At a recent manager meeting, I asked the leadership team to discuss their role within the Wee Gems and look at how many hats they would wear if they were to change it for every action they participated in. The team started off by saying the hats for their management functions like Health and Safety, finance, educator, recruitment and staffing. However, as the conversation developed and the team began to explore their role in more depth, they realized they wore the hats of councilor, nurse and even sometimes could be chef, plumber or grounds woman.
In fact, the list was almost endless! This made me think that this would be the perfect topic for our next blog, I should inform our readers of what a Nursery manager does and the importance of this role within our settings.
From the minute the manager walks in the door of the nursery it is essential that she has a positive attitude towards her day. Quiet often the first person she speaks with is a child who will run up to her, throw their arms around her, and tell her all about what has happened that morning or just let her know they need her; they missed her and need just a few moments of her time. (this is usually all before she has removed her coat or put her bag down!)
After all these wonderful encounters (there are usually more than one) the manager can put down her things and go to wish the staff team good morning catching up on what has happened in the first hour of the day. There may be staff and children who are unwell and are not present, there may be facilities concerns, staff may need to pass on important information regarding children, parents or themselves and may need to arrange a suitable time that morning to meet with the manager for a chat.
Once these early morning conversations have been completed and she has checked that lunch is in preparation it is time to look and respond to any emails. These could be from parents, councils, regulatory bodies, senior managers, managers form other branches, finance team, HR team and several other stake holders. It’s now 10:30 and she hasn’t even started to look at today’s to-do list!
And just as she starts to look at it and begin the first task of assessing the team’s training needs, she has a call. A child has been violently sick in the playroom and could she help to take the children out to the garden while one staff member looks after the very upset, poorly child and another staff member gowns up to sanitized the entire room. Everything she had planned to do is put on hold and she hurries to support her team.
By 11:30, children’s lunch time, the room is OK to re-enter and the poorly child had gone home. She has checked that the staff are good to continue and she returns to her desk to commence with her tasks for the day. She has another look at emails 15 new ones! Luckily. most are not important, but there is two from parents regarding extra sessions that she will respond to and one form the senior manager. This one will need a small amount of research prior to responding, there is a week’s deadline so she flags it for another day, and adds it to the ever-growing to-do list.
As its the children’s lunchtime and one of her “to-do tasks”, it’s an ideal time to do some monitoring and spend some time with the children in the other rooms. So, she goes off to enjoy the lunch time conversations with the children while assessing the interactions from staff, this helps her to measure if there is a training need in this area. Before she knows it, lunch has finished and she is reading stories and singing songs. The children are so engaged and she is enjoying the time she is spending with them that it is now 1:30 and she hasn’t yet had any lunch or even a drink of water yet today!
In her head she promises herself that she will write up her observations after lunch and plan how she can support her staff to be the best they can be. Checking her Diary, she realizes there is a nursery Tour at 2pm, still 30 mins to eat something!
Lunch a show around complete, it took a bit longer than expected as it was for two children not one as originally thought and she wanted to ensure that the parents felt confident in the performance of the nursery. This will help when deciding on which nursery to use as now, they are fully informed on what Wee Gems offer. It’s now 3:15 and her to-do list had grown and she hasn’t yet completed the first task she had on it!
Quick walk around the building to check everyone and everything is happening as it should be, and then back to the office to focus on the tasks in hand.
I hour in, she is beginning to feel successful she has completed some important financial tasks and is just about to reward herself with a coffee when she is called to one of the rooms. The baby room team are concerned. A child has a temperature and appears to be unwell and they are looking for a second opinion. She advises a course of action and askes the staff to alert the parents. While in that room she hears that a child from another room has fallen in the garden and is very upset. She goes to have a look at the injury and comforts the child along with the practitioner. She offers to collect the ice pack and soon has the child smiling and feeling ready to play again.
Parents are now beginning to arrive to collect their children and although she really wants to finish one more task before the end of her day, she takes time to talk to the parents and share stories of their child’s day. She knows that parents really appreciate this and she also enjoy this part of her role.
4:45 the nursery is reasonably quiet now, with several children have gone home. Although she is due to finish at 5:00pm she really wants to focus on this one task before she leaves.
6:15 pm and the task is completed she can leave feeling that she has accomplished a good day’s work.
In the car driving home she reflects on her day, the children in preschool really enjoyed the painting activity and a child in the 2s room managed to say her name! She had some really nice conversations with parents and the team really worked well together. She hopes that the two poorly children recover well and return to nursery soon.
As she continues her Journey home with a smile on her face and looks forward to everything that tomorrow can bring.
Written by Catherine Buchanan, 07 Jan 2020