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Nursery choice(11 Posts)
I'm looking for a nursery for my DS who will be 1 when he starts next year. The nursery I was going to send him to is very near our house, has space, is open the right hours and is well rated but I have some reservations after taking a tour.
I'm not sure if I have partly been put off due to all the covid procedures (which may be similar everywhere) or because I've barely left DS before (so leaving him anywhere will be hard) or because there was genuinely something off about the nursery so I would appreciate some perspectives.
My issues were:
- the staff who showed me round didn't really interact with DS at all although they were fairly friendly to me;
- the nursery only has one or two activities out at a time and puts all other toys away - this is apparently due to needing to clean every time anything has been used. Most of the tour was focused on how much cleaning they do and I had the impression that toys would be whipped off DS and disinfected the minute he had finished with them;
- the whole nursery was a bit bare and shabby looking and children of all ages were in the same room, although it was divided into sections;
- the outdoor space was tarmac and didn't seem to have much play equipment;
- settling in sessions take place by having the parent hover round the door outside as they are not allowed in while children are inside;
- children aren't going out of the nursery on trips due to covid;
- there were hardly any children there (though it was quite late in the day so that may have been why) and the one child who I saw from a distance was moved away quickly due to social distancing;
- overall I didn't get a great feel and felt quite upset when I left at the thought of leaving DS there.
The nursery does have some good points and is well regarded. I'm guessing some of the cleaning, exclusion of parents etc. is standard practice at the moment but I hoped it would feel slightly more normal.
Would you be worried about any / all of these things?
It is really difficult for parents trying to look at Nurseries, and indeed schools this year, as nothing is normal.
Yes, I'm afraid much of what you will have seen is* due to all the regulations due to COVID
Presumably, they said they could show you round at that time on that day precisely because they are quiet then and that is why they would put the handful of dc there, together. Most Nurseries (all, I hope) are doing their utmost to try to prevent COVID transferring and aren't letting parents or visitors in at all, so actually, I'd take it as a positive that they realised that it was important to you to look around.
Ii think the sensible thing to do, would be to make appointments to visit 2 or 3 other places, and then you will have a better yardstick.
I think all of those things are due to Covid
I work in a nursery and I’m trying not to get too close to the children unless I have to, so I absolutely wouldn’t be interacting with any strangers who were viewing
Not that we are doing viewings at the moment
Thanks for your perspectives. It sounds like a lot of my concerns were probably due to the covid procedures but I will view (or virtually view) a couple of other nurseries to get a comparison.
I am worried that the staff may be reluctant to get close to my DS though and there is absolutely no way I would leave him somewhere where that is the case. I appreciate it's a difficult time to work in a nursery but that attitude sounds damaging and dangerous for a one year old. It may be that I end up looking at nannies if I can't get comfortable that he would be well cared for under the current rules.
It definitely sounds like most of those things are due to the COVID restrictions. Our nursery is only doing viewings at weekends when they are closed as to reduce the infection risk to staff and children. With regards to you worrying about the staff not getting close to your DS if he did go there I’m sure that would be unfounded as there is no way that they can social distance at that age and staff would be wanting to provide a safe and nurturing environment which means cuddles and contact as and when a child needs it. Have they got a Facebook page where they share pictures of the children’s activities? As this often gives a good impression of what day to day life is like
If it was late in the day they will have probably done the bulk of their tidying and cleaning for the day anyway. We often put everything away except for a few activities the children have requested, especially with everything needing to be cleaned now.
Same for the garden. It had probably been tidied away for the day.
Unfortunately a lot of what you saw will have been due to the Covid guidelines. We would usually invite people in to look around during a session and encourage the child to play and meet everyone, especially in the room they’d mostly likely be in but at the moment we can’t do that.
What I can say is - during the day our setting doesn’t feel any different to how it used to. Yes, we have more cleaning and are more on top of hand washing and things like that but the children are given cuddles and interacted with as they used to and they play the same games and with the same toys. Covid hasn’t changed that part - which is the important part.
I normally play with children and give them a cuddle when they come to view my setting, but I'm not doing it at the moment. That doesn't mean that I don't play with and cuddle the children that come every day, it's because I'm trying to protect them from additional exposure. No parents are coming in for settling in sessions. I think everything you saw was to do with covid. They explained all the cleaning to try and reassure you.
Thank you all. This is somewhat reassuring.
I agree that if I had gone in during the day and seen lots of happy children playing I probably wouldn't have been worried.
In terms of interaction with my baby, I wouldn't have expected them to get close to him or hug him of course but they didn't acknowledge that he was there at all. I realise that that isn't necessarily an indication of what they are like with the children while they are there though
It did sound like the nursery was only letting children do one activity at a time before cleaning it and putting it away. Again, that would probably be fine, at least temporarily, if everything else is ok.
I suppose my worry would be that if someone judges the risk of covid spreading from someone wearing shoes inside the nursery or from soft furnishings etc. to be quite high, how are they going to be comfortable being close to a child, which must be a thousand times riskier. And because I won't be able to enter the nursery and they are doing quick handovers I wouldn't necessarily know if something is wrong. I do understand that nurseries need to follow the guidance and make their staff feel safe, but it's hard to see yet another place where DS's experience is going to be so negatively impacted by the covid guidance.
If we need to talk to a parent at handover we try to catch them to talk to before getting the child for them. Staff will always pass on anything important and everyone is aware that the parents of children settling will need extra information and reassurance.
If there are important issues to discuss we have a room where we can take a parent for a chat with everyone wearing masks and social distancing.
Settings have to follow guidance - for example, the soft furnishings but we don't like it either. Shoes off is a general thing long before C19, especially in the younger rooms where children play on the floor a lot.
For general queries or concerns we are asking parents to email before handover so we can find out any info that's need, or we will email back, or they can phone in and talk to someone. Not quite the same but we are trying to be available to those who need us. For example, parents with SEN children may need to be involving other agencies so we will have meetings or zoom calls online with everyone.
The staff want to keep in touch as much as the parents. We also have our online Tapestry journals so parents can share and we can share things that are happening. We also have a private parent page on Facebook for more general photos of what's going on during the sessions.
The children are having the same play experiences as they used to and most settings will have found ways to make necessary changes in a positive way so please don't worry too much about that side.
Ask your nursery manager if they have any photos etc of current sessions that you can see to get a better idea of the real day to day fun the children are having. It is harder for the adults than the children I think, all the children who have started with us over the last few months have settled in really well and they get the same attention, cuddles and reassurance as they always have.
I agree that a lot of the processes will be due to Covid, but I do think there are still choices and you should go with your gut instinct as to whether you think the nursery is right for you and your LO. Settling in to a new childcare will always take time, but it will be even harder if you don't have trust and faith that it is the right place for your LO from the start. I moved my DS from his CM, and subsequently from the nursery because I just felt the Covid restrictions were too much and he was/would be miserable. The nursery was rated outstanding and very well regarded, but I was never allowed in (even for settling in) and they were very hot on following the restrictions. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate they have to be careful, but for me I wanted somewhere where it felt more 'normal' for me and more importantly my LO. He now goes to a lovely preschool where they do obviously have measures in place, but it feels much more relaxed and my DS is so much happier. Go with your gut I say.
I always say see several different settings and send my prospective parents to both nurseries and childminders so they get a true feel for things.
There should be a good range of toys and activities even with covid