Why early years managers should ask ‘on the spot’ questions daily
Asking on the spot questions to practitioners on a daily basis should be part of regular best practice. This is not something which should be seen as daunting or intimidating for practitioners but instead general questions regarding policy, procedure and best practice. It can be a positive thing for all. These should be done on a casual basis e.g., when walking around the building or when practitioners enter the office.
What are the benefits of doing this?
· Confidence – As practitioners become accustomed to being asked questions their confidence will grow and with this practice will improve
· Practice – This is good practice for when OFSTED come in, they will be asking practitioners a variety of questions, and if practitioners are not used to this it can be nerve-wracking and scary. OFSTED like to see confident practitioners who are fully aware of the correct policy, procedure and practice in their setting , this also reflects well on leadership and management.
· Highlights weaknesses – As practitioners are asked questions it will highlight any weaknesses in that particular practitioner or if the practitioners are asked the same question, it may highlight a weakness across the building around a particular policy or procedure. This can then be used to train practitioners and could be added to CPD records, meetings could be based around this area, or it could be added to action plans during supervisions. The answers given shouldn’t be used against practitioners to make them feel inadequate and lower morale but instead used to support practitioners and ensure everyone has the same knowledge and confidence regarding the setting.
· Save time – Regularly asking quick questions will save time holding meetings in the areas practitioners already have strong knowledge in.
· Knowledgeable managers – If the manager is asking questions it will ensure the manager is also knowledgeable about policies and procedures. It will also give the managers a clearer picture of the practitioners they employ and make them knowledgeable about the practice that is taking place in the setting. It can also highlight to the manager any areas that may need more detail adding in particular policies or about the settings induction process, which may or may not need to be more in depth.
What questions should be asked that may show knowledge of policy and procedure?
Any questions regarding the setting, policy, procedure, practice or early years knowledge and development can be asked. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
· Who is the designated lead?
· What are the signs of physical abuse?
· What would you do if a child was choking?
· What is the procedure for handling bodily fluids such as vomit or blood?
· Can you tell me about one of your key children?
· What would you do if a child was misbehaving?
· If you had a child who was behind with speech development what would you do?
· What is the correct way to make a bottle of formula?
· What are the benefits of accessing the outdoors daily?
· How often do you complete observations?