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Big open pond at nursery

23 replies

GentleOtter · 17/09/2009 08:35

Ds2 (2) has recently started attending an outdoor nursery which is a bit of a distance away, for a couple of hours a week.
Last week I went along with him and was shown around the area (normally his Dad goes with him) - it is set in a few acres of woodland and the children are outdoors in all weathers, which is fine.

My huge concern is that firstly, there is a stock fence with barbed wire separating part of the area and secondly, where the fence peters out, the area opens out on to an enormous pond - more of a small lake covered in duck weed etc.
The open area is approx 100 meters and obscured by fallen trees, bushes and shrubs as well as tall reeds and rushes.

The nursery lady said that older children had made a little fence from twigs and that the children are always supervised but I don't want my son to go there anymore until they have a proper fence up. Is it just me being overprotective or is this an accident waiting to happen? There are a few toddlers and some slightly older children. There were two nursery staff on duty for six children the day I was there. The children do tend to wander off into the woods, although not too far, but sometimes I could not see some of them.

Ds quite likes it there and is due to go back this afternoon but I am worried sick.
What would you do?

OP posts:
lynniep · 17/09/2009 08:37

you're kidding - and this place is ofsted approved?? without adequate fencing from a pond??

iheartdusty · 17/09/2009 08:38

it sounds like a lovely environment, but I would be worried.

have you asked to see their risk assessment plan?

GentleOtter · 17/09/2009 08:39

I am not kidding and was utterly horrified. The nursery has been open for a few years now and no fence.

OP posts:
GentleOtter · 17/09/2009 08:41

The children are asked to help with the risk assessments but no one mentioned the water. Well, I did but it was sort of ignored.
I'm not putting him back today.

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lynniep · 17/09/2009 08:42

ok, I'm over the shock.

whilst an outdoor nursery sounds lovely, I would not send my child there if there was the possibility of him wandering into barbard wire/an open pond

Nursery staff cannot keep their eyes on all children all of their time unless the ratios are 1:1, which they will never be, and it only takes one incident of a child wandering to end in tragedy. My DS is off like a shot whenever he gets the opportunity - there's no way I'd risk this without adequate fencing - little twigs arent going to stop a two-stone whirlwhind.

When was the last ofsted inspection/report? - I'd voice my concerns and remove your DS until something is done.

GentleOtter · 17/09/2009 10:00

I phoned them this morning and they are going to look at the area to assess adequate fencing but said it that some of the other parents were unconcerned (or had not voiced concern) viz the loch.

It may go against the entire ethos of their nursery as they permit a certain element of risk taking with the children eg the use of tools, tree climbing, making fires under strict supervision etc in an open environment but I feel very strongly that the open loch is a death trap rather than another 'risk'.

Ds will be staying at home which is a bit sad for him as there are no other children his age in this area.

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pruneplus2 · 17/09/2009 11:34

Sounds like an interesting nursery to me to be honest.

Are there bouyancy aids around the lake? I would have thought, risk taking or no risk taking, health and safety would have insisted on this?

Carrotfly · 17/09/2009 11:36

Sounds like a lovely environment for children.

BUT, I think I would be very wary...

KerryMumbles · 17/09/2009 11:38

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pasturesnew · 17/09/2009 11:41

That sounds MAD to me. There are so many sad stories in the news about toddlers drowning in next to no time, and I personally know a few families who have had nasty shocks with ponds at grandparents' houses and so on although thankfully no resulting tragedies.

Have you spoken to other parents at all? Surely everyone would be in favour of fencing it in properly?

Meglet · 17/09/2009 11:42

Accident waiting to happen I reckon. Being outdoors is essential for children (I virtually insist on my dc's playing in the garden with sticks and mud), but at 2 I think they are too young to take the risk near water.

I would have a word with OFSTED I think.

jeee · 17/09/2009 11:43

Are you in the UK? Because I can't believe Ofsted would pass this. And I wouldn't let my child go there.

etchasketch · 17/09/2009 11:44

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

etchasketch · 17/09/2009 11:45

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rindercella · 17/09/2009 11:50

There is no way I would allow DD to go to a nursery which had an unfenced pond/loch/pool/whatever. I take her swimming a couple of times a week, she is confident in water, but no way in the world would I allow this. I am very surprised Ofsted haven't picked up on this.

waitingforfanjo · 18/09/2009 03:15

YANBU. The whole thing sounds a great idea but that pool....NO WAY! I would be worrying all the time about it too. There is a big difference between allowing children to take risks in a controled setting, and falling into an unfenced pool while someone's back is turned.

JennyPennyNAPPYWEB · 18/09/2009 03:23

I am very concerned about the pool, but also - I am surprised nobody else has commented on the walking off in the wood. If the children are walking off and cant be seen, then this is just as much of a hazard IMO. Report to ofsted ASAP before somebody gets hurt

QuietlyTTC · 18/09/2009 06:53

It sounds mad
Is it a Steiner nursery?

GentleOtter · 18/09/2009 08:13

No, it is not a Steiner nursery. There are two of these nurseries in this area, the other is much smaller, no pond but near Stirling so too far away from us.

I have written to them to allay my concerns and to ask for a copy of the Ofsted report which I was unable to find on their website.

Silly question but are Scottish nurseries covered by Ofsted reports or do they fall under some other name?

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fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 18/09/2009 08:24

Scottish inspections are on this site:

fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 18/09/2009 08:25

go to Preschool and select council area, there should be inspection reports for all nurseries in area, private or council-run

GentleOtter · 18/09/2009 08:42

Many thanks for the link, Fanjo and I double checked and there is no mention of this nursery although the other one near Stirling is mentioned.
I am confused as the nursery has been open for more than 12 months yet no report....

OP posts:
fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 18/09/2009 08:48

oh dear, sounds like they haven't got round to it yet!!

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