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Good practice in Nursery?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Doodlem, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Hi


    I'm an NQT teaching nursery. I loved my job to start with, until the senior management butted their nose in and told me to change everything!! They insist on every element of the planning to be outstanding an give the children a real 'wow' as they come into the nursery each day.


    I wasn't very happy about it but have gone along with it...


    Basically, they insist that we have a weekly topic (say pirates) and a daily focus (maybe naming shapes as an example) and that all 15 areas within the nursery have to relate to both the topic and the focus (so that 15 pirate, shape related activities that are all exciting and outstanding) This is near impossible to do!!! Especially as each day every activity has to be changed....


    I feel that this doesn't allow the children room to practice their skills and develop their learning as each day all the activities are changed, so there is no chance to build on what they have learnt the day before because everything has to be put away and replaced with something totally different. It also means some fantastic ideas and activities have to be bypassed because they do not fit into the daily focus!!


    It also means we are limited on topic due to the resources and that topics get used up very very quickly!! A week is a big stretch!


    I absolutely hate planning this way and everything I have read, heard and seen from other schools and teachers say the complete opposite about nursery education.


    I was shouted down pretty quickly and told I didn't know what I was talking about when I challenged the managements idea of 'perfect practice' - despite it going against everything I have heard from various sources (talking to friends, reading nursery world, teaching on supply, everything i learnt on my degree - i have a degree in early years education)


    I was wondering what peoples views were on this??? Has anyone else ever come across a nursery that runs this way??


    Thanks
     
  2. Hi


    I'm an NQT teaching nursery. I loved my job to start with, until the senior management butted their nose in and told me to change everything!! They insist on every element of the planning to be outstanding an give the children a real 'wow' as they come into the nursery each day.


    I wasn't very happy about it but have gone along with it...


    Basically, they insist that we have a weekly topic (say pirates) and a daily focus (maybe naming shapes as an example) and that all 15 areas within the nursery have to relate to both the topic and the focus (so that 15 pirate, shape related activities that are all exciting and outstanding) This is near impossible to do!!! Especially as each day every activity has to be changed....


    I feel that this doesn't allow the children room to practice their skills and develop their learning as each day all the activities are changed, so there is no chance to build on what they have learnt the day before because everything has to be put away and replaced with something totally different. It also means some fantastic ideas and activities have to be bypassed because they do not fit into the daily focus!!


    It also means we are limited on topic due to the resources and that topics get used up very very quickly!! A week is a big stretch!


    I absolutely hate planning this way and everything I have read, heard and seen from other schools and teachers say the complete opposite about nursery education.


    I was shouted down pretty quickly and told I didn't know what I was talking about when I challenged the managements idea of 'perfect practice' - despite it going against everything I have heard from various sources (talking to friends, reading nursery world, teaching on supply, everything i learnt on my degree - i have a degree in early years education)


    I was wondering what peoples views were on this??? Has anyone else ever come across a nursery that runs this way??


    Thanks
     
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    This sounds like top-down bullying to me.
    Do you have a decent EY county advisor who can help you? We all moan about advisors but actually they really can be your best friend.

    In the meantime, chin up and remember that you're the one in the nursery, not them.

    Ooh, I'm feeling so aggressive tonight. I'd like to punch these nasty people's lights out.
     
  4. This is a crazy way to attempt to run a nursery. This whole 'wow' thing really gets up my nose! 'wow' for who, exactly? The most important resource for children in nursery is the adults, interacting with them, responding to them and listening to them. Tired and stressed staff, trying to meet these impossible demands from management are not going to be able to meet the children's needs. To make activities wow (yuck, hate that non-word) for children it has to relate to their experiences, their interests and their development, and that might be drawing in soil with an old stick, or walking round with socks on their hands. However, getting hot under the collar about your management won't solve your problem. Could you ask to go to a nursery that is 'outstanding' in your authority and come back with their planning and information about their ethos to feedback? Could you say you would like some support from the early years advisor? This way you might get authoritative back up for your way of doing things. Maybe you could do an audit, or even better get them to do an audit using ECERS (Early Years Environment Rating Scale). This might just put them right on what the environment should be like!
     
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Yes - wow has a lot to answer for

    I'm in kicking mode.
    Anyone else want me to deliver a good kicking to stupid Senior Management?
     
  6. Thanks for the replies

    Our early years advisor is really good friends with the head and comes round every couple of months. She thinks what we are doing is really good and ofsted last term rated us outstanding. They really liked how there is a clear focus because it is clear to monitor progress etc.

    I get frustrated because they see off-topic play as the children being bored and disengaged. For example, the head walked in for a check round (as she does a couple of times a week) and four of the children were pretending to be a bus, wandering around, stopping at certain places, checking tickets etc. I thought it was lovely play, she saw it as them being bored! I pointed out that the wheels on the bus was the song we had been learning that week but she said that if they weren't interested in what I had planned then there must be something wrong with the planning!

    Also, I don't get told when my observations will be as all lessons should be outstanding so I shouldn't need time to prepare. I have been due an observation for the last few weeks and dread work each morning in case it's that day.
     
