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What to look for in a nursery?

(2 Posts)
ColumboControlPants Tue 02-Sep-08 14:05:05

Just back from looking at my second nursery. Looking for 2 afternoons a week for 17 month old DS so that he can meet and play with other kids, do stuff that we wouldn't do at home etc while I get on with stuff I don't have time to do while I'm looking after him.

The 1st nursery: staff seemed friendly but tired, building was a bit smelly and stuffy and in places tatty and chaotic. They did have activities but they seemed more enthusiastic about getting the toddlers potty trained than fun activities. I came away with the impression that the staff were "coping" with the children rather than offering them a consistent playschool type environment. As if they were just babysitting them, making sure nothing happened to them before they handed them back. I got a gut feeling of "No" though I have aquaintances whose kids go there and they think its OK. I felt like I wouldn't really want DS to be there unless I had no choice.

2nd nursery: The loos which are near the entrance smelled a bit of wee but on inspection seemed clean. The staff were welcoming and were mostly older, all female. The deputy who gave me the tour had been there 9 years, but mentioned that she was doing the tour as the manager was new and had only been there a week. DS wandered off and started playing and I noticed later that one of the staff had rolled his sleeves up while he was playing in the water tray and I'd been chatting to the manager. Somehow that struck a positive note though it was only a little thing. There were plants that the kids had grown from seeds of stuff they'd eaten (apple, orange, pear, even a mango). DS didn't want to leave at the end of the visit. Though I still thought some of the toys were a bit grubby, I came away feeling like I could happily leave DS there and he'd be well looked after and have fun. Staff ratio is 1:3 kids for DS' age group.

Are there any things in particular I should be looking for/looking out for? Is it normal for nurseries to smell very faintly of old school changing rooms? I guess toddlers are a bit smelly sometimes. And I do have a supernose.

I need something close to my house as I do not drive so my choices are limited to the surrounding nurseries (maybe 3, 4 tops).

lauraloola Tue 02-Sep-08 16:47:57

I used to work in a nursery and we tried to involve all children in at least one activity a day. (This was a few years ago so may have changed).

We used to sit and play with the children all the time and try to encourage learning through play. TBH the smell is normal! You have a lot of children and babies in one building, they probably clean the loos once a day and any spills straight away.

I would go for nursery number 2 - It seems like your ds was happy there as he went off to play.

If you are still unsure go back for longer. See if you know anyone whose lo goes there and ask their opinion. Also, go online and read their Ofsted reports. If you google it it will come up. They are done every year (less often if ok) and will show you everything that the inspector found.

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