Dividing of work with an assistant and 6 pre-schoolers....
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  1. #1
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    Default Dividing of work with an assistant and 6 pre-schoolers....

    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering how everyone divides up tasks and plans their days when you work with an assistant and have 6 pre-schoolers. We also have a 6 month old which can be time consuming, it seems a mammoth task to just get out of the door etc, and then chaos when we are in. I don't have a playroom so its just my living room and dining room and a garden.....is there a secret? My assistant has no childcare experience prior to starting with me 5 weeks ago so I haven't given her any key children yet.
    VS

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    I don't have an assistant but did work part time in a preschool, along side childminding for 6 years, so I would think it is similar. If I was in your shoes I would be in charge and leading by example. You say she has no childcare experience. Do you mean she's not had any children of her own? I would give her 3 key children to do observations on etc & you have the other 3. Plus at manic times, ie when you are trying to get out the door, she concentrates on her 3 & then assists you. You may want to think about having some structure to your day. For example free play til 10 am then an activity that she or you can do whilst the other one starts snack etc. Then snack with the both of you working as a team. Then one tidy up and the other one read a story or song time etc. Plan your day, roughly, like this. Each person having a role without you having to tell her every 20 minutes to do something. Does she have a job description? Have you left her alone with the children? I know it's very early days but I think communication is key here. Tell her what you want from her and how you want your business to run and what expectations you have. I know a couple of cm's locally who have had assistants and they were pulling their hair out and when they would relay the situations to me it came down to lack of communication from them and me thinking the poor assitant isn't a mind reader. I have thought about it a few times, but think 6 lo's does sound like a lot of noise. Maybe when my kids have left home. Best of luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOH View Post
    I don't have an assistant but did work part time in a preschool, along side childminding for 6 years, so I would think it is similar. If I was in your shoes I would be in charge and leading by example. You say she has no childcare experience. Do you mean she's not had any children of her own? I would give her 3 key children to do observations on etc & you have the other 3. Plus at manic times, ie when you are trying to get out the door, she concentrates on her 3 & then assists you. You may want to think about having some structure to your day. For example free play til 10 am then an activity that she or you can do whilst the other one starts snack etc. Then snack with the both of you working as a team. Then one tidy up and the other one read a story or song time etc. Plan your day, roughly, like this. Each person having a role without you having to tell her every 20 minutes to do something. Does she have a job description? Have you left her alone with the children? I know it's very early days but I think communication is key here. Tell her what you want from her and how you want your business to run and what expectations you have. I know a couple of cm's locally who have had assistants and they were pulling their hair out and when they would relay the situations to me it came down to lack of communication from them and me thinking the poor assitant isn't a mind reader. I have thought about it a few times, but think 6 lo's does sound like a lot of noise. Maybe when my kids have left home. Best of luck.
    Thanks....she does have her own children and is very good with the kids and they like her......I will take the plunge and assign her some key children, I haven't because she has no knowledge of the EYFS but she would learn by doing it I suppose - I do take pride in my LJs though! I was thinking of doing more of a structured day eg 9-9.30 songtime and free play 9.30 get ready and go out 12pm back and lunch 12.45 storytime 1pm naps and quiet play etc - will just take a little while to do it I suppose - its all the other stuff, diaries, packing nappy bag, drinks, correct carseats in car, food prepared, all the adhoc stuff but a good routine will sort it out.......just interested in how everyone does it......

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    Sorry slightly off topic but how Dyou blab out advertising for an assistant and what do you ask for in someone? Are they generally known to you? How much do you pay them and do you have to be at full capacity in order to make it worth it? Can you have double the amount of children of you take on assistant?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mumofone View Post
    Sorry slightly off topic but how Dyou blab out advertising for an assistant and what do you ask for in someone? Are they generally known to you? How much do you pay them and do you have to be at full capacity in order to make it worth it? Can you have double the amount of children of you take on assistant?
    Yes you can double your numbers taking on an assistant and I pay mine £7.50 per hour I also have a trainee who I pay £6.70 (minimum wage) who does one day a week and other adhoc stuff... I could have 5 children and still be better off, but I mainly wanted some company as well....I ended up with my step-sister-in-law so I did know her but I know of people who have advertised on Facebook pages and found people.

