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Booking nursery hours at late notice...(23 Posts)
Hi, my 2 kids are in nursery and I work from home.
I was wondering if anyone has experience of nurseries where you can book extra hours (eg an early start or late pickup) on an ad hoc basis.
At my kids' place you have to give a month's notice, which isn't much use if I have a last minute client meeting or deadline!
I am considering designing an app which could make this a possiblility (this is my line of work), but I just wanted to see if anyone already has experience of a similar arrangement.
I’m not sure how it would work. I don’t the issue is the method of booking but needing to have enough staff on site. If the extra slots were not used then the nursery would loose money.
Both nurseries my children have been at have been able to fit them in for extra hours/sessions/days at short notice. Their previous nursery was a lot busier and they didn't always have space for an extra full day. I used to just ring them and ask.
Good point Jackshouse. I have given a bit of thought a bit about how it could work with ratios of staff. It would definitely have to be a two-way process with nurseries showing where they have spaces. I guess in that way it could actually increase their revenue, if they can fill up a classroom that isn't at capacity.
Thanks Ems, I have occasionally been able to book them in for a whole extra day like you, but I wonder if there's a way to do it more relieably
I wouldn’t want to leave my child at a random nursery and I can’t imagine a nursery would want a random child either. I don’t imagine that the app would be used by many people so a quick phone call to see if they have any space maybe easier as spaces may be unexpected eg a number of children off so they can shuffle staff around.
You may be right. Just thinking out loud.
I def wouldn't be happy sending my kids to an unknown nursery. I was more thinking it could help simplify procedure within the nursery they are already at. But maybe it's just not necessary.
I do think that with more and more demand for flexible working patterns, it would be good to have a reliable/transparent way to book extra hours though
Many childminders offer this service, but it is more difficult with nurseries. Do they keep two members of staff on, to look after 1 child. Do they need to extend heating times, lock up times, etc. For a childminder, as long as they're home, a child can usually come early, or stay late. I've even had a parent call in the afternoon to ask me to keep their child overnight.
It's always worth asking though.
Just pick up the phone and ask them. No need for an app. The nursery staff would have to spend time updating it each day, if any children were off unexpectedly and a space came up. It sounds too much hassle to be honest.
I’ve always just asked at pick up/drop off. Early starts tend not to be an issue. Adding an extra day is more difficult depending on how many kids they have in. But you can ask as far out or close to when you need it as you like.
Can’t see why they’d need an app for this.
Your making life too complicated an app isn't going to make space you already asked they already said no because they couldn't do it that day why would an app change anything? It comes across like you think they said no because they didn't know they had a space so just said no. Staff know their full sessions without looking at an app.
My DDs Nursery has a system where you can book ad hoc days or hours at short notice but if they don't have the staff or the room for your child you go on a waiting list. I've used it once or twice when I've needed to book an urgent doctors appointment for the afternoon so sent DD to Nursery instead of taking her with me. Both times I've got spaces but the days she's not in are pretty quiet in general.
Might be worth suggesting something like that?
Sorry but I’m far too busy managing the nursery to look at an app, most managers don’t even get time to get to the toilet, so we’re not going to be using apps
If parents need extra hours they just pick up the phone and ask, them I can look at my registers and give an instant decision
The absolute fatal flaw in the app is we are not always that bothered about filling those gaps
If the space is there because a child is on holiday or they are off sick or they just have decided not to come in that day then they will already have paid for it. Fees are payable in advance and for all sessions booked regardless of whether they use them or not.
We use those quieter times to catch up on staff paperwork, eg learning journeys, planning or some deep cleaning or even to send staff home to use their time off in lieu of all the extra hours they work
Op, if you need extra hours or a later pick up then you just need to ring up and ask. I can’t imagine needing 4 weeks notice for a later pick up
There is a nursery local time that does short notice booking and cancellation of hours, there's currently a 6 month waiting list to be able to enrol your child and they are open 6.30 til 8pm to cover shift workers at the hospital. It's a really good nursery and people rave about being able to chop and change the hours needed and very often say there's never been an issue regarding it, they have their website which you do it through apparently and have staff members on call to cover if needed extra staff for short notice extra hours
Sometimes we’re so surrounded with apps and IT, we forget that high tech solutions aren’t necessarily solutions, just complications. It seems clear that a simple phone call does the job without adding another layer of complexity to the manager's job.
Would the app just do emergency childcare searches, or was that just one function within a broader package?
Are you planning it as a free favour for your nursery? Or how would you plan to make it pay as a commercial product? Subscription, commission or third-party ad hosting?
If spaces were booked at short notice via an app, the nursery might not know who to expect in.
This could lead to issues such as not enough food being purchased, special dietary requirements not being catered for, or other support not being available for certain children.
Even if you just used it to extend your hours it would.cause problems. If I was expecting your child to leave to 4, but you booked them in till 6 at the last moment, I wouldn't necessarily have any food for them to eat at tea time. However, if you called and asked me, I could check with the cook before agreeing or not.
I think an app would overcomplicate things. In my youngest's nursery, extra sessions can be booked a week prior for a 'definite' place, or you can phone and ask on the morning and if they are within ratio they try to accommodate.
I agree, easier just to call and check.
It also depends if your nursery is full or has spaces. Ours has spaces atm so it’s easy add extra children at short notice but if we were full it might need advance booking.
Ring them, we very often have space for some movement.
The problem is age. Easier to be flexible with age 3&4 than babies as ratios are so different.
Mine will do last minute sessions (either full or half day) if they have space. I've been able to arrange this at 24 hours notice, although sometimes they don't have the space.
I can imagine that some nurseries would love this.
You might want to think about approaching a nursery near a large teaching hospital and seeing if they would be interested in partnering you as they would have a cohort of parents potentially have the opportunity to do additional shift work / changing shift pattern and often offer some flexibility. They might therefore be interested in an easy booking system when they allow additional changes.
People were sceptical about things like the parking app where you can book someone to park on your drive but I'm told its successful and easy for the owner of the drive and the bookee.
I'm a manager of a setting and we always say yes to last minute extra sessions and bookings as long as we can cover the ratio