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Nursery with no waiting list - what should I look out for when I visit tomorrow?

(8 Posts)
missrose Thu 07-Jul-11 15:19:11

I live in an area where the average waiting list for a nursery is 12-18 months. Unfortunately I've had my head in a cloud since DD was born and have only just started looking into childcare. I'm going back to work in November when DD will be a year old.

So, tomorrow I'm going to see a nursery that has no waiting list. They have 3 babies to a room (they take 6 babies), with 2 carers per room. This sounds pretty good to me but I am concerned they have no waiting list at all. What should I look out for tomorrow? It's my first visit to a nursery so I don't have anything to compare it to.

Infopls Thu 07-Jul-11 15:57:23

which area is this ?

PirateDinosaur Thu 07-Jul-11 16:11:38

Are they a new (or new-ish) nursery? If so it would go a long way to explaining the absence of a waiting list.

I think you could learn a lot from just asking them directly why they have no waiting list. They'll know the local childcare situation so the question shouldn't surprise them.

I would go by the feel of the place -- how do the children interact with the staff (not just the staff in their room, but the person showing you round, for example; I got a good vibe about the DCs' nursery when the manager who was showing me around was clearly on familiar terms with all the children and they all responded very positively to her)? What are they doing when you look round? Ask about outside time, typical routines and how flexible they are, how information (generally and about your child) is shared with you. If they provide meals, what are the typical menus and what they are actually having today (if one is full of healthy home-cooked organic falafel and the other is spaghetti hoops on toast, you may have uncovered an issue). See how the older children behave -- they are (often) the result of spending years in that nursery and can give you a good insight.

missrose Thu 07-Jul-11 20:49:25

Infopls - I'm in South London.

Thanks PirateDinosaur - that's really useful advice. The appointment is at 9am so hopefully it will be fairly busy by then. If not, I may ask if I can come back in the middle of the day to see what it's like when it's busy. I think you're right about going with gut feeling. I get such a knot in my stomach when I think about leaving her with somewhere else but my dh told me about how much he loved going to nursery and preferred being there where his friends were and where there were lots of toys than at home with his mum. His mum's lovely, btw!

missrose Fri 08-Jul-11 10:29:47

Hm. Well, that was disappointing. The woman who showed us around barely looked at DD. All the other staff seemed a bit subdued, as did the kids. The cots in the baby room looked unhygenic (they probably weren't, I may be being a bit PFB!). The worse thing though, and this is the reason I don't want her going there, was that there was a paper clip on the floor. DD, like all babies, wants to put everything in her mouth and loves chasing small things around until she can pick them up with thumb and forefinger. The floor looked like it wasn't hoovered at the end of the day yesterday. The kids' packed lunches were all on the kitchen table instead of in the fridge.

Right, off to look at childminders!

PirateDinosaur Fri 08-Jul-11 13:01:43

Well, at least you know now why it doesn't have a waiting list...

Good luck with finding a lovely childminder so that you can relax and enjoy the end of your maternity leave!

princesbold Fri 08-Jul-11 15:44:45

Do go to other nurseries and give them details of the hours you want to have, sometimes even with waiting lists, matching available spaces to every bodies requirements is difficult to achieve, the nursery will want to fill all spaces ASAP.

EveryonesJealousOfGingers Fri 08-Jul-11 15:47:19

This site is where I found my ace CM. Good luck.

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