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    You are right she will learn the eyfs through trial and error, haven't we? Maybe you both could observe a child and compare notes so she could see the standard you work to plus what your style is as each of us have a different writing style. You may have to do lots of notes for her, almost like a guide book on what you expect so she will get to know to do somenthing before the situation arises. Just keep talking her through things. I do hope it works out as I really enjoyed working with others at the preschool. It does feel good when it's an equal team effort.

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    My daughter has been my assistant for 8 years now and at the beginning she didn't get involved with any paperwork and just helped with the children. As time
    has gone on she has gradually become more and more confident with the job and that includes the EYFS paperwork. We now often sit down together to do it when we have the chance or if we can't because we don't have the free time without lo's, one or the other of us will do it alone. It is by doing it that your assistant will learn but you will have to show her first.

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    It took a couple of months of working together before I worked really productively with my assistant. For the first few weeks she pretty much just played with the children and I did all of the cooking, nappies, paperwork etc. Once she got the hang of the way I do things, I then started emailing her the night before with a basic breakdown of the following day with children attending, activities, times, what was for meals and so on. I specified what I would like her to do each day. Obviously things changed if the children didn't want to do as I had planned but it gave some approximate structure to the day. Now, 6 months in, we follow pretty much the same routine but without the daily email and quite so much rigid planning of how we separate tasks ie we know one of us will make lunch while the other changes nappies and watches the children. We also now split the group for some activities (depending on ages/interests/childrens choice on the day) so that we can have some quieter periods each day when we can focus more on 1-1 chat and smaller group interaction as it allows us to better focus on the individual needs of all of the children plus it can get very noisy with 6 under 5's in the house! I tend to go in a quiet room for an hour at naptime to do paperwork whilst she sets up craft activities/rotates the toys. I was very lucky though as my assistant also works in a school 1 day a week so understands the EYFS well.

    I took on an assistant for the company and for the different perspective and ideas. I pay her £60 per day so need two extra children per day to pay her wages.

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    VeggieSausage...if your assistant is employed by you does she not have a 'job description' alongside a contract of employment?

    also she would be entitled to an 'induction' where you show her how the EYFS works...alongside all the other requirements... and how to put it in practice...maybe she could attend training to give her a basic knowledge on what is required of her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    VeggieSausage...if your assistant is employed by you does she not have a 'job description' alongside a contract of employment?

    also she would be entitled to an 'induction' where you show her how the EYFS works...alongside all the other requirements... and how to put it in practice...maybe she could attend training to give her a basic knowledge on what is required of her.
    No she is self employed but we still have a written agreement, and she was going to have a 3 day induction the week before she started as I only had 2 children that week, however she then booked a last minute holiday so we were in to 5 children on her first day with her 2 after schoolies too, so I felt squeezed for time (wasn't impressed). I have been doing training as we go but we are so busy it has been hard. She wont do any days above the three days she agreed to where we are busy and if I email her anything she doesn't read it - I think she feels if she isn't being paid then why should she - this is my sister in law by the way!.....she is just signed up to do a level 2 which she wanted to do so I feel that will benefit me as well, but I am just trying with trial and error to organise how we split our time as we have a 6 month old baby for example and a 4 year - so competing demands and I feel I am doing most of the work. She is very good with the kids and they really like her, its just as we know unfortunately this job is more than just playing......

