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Please compare my nursery with yours

(37 Posts)
FeelingDeviant Mon 21-Jul-08 10:20:29

Regretfully, I only looked at two nurseries before signing up DD to one of them. She's now been there for two months (almost 14 months old) and although is very happy there, I'm having niggles and just wanted opinions as to whether I'm being precious which everyone overcomes or are these genuine concerns.

Firstly, during her two week settling in period, her keyworker went on holiday for half the time.
They weren't keen on DD using a doidy cup and I had to really stick to my guns on this one.
They give semi-skimmed milk to the children. Brought this up with the baby room manager and now DD gets full fat (or so they tell me).
All children drink water with their breakfast and only at my insistence did DD get milk.
When DD first started, I was always had informal chats with staff as to how DD slept, ate, etc. now nothing unless I ask.
Recently, there seems to be more and more agency staff used in the baby room which I think makes the babies feel more unsettled (though my DD doesn't seem to be perturbed by this). It creates a really odd atmosphere because the permanent staff don't seem to talk to the agency staff, who in turn seem clueless (ie when a baby cries, they don't rush over to distract, see what's going on, etc. they just carry on sitting there talking amongst themselves).
They don't have a separate sleeping room. This is perhaps my biggest niggle and although I was fully aware of this before DD started, I didn't realise how much it would impact on DD who is a very light sleeper. She has gone from napping for 2 hours after lunch(which she still does at home on weekends) to sleeping for only 45 minutes, leading to rattiness when I pick her up at 3.30.

I've been comparing with parents in RL and they've all said how nursery has been great for their child, how they sleep better, eat better, etc. With DD, though she's always eaten well (and nursery encourage her BLW), her sleep has got worse. I'm feeling really guilty that I've not sent DD to the best possible nursery.

I'm going to visit all nurseries in the area but in the meantime, wanted to get opinions on whether I'm being anal or are all nurseries like this?

Moomin Mon 21-Jul-08 10:23:11

I would say that if your gut feeling is uneasy, follow your instincts. You could spend lots of time going through everything you've listed, but a lot of whet you've said (at least in the latter part of your post) are things that cannot be changed, i.e. high turnover of staff and sleeping arrangements. Don't waste time hoping it'll improve. Find a nursery that you like and you feel confident and comfortable leaving your dd with.

Moomin Mon 21-Jul-08 10:26:54

btw have you considered a childminder? I've used nurseries and a CM with both dds and in my own peronal experience (which is obviously subjective) I found a CM who was fabulous and definitely gave both dds the best start when they were under 2. Now dd2 is nearly 3 she will be going to a day nursery for two mornings a week for the socialisation stuff, but the inidivual care and homely atmosphere that the CM gave to both her and dd1 was definitely preferable to the care dd1 had in 2 different nurseries (very good ones even so)

LittleMissNorty Mon 21-Jul-08 10:26:59

Hi, my DD has been at nursery 3 days a week since 6 months and is now 14 months.

When she was in the first room, she slept in a cot in a separate room, but now she's moved up, she sleeps on a sleep mat. This is quite normal AFAIK. She is more ratty as she sleeps much better here but I don't have any trouble getting her to bed on nursery days.

My DD doesn't drink any milk during the day at nursery except with her weetabix and its full fat. All drinks offered are water (which is fine by me)

I get a little contact sheet every day with nappy info, sleep info, food and activity info....

have had some staffing issues....but I think that's to be expected to a point but a team of 5 cover the 2 baby rooms and with cover from others occasionally....I suppose they all need time off! Have never seen agency staff at my nursery.

A difficult one, but you must feel confident in where you leave her or you will worry....

stealthsquiggle Mon 21-Jul-08 10:30:43

Mostly, you need to feel comfortable.

But since you ask, comparison with DD's nursery:

Separate sleeping room - yes they have one, but DD, being a light sleeper and a natural born troublemaker, thinks it is way more fun to keep everyone else awake than to sleep herself, so in spite of nursery's best efforts she only sleeps maybe 50% of the days she is there even though she will sleep for at least 2 hours at home.

Staff turnover: This would be the crunch point for me. We are very lucky, in that ours is a community based not-for-profit nursery in a rural area and has exceptionally low staff turnover. If they have to have agency staff in then IMHO they should be prioritising the baby room for the permanent staff, IYSWIM.

