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This is a proposal to provide the children with an area to plant and grow their own vegetables, helping to develop an interest and understanding of healthy eating. Healthy eating is a main factor within the Early Years Foundation Stage (2007) and also within government guidelines. There is lots of information available for families on how important their five a day is however not all children see this in their home life; we will therefore be providing both children and parents with information to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The project is estimated to cost one hundred and thirty nine pounds which covers the costs of all resources needed and also staff time.
The aim of this project is to create a vegetable patch in the garden where the children can plant their own vegetables and watch them grow, giving them an interest in healthy eating.
The objectives of my proposal are:
- To convince parents about the importance of healthy eating
- To raise interest within the children about vegetables and healthy eating
- To allow children to choose their own vegetables
After an observation made on a child, I decided to research more into providing the children with a vegetable patch. I currently work in the toddler room with the two to three year old children. During mealtimes, the children can be very fussy about what vegetables they eat and during one particular lunchtime, a child that doesn't usually eat carrots was eating them. I listened to the child as he told the staff member he had been picking carrots with his granddad and it seemed to give him a real interest in them.
"Good health in the early years helps to safeguard health and well-being throughout life. It is important that children develop healthy habits when they first learn about food and activity." (DfES, 2007:90)
There are many different government schemes and incentives around encouraging healthy eating and it is covered in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) on principle into practice card 1.4, Health and Well Being.
The School Food Trust (2007) document is a guide which introduced the government's food-based and nutrient-based standards for school lunches and should be used by every setting. This includes information on the different types of food that should be provided for children, including vegetables and fruit as part of the recommended five a day.
There are also schemes available such as the Flora Cooking with Schools campaign, which provides cooking equipment, the Change 4 Life scheme and also Menu Matters which are both trying to move settings forward with regards to healthy eating.
By the children being able to plant their own vegetables and watch them grow, they would develop an interest in them, encouraging them to eat them during mealtimes.
With information being sent home to parents, giving them extra information on the Change 4 Life scheme, it is a great way of getting them involved too.
Work Breakdown Structure
To make my project more manageable, I have split it down into different tasks that need carrying out and who in my team will carry these tasks out according to their strengths.
"As an early years manager you will find that your team is an essential resource to time management. Team members have a range of skills and abilities that should be utilised." (Daly et al, 2004:60)
I started with the work breakdown structure (see appendix a) in order to get a clear view of exactly what needed doing. From this I looked at all of the jobs that needed doing and put them onto a responsibility matrix (see appendix b). This ensured they were distributed evenly and by people that would be confident in doing them, making the team carrying out the project stronger by working effectively together.
"Effective teams can lead to greater creativity, improved job satisfaction and increased energy and excitement" (Daly et al)
I have chosen Natasha and Sabrina to prepare the parents leaflet as I know they are enthusiastic about the project and both have great relationships and good ways of communicating with the parents. They are very good at explaining things in a way the parents can relate to and understand and in the past have really helped to get the parents involved in other tasks.
I will be carrying out the staff meeting/training once I have spoken to the gardener in regards to the types of vegetables best to use and will also carry out the budget analysis to make sure we use the money available in the most effective way. Rachael is currently in charge of ordering resources for the room so will take on the role of ordering all of the resources for the project.
To keep within a structured timeframe and so that everyone has a deadline to work to; I have then put the tasks onto the Gannt chart (see appendix c). This should help everyone to keep focused and nothing will get missed out. When joining people up to carry out the tasks I have taken into account which category they fit into in Belbin's theory (M, 2004) for example Sabrina is a team worker whereas Nat is a completer- finisher which may be one reason why they work well together.
In my cost benefit analysis (see appendix d) I have included all costs to get the project up and running. All together the project will cost one hundred and thirty nine pounds, and although the company will not benefit profit wise from this investment, the children will get a lot out of it. This would help the company's profit indirectly as an incentive such as dedication to healthy eating in this way is good for the business's reputation meaning potentially there may be more interest from perspective parents.
