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Nursery - would this concern you?

(45 Posts)
Stereophonic Thu 27-Aug-09 12:37:25

DS had his first settling in session at nursery yesterday. He's 16 months. We viewed a lot of nurseries before choosing this one, and it received a good report, however since we booked him in the manager has changed.

He got very upset when I tried to leave him after staying for a while, and it was horrible. It's quite a large nursery and there were 15 children in his room. The concerns I had were that a couple of the staff members didn't seem that interested - when one was handing out the milk (they were in high chairs) she just put the beakers on the chairs; no "here's your milk" or any chatter. For a while there was just silence in the room but then one of the staff members started singing songs etc. The other two just sat there. I'm just wondering if this is the norm - am I expecting too much for them to be constantly interacting? It was obviously only a snapshot of the day but I would have thought they would have made more effort than usual with me there, not less! I am just not sure how caring they seemed, though none of the children got upset while I was there, this is a good thing, right? My hea dis all over the place, I wish I could give up work I really do but we can't afford it. I just want him to be happy and cared for. I am so worried

Fruitysunshine Thu 27-Aug-09 12:40:56

Was it a snack time? Usually it goes hand in hand with quiet time also. If your child was upset this will also impact how your perception of the settling in meeting went.

Go again, at a different time and see if it is any different. At the end of the day you have to feel comfortable and happy about where your child is. Not every nursery setting is wonderful so go with your gut instinct.

grumblinalong Thu 27-Aug-09 12:44:47

I'd just turn up unannounced one day, at a different time, and see how it feels then. ALWAYS go with you gut reaction though. DS2's nursery is loud, scruffy and very busy but it's brilliant. DS1's was tidy, quiet and had spanking new equipment and he hated it. Think about it from your ds's perspective and ehat he's feel comfortable in - if he's sensitive to noise quiet is probably better!

morningpaper Thu 27-Aug-09 12:44:50

15 children in a room is a LOT and I would be concerned about the lack of chatter, yes... Dumping milk on a chair without saying anything is a bit weird. The main thing is, did they instantly respond to his crying when you left? Were they cuddling him and picking him up?

Stereophonic Thu 27-Aug-09 12:51:05

Thanks. Yes it was snack time, and the team leader was looking after him so she was cuddling him when I left, and I was watching them in reception on the camera and she was playing with him and when he got very upset again she brought him out to me. I don't know what they'll be like when I'm not there though - this is obviously the same with any nursery but I am wondering if we made the right choice. We knew it was big when we booked him in but we liked the feel of the place, that was a few months ago though, the team leader was the same but I can't remember if the other staff were. I'm concerned we've made an error but how do I know if others are better? I am sobbing here. I wish he didn't have to go

haggisaggis Thu 27-Aug-09 12:51:08

I find it slightly odd that 16 months olds were in high chairs and not little chairs and tables. I remember at my dc's nursery that the nursery staff would st at teh table with them pouring milk etc and there was plenty of chatter.
We visited one nursery where the older babies were plonked in high chairs, a large sticky bun stuck on the high chair tray and tehn they were left to it while the nursery staff all sat at a separate table with their backs to the kdis drinking coffee!
It really si all down to how they treat your ds though - do they speak to him and cuddle him when upset.

hanaflowerhatestheDM Thu 27-Aug-09 12:51:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CMOTdibbler Thu 27-Aug-09 12:55:27

I do notice that the staff can feel a bit inhibited when there is a parent there - so their usual mucking about/singing/chattering stops when there is an adult around. So it could be that.

See how you feel on your next visit before you make any major decisions

Stereophonic Thu 27-Aug-09 12:57:19

Really Haggisaggis? He still eats in a high chair or booster seat normally. That doesn't sound great at the nursery you visited, I really hope it's not like this here. As I said, though, there was one staff member who seemed excellent, and the team leader was very good with ds.
I have no idea about childminders hanaflower - If I could find a good one this would possibly be a better option but I don't know anyone who has used them.
Thanks everyone

Stereophonic Thu 27-Aug-09 12:58:03

Thanks CMOTdibbler. I am going back on Tuesday but the plan is to leave him for a hour or two, they will ring me if he gets upset though.

donteatthat Thu 27-Aug-09 12:59:55

Try not to panic, it can be upsetting leaving your child somewhere new for the first time when they're crying. Go along to the other settling in sessions and see what you think when you've a bit more experience of the place seeing it at different times of day etc.

