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Nurseries in North London - help!

(13 Posts)
rosebunch Fri 18-Feb-05 21:52:36

I need to find a nursery but there are so many and they all look/sound the same. I would be really grateful if anyone had any personal recommendations (or unrecommendations!) of nurseries in East Finchley/Muswell Hill. I know evey child is different but at least this might get me started! Thank you.

Fran1 Fri 18-Feb-05 22:05:39

Sorry don't know the area, but from my experience of nurseries if you need to choose a few to visit go and visit the smaller or independently run nurseries as opposed to big chains.

Big chains tend to care about their figures, and collecting the money.

Independently run nurseries tend to be in it for the love of the job. Nurseries do not make a big profit unless you can run hundreds of them and scrimp on quality of food toys etc.

Obviously at the end of the day it's the staff that will be caring for your children, but big chains put a lot of pressure on their staff to ensure numbers are filled etc rather than quality of care is provided.

Sorry to be so negative and i'm sure i'll get some disagreeing with me, but if you have a big list, i'd choose the independent ones!

HunkerMunker Fri 18-Feb-05 22:09:05

Can you look on the Ofsted site?

rosebunch Fri 18-Feb-05 22:19:18

Thanks you two, that is helpful. Only thing is, weeding out the big chains still seems to leave a pretty long list and they all seem to have good Ofstead reports. As far as I can see, Ofstead only ever have one criticism for every school they visit and that is that there is not enough "measuring activity" going on (ie to stimulate interest in maths). I know this sounds really wet but I just feel I'm floundering trying to find a decent place where the children are happy and cared for, there is some structure but not too much, some education but lots of play too etc etc. That's why it would be helpful to have some hard and fast experience from MNers to fill in facts over the gloss iyswim.

Fran1 Fri 18-Feb-05 22:22:22

Ok smaller the better probably.

Look for good outdoor play and/or opportunities to take the children out to local park library etc.

Find out what staff turnover is like.

rosepetal Sat 19-Feb-05 20:09:04

Are you looking for a day nursery or one that runs from 9.00 to 3.30 pm? If the latter, there's a great nursery in Crouch End called Little Tree, on Ferme Park Road.

august24 Sat 19-Feb-05 20:19:08

What is your child's age? I have heard good things about Stonecroft which is run by the council and is fulltime, but it has a very long waiting list and if you don't get on when your child is a baby, you won't get in! And it is in Crouch End, which may be no help at all!

rosebunch Sun 20-Feb-05 11:19:33

I was hoping for a nursery around September time so I maybe too late for everything. I haven't yet got my head around the ridiculous state of nursery and primary education in London. I was also hoping to start gently with two or three mornings or afternoons a week.

sunflower Mon 21-Feb-05 23:24:10

Yes, Stonecraft is an excellent nursery (my friend's daughter went there) but impossible to get into - and yes it is also N8 (by the bottom of Ally Pally, top of Park Road) so perhaps not near enough for you. My daughter went to Hollybush which is a private nursery round the corner from Stonecraft, she loved it and (mostly!) I did too. I've also heard very positive things about Greygates (Muswell Hill), though I was appalled at the prices when I enquired a few years back!

HTH,
sunflower

rosebunch Tue 22-Feb-05 18:36:43

Sunflower, when you said you "mostly" loved it, what were your reservations? Interesting and helpful to hear about Greygates - I've heard good and bad (mainly good).

sunflower Wed 23-Feb-05 23:25:13

Okay, well here are some of the things I really liked about it:
- the staff are all lovely, and all have that knack of really connecting with children. Also really friendly and communicative with parents/carers. Very stable staff who work well as a team - most have been there since the beginning.
- atmosphere really nice (if a little busy, see below). Like a big family.
- The space is also really nice, in a proper house etc. with a good sized garden (that is used a lot).
- General "ethos" - bit hippyish, steiner influenced, vegetarian, outdoorsy.

My only concerns:
- it is quite busy and I'm not sure that the ratios are always managed well (sometimes on dropping DD off there seemed to be lots of children and not enough staff in the actual room, though always in building)
- they also don't seem to segregate much by age so just 2's are in with nearly 5's (only an issue depending on your child, my DD was fine with this and enjoyed the bustling atmosphere)
- organisation wise it seemed a big scatty (e.g. messages not always getting passed to the right staff)

Have probably gone into too much detail here - sorry! On the whole I am really fond of it, and I would recommend it! Cheaper than greygates too!

MunchedTooManyMarsLady Thu 24-Feb-05 00:15:39

There's a lovely swedish guy called Lars at Greygates and he is wonderful with the kids. The staff are friendly and the children seem happy. I have lots of friends with children there and the ages that they started varied. I've only heard really good things about it and my bf sends her daughter there. She was worried about it at the beginning, but mainly because of the size. Her DD3 loves it and can't wait to go each day. Bfs older children went to Rosemount which is near the Maid of Muswell pub on Alexandra Park Road. She really liked that one too. It's a smaller nursery. She only changed because she moved, but she's really impressed with Greygates and never expected to be.

Have been into Stonecroft, didn't like it. Spent a bit of time there and it didn't improve. The woman who runs it was nice though. hth

rosebunch Thu 24-Feb-05 08:08:46

Thanks you guys. and no, not too much details. The more the better in fact. I'll definitely look at both of those and maybe Rosemount too although as a newcomer I do find the education system crazy. Here am I deciding like Lady Muck which nursery might suit His Nibs and then of course they'll tell me I should have registered when I was still pregnant

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