Resistors to Change
There are a number of factors which may be resistors to change, to start with there may be some staff that don't want to participate in the project or that aren't very enthusiastic about it. Issues may arise meaning there is not enough time to complete the project on time such as the weather effecting when we can start planting the vegetables. If there is not enough money in the budget we may need to find another source of income.
All of the resistors need to be assessed to see how damaging they might be if they were to actually happen. I have put them all onto a risk assessment chart (see appendix e) and scored them in order to look at how damaging they may be. Doing this can especially highlight how potentially damaging things may be that you hadn't expected to be.
The risks I think that I could potentially come up against are staff not getting involved, as they may not want to stay for the extra meeting or take on extra responsibilities whilst getting it up and running.
Not enough time, if any problems crop up along the way or if people don't get their jobs completed on time.
Insufficient funds, if there is not enough money in the budget to buy the resources or pay overtime for the meeting.
The weather may be a factor as some vegetables will only grow in certain types of weather; also the trough may get water logged if there is too much rain.
Maintenance may be an issue if nobody wants to be responsible for the upkeep of the vegetable patch.
Once I plotted the potential problems onto the matrix, I added up the scores and in order of highest scoring first, and came up with a contingency plan for each problem (see appendix f). By doing this I am providing a way of avoiding or working around any likely risks. This will help to back up my argument for being able to carry out the project giving me the best possible chance of getting the funds or if not having a backup plan so it can still go ahead.
It is essential to have this contingency plan and a good knowledge of the issues on it. For example if staff were reluctant to get involved with the project I would have to make sure I motivate them into getting on board and being enthusiastic in order to carry it out. The way in which I would do this would be to have a team meeting outlining all of the benefits involved in providing the vegetables, and appointing a project manager that is also passionate about doing it to help get the rest of the team's interests. There are theories around motivating a team which place a great deal of importance on the manager's ability to do this. McGregor (1960) had the 'X Y Theory' and in this theory I see myself to be a Y manager in which I believe my team enjoy and value their work, meaning the staff therefore should behave in the way they are expected to, and so continue to work in this way.
Senge (1994) expands on the motivation theory and believes that organisations should work together to make things happen and ideas should be nurtured and supported by everyone.
I did my time plan using the Gnatt Chart, this chart will help each member of staff to know what needs doing each week and give them a clear vision of when each task needs to be done by and when we will see the end product. This is important to help keep the staff motivated and focused in order to avoid any unplanned setbacks and will be displayed on the door to the garden so that it is always clear for everyone to see. As each task is completed each week we can then tick it off to say that it is done so that we can clearly see what progress has been made.
Although I have given a four week time span, the end date is flexible as I have fitted it into the seasonal planning and it wouldn't mean we could no longer carry out if it took slightly longer to set up.
From putting together this proposal I can see that it is viable and would be able to be up and running in a fairly short space of time. It will work well in my setting in regards to our policy on healthy eating which is also outlined in the EYFS. It has made clear the importance of having accurate plans and ways of making decisions on if ideas are practical to carry out or not. Rodd (2006) discusses different types of decisions and divides them into categories. Making decisions in the way of putting forward a proposal before coming up with the answer is taking the problem solving approach which gives the manager time to study and analyse the problem and then look ahead to anticipate the outcome. This is a very practical way of making this decision as I is not something that has been done previously.
- Belbin, M (2004), Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail. Oxford, Elsevier Butterworth- Heinemann
- Daly M, Byers, E and taylor, W (2004), Early Years Management in Practice. Oxford, Heinemann
- DfEs (2007), Early Years Foundation Stage, Nottingham, Crown Copyright
- McGregor, D. (1960), The Human Side of Enterprise, New York, McGraw-Hill
- Menu Matters (2009), http://www.menumatters.co.uk/ accessed on: 27/02/10
- School Food Trust (2009), http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/doc_item.asp?DocId=67&DocCatId=9 accessed on: 27/02/10
- Senge, P (1994). The Fith Discapline Fieldbook: Stategies for Building a Learning Organisation. London: Nicholas Brealey.