As the others have said, go with your gut, if he really seems unhappy and you are really unhappy with it look elsewhere but I'm sure it will all be fine. You were only there for a little while so hopefully when you've spent a bit more time there you will be able to reaffirm the positive feelings you had when you first looked round the place.

BornToFolk Thu 27-Aug-09 13:22:40

I agree with CMOT, I do think that some staff feel a bit inhibited with parents around. I've noticed it at DS's nursery, especially with the younger members of staff - if you catch them unawares they're lovely with the kids, playing daft games etc but they feel silly doing it in front of parents.

Don't forget to always be positive about nursery to your DS. If he picks up that you don't like leaving him there, it'll make it harder for you both. Talk to him about all the fun things he can do at nursery and tell him when you'll be back.

limonchik Mon 31-Aug-09 15:55:16

15 sounds like a pretty big room for under-2s.

Scarfmaker Tue 01-Sep-09 00:36:56

haggisaggis - sorry, but are you saying 16 month old babies should be sat at tables and chairs? I don't think so!

Even at 18 months old, most babies can't feed themselves, drink from a cup, etc. Sorry but that's from my experience.

I would also be worried with 15 babies in the same room.

Stereophonic Tue 01-Sep-09 09:49:40

Thanks for your replies. He's having his second session today, I wimped out and got DH to take him (he had a spare half day leave to take anyway!) so I'm sitting at home now supposed to be cleaning and peeling potatoes, but worrying myself silly!

I have told DH to go in with him, certainly at first, and see how he feels about the place/interaction. I do worry now it's too big for him. I have been ringing round a few childminders as I'm wondering if that will be better, and a smaller nursery, but haven't seen any yet. We don't have long to sort this.

Stereophonic Tue 01-Sep-09 11:53:46

just spoke to DH, another disastrous session he screamed every time dh left his side. I have just spoken to s lovely childminder, and she's ringing me back to see if she has the space for him. I think he may be better in a more family type setting.

colditz Tue 01-Sep-09 11:59:29

At 18 months most babies CAN feed themselves with their hands and drink from a beaker. Sorry to add nothing constructive to the OP, but I couldn't let that pass. They CAN.

haggisaggis Tue 01-Sep-09 12:00:06

Scarfmaker - of course I don't mean adult chairs and tables! But my nursery had toddler size chairs and tables hat gave the wee ones plenty of support. They were then sitting together round a table - and were of course supervised the whole time. My dd would use a high chair at home - but in the older babies room at nursery (from 1 year onwards) they would be sitting round a toddler table to have their snack / lunch - with plenty of staff to help them of course.

PrincessToadstool Tue 01-Sep-09 12:08:24

scarfmaker hmm all the children in my son's age group at nursery have been feeding themselves and drinkign from an open cup for months, and they have been sitting around a toddler-sized table since, well, since he started there at 10 months (changed from a mini-highchair to a normal toddler chair obviously)

Anyway, to the OP... those things alone wouldn't necessarily bother me, but a general feelnig would. My son's nursery is often chaotic and loud but it is always pretty clear that the staff are focusing on the children first, and anything else second.

Settling in is hard and maybe it's worse at a later age, I don't know, but I do know that within 3 weeks of short sessions my son was very happy to go to nursery and still is. I hated it at first, I really did, but tomorrow is his last day (going to be a SAHM) and I won't miss my colleagues one jot, can't wait to leave my job, but I am sad on my DS's behalf and will miss the nursery very much. I'd give it more time if I were you - and when you do have niggles or doubts raise them with the manager.

Stereophonic Tue 01-Sep-09 13:41:09

Thanks for the replies. DH said he isn't keen on the feeling of the place either, he thinks it's just the way it is with a larger nursery in particular. He said the children seemed ok not upset - but not like they were having loads of fun either. And that it seemed quite clinical, some of the staff not really talking to the children as they fed them etc which is the same thing I noticed. I am not keen any more on the fact that we have to leave him at the reception when we drop him off (see other threaD) and pick him up.
So I don't know what to do - we are viewing some other places, I'm supposed to go down tomorrow for another session and to pay for the first month. My mum said she can have him for a couple more weeks. I'm not sure whether to just cancel it now or wait until we've got somewhere else/seen the other places, because if they are no better he will either have to stay at this one or I'll have to quit work! Sorry for the ramble. If anyone has any other thoughts they are welcome.

giantkatestacks Tue 01-Sep-09 13:50:36

stereophonic - ime I would always go with gut feeling - my ds's nursery was never right but I left him there out of a lack of choice - my dds nursery I am now really happy with - I had quibbles about the food and the way they handed out drinks but they have all been resolved and my dd is really happy to go and come back (she is 15 months).