Milk, etc: wouldn't bother me that much TBH - DS never had milk from 12mths except at bedtime so I am used to making sure they get plenty of calcium elsewhere, and DD gets semi-skimmed milk at home anyway blush

FeelingDeviant Mon 21-Jul-08 10:44:37

Thanks for all the replies, please keep them coming.
My honest feeling is that I'm a bit of a PITA and control freaky.
It's really good to know that the milk situation doesn't bother other people and that the sleep deprivation isn't limited to my DD. People keep saying she'll get used to sleeping at nursery, but I keep wanting to know WHEN!

Moomin - I have actually thought of getting a nanny or childminder but i just wonder if I wouldn't have similar niggles if things didn't go exactly as I wanted.

ThatBigGermanPrison Mon 21-Jul-08 10:53:23

Funny how people have different 'red flags'

the sleep thing wouyldn't bother me too much, but I would blow my top that they don't provide an age appropriate diet - ie no milk/semi skimmed milk for a 14 month old. I suspect that they support the blw because they sound downright fucking lazy about everything else, and blw is EASY. The staffing would bug me too.

lilyloo Mon 21-Jul-08 10:58:19

I think a higher staff turnover in private nurseries is par for the course tbh
I usually find it happens in waves.
Do you not get contatc sheet with sleep/food/nappies etc.
As for the sleep issue i chose a nursery where they had seperate sleeping area for this reason but as they move on from baby room you will find they all sleep on mats so they aren't going to sleep as much.

LittleMissNorty Mon 21-Jul-08 11:00:10

I found that even when in a separate room, DD slept half as much cos there was always too much going on and didn't want to miss anything. She has fallen asleep in the car coming home (5 min journey) on several occasions!

MummyToOneForNow Mon 21-Jul-08 11:04:55

My dd was in a babyroom with no separate sleeping area - she didn't sleep as well but that's to be expected. Now she has moved up to the main room she sleeps on mats in a "quiet area". I think they just offer water rather than milk as a drink (I had to take in her milk when she was in the baby room) but she has 7oz first thing and last thing at home plus yoghurt and cheese so I'm not too worried.

I get a daily contact sheet with details of food, nappies, sleep, activities (quite brief). Staffing has been a bit variable but I don't think they use agency staff and after her first key worker left in November she has been with the same one between then and moving up to the main room a few weeks ago. We regard the nursery as being "no-frills" - slightly on the basic side but are overall happy with the care.

PortAndLemon Mon 21-Jul-08 11:27:18

DS's nursery probably wouldn't have been keen on the Doidy cup -- they generally start on a spouted cup and move on to an open cup.
They all get full-fat milk.
They have a choice of milk or water at breakfast.
I have informal chats with staff every day at pickup.
They very rarely use agency staff -- there are a few "floaters" who are regular staff members and fill in where there's a need, and occasionally they will use agency staff if that doesn't cover it.
They have a separate sleeping room, which is used for the babies and the youngest toddlers. After that they nap on mats in their own rooms but it seems to work well.

tigger15 Mon 21-Jul-08 12:51:17

My ds has been going 4 days a week moving to 5 at 1 year since 6mnths. He is now 17 mnths.

They only give ff milk and have a separate sleep room. The staff have a very low turner and where there have been agency staff they have often become fully employed.

I've been and am very happy with it bar a few niggles on them giving food that I hadn't yet introduced to ds.

Saying which ds has always slept worse there (and so do most of the others acc. to their parents) because there is so much going on that ds refuses to leave the excitement and also when other babies are put to sleep it often disturbs him and cuts short his nap. However, it doesn't affect his sleep at night just makes him overtired in the evening. He has always been a good eater and they say he's a good eater there too. He enjoys it very much and likes playing with other children.

Settling in does take a while (ds' nursery allowed a month for this which was great)and there will always be minor problems as nursery staff are only human and liable to make mistakes, whether it is not putting on nappy cream routinely or quibbles over food. The important thing is that you feel you can trust them and you feel that your questions are taken seriously. If you can't then move her as you can't concentrate on work if you feel like that. I am very happy with ds' nursery and feel very lucky that we found it.

WilfSell Mon 21-Jul-08 13:04:34

Our nursery has very low staff turnover but we are lucky - it is a university nursery and they seem to treat staff well.

