacing yourself and introducing changes gradually. By doing things gradually it will give the staff time to adjust, become more informed and best of all time to celebrate each individual task achievement as they reflect on their new practice and provision. :D


It appears that the baby room staff are heaving a sigh of releif after only knowing you for 2 days :D , and appear happy to have someone in their vorner so to speak.

Maybe you could have a chat with the deputy, try to be objective as if you hadn't heard from others about her behaviour, make your own mind up about where her particular strengths and areas for development are in terms as working with you ( rather than against). When you know her better you will be able to suss out the best strategies to enable her to also be on your side, the side that wants the best for ALL the children whatever phase of the DN they are in ( BTTM or FSC).

Maybe do the 'moving up' childrens' assessments on a form like the sally featherstone one which clearly shows the links between BTTM and the FSC. This will help the deputy to become more familiar with BTTM. She needs to see it in terms of her current knowledge of FSC, which is relevant to her, a sort of start from where she is at and show her the links prior to her starting point. Hopefully this will be less threatening to her. If her behaviour is as suggested, then try to remember that people who bully do so because they feel inadequate. Once she understands the links then this inadequate feeling should reduce, thus enabling her not to feel the need to bully others, and even enable her to value and respect the important work that the staff will be doing with the youngest children.


Good luck, :D keep us informed as to how things go wont you.



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