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About Tinahs

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  • Your interest in Foundation Stage education
    Nursery practitioner
  1. How many key children?

    Thank you for your reply finleysmaid. I think part of the problem is the way my staff use tapestry. They are all very similar characters in that they are all very conscientious people, which is great but it does mean that they like to put a lot of thought into things (sometimes too much, I feel). When we got tapestry I imagined we would type up most observations there & then, pretty much as it happened. This is how I do it & it seems to work. However my staff are spending most of their non-contact time adding photos & typing up observations from the entire week that they have made written notes about. We've had a busy year (lots of SEN, and ofsted) so it's only over the summer holidays that I've had a chance to think about things & to realise that the way they are using tapestry is not in fact reducing their workload. This something I will address with them in September. We also fill in a half termly tracker on paper & go through development matters & highlight achieved statements half termly for each child. (I know Dev matters shouldn't be used as a tick list but we discussed this as a team & felt that it is a useful tool to show & discuss with parents at parents meetings.) We are a Montessori setting so plan 'next steps' in Montessori materials for each child. As a team at staff meetings we plan the environment to meet general interests or developmental needs of the group (so enhancements to continuous provision). When I write it like this it doesn't sound like much. I do wonder if my staff are overthinking things. Sorry for the long ramble! Would appreciate others' thoughts re OAP process & what you do.
  2. How many key children?

    Thank you for all your replies. It does sound as though we're all in a similar situation. We've never officially set a limit but always had an unwritten rule that 10 or 11 (at a push) is plenty. Realistically we may have to start looking at 15 per key person. It sounds as though other settings are managing this. With costs increasing & funding not we simply don't have the luxury of over staffing anymore. My staff are very good but I anticipate a certain degree of horror & panic when I say 15 key children each! It is useful to be armed with the knowledge that other settings are doing this. Will spend some time looking at our OAP systems to see if I can reduce the paperwork per child even further. Thanks everyone for your help.
  3. Childcare Vouchers You at Work/Busy Bees

    I received that too. Only registered with Busy Bees though, and never heard of You At Work.
  4. How many key children?

    Hi all. I'm just wondering how other settings manage allocating key children between staff. We have 5 staff who are key workers (including 1 apprentice who only has a couple of key children & is supported by me as manager) and currently have 52 children on the register for September. I know that lots more will come along in September and am wonder how we are going to manage to allocate all these children a key person. The other 4 staff already have more than 10 key children each which I think is too many, both in terms of giving the children the time & attention they need and in terms of paperwork. In the past we have had more staff but I really need to manage costs this year. We have plenty of staff in terms of ratios & staffing the sessions but, in the past have ended up employing additional staff just because of the key person issue. I'm sure this can't be what other settings do? Any help or suggestions much appreciated. I'm beginning to think that there's a way of doing this that I'm just not seeing?! Is it just me? Thank you!
  5. We are a private setting. I started asking for donations of fruit last September & it hasn't caused any issues with parents. I was worried about introducing this at first & sent out a letter explaining to parents that the funding has not increased for several years whereas the costs of providing the service have increased considerably which is why we now need to ask for voluntary fruit donations. We request that each child brings one piece of fruit per session which all goes into a big fruit bowl, the children cut & prepare it & we all share. No one has ever complained or questioned it. Some children bring a piece of fruit, some bring nothing & some will bring a whole bag of fruit. An added bonus of this system has been that the children have enjoyed a much wider variety of fruits & veg (we've had star fruit, passion fruit, lychees & peppers) and some children have been very proud to bring in home grown fruit from their gardens. I now have it as part of our welcome pack that we ask for a voluntary contribution of one piece of fruit per session for the children to share at snack time.
  6. Books for 2 year olds

