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Choosing a nursery - top tips

(20 Posts)
anchovies Mon 20-Jun-05 20:23:05

Am going to start looking at day nurseries for my ds (17 months) next week but have got no idea what to expect. Would be very grateful if you could give me ideas on what to look out for, ask about etc?

Thanks!

anchovies Mon 20-Jun-05 20:53:18

Please please please!

hotmama1 Mon 20-Jun-05 21:07:14

I wish I'd asked more about food! My dd is due to start nursery in Aug when she will be 10 months. I have just found out that they only give white bread, often give biscuits and give them crap like Angel Delight rather than fruit on a regular basis. The nursery has a good reputation for everything else but I think I may be giving her a pack-up!

When I was pregnant, the care and staff were my priorities - unfortunately I think many nurseries are crap when it comes to food - need a Jamie Oliver.

Sorry if I offend anyone who gives Angel Delight - it's a personal thing - want dd to have a 'good' diet whilst she is little - there will be a time and place for 'treats'

What I did like about the nursery is the little log book that is filled in everyday, the staff seemed really nice and it was obvious that they had a good rapport with the children and the nursery was recommended by loads of friends - so it must be O.K. musn't it? Perhaps I'm just a paranoid mum!

NotQuiteCockney Mon 20-Jun-05 21:19:18

Trust your instincts. We toured three nurseries. I disliked the first (and later heard moderately bad things about it), hated the second (and later heard they'd had an armed robbery recently, plus other unpleasantness), and loved the third. DS1 went to the third for over a year, and we were always pretty happy.

And do ask about the food, but calmly. I would ask ... "so, what would a typical dessert be?". And they would answer, calmly, oh, Angel Delight, and I would run away.

Oh, and ask local mums for opinions and suggestions. That always helps. I always thought the people with the most interesting opinions, to some extent, would be the people living next to the nursery, if there are any ...

hotmama1 Mon 20-Jun-05 21:23:51

Agree with NQC - def check out a few so you can compare - I went to 3 - you just get a feel for a place. I also checked out the OFSTED website to look at the most recent report - so you get a feel for any issues and what improvements are needed. Talk to people whose opinions you value and whose children you think are O.K.

Chuffed Tue 21-Jun-05 10:42:12

and don't just go to the room your ds will be going into but the some above, see what they are doing in there too.
Our nursery has a monthly rotating menu which is available for all to see.
Staff turnover...
Room to play...
Basically you just get a 'feeling' I think.

Gillian76 Tue 21-Jun-05 10:47:08

If you can "drop in" unannounced and get a tour of the place there and then it is a good sign. Obviously there will be the need to talk to someone in charge, etc so an appointment might be neccesary. Some places seem over eager to prepare for your visit, iykwim!

Agree totally, trust your instincts. If you have any doubts whatsoever walk away!

MrsBoo Tue 21-Jun-05 11:11:32

i chose my nursery based on recomendations from other mums, and from my initial impression. It's quite a small one, and is based in an old school, semi-countryside. They have a broad range of staff; some young girls fresh from college, and older 'grannies' as well. Low staff tunrnover, and good morale.
My DS started at 1 year, and DS at 12 weeks.
They cook everything themselves, and use fresh ingredients, No salt, sugar etc etc. Regular parents nights, and we get a say in the menus, what we like/don't like and so on.
They even take the kids swimming (from 1 year), and country walks (to see the chickens and goats). It really is a 'home from home'. And best of all, it has an After School Club too, so the children can continue attending when they start big school.

anchovies Tue 21-Jun-05 11:12:37

Thanks for these, really useful!

MrsDoolittle Tue 21-Jun-05 11:13:31

MrsBoo - I am currently looking for nurseries for my daughter and your description sounds familiar. Do you mind if I ask where it is?

grumpyfrumpy Tue 21-Jun-05 11:56:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsBoo Tue 21-Jun-05 12:29:30

Mrs Doolitte; my nursery is near Hillsborough in Northern Ireland.

MrsBoo Tue 21-Jun-05 12:30:01

Mrs Doolitte; my nursery is near Hillsborough in Northern Ireland.

pesme Tue 21-Jun-05 12:39:42

hi, gut feeling is pretty important. staff turnover.

also i was really put off places that expressed no interest in dd. the one I chose offered to look after her sleeping in her pram and then cooed over her.

make a list of questions as my mind goes blank in these sorts of situations.

Lizzylou Tue 21-Jun-05 12:49:43

Gillian76, totally agree with being able to "drop in" for a look round, that shows they have nothing to hide...
I chose my DS's current nursery due to the friendliness and openness of the staff and the fact that they employ a mix of ages,
the fact that it is in a converted church and is painted in bright colours (it's gorgeous and I never want to leave when I drop DS off),
the other children I met when I was showed around seemed very happy and polite,
the fact that they have structured "weeks" with activities planned for even the smallest of children which are posted up for parents to see on a weekly basis,
They provide fresh and appetising food,
I am kept informed of what my son has done all day everyday he attends with a daily form (time of bowel movements and all!)....
Most of all it was very much a gut feeling, I just knew Ds would be well cared for and thus far I have been right....

homemama Wed 22-Jun-05 16:20:31

Anchovies, I'm glad you've asked this as I'm a bit unsure how to judge/compare the new cheadle one with others.
I don't want to be swayed by hi-tech nonsense and leave with no understanding of what it's actually going to run like when the kids are in.
I'd be interested to see what you think - post Tue!

anchovies Wed 22-Jun-05 17:06:43

Hi homemama, have booked to visit a local on friday so hopefully will have some basis for comparison, will be good to exchange thoughts on the cheadle one on tues though!

fsmail Sun 03-Jul-05 19:49:07

One tip somebody told me was how quick the children that are there will come over and talk to you. This is a sign they are comfortable with the adults at he nursery. (ofsted reports normally comment on this) This may be phychobabble but it was true in my experience. Also be wary of nurseries that have lots of television and soft play areas because that may mean they get little interaction with the staff and are just left to jump on each other all day. Finally the amount of the fees makes no difference as to quality of care. The most expensive one I used had a really high turnover of staff and my ds never settled. Hope that helps.

dinny Sun 03-Jul-05 19:53:09

Visit lots, Anchovies. And trust your gut feeling - I looked at 15 in our borough and only liked (well, I loved it!) one! Wouldn't have considered leaving dd at the other 14!

Aragon Sun 03-Jul-05 20:02:08

What told me that the nursery I chose was great was the fact that the manager told me to "just drop in for a visit when you're next passing". She explained that it was much better for me to see them as they were and not "all prepared for your visit".

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