  7. Good grief. Has your head not heard of child-initiated learning? Ofsted, your HT and the advisor should be ashamed of themselves. I would be tempted to show them the PSED development matters and Every Child Matters with the parts referring to children's interests, independent access, self-managed learning and 80% of assessment to be through observation of child-initiated highlighted! As for your bus role play, show them all the development matters points covered in that play.
    Meanwhile look for another job.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. This is the most ridiculous, outrageous thing I have ever heard of in Early Years and shows an absolute ignorance of how small children learn. It goes against the principles of the EYFS and indeed how teaching in nurseries has ever been done. It is also doomed to failure because little children cannot and should not learn like this. I put sorting bears out the other day and within minutes they were being cooked and made into pies!! I think your head must be a junior teacher who is used to being in control and it just doesnt work like that in Early years.
    I really feel sorry for you and feel your need to get some weight behind you. Have you any nursery schools in your area led by a nursery head? Or any outstanding practices you could ask to visit or get them to visit you and support you? You are absolutely right to challenge this and as the last poster says look for another job!
     
  9. I am stunned by all this !! Apart from what everyone else has already said about best practise etc etc there are some other unprofessional things happening..As far as I am aware it is not acceptable for an observation to be sprung on you out of the blue. You should be given notice and a focus for the observation and the discussion afterwards.
    Just remember it is you who understands the needs of nursery age children .. you are not wrong! I love the bus thing by the way - our children are always playing buses too!
     
  10. Thank you everyone for your replies. They really have made me feel a bit better, I'm glad I'm not going mad thinking that there is a lot going wrong here!!


    The worrying thing is that my school is an infant school and the head and deputy are both early years specialists!! Which is why my protests have fallen on deaf ears - i'm the nqt and they are the so called specialists with years of experience...


    I have found a new job for september, a fantastic school with the complete opposite attitudes, which i can't wait to start!!!
     
  11. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    I worked in a nursery a bit like this in terms of changing everything every day, not the bullying staff though. I was only a maternity cover and jobsharing too so didnt feel I could change anything. There was no continuous provision and there was a different focus everyday, that every child had to do. I felt like a factory machine churning out children. I think there are still lots of people who work like this or beleive we should work like this, though tend to be the people that fell into the job, ie never had any specific training.
    I remember one clueless head telling me off for not having every single thing related to a pirate theme. I decided to just let it wash over me, after writing down my response and reasons why I had planned and taught as I did. I never gave her it because I knew it wouldnt serve any purpose, but I felt better.
    Your ofsted goes to show how erratic it can be, if you dont get an EY specialist and if your head can talk the talk. When I was a governor the school had the most brilliant teacher but awful provision and way of working due to an ignorant tyrant of a KS2 trained head. They still got outstanding despite it being barely satisfactory for most things.
    Good luck in your new job and do what you believe in, your old school will get an ofsted with EY focus one day and no doubt get a shock.
     
  12. Thought I'd keep you updated on the situation. Had an observation yesterday (got told on Monday afternoon so got just under a days notice). The observation was for the full two and a half hour session!! I was totally petrified, was in school just after half past six Tuesday morning to get my nursery looking perfect. I felt it went well, the children were all engaged in very carefully planned and resourced activities and enjoyed themselves.

    I got my feed back today (Wednesday) and have been graded inadequate for several reasons. One - the children were not silent on the carpet. Two - the focus of the day was to talk using imagination (theme was picnics on the moon inspired by whatever next, our topic is space and the children are interested in picnics atm). But apparently there was not enough good quality talk going on. Three - I didn't play with the children enough. I have been told repeatedly to get more observations so was more concerned in observing and making notes. Four - I didnt shout at a child to tell him off, I spoke to him calmly and firmly but apparently that wasn't good enough - my last observation I was told I shouted too much so was trying to remain calm, difficult after being watched for two hours straight already.

    Other things were picked up like the blanket in my medical room didn't look very clean, a desk was dusty and the cd player looked off balance on a shelf (where it has sat long before it was my classroom and has never been mentioned before). So I failed on health and safety as well as planning and behaviour management apparently.

    Right rant over
     
  13. ela86

    ela86 New commenter


    These people are nuts!! How on earth can they expect a nursery class to be silent on the carpet!? And why would they encourage you to shout at nursery children!?
    Thankfully you are leaving this awful school, although I do feel so sorry for the children who stay behind. You sound like a caring early years teacher who knows what she's doing unlike your leaders...
     
  14. katycustard

    katycustard New commenter

    Doodlem, you do seem to have had a rough time and your inadequate may well be unfair. I do think though, that nursery children can be quiet on the carpet if they are not there too long and the story or whatever is interesting enough. Our children who are moving to reception after the summer can certainly sit quietly and have done for quite a while.
    If you're being observed, it's always best to teach/support play rather than do observations. If Heads are using Ofsted criteria they need to see you teaching to grade you. The teacher doesn't need to be direct, but doing an observation wouldn't do it.
    The comment about Health and Safety sounds daft, if a lesson is going to fail on health and safety, I would expect the Head to stop the lesson because of their concerns, not carry on and then moan. It doesn't sound like a real health and safety issue.
    Doodlem, you do sound like a caring teacher and I'm sure you won't start shouting at your children!
     

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