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Done to death- what to ask?!(12 Posts)
... when I visit DS possible nurseries next week?
He's coming up to a year, will be there a couple of half days initially, building up to 3 days a week when I'm back at work 4 days FT (Dm to have him other day) and I'm a lone parent. I've been loosely attachment parenting to this point (to give you some idea of what the childcare has been to now) and want to make sure I make this transition as easy on us both as possible!
Thank you thank you
Not much help as I looked round DS's nursery when I was pregnant so was utterly clueless! I went back to work at 4 months hence having to do it so early. The things I like about his nursery (so maybe things to ask about) include the very very low staff turnover, plenty of time outdoors every day, meals cooked on site from mainly locally sourced ingredients, vast majority of kids looked genuinely happy and the few that weren't were being actively comforted, regular trips out to the park etc, excellent transition plans when they move up a room, photos sent by text to parents to show their child doing stuff in the day (optional but I love it).
The only thing I would say is that around the age of one, lots of kids started in DS's room. The ones that were full time/at least 3 days a week settled really quickly but the ones that were only there for a day a week/couple of half days took forever to settle in. They all did eventually but it seemed like an unnecessarily difficult way to do it.
Oh and check their policy on giving calpol etc. Mine are happy for you to provide it and them give it for teething, mild fevers etc which has been an absolute godsend. They have a really sensible illness policy too, in line with public health England advice, definitely worth checking.
Gut feeling counts for a lot. Visit a few different places and get a feel for each one.
I'd echo a lot of what Welshweasel has said, plus:
Meal plans - see the kind of diet the kids will get and how it's prepared.
Exclusion policy - some are very strict that if there's even a hint of a child being unwell, they're excluded for a few days, others apply more common sense
Look at their nappy changing area - is it clean, do the kids get their own labelled tubs of (e.g.) sudocrem so there's no contamination
What's their policy if you're running late one day? Most might charge if you're more than say 15 mins late, some might have a 3 strikes and you're out rule!
The main thing though is the feeling you'll get when you walk around. I visited one and it was ghostly quiet, hardly a sound from anywhere.... to me that didn't feel right, didn't feel like the kids were enjoying themselves.
In a similar vein, try and plan your visit for later in the day. Are the staff still pristine in their uniforms or are they slightly disheveled with paint/sand/food on them? It might not look very Norland Nanny but to me it tells me they've mucked in with the kids and has fun.
I'd also add to make sure there's a good mix of staff. A lot of nurseries I've come across have mostly young inexperienced staff or students so it's also good to have a few older and check what their qualifications are.
Thanks guys- am going to look at the (single decent and within 30 mins travel) nursery tomorrow. Have made a list of qs based on your suggestions, and hoping that they're everything they claim to be ...
OP how was your visit to the nursery?
Hello! Sorry we've had a busy week- not been separated/ single parenting long and lots of life stuff to organise.
So- I liked it. Staff very warm and all seemed genuinely delighted to see another baby (in the baby room they have max 14 0-2s, skewed more to 2 than 0) the kids looked happy, lots of open indoor space and different "areas", and a good space for naptime (all kids over 12 months given floor mattresses and own bedding), and although the toys looked a bit battered... well loved? , everything was v clean. I was impressed by the number of L4/graduate staff- although it is attached to a university so maybe not so shocking. Food sounded great- all seasonal, prepped on the uni site specially for the babies so salt and sugar controlled, happy to accommodate breast milk storage. The key worker is assigned according to who the baby bonds with most strongly.
Just had ofsted in and a glowing report- 2 minor faults stopped them short of outstanding- not enough quiet during story time, and not enough emphasis on communicating milestones and next steps with parents (though their "care" communication was singled out as excellent).
My ONLY two qualms were that the outside space was rubbish in wet weather (they have a huge shaded field when the weathers nice but apparently it just becomes waterlogged in long spells of rain, so in winter it would just be a small flagged/grassed area with trikes and outside toys- but v small) and my other issue was that there would be no guarantee that DS would see the same member of staff every day.... but I don't know if I can expect that anyway???
Otherwise, they were really understanding of how nervous I am, having been accidentally 'attachment parenting" to now. They were fine with the calpol - excellent as DS spikes high fevers for fun. Flexible late policy and most importantly- they were SO encouraging of a long and gentle introduction for him with "stay and play" sessions for as long as it took.
I saw another nursery that afternoon that looked "cosy" and "homely" and had great outdoor space, but was small, and ill equipped for smaller babies-frankly it wasn't safe IMO.
Got two more lined up on Monday but they're a much longer journey so would have to have something v special to make it worth the trip.
what do you all think about the one at the uni? Does that sound reasonable!?
All sounds ok to me. I love "The key worker is assigned according to who the baby bonds with most strongly. " That bond will make you feel much more relaxed.
The outdoor space is annoying, but to compensate do they take the children out anywhere? Our nursery used to put the littlest ones in buggies and take them out for lots of walks to get fresh air. They'd always phone me before going out as well so I didn't get a panicked call from a neighbour- is that your child feeding the ducks by the canal? Er, could be?! 😂
Good question on the outings- I didn't even think to ask. I know the older ones go out, but not sure about the small ones. I'll check.
It does bother me a bit, because we're quite
Outdoorsy- but actually think as he'll be there at most 3 days a week, he gets so much time out in the hills/ on the canal/ in the park the rest of the time, he's not exactly going to get rickets... and I'm not worried he won't get that love of the outdoors - it's enforced at home!
Bless your neighbors! I'm more worried about my DM in all this, who will be having DS one day and helping with drop offs. She's beside herself at the thought of him "not being a baby baby" any more because he's at nursery...
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