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Nursery help please - confused!(12 Posts)
We live in an area where nursery places are a bit thin on the ground and if we are to have a place for when I go back to work, we need to sign up very soon, even though our baby won’t be born for another 4 months! I’m finding this so tricky because I don’t know what will suit our little one and I definitely won’t know that before I have to sign up to one. We have narrowed it down to two, both seemed good but very different (and nothing to choose between them on Ofsted, local reviews, etc). Fees are similar. Any experience or advice would be very welcome on which you would pick and why.
Current plan is for DH to do drop offs (he has a 45 min commute) and me to do pick ups (I’m 25 mins away and less likely to have issues on route and be late).
Nursery 1 - 10 mins walk from our house. Open 7.30 - 6pm. Quite large (70ish children) and very structured - there are different rooms for different activities and children spend e.g a morning in the art room and an afternoon in the construction room. Loads of activities on when we looked round, baking, reading, music. A small garden for the babies and a separate bigger one for older children. The pre-school children wore a uniform (younger ones didn’t). DH loved this one and all the children seemed to like the activities, staff were making sure there was loads to do. But I worry that it’s too much structure for a little baby (our daughter will be there from 1) and she might get more from a place where she can just play and choose what she wants to do each day.
Nursery 2 - 30 minute walk from our house (but very close to a station for onward commute). Open 8 - 6.30pm. Much smaller, around 30 children. Huge garden but shared by all ages. Children are divided by age only - so each room has a mix of activities. There are extra activities - group music lessons etc - but just occasionally and the whole place felt less structured. Most of the children were doing their own thing rather than a centrally coordinated activity. The staff were engaged with them though and all the relationships seemed good. Bit concerned about the distance here and the later start is not ideal for DH with drop offs (though should work fine most days). But mostly I think this decision is about how much structure works best in a nursery setting, and I don’t know!
Do you have to pick one now? Can't you go on the waiting list for both now and decide later?
We could definitely go on the waiting list for nursery 2 and decide later whether we want that place, and that has the longer waiting list (18 months). Nursery 1 charges some pretty hefty reservation / deposit fees which we’d prefer not to lose, so am not keen to sign up to that unless we are relatively keen to send her there.
Nursery 1. If the weather is bad closer walk will be best for little one.
Nursery 1 then if you have anymore children close together they can all be together at nursery rather than separate rooms and not see each other a lot.
I'd go for whichever you you think has the most caring staff. That's the crux of it when you're leaving your baby there.
Would a nursery near your workplace work out better?
I’m a nursery nurse and if a baby is ill it’s so much easier for parents to collect.
We also had a parent who was near enough to visit her baby in her lunch break, which was nice.
Thanks everyone for thoughts. @Marcipex that’s a good thought but i don’t think I could find a place near work. DH and I don’t work close to each other so one of us would have to do all pick offs and drop offs that way, plus I may be able to work from home sometimes and wouldn’t want to have to commute anyway for the nursery on those days.
Both seemed really caring and attentive so in some ways it’s a good dilemma but just so hard to take a decision this early!
Nursery 1 as closer to home and earlier opening. You don't know what will happen with your jobs in the future so I think closer to home is best.
We had a similar choice to make. We went for the 10mins from home. Both were lovely but when he gets to the wanting to walk and being slow, wet weather and if he's feeling ill I'd rather the shorter walk then dragging him 30mins across town.
Oh plus for us it meant he'd gets breakfast and dinner there as we'd be dropping him earlier and picking him up later. Means he'll get 3 meals there and we'd only have to worry about an evening snack if needed.
Right now, the smaller and less structured feel of nursery 2 seems more appealing as your DC will only be young when he/she starts.
However, as your DC grows up, the increased size and facilities or nursery 1 will come into their own. Add that with the pros about being closer to home and slightly more favourable hours, and I'd go for nursery 1.
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