I think that at every nursery there are things you dont quite like and these can be dealt with out in the open but if you dont like the whole atmosphere (and it does sound weird) then you may need to change it - though that will mean putting your dc through the whole experience again. Can I ask why you chose to put ds in there and then look at others? Was it just a timing thing?

I would agree about the highchairs btw -that seems odd, my dd has been at a low table and chairs with asll the other 1 year olds since she started at 12 months. And is perfectly capable of feeding herself with cutlery (or hands) and using a cup. Thats one of the plus points of nursery care - that they teach them these independent skills.

good luck - if there are other option with spaces then hopefully one of those will be better - after all your ds will be there until he starts school...

Stereophonic Tue 01-Sep-09 14:42:12

Thakns giantkatestacks. We chose this one because it seemed the best out of the 6 we looked at (frankly none of the others I would have left him with, apart from one and they weren't open long enough hours), but the atmosphere seems different now (the manager has changed since we booked him in, not sure if that's to do with it?). We're looking at others now out of desperation because we are not sure about this one now, partly because he's not settling at all and partly because of the issues I've mentioned. The ones we're looking at now we didn't look at before because of their location, but we are happy to travel out of our way if it means he is happy).

With regards to putting him through the experience again - he's not out of the experience - he hasn't been left at all there yet and we've only had 2 sessions both times with us there, so he will still have to settle - if he is to stay ehre there's a lot of work to be done with settling him.
Not suer if this all makes sense. I have no idea what I'm doing really! I take your point about not everything being right at every nursery. I'm just not sure if this one really isn't as good as we thought, or if I won't be happy with anywhere.

bratley Tue 01-Sep-09 15:07:42

My DS had 2 settling sessions, 1st he was fine then cried when I left, second he cried for a bit then was fine. He's done 6 full days now and the first 3 were heart breaking, really hard to leave him, the last 3, no problems, he had to be reminded to say goodbye to me before he ran off to play!
Just to show that they don't always take to it straight away.
Agree that the staff might have just felt a bit self conscious having you standing watching them, I used to when I worked in a nursery, then once there were no parents around I was the first one on the floor 'being a lion' or dancing around the room singing!
Also, if they were eating, they might have just been calming things down a bit after a busy session. The last thing you want is staff 'being a lion' while the children are eating! grin
They know the children in the room, maybe being very quiet and standing back a bit is what works for winding the children down?

But, all that said, if you don't feel happy, go somewhere else. You all need to be happy with the setting.
Leaving them at reception does sound a bit odd...?

giantkatestacks Tue 01-Sep-09 21:19:08

I think if the others are absolutely awful then you will either have to leave him or investigate childminders.

I didnt realise about the settling sessions sorry - my dd only had a half hour session with me there, then I left for an hour and then a half day without me and then she was into 2 days a week. Luckily she just isnt a clingy baby - and that may be the heart of it - if your ds is quite clingy then he will take time to settle anywhere - how is he when you leave him with other people?

How much travel are the others and will they have spaces?

Do you know anyone else who sends their dc to the current nursery? Is there a parent for each class on the committee - at ours there is a parent rep and we can go and ask them about things - maybe like the reception thing. I wonder why they do that?

At mine they often move the younger ones in with the older depending on staff and activity - maybe they dont like you to see which room they are going into if its a different age group or maybe its just a logistical thing with that many parents all arriving together - I would ask them.

cazzybabs Tue 01-Sep-09 21:27:20

I haven't read all the messages so sorry if I am repeating myself

(1) it gets easier leaving them..honselty

(2) I am a teacher and i am never as animated if a parent is in my classroom - I cant be I am so embarrsed. Also I do have off days -especially if Ia m tired etc

(3) maybe you saw a supply staff memember

I would stick with it..one day is oo little to judge and besides unsettling for your LO to move. Pic up at different times and see hw you feel then.

Also OFSTED reports arent everything..they only look for certian things.

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