    Ours are obsessed with "Shark in the Park". They ask for it to be read over & over again and join in with the repeated refrains. Great for language - lots of rhyming. And involves a telescope which seems to have captured our little ones' imaginations. Lots of paper telescopes being made!
  7. Not had direct experience of a child diagnosed with PDA but I saw a programme a while ago featuring a child with add who had also been diagnosed with PDA & mum was advised to phrase instructions & requests very carefully so that they were not coming directly from her but were imposed on her by some higher body over which she has no control (ie so that she could not be 'blamed' for any demands she made and the child's anger at the demand was not directed at her). The example they gave was if the child said "I don't want to go to school" mum should say matter of factly "I know. I don't want to take you to school either, but the queen says we have to". They showed this example being used with the child & rather than having a massive melt down (which is what he had been doing over going to school) the child said, rather crossly "I don't like the queen!". Mum agreed with him that it was very unfair but out of her control & he got ready for school with no problem. I have a child this year who (alongside other additional needs) seems to show signs of PDA (although no formal diagnosis, just my opinion). He absolutely will not / cannot comply with any request or instruction, no matter how minor. We now use the technique described above with some success. For example, to get him to put something away I would say "these have to go in the box". He will begin to argue & I will share his disappointment & say "I know but we have to" as though it is not coming from me & is being imposed on me too. We wouldn't normally use phrases such as "we have to..." Or "we've got to ...." but this approach is working (most of the time) with this child. The other approach that works at times is phrasing it carefully so that whatever you wanted him to do was his own fantastic idea(!) Hope this helps & I hope you find someone on here who can offer more experience & advice with this condition. I will follow this with interest for ideas that may be effective with our young man.
  8. I would also be interested in ideas for alternatives to sand. We have had an ongoing problem of sand getting all over the ground outside and making our play area very slippy. Last summer we built a very large sandpit thinking the children could transport the sand inside the sandpit and would no longer spread it over the rest of the play area. In fact it hasn't solved the problem one bit and we now have an added problem that, now the children can get into the sand pit, they often dig quite vigorously and we have had lots of incidents of sand being unintentionally thrown over other children. I will follow this with interest as I'd love to find a good alternative to sand!
  9. Sharing a reference - Advice please

    That's very helpful Upsy Daisy. Thank you.
  10. I have recently withdrawn a job offer due to receiving an unsatisfactory reference. The applicant has now made a subject access request to see the reference provided by her previous employer. However, on our reference forms we ask the person providing the reference to sign for whether they do or do not give permission for the reference to be shared. In this case the person providing the reference has not deleted either 'do' or 'do not' and therefore has not given permission either way. Does anyone know where I stand legally in terms of sharing this reference under a subject access request? We do have a legal helpline with our insurance & I will contact them after the Easter weekend, but wondered if anyone knew the answer in the meantime? Thank you.
  11. Child licking poo

    That made me laugh! Glad it's not just us! If you say no he will instantly become full of rage & indignation. If for example you said no to joining in with a group activity because eg there are only 4 spaces for cooking & you will be able to have a turn next, then he would go red in the face, shouting "I do it! It my turn! I do it!". If you tried to approach him to explain he would run off shouting. He would then go & get a chair & try to force his way into the group, even if there is clearly no room round the table. Once he has forced his way in as much as he is able he will shout indignantly "See! There space! There space!" And will not be persuaded or told otherwise. This just an example. It would go pretty much the same way with anything. If you have to tell him no he gets very indignant & sets out to "solve the problem" that is the reason for being told no (if that makes sense). When you absolutely insist, despite his efforts, that the answer is still no he will cry in frustration & insist he is right.
  12. Child licking poo

    Thank you all for the support. Finleysmaid, initially we all saw him as having a real can-do attitude. It was like there was no job or problem that was too big. He believed he could sort anything out, fix anything, do any job. If the paint was empty he'd refill it, showing real determination in lifting up the 5 litre paint bottles; if someone was at the door he'd rush to answer it (obviously he wasn't able to but he was determined to try); if something needed getting out or setting up, he'd rush to do it; if something needed putting away he'd do the same. He once noticed the clock was broken & was convinced he could fix it. As we were looking at it he noticed the second hand move a little (the battery was giving up) and said with absolute conviction, "See! I fix it!". He still has this strong can-do attitude but it's now becoming less positive due to behaviours described above.
  13. Child licking poo

    Thank you for all your replies. I do know that he needs referring & that will be our next step, once we get parents on board. If he'd turned up at our setting with these behaviours we would have known immediately that something was not right. I think because it's developed over time from him being a "determined" young man to the current situation you start to question yourself & think is it just his character & strong will. Realistically I know it's more than that & will take steps to get him some support. Sometimes it helps to have an outside view. Thank you for all your replies.
  14. Child licking poo

    Mum tells me he sleeps really well for 12hrs. Grandma made a passing comment today about him always being up & raring to go by 5.30am(!) Mum did say when we had a discussion about his behaviour that he has a cousin with asd Just remembered that mum also commented that he is waking up early at the moment due to being woken by the sound of birds singing outside his window. That comment didn't seem significant at the time but thinking about it, hyper-sensitive hearing can be an asd trait....
  15. Child licking poo

    Foreveryoung yes that's a good description of our young man, he just can't stop himself. 99% of the time I would say he has the best of intentions and is desperate to please or to help. If he believes something is right or that he needs to stand his ground to get what he feels is his right then he will argue for it with a passion & will not give in. I have suspicions about ADHD but haven't really experienced it before (apart from one child who was a very extreme case) and I would welcome opinions or advice from anyone who does have experience of it. Thank you for all your replies so far. Just to add we do have a visual timetable in place & though he will refer to it in order to insist that others do what they should be doing it does not necessarily apply to him apparently(!)