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AIBU to just not like nurseries very much?

(200 Posts)
HardlyEverHoovers Thu 17-Jan-13 08:21:56

Before I had my own child I occasionally had to spend some time in nurseries as part of my studies etc, this made me decide I didn't want to work with children, NOT because I don't like the kids but because I don't really like the environment. Thought I might feel differently with my own BUT went to visit a nursery yesterday, thought this would be the one, lots of likeminded friends love it and send their kids there, but just came out feeling completely uninspired.
It's a general feeling of discomfort but here are some specifics:
They said they would 'assess' my 2 year old, is this really necessary?
They seem to be trying to impose structure on children who are too young to understand it and they just look totally mystified.
They write down virtually everything they do which seems a bit uneccessary.
They showed me the toilet/changing area and it occurred to me that DS would be having his nappy changed by someone other than me or his dad and that makes me uncomfortable.

Am I missing something? Is there a sort of nursery I could try and find which is a bit more 'free range'? I love the idea of forest nurserys where the kids are outside all the time but I can't find any near us.

Thankfully we don't need to send him as at least one of us is at home all day, but just wondering why I feel like this when most people seem to think it's a good thing.

p.s. really really no offence to nursery staff who I know are very skilled, love kids and have mountains of patience.

DoItToJulia Thu 17-Jan-13 09:16:42

A beautiful example of what I mean!

HardlyEverHoovers Thu 17-Jan-13 09:19:15

Oh dear, I think I should have emphasised that I really don't have anything against others making whatever childcare arrangements they think are best for their children, and if my circumstances were different, a different thing might be best for my DS. I have a friend who sends her children to nursery everyday despite not working, and I completely understand that as her DH works away, her and the kids need to break from eachother. Every child and family situation is different and we all have to make our own decisions. Maybe if I have more kids in the future I'll feel differently.
Dials yes I'll definitely be rethinking things when he's 3.

LtEveDallas Thu 17-Jan-13 09:19:34

Some parents, some children just don't suit nurseries. In the same way some parents, some children just don't suit CMs.

Personally I preferred the setting of a nursery. I preferred the fact that it was purpose built, had different rooms for different activities, had a safe playground outside, soft play inside and a lovely garden that the children used to explore (like a forest school but again purpose built).

I liked the fact that it had a dedicated on site kitchen that only kitchen staff worked in. Rather than the people looking after my child.

...and for me, one of the important considerations for choosing a nursery over a childminder or nanny was that I didn't want "another woman" becoming the most important person in my DD's life blush

Now before I get flamed, I know that is ridiculous grin. It stems from ME calling MY childminder "Mummy Two" when I was a toddler. Now my mum and my childminder (who I now call Aunt XXX) think it's funny, but after I'd had DD mum commented on it, wondering if DD would be the same and my blood ran cold blush.

So in in the same way that Bonsoir dismisses Nurseries as institutional setting of a nursery is very impersonal for such young children and The CMs I know provide much more of a home-from-home feel I dismiss CMs because I didn't want the home-from-home feel. I wanted a purpose built setting geared towards my child, not someone else's home.

Use what suits you, not anyone else, and what you feel comfortable with. But don't dismiss other peoples choices smile

Spero Thu 17-Jan-13 09:20:04

Julia, it is hardly a surprise that people feel threatened is it? Look at how people frame the nursery debate - impersonal, children too young, harmful etc, etc. It is rarely stated that their particular child wouldn't be comfortable but rather ALL children of a certain age will suffer.

I am quite laid back and don't feel I need to justify my choices but even I start getting a bit shirty when someone bangs on about 'institutionalised settings' for the under 3s. There is a definite trend - Oliver James come on down - to try to make women feel guilty about their child care choices. So tread carefully. I don't think what research there is proves anything much but god knows we get it rammed down our throats at every opportunity - nurseries make children aggressive!


HardlyEverHoovers Thu 17-Jan-13 09:20:07

Spero very good point, thank you.

Locketjuice Thu 17-Jan-13 09:21:39

I have worked in 2 nurseries both for a fair time, and would never send my child to one! The atmosphere once parents have left completely changes, its obvious staff had favourites, the manager was so disrespectful towards staff it was uncomfortable, and the children were plonked on the floor with 3 teenagers supervising that didn't want to be there and we're awkward with the children when they were told to interact.

