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Looking at Nurseries and Clueless

(10 Posts)
melliebobs Wed 19-Sep-12 13:34:17

Looking at nurseries this week for dd who will be 9 months when she will start full time in December. I know a lot of our decision will be based on the staff and their rapport and the general feel for the place. But what specifically should we be asking about? I've never done this before and don't want to leave thinking 'god I should have asked that'

So far all I can think of are staff ratios, administering medication (daughters on 2 lots n don't want to be taking time out work to do it!) and whether they will support us with BLW ie lettin her feed herself or not n not worrying that she smeared/left some of it! Oh an what childcare vouchers they take.

Surely there should be more than that!

pocketslug Fri 21-Sep-12 20:47:27


I am also looking into nurseries and it seems to be a minefield! I found this link though which may help you.
Good luck.

bevelino Fri 21-Sep-12 21:33:39

Good luck with your search for a nursery. As part of your research be sure to observe the nursery from outside and watch the children coming and going and ask yourself whether they look happy and eager to go inside. Also observe the nursery unobtrusively during the day after parents have left and note when toddlers are outside. The children need to be heard playing happily and you should hear friendly adult voices interacting with the children. When looking at the staff, think about whether you will be happy leaving your child with them and do not be afraid to ask questions about the care provided (they are not doing you a favour). A good nursery will be happy to reassure you. Nurseries are often recommended by friends and other parents but it is important to carry out your own research.

melliebobs Fri 21-Sep-12 21:46:19

Ah thanks guys. We went to 3 today. One I didn't like as soon as we got there. We Followed the signs for the baby unit and reception and it took us through the baby unit outside area. From this there was a gate left open that lead to what I can only guess is the handymans/caretakers area and there were cigarette buts in the floor!! Like I'm leaving my child there (there were other reasons!) lol the other 2 were just 'nice' I think my main issue is she's a baby and I don't want her going to nursery when she's so little. Think I just need to get over it!

SimLondon Sat 22-Sep-12 21:39:57

Keep looking :-)

I found it helpful to ask about local nurseries at the mum and baby groups, nct coffee mornings etc

At my LO's nursery the little babies are kept quite separate from the bigger babies and toddlers, they each have their own cot (and you can send in their grobag) in a lovely bedroom next to the main baby dayroom, the room leader has young children of her own and was quicker at spotting things like oncoming chicken pox than my GP.

What I'm trying to say is that there was nothing about my LO's nursery that made me think she wasn't big enough to go there. Funnily enough i'd looked at another nursery that was 'outstanding ofsted' and i did think she wasn't big enough to go there, i honestly felt that the staff were used to dealing with toddlers but not little babies, e.g they were giving stage 4 biscuits to 6 month olds, not picking them up for cuddles and not propping them up when they'd just started to sit up - so when they toppled over backwards it hurt but the staff thought it would help to teach them. I'm very glad that DD didn't go there :-)

RubyrooUK Sat 22-Sep-12 22:21:24

I found the following things useful after touring a few nurseries/CMs:

How is their day structured? (ie how much is timetabled and how much is free play?)

What are the sleeping arrangements for children?

Explain how meal times/milk times operate.

What is the level of staff turnover/agencies used?

The reasons were: a lot of nurseries I saw had very very strict timetables so kids couldn't even have access to books without it being "reading time". The nursery I chose had quite a casual, homely approach, with some activities but access to things like books at all times.

The sleeping thing is because I found it (um, find it) very hard to get DS to sleep. Some nurseries put all the babies down at 12pm in cots in an upstairs room and then kept an eye on them with baby monitors. The nursery I chose basically tried to get the babies into a similar pattern for the sake of ease but rocked the babies who needed rocking, cuddled those who needed cuddling and stayed with them at all times. That sounded kinder to me.

The meal times thing is because at 9mo, DS would not take a bottle and was still breastfed all evening/night. The nursery had to help me out by getting DS to eat meals and yoghurts as he wouldn't take bottles. Some nurseries I saw acted like not having bottles would be a crime and a major issue. DS' nursery were relaxed about it and just saw it as a funny quirk in his personality that he hated bottles and milk so much.

Other things that mattered to me were staff turnover and agency workers (DS' nursery is family run and there have only one person has left due to ill health in the 18 months he has been there.) One nursery seemed to have entirely different staff on every occasion I visited.

Also the reaction of the kids to the staff. When the nursery manager at DS' nursery passed through the big kids room, they were asking her by name to play with them, which suggested to me that she was very hands on and warm.

She also asked me lots and lots about my baby - although he was only 10 weeks - and at other nurseries, they didn't even ask his name when I took a tour.

There are some negatives to DS' nursery - poor outside space and a few other things - but in general the impression I had when I left was "I don't want to leave my baby anywhere but I think they will try very hard to make his time there happy." That was enough for me.

Drizzleit Tue 25-Sep-12 07:21:03

I wish I'd asked the maximum number of babies they take, if the same staff will be in the baby room every day and if they were allowed to crawl outside in the garden as my DD has just started nursery and it seems a very different atmosphere to when we we first shown round as the number of babies has increased. The staff are different every day which I think will take her longer to settle and I hadn't realised they aren't allowed in the garden until they can walk.

The nursery we are now moving her to has a seperate garden for the babies where they are out every day, the same staff are in the baby room every day and it just has a much nicer feel to it...

EBDTeacher Tue 25-Sep-12 14:00:40

You could look for a CM? I also didn't take to any of the nurseries I looked at. I'm sure they were fine but I couldn't stomach the idea of DS a) not being with the same adult every day and b) only ever seeing the inside of the same 4 walls.

With hindsight I also really like him being with children of a range of ages, he has learned so much from the older children and when he is an older one I think it will be good for him to learn to be kind an tolerant with younger ones.

melliebobs Tue 25-Sep-12 14:11:25

I'm struggling to find a childminder full time. They are either full. Finish at 5. Dont work on a Friday or only have 2 days out of the week available. Also if they are ill I'm stumped for childcare

Been back to the favourite nursery and had another good look round. The baby room has a seperate corner for crawling babies so they don't get trampled. They have a soft play room attached to the main room where they can run riot or they do dance n stuff in there. The baby room is upstairs so has a large balcony for playing out on/growing veg n as the baby unit leader put it they are outside more than they are in. The nursery only opened last September and they still have all the original staff so that's good sign no oneself jumped ship. And all the babies/toddlers were busy doing stuff n seemed happy. So Yerr sold on it a bit more now

l8000r Wed 26-Sep-12 11:38:46

It is so difficult to know where to start. Try They have a list of nurseries and pre-schools and private school nurseries so that might help you! Good Luck!

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