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Playgroup questions


Every now and then I run a toddler-age playgroup in my home. I don’t do this on a permanent basis, but for a few days or weeks at a time when the main ganenet needs a break. (meaning, I don’t get much of a chance to teach the parents how I want things to be done). Here are my questions:
1) The kids often spill their little baggies of food all over the food and then the other kids come and eat it or the kids lchatchila share their food with the other kids. Do I need to stop this somehow (though it’s very hard)? Is it a form of theft from the parents on my part? What if it’s my daughter who is eating the food on the floor?

2) The parents send little baggies of snacks, but a lot of the parents will send the same snack or I just don’t get around to seeing what the parents sent before the child takes it from his bag. Although I try very hard not to let this happen, is it also some form of theft if I end up giving a child the wrong snack?

3) The hours of the playgroup are from 8:15-1:15 and the parents pay on a monthly basis. What if someone comes knocking at 8:45 or later and I’m in the middle of saying birchas hashachar or changing a diaper or some other short task. Do I have to immediately stop what I’m doing to open the door, or is it okay for me to let the parent wait a couple of minutes? (Leaving the door unlocked and allowing the parents to just walk in is not an option)

4) If I feel the child is sick, but doesn’t have a fever, and I call the mother and ask if she can pick up her child, do I have to compensate the mother for sending the child home early?




1&2 What you are describing is a very common occurrence in a gan, where the small children don’t really know what they are doing. The parents that send their children to preschool, understand that things like this will occur. Additionally, you ae not the one “stealing” anything, rather the kids are doing it among themselves, and the teacher can not lock each child up separately, to make sure this doesn’t happen.

  1. You are allowed to finish what you are doing, even if the parent has to wait a little bit. It I understood that in the middle of gan hours, the ganenet will be busy with the kids, and is not available to answer the door the second someone knocks. The same applies if you are davening with the kids. If you are saying birkas hashachar, you can stop that when you hear knocking, as far as davening Shemona Esrei, this should be done at a different time, as you should not be davening during gan in a way that doesn’t enable you to take care of the children.
  2. You are asking a gray area question, because it is hard to define this. If the child is not feeling well, you may ask the parent to pick the child up, as he should not be in gan at this point, especially if he might make other children sick.

Best wishes


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