CailinDana Thu 17-Jan-13 09:21:50

I do think people are a bit unrealistic about nurseries, mainly because they haven't thought through the logistics of looking after that number of children for a whole day. The vast majority of the day is taken up with practicalities - getting them fed, getting them changed, seeing to naps etc, and so structure is essential or else things just don't get done. Thing is the children don't really care - in between being fed, cleaned etc they are playing and that's all they really care about! I think a lot of people have a bit of a fairytale notion of nursery as being a lovely clean place full of engaged children all learning their ABCs and it can be a bit of a shock to see something that looks like chaos but in fact is just the way children are at that age, especially in large doses. The fact is for all the EYFS bullshit the main aim of the nursery is to get all the kids through the day fully cared for from a physical point of view, as happily as possible. Whatever the children learn they tend to do so from talking to the staff and the other children, with the odd bit of formal learning thrown in here and there. And that's fine, IMO, it would be exactly the same if the child was at home with a parent, except perhaps with less stimulation. Expecting anything else doesn't take into account what children under 3 are actually like. Nursery isn't school, and parents who expect it to be like a school are in for a shock.

The reason the staff have to write such a lot of useless guff is that the informal learning that goes on all the time (which is the same sort of learning they'd be doing at home) isn't seen to have happened unless it's recorded, and nurseries have to show "evidence" of various pointless things in order to get a good OFSTED rating. It's a waste of the staff's time, and detracts from what they're actually trying to do, but it must be done.

DoItToJulia Thu 17-Jan-13 09:25:56

I don't think the OP meant for this to turn into the 'great nursery debate' but it naturally has, as these things do.

I don't think there is any need to call her a prick just because its not for her and her child. As far as I can see the OP has been quite apologetic in the face of some nasty name calling. And she has been gracious in being told that treading carefully is the order of the day.

bigkidsdidit Thu 17-Jan-13 09:27:39

Everything Lt Eve said.

I don't like nurseries either - they just don't suit me. I work nearly full time and DS goes to a CM which I love.

However, my niece is at a nursery and thriving there - it is wonderful.
Horses for courses, innit.

MrsMelons Thu 17-Jan-13 09:27:49

I didn't want my DCs to go to nursery or pre-school until they could speak. They both went at 2 as were pretty verbal by then. You could not have got more of a nurturing environment and staff as they got there. It was very personal and they wouldn't have been treated any better at home with family IMO. I do have a preference for pre-schools rather than nurseries but won't go into the reasons as its not what this thread is about.

There has to be a structure, we have a routine at home even as young children thrive on that. Its not massively rigid but its there to help the children. They HAVE to write everything down as that is a requirement by Early Years and Ofsted.

If you get a good nursery/pre-school it can be an amazing experience for the children (and parents) but it does sound as if you will not be happy regardless.

Spero Thu 17-Jan-13 09:32:03

Sigh. It can never be anything other than the great nursery debate can it? To pretend otherwise is just a bit naive. Loads of working mothers like me are going to click on it thinking what awful thing is being said about nurseries NOW I wonder... because of course we all worry about our choices, being told that we have condemned our vulnerable little ones to an 'institution' is not a nice thing to hear.

I agree op has not wanted to start a bun fight and has recognised the point. But I don't think it is 'gracious' not to stomp all over other people who have to make difficult choices, it is basic human decency.

Locket juice, fine, you have seen a few nurseries you think are crap and you would NEVER send your child there. But do you have to phrase it in such dramatic terms? It does read as if anyone who makes a different choice to you can't be a good parent. It is rarely so black and white. Some nurseries are shite I am sure. Some childminders have killed children in their care. As have parents.

You do the best you can, with the child you have, with the provision in your area.

DoItToJulia Thu 17-Jan-13 09:35:57

Other posters may have stomped all over other people....some more than others!

BertieBotts Thu 17-Jan-13 09:36:11

I think nursery before preschool age is totally unnecessary and I don't believe that it benefits children, which is not to say that it's a bad thing, or that it's harmful, just that I would not use childcare below this age unless I had to. In fact, I did, because I started a university degree when DS was 2 - at that age I felt for him, a smaller more close environment would have been better and he went to a childminder (which he still goes to in the afternoons)

Actually I sometimes wonder whether the CM is great for him because one child there picks on him quite a bit and because there aren't many children there he doesn't get to get away from her like he would at a nursery... it's all so guilt inducing isn't it?? However I feel that a nursery would have been way too overwhelming, for him at 2 years old.

At 3.3 which is when DS started nursery he was starting to form meaningful friendships with other children, he responded differently to stimulus from different adults and he was interested in learning - so the nursery was of great benefit to him. Of course, he could also have got these same learning experiences at home and through me, too, although the space it gives us away from each other is fantastic.

