March 24, 2019 Expectations amongst your Early Years Tribe

Do you work in an Early Years setting?

Are you struggling with your team or what we call our TRIBE? Do you find that the easiest of jobs aren’t being completed or resources are being lost and mistreated?

Frustrated at the lack of respect for the environment and some of your team’s apathy to give one hundred % to their role in the early years.

Perhaps your team are amazing practitioners and educators when it comes to looking after the children, but sadly have little care or regard for the nursery or Early Year’s setting they work in? Struggling to keep the nursery looking loved and cared for!

Have you ever stopped to consider WHY? 

Why the Early Year’s professionals coming through our doors have little regard for nursery equipment and its environment?

Perhaps you are struggling to gain any sort of passion or drive and determination from your tribe?

Although it’s fair to say that there is a current shortfall in qualified practitioners coming up through the ranks in the UK. Newly qualified practitioners are also coming to our provisions ill-prepared for their career in Early Years. With the clear lack of ‘Early Years Foundation stage’ understanding and firm knowledge of child development.

However, we CANNOT place all the blame at the feet of our newbies!

lifestyles are changing. Our up and coming newly qualified staff are desperately in need of in-house training from the get go!

They seek vision and guidance and clear step by step understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Have you STOPPED to consider if your team UNDERSTAND what is expected of them! 

PAHHHHHHH ! I hear you all sigh! I expect them to tidy up and put things back where they belong.

If you’ve read our previous Curiosity Approach blog about TIDY UP TIME. ‘ What does tidy up time mean.’ Youll have realised that the way we communicate with others is not always the message we wish to convey.

Read it here – Tidy Up Time it gives you an insight into how we say things and how they are actually perceived.

Clarity is essential Are you assuming your tribe know how to do certain tasks and to WHAT standard?

As an example, I had a member of staff once who didn’t realise that floors needed sweeping prior to being mopped! She assumed the wet mop will pick up all the bits of dust and debris. Common sense you would have thought? Well, I presumed wrong.

We all have induction meetings for new staff, but how detailed are these. Do your new staff have a CLEAR understanding of your expectations and how long does your induction process last.

Good managers within Early Years settings realize that management has numerous levels of expectations, but all are built on a foundation of CLARITY and mutual understanding. Clear expectations reflect clear thinking.


Do staff understand how to set up invitations and provocations to learning?

Do they even know what these ARE?

Do staff understand WHO they are for and WHY?

Do YOU as leader and manager understand what they are?

If you as a manager has no clue how to set up and provocation or invitation to learning, how do you expect to articulate that to your tribe?

If you aren’t willing to demonstrate your thoughts, thinking and ideas clearly and articulately HOW are the team expected to get it right also.

When you say to your team. “Tidy the store cupboard”  What are you asking them to do?  Are you expecting them to empty the entire contents, sweep the floor and sort stack the entire contents in a categorised order?

Or just do the best you can in the half-hour slot given?

Teams need clarity and expectations that can be achieved in the time given.

This is why communication is imperative, over time procedures and messages get watered down. standards diminish unless the expectations are consistently reviewed and checked.

The values, culture within your setting and the expectations need to be agreed and understood by everyone and over the coming weeks and months, everyone needs to be held accountable.

EXPECTATIONS are the standards expected of everyone in the tribe.  allow your tribe to rise up and meet these. give them the trust to step up to the mark.

Knowing where the goal point is, gives your team direction, clarity and a vision to work towards- DON’T ASSUME.

Sadly working aimlessly without understanding will lead to uncertainty and in turn enthusiasm to try harder. apathy will set in because they have nothing to strive for.

This article was written by Stephanie Bennett, One of the Co-founders of The Curiosity Approach, alongside Lyndsey Hellyn. We're more than just another consultancy company, together we want to impact on early years. To make a change to the educational system. To inspire practitioners to bring back curiosity, awe and wonder to childhood and to the lives of educators.

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