Playing the System

Today’s guest post is from a friend who works in a nursery, and for that reason she has chosen not to put her name to it. If anyone has experience working in a childcare setting, I’m sure she would appreciate thoughts and advice.

graffiti in children's playground

I have worked with children for a while now. I’m not really fussed by it all now – I am pretty much used to the whole thing of having children attached to some part of me whether I am at home, with family or at work.

After this amount of time you can’t help but notice little things that children do, and you find yourself always comparing them to others.

(Either that or you hide in the bathroom hoping for 5 minutes peace.)

“Are they capable of this or that? Oh, look, they’ve managed to do that! Wow, they’re a bit behind…”

But all children are different and that what is vital to remember at the end of the day. Nurseries, pre-schools, baby groups and schools are all about

a) providing day care when parents are working


b) helping children achieve and gain valuable life skills.

So how easy it is for ‘the system’ to begin failing a child?

On one occasion hearing that one of the children was not going to be allowed to move up into the next room – and that the parents were not going to be informed – left me feeling a bit annoyed. The term ‘discrete‘ seemed to be used a lot when the staff talked to each other that week.

Surely the parents will notice when the child’s friends are not around in the morning. The setting is going behind the system to benefit themselves rather than the child in question. I will say now this child is certainly not perfect, but then again, which one is? The reasons behind their decision are not fair nor justified enough to be doing such a thing.

I personally believe that the child would benefit from moving up. Reasons for not allowing that involve the lack of communication, lagging manners and temper – but surely play time with the older children would help in some ways. This child shows no risk of causing harm to anyone whilst at the setting.

So it makes me wonder what else they get up to when people are looking?

2 responses

  1. I must say, as a parent who uses a childminder and has just signed her daughter up to nursery for two mornings a week in January, this post really concerns me. It’s great that you’ve been able to share your thoughts here and the one thing that makes me feel better is knowing there’s someone like you who works in a childcare setting – and I hope there are more like you! I have eternal guilt at having to send my daughter to childcare while I work in the mornings and there’s not a morning that goes by where I’m not wondering what she’s doing while I’m not there and how she’s getting on with the other kids. The thought that when I collect her I may not be told the full story is pretty terrifying. As a parent, I ALWAYS want to be told what happens when I’m not there. I’m placing my FULL trust in anyone who looks after my daughter – and I consider that a huge privelege. It worries me that some childcare professionals may not recognise that and think it’s OK and somehow justified to withhold information from parents. It’s not on. Not on at all.

  2. Having worked in childcare for many years, it saddens me to say that I have come accross this kind of thing several times in pre school settings. Probably the most worrying part of this post is that there is little or no communication between the staff and parents. If the practitioners feel there is any kind of issue at all (and I would assume a child not being moved on a group would indicate such an issue) then it ought to be discussed with the child’s parents, not brushed under the carpet. Ultimately this child is being failed by people who have a significant impact on their early learning. If I worked in this setting I would be looking to someone higher up the chain to whom I could address the issue.

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