Daycares

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by MsHolly, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. MsHolly

    MsHolly Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2015

    I currently work at a daycare with two preschool classrooms. We have a teachers and aides in every class along with floaters the move from room to room. During my interview I was not told that when closing the two preschool classrooms would be combining together. For the summer that's not so bad because there are just 10 kids. However, when the school year starts there will be about 30 at the end of the day.

    Is this normal for a daycare/preschool? Personally I do not like it and feel that every class should have an opener and a closer to prevent this from happening. Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks.
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Aug 12, 2015

    In my experience, this happens at most day cares and preschools. It pretty much has to happen if you cover more than an 8 hour day.They can't afford to have all the teachers stay late and only care for a couple of kids each. Combining helps save money.

    We start combine 2 classes at 4 (2 classes into 1), combine again at 5 (now 4 classes are into 1), and then, depending on numbers will combine all the remaining kids at 530 or 545.

    I am the closing teacher and it can be challenging, because we have 2 1/2 year olds through 8 year olds. You will get used to it. Older kids help play with little ones. Do quiet activities (reading/singing) the last 15 minutes so you can be cleaned up. I have a microphone the kids love to lead singing with and a bag of little toys they can only play with at that time which they like.

    Good luck.
     
  4. ash_sk8s

    ash_sk8s Companion

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    Aug 12, 2015

    It's definitely pretty normal. I HATED it at my last center, but it is a money-saving move.
     
  5. MsHolly

    MsHolly Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2015

    I am not sure how it saves money? If there is a lead and an aid in each classroom with who opens and one who closes a floater would only be needed to cover breaks. In this case one floater could cover breaks for four classrooms rather than one for each. Therefore, less floaters would be needed. The center can use substitutes when needed?
     
  6. eternalsaudade

    eternalsaudade Companion

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    Aug 13, 2015

    This is a very common practice and though some centers take it to an extreme and it can become unsafe, it is generally not a big deal. It is not always realistic that one person in each room will be able and willing to work the opening or closing shift and because centers tend to be open for so long, it can still leave a huge gap in care. For instance, at my center we open at 7:30am and close at 6:00pm. Because someone needs to get there to prepare for the day, the opening shift is 7-3:30. A closing shift is 9-6 and is only be that long because they offer comp time for the extra half an hour. We do have a third person, but we also need two openers and two closers between the two classrooms, so it is very possible to end up with a teacher alone in a classroom, say, if both teammates are openers. There are also certain rules about who can open or close as well as a rule that one person cannot be alone in the building with the children. In our case, we have an open design so that is not usually a huge deal, but if a center has classrooms that are closed off and separated, that may be different. The main point here is that there are a lot of factors and complications and because attendance tends to be lower at certain times of day, it is usually feasible to combine classrooms and therefore allow more flexibility and more thorough coverage when scheduling teachers. I wouldn't be too concerned unless you feel that it is creating an unsafe environment for the kids.
     
  7. ash_sk8s

    ash_sk8s Companion

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    Aug 13, 2015

    At my current center, we do NO combining except in extenuating circumstances. Teachers work 10 hour shifts (four days a week) so a child's actual classroom teacher will always be with them. We're open 7-6, so one teacher works 7-5 and the other 8-6. It's nice because I'll never have parents ask "so how was Suzy's day?" and I don't know because Suzy isn't in my class and I only had her for half an hour.
     
  8. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2015

    It saves money when the combining results in less teachers being needed. Let's say there's 15 kids in the older preschool room and 15 in the younger preschool room. You have a teacher and aide in each room. So four staff to pay. But in half an hour 5 kids from each room go home, so now you have 4 staff members watching 20 kids (10 in each room). If you combine the rooms you can now have two staff members watching those 20 kids. So you pay one teacher and one aide instead of two teachers and two aides. You can also think of the end of the day when there's 3-4 kids left in two rooms. That's two teachers (I'm assuming the aides have left). But those same 6-8 kids could be in one room with one teacher. So again, combine the two rooms and therefor pay only one teacher instead of two. I'm using a 1:10 ratio by the way as that's the preschool ratio I'm familiar with.

    I worked child care for three years. We rarely combined rooms until 5pm unless we had a staffing shortage that day. Sometimes the director would ask if anyone wanted to go home early (with a loss of pay of course) and combine kids at around 4pm if it was a very light day. But generally she felt it was best for the kids, teachers and parents to keep the room assignments in place until 5pm. Most of the staff worked either 7am-4pm, 8am-5pm or 9am-6pm. With the ones who left at 4pm every once in a while one or two children would have to shift rooms in order to ensure ratios were maintained.
     
  9. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2015

    I do think you want to make sure the ratios are maintained and also that there aren't more kids in a room than it's been measured for. If you're not meeting the ratio rules for the age, or there are more kids in a room than it's been designated for, that's a definite safety issue. If you notice either of these being an issue I would definitely bring it up with the director. But if it's three teachers and 30 kids, if the room is large enough to hold 30, then you unfortunately just have to deal with it if this is how the center is run. Not ideal for the teachers or kids, but it's how a center can choose to run things.
     
  10. MsHolly

    MsHolly Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2015

    I understand ratios need to be met and we are always in ratio that's one of the centers goals and we do so well with that. others have also mentioned that there are so many "extras" when there doesn't need to be. This is said even from floaters themselves. I guess I try to leave it be and if I find it continues to bother me I'll talk with my director about floaters in my class because I think the inconsistency is hard on the kids. Floaters are never the same and times are up in the air they just pop in during times they aren't needed. Thanks for replying.
     
  11. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Devotee

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    Aug 13, 2015

    Yup. This is the norm.
    Unless it's a big, expensive daycare and they have an opening & closing teacher for every age group
    (I worked at one that had that almost 250 children enrolled so they always had too many to combine),
    they will usually combine in the early mornings and late evenings.
    And make sure the ratios always follow the youngest age group that is in the room!
     

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