Separate sleeping rooms for babies (roughly 6m-1yr) but above that they sleep on little mobile beds or mats in their room. This is quite common in most nurseries IME.

Milk thing and doidy cup thing ought to be easily resolvable: I'd be more worried if they weren't flexible to your requests; similarly if they're not giving you enough info you need to raise with room leader and nursery manager. If you don't get good responses, then you need to rethink...

I would also go on your gut instinct: if it's wrong for your child, you will know. Better to move earlier

nurseryvoice Mon 21-Jul-08 18:20:08

The milk concerned me. Full fat milk should be provided for young children.
Anyway all nurseries/childminders can claim 1/2 pint milk per child per day, we usually order a bit extra too.
We dont have separate sleep room, but a sectioned off by curtains sleep area. Its easier and safer to check on sleeping babies.
As the others said go with your gut instinct.

PillockOfTheCommunity Mon 21-Jul-08 18:26:28

I would expect them to be sending info home on sleep/nappies/food etc without asking, it's one of the things Ofsted comment on.

There is no need for such a high turnover of staff, in my experience (as a parent and a member of staff at different times) high staff turnover means an unhappy nursery for both staff and children.

ThatBigGermanPrison Mon 21-Jul-08 18:39:43

the milk thing bothers me because it's so basic and easy to fix. EVERYONE knows babies should have full fat milk - why, why have they not adhered to this? What else do they decide "doesn't really matter"?

DontCallMeBaby Mon 21-Jul-08 18:46:43

DD is 4 and I still get a run-down on what she's eaten during the day, and occasionally I'll overhear a handover where a child has slept (rare in this age group) and the parent is told about that. I wouldn't have been happy at all at not being told anything about her day when she couldn't tell me herself.

The staffing would concern me, although I appreciate that the nursery she's in probably has unusually low turnover. They use their own 'bank' rather than agency staff to cover absences, they're very much part of the nursery, have their photos up on the board with the permanent staff.

Sleep, let me cast my mind back! The baby room has a separate sleep room (waist-high solid wall with safety glass above that); the toddler room has a separate room too (although it suffers rather from having safety-glass doors, so the children often distract each other from their naps); next room up they would have 'quiet time' on mats and be moved aside if they fell asleep. DD did always sleep better at nursery than at home but then she was a horrible napper at home so it's not saying much.

I haven't a clue what milk they gave DD once she was off formula, and I've never known who her keyworker is supposed to be!

PortAndLemon Mon 21-Jul-08 19:25:31

Although there is another thread where a poster's mother, who is a paediatrician, has pointed to new research suggesting that semi-skimmed may be appropriate (and in some cases the best option) after all.

CurrantBM Mon 21-Jul-08 19:26:40

DD2 aged 3 still gets given milk with their morning toast, they have separate sleeping areas for all ages with CCTV linking into each sleep room.

We don't get a full personal written daily report after they are 2, there are charts from each key worker saying who was in their group, what they did in the morning, afternoon, how much each child ate, what was for lunch, tea, snacks, and also how long each child slept or rested.

As others have said go with your gut instinct.

TigerFeet Mon 21-Jul-08 19:43:12

Agree with everyone who's said that the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your dd's care... but for comparison...

The older children get water with meals - this is because they found that children who drank a lot of milk were not eating their food. Not sure about the younger ones though - I can't remember at which point I stopped sending bottles of formula in. Personally I'm happy with this as I keep dd's milk/yogurt/cheese intake at home

Informal chats carried on right through although now she is 4 she can tell me herself! Until she turned three there was a daily diary that listed her food, how much she ate, what sleep she had, how many wet or dirty nappies, what she had done that day. I still have them all!

Very few agency staff - there is a small pool of bank staff I think.

Separate sleeping room until age 2

I would look around and try somewhere else. A good tip is to speak to parents who are picking up their children - I've been stopped a couple of times by prospective paretns and am always happy to chat

FeelingDeviant Tue 22-Jul-08 09:11:06

DH read all your comments and we discussed it last night. Our real dilemma is that DD is very happy at the nursery - she loves going there, so wondering if worth unsettling her?
And, as WIlfSell says - they have listened and resolved the milk thing.
And, there really doesn't seem to be much we can do about the nap situation, whether there is a separate room or not.

