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Choosing a nursery

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Miss_Purple
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Re: Choosing a nursery

Postby Miss_Purple » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:44 pm

We didn't really have much choice as there were literally about two options for childcare for DD when I went back to work. She started at 11 months old so we chose based on their baby room and proximity to work/flexibility in hours. A lot of my friends/work colleagues children went there too so that was a big plus for me, I figured if they were all happy then we would be too. We have had a couple of issues and at one point considered taking her out, but there really wasn't a viable alternative so we have stuck with it but just rearranged my working hours and Grandmas hours to minimise the time spent at nursery.

Now I am on maternity leave I have reduced her hours further, as although I am not unhappy as such with the place I don't love it either. I want to find a preschool for her to attend when she is 3 as I think the private nursery where she currently goes has less educational opportunities in some ways than other places, so I am planning on visiting pre-schools while I am on maternity leave. I think gut feeling is about all you can go on really tbh - Offstead is only as good as the last inspection, and things could improve or go downhill fast which wouldn't be reflected.

I didn't consider a childminder last time round, but now we will be having two of different ages in care I am wondering if it might be easier when I go back to work this time, there aren't many here though.

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fivefourfour
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Re: Choosing a nursery

Postby fivefourfour » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:17 pm

I used to work in childcare, so had various questions to ask about how they cover staff, freeflow, etc. We also had to choose based around hours. We looked at security and outside visitors onto site.

The most important thing is the vibe you get, how they interact with the children, how they welcome your child, how easily your child plays etc. I always think that places know how to sell themselves - it's like the way you sell yourself at a job interview - and it's not always going to be as perfect as they say, but you know pretty quickly if the policies and proceedures are right for you/your child or not, and how you feel with staff, etc.

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mudita
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Re: Choosing a nursery

Postby mudita » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:43 am

Having been through a few childcare providers, I would say don't go with your emotions, just because you love the feel, doesn't mean that it will be right for you. Also, an outstanding OFSTED rating only means so much. Both your initial feel and some objective factors are improtant in making a choice. The first nursery we ever chose was based on emotion and it ended up being shocking.

My DS1 attneded both the local preschool and a private nursery while I was on Mat Leave, and they were very different. I preferred the private nursery.

What I now look for is: physical space, access to outdoors, place to relax vs. play; Child-led vs. Adult-led; quality of food/snacks; discipline procedures; nappy changing/potty training; what the rooms look like (i.e. filled with interesting things or a bit boring); staff attitudes; how the manager comes accross.

I found the local preschool was quite old fashioned, and extremely adult led vs. child led. This was good for my DS in small doses, and he did learn to write his name, but he was always complaining about the "teachers" and that they were allways telling him what to do. I probably would not have chosen to have him there more than 2 mornings per week. The private nursery, where he is now full time as I am back at work, is lovely. It is quite large, but feels like "home" to adults and children alike. Staff are lovely. It is quite child-led and play based. The children are more lively, it is not quite as disciplined as the preschool, and there is excellent access to the outdoors. Parents have free access at any time. (at the preschool there was no parental access other than pick up and drop off).

My pennies worth! :D

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lazylexis
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Re: Choosing a nursery

Postby lazylexis » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:33 pm

Well we were both pretty impressed by the private nursery today.In the summer the preschool room has frenchdoors which are always open to a huge garden with climbing frame etc. The nursery provide all in one waterproofs for everyone too.They have a lovely sensory room.Children help themselves to water to drink and to food at meals and fruit is always available.Nathan hasn't mastered pouring without spilling or open cups without pouring it all over him so that could be interesting.Him being in nappies still is fine although he was asking about potties earlier! Nathan loved it and ran to play with the dinosaurs.He insisted on sitting down n joining in with the babies in the baby room too- They were around 10-12 months and he chattered away about dinosaurs to them!! We left him in the preschool room to finish the tour and he didn't notice we'd gone. Disciplinewise they have a naughty step and a calm down cushion! It all seems v child led.Theyy let the children chose their own keyworker as they see who they bond with. We'd get 3 funded sessions either mornings 8-12.30 or afternoons 1.15-5.30. They have sensible meds etc policies too.U sign a sheet at the start to say whether they need your permission to give calpol/antihistamines/nappy cream or put suncream on.If child has a temp they ring u and tell u they'll try calpol and if it persists will ask u to collect them. Going to see the church one next week and make a decision.

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