However I know somebody else who put her son into nursery (preschool) at 3 and he didn't get on well at all, he was not thriving in that environment (despite the nursery being lovely) - she took him out and kept him at home until he was school age, and then tried again, and he loved it.

As for someone else changing your DC's nappy confused - would you prefer they left her unchanged?

WorraLiberty Thu 17-Jan-13 09:39:17

What's wrong with debating it anyway?

Everything else gets debated on here...what with it being a discussion forum and all grin

As someone else said, it's horses for courses. Some kids thrive in nursery and some with a CM.

It's all personal choice.

Spero Thu 17-Jan-13 09:40:23

BertieBotts, Why does this issue have to be framed as 'I don't think it benefits children'. Why can't you just say 'I don't think it would have benefitted my child' ?

The latter is perfectly legitimate. The former is making a pretty clear universal declaration. I just don't think there is any compelling evidence to support such a declaration.

DoItToJulia Thu 17-Jan-13 09:40:49

Absolutely nothing wrong with debating it, but name calling? Now that's different.

Spero Thu 17-Jan-13 09:41:53

I agree Worra. The risk (and the benefit) of posting on a public forum is that posters may take the discussion in a direction you didn't foresee. But I don't see how that is a bad thing. Op seems genuinely open to discussion.

WorraLiberty Thu 17-Jan-13 09:43:23

I agree about the name calling DOIt, in fact I thought it was a bit weird.

Spero Thu 17-Jan-13 09:43:58

I would cut people some slack on the name calling. This issue does cut to the very heart of what it means to be a 'good parent'. If you feel that you are being condemned as 'bad' for a particular choice, particularly if it isn't much of a 'choice', then I can sympathise with why you might lash out.

But I agree, it doesn't help to make your arguments very compelling.

Hullygully Thu 17-Jan-13 09:46:49

Depends on the staff. There was one nice one ds went to (but only for 2 hours a morning) that was really cool and run by a fantastic woman who had terrific ideas.

Others I looked at (when we moved) were shite and run and staffed by people who were clearly there solely because it was a job, any old job, and had little interest in children. My dc went to one for a bit that turned into one of those when the nice manager left, and I regret it.

Bonsoir Thu 17-Jan-13 09:47:50

My DD went to pre-school (French école maternelle) from 2.10 - the first year was 5 short mornings (9 to 11.45) and then four full days from 3.10 (that was a bit much to begin with, but no choice).

I do think that, once they are verbal/around 3, they start needing more time with other children and some time away from parents and family.

princessnumber2 Thu 17-Jan-13 09:48:14

To make a rather obvious point, it does slightly depend on the nursery. I didn't send dd1 to nursery till she was well over 2 but dd2 went 2 days a week from 9 months and loves it. The staff always have loads of different things set up each day and often have far more varied activities than I could provide at home. She often comes home smelling of her key worker's perfume and when I've turned up early I've found her being cuddled by members of staff, playing happily with toys or trying to join in with a song etc. the food is all home made, cooked on site and tbh looks better than what I provide at home blush.

I'm not sure about this 'institution' label. It undermines the hard work that nursery staff put in. It makes all nurseries out to be like the old Romanian orphanages (which I actually visited in the 90s) and many are fantastic. Yes they don't get one to one attention - but unless you have one child and never work again/never do housework/never make a phone/never chat to a friend, they don't actually get that anywhere.

Also some childminders are amazing but some aren't. You are lucky to not need to use childcare but if in the future you do, I would consider all options and assess them all on their own merits.

As for someone else changing your baby's nappy, my toddler has reached the stage of refusing to stay still and screams and crawls off covered in crap every time I change her now. I'd be happy to let anyone take that job on grin

Sirzy Thu 17-Jan-13 09:49:57

The thing is the vast majority of parents think long and hard before deciding upon childcare for their child. Generally it isn't a case of this one is closest/cheapest/biggest etc so we will go with that (I know some parents do)

When picking childcare for DS I visited a few childminders and non of them were right for him and his particular needs. For him the idea of one adult with a group of children didn't work, having a number of adults available in a nursery was much more ideal.

There is no such thing as perfect childcare, nor is their a one size fits all. I looked around some nurseries that i would never let my child go to but others love. The nursery he goes to now is fantastic.

Hullygully Thu 17-Jan-13 09:50:21

Yes princess

As ever the answer is: it depends

It depends on:

the child

The nursery (staff)

the available options and realities of life

Spero Thu 17-Jan-13 09:52:09

I also visited Romania for two weeks in 1991. Which probably explains why I get so exasperated with people who bleat on about UK nurseries being souless institutions to which they would NEVER subject their precious offspring.

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