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    Quote Originally Posted by VeggieSausage View Post
    No she is self employed but we still have a written agreement, and she was going to have a 3 day induction the week before she started as I only had 2 children that week, however she then booked a last minute holiday so we were in to 5 children on her first day with her 2 after schoolies too, so I felt squeezed for time (wasn't impressed). I have been doing training as we go but we are so busy it has been hard. She wont do any days above the three days she agreed to where we are busy and if I email her anything she doesn't read it - I think she feels if she isn't being paid then why should she - this is my sister in law by the way!.....she is just signed up to do a level 2 which she wanted to do so I feel that will benefit me as well, but I am just trying with trial and error to organise how we split our time as we have a 6 month old baby for example and a 4 year - so competing demands and I feel I am doing most of the work. She is very good with the kids and they really like her, its just as we know unfortunately this job is more than just playing......
    Ah...she is a co-minder then...not an assistant? in other words you do not pay her NI or tax...she is in charge of those herself?
    I can see where you are coming from...and understand it as I have both employed assistants and worked with co-minders.

    I think a 'job description' would do her very well so she can also guide her 'responsibilities' and ask for your help where she needs it.
    For someone new to the job maybe the induction should be at least 8 weeks...it is usually 12

    Good luck and hope it works well in future!

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    I had an assistant. Before she started I had ideas of her sharing paperwork etc with me. But like yours she didn't have a basic grasp of the EYFS and didn't really want to do any extra time outside of work hours to read about it. However she was fantastic with the children and would use her own initiative once she got the hang of our basic routine. She would set the kids up the tables ready when I was preparing lunch; I would take children for naps whilst she tidied up from lunch etc. she did write diaries for her key children. And she would verbally tell me observations or would capture photos for me but even after 10 months wouldn't feel she could write it down and link it in so I would do it. Which then meant 12 part time children's learning journeys.

    I think it's about seeing what things she is best at or not going to improve on with time and working with what you've both got. When you have 6 under 4s you really need someone to help with the basic timetable and needs throughout the day. We would have 3-5 sleepers after lunch and so it was easy for my assistant to hve free play during this time with those up whilst I did some paperwork. We also went online during this time which sped up our paperwork.

    My assistant has now left due to siblings leaving suddenly and not finding replacements in time so I'm back to working alone. But now I have a fab routine set up with my online system too and finding things easier on that front with less children too. The main thing I miss is the ease of preschool runs with an extra pair of hands. But never mind us childminders need to be octopuses ;-)

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  19. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by samb View Post
    I had an assistant. Before she started I had ideas of her sharing paperwork etc with me. But like yours she didn't have a basic grasp of the EYFS and didn't really want to do any extra time outside of work hours to read about it. However she was fantastic with the children and would use her own initiative once she got the hang of our basic routine. She would set the kids up the tables ready when I was preparing lunch; I would take children for naps whilst she tidied up from lunch etc. she did write diaries for her key children. And she would verbally tell me observations or would capture photos for me but even after 10 months wouldn't feel she could write it down and link it in so I would do it. Which then meant 12 part time children's learning journeys.

    I think it's about seeing what things she is best at or not going to improve on with time and working with what you've both got. When you have 6 under 4s you really need someone to help with the basic timetable and needs throughout the day. We would have 3-5 sleepers after lunch and so it was easy for my assistant to hve free play during this time with those up whilst I did some paperwork. We also went online during this time which sped up our paperwork.

    My assistant has now left due to siblings leaving suddenly and not finding replacements in time so I'm back to working alone. But now I have a fab routine set up with my online system too and finding things easier on that front with less children too. The main thing I miss is the ease of preschool runs with an extra pair of hands. But never mind us childminders need to be octopuses ;-)
    Thanks this is really useful and along with some of the other suggestions I am going to give her certain tasks but it won't be paperwork. I will do a daily schedule so she knows what she has to do, she likes to play with the kids and they really like her but I also need her to be proactive and been busier with everything else, she rather chooses what she wants to do rather than what I need her to do and is very assertive almost as though she is the boss so quite difficult to manage! I am sure I will get there with her but it may take some time lol

 

 

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