I do hate the way I get very little feedback about DD's day - I feel like a PITA for even asking about it.
There was also this incident, where the baby room manager compared baby hand printing to child abuse, which I posted on this thread

I'm sure they also think I'm really precious because I refused to let DD cry during her settling in period which meant it took DD a week longer than the average child to settle in.

Anyway, though we can live with our choice of nursery because DD is so happy there, we're going to look for another nursery because we're thinking of next DC and I don't think I could live with myself sending the next DC as a baby to a nursery which seems unaware of health guidelines.
(Another niggle I had - I used to bring in formula for DD to have at breakfast. One day she didn't finish her formula milk and her keyworker decided to save me a bit of money by feeding it to DD in teh afternoon!! I was too embarrassed and shocked to tell her that you're supposed to bin formula after an hour of making it up. Should have said something in retrospect. Don;t blame the keyworker - blame her training.)

jelliebelly Tue 22-Jul-08 09:47:19

You need to go with your gut instinct - only you know whether you feel comfortable about dd being well cared for. In terms of comparison-
- we deliberately chose a nursery with separate sleep room - at ours they sleep in a separate room until age 3
- staff turnover - we use a private nursery which has seen only a couple of staff leave in the 2.5 years we have been using it - I have only rarely seen agency cover in the whole nursery. It is v.important to me that there is a low turnover and ds gets to know the carers who are looking after him (I don't even know who his keyworker is but am comfortable speaking to any of the carers in his room as they are all v.involved with all the children)
- have no idea if they use semi-skimmed or full fat milk but they do have milk at breakfast and for afternoon snack even at nearly 3 years old.
- The doidy cup thing is probably because they prefer all children to have the same type of cup/beaker - at ds nursery they have cups/beakers with their picture attached on an elastic band on so they know which is theirs - they all fit on a tray and go in the steriliser/dishwasher together.
- in the baby room and tweenies room (young toddlers) we had a sheet detailing food/milk/sleep/activities. In the 2/3 year old room we are told every day what he has had to eat and how long he slept for. Only really get to know activities etc if we ask at pick up time

I think most of this is pretty standard tbh. Hope this helps in your deliberations!

TigerFeet Tue 22-Jul-08 09:52:46

You should speak to them about the sleeping - it may be a simple solution. For instance when dd got to about 18mo she would lie in her cot and giggle and try and reach the little girl in the cot next to her, who would be doing the same. Neither of them would sleep properly. They were separated (sounds like a maths lesson at secondary school doesn't it - separate the disruptive ones that mess about and disturb the others grin) and all of a sudden they both started sleeping much better.

THat said, if I were you I would be looking elsewhere. I remember your printed hand thread shock what a load of rubbish.

Your dd will soon settle elsewhere, she is very young still and won't have formed memorable attachments to the staff or children. I couldn't leave dd crying either. My nursery staff were fine with that.

What really would bug me though would be the lack of feedback about the day. I might be wrong but I thought daily diaries for children until age 3 was pretty much universal. It's hard enough leaving your dc isn't it without having no clue what they have done all day . I would ask the nursery if they would consider a diary.

imho you would be well within your rights to speak to the nursery manager about your concerns. Have you spoken to other parents? What do they think?

Bramshott Tue 22-Jul-08 09:57:51

None of this sounds disastrous if you are happy with the nursery, but it sounds like your gut feeling is that you are not that happy with the nursery.

I would maybe give it another month to see if things calm down, meanwhile researching other options, and then at the end of the month decide whether to move your DD or keep her where she is. A 14 month old is pretty adaptable, and she'd probably settle into somewhere else fine - it's a good sign that she is happy to go to nursery, which probably shows that she's a sociable child who likes playing with other children etc.

MrsBadger Tue 22-Jul-08 10:28:02

- ours doesn't have a separate sleeping room and I actually like this - I think the supervision is better when the children are still in the room rather than being by themselves in the dark with a monitor or whatever. DD sleeps much better at nursery where she dozes off watching the other children than at home in a quiet bedroom.

- I get a written report every day and could (if I wanted) check this tallied with their own milk / food / nappy records.

- we occasionally get agency staff but they are usually 'regulars' and seem well integrated into the team.

- water with meals is fine IMO so long as she gets enough milk with snacks midmorning and midafternoon etc over the

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