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Discuss everything related to paid childcare here, including childminders, nannies, nurseries and au pairs.


Nannies/childminders or nurseries?

17 replies

1dilemma · 10/10/2007 00:44

You often see on here descriptions of things nurseries do that people don't like (unflexible sleeping, picking children up by arms, one recently was nudging child up stairs with her foot) and this is used to explain why people choose childcare from the first 2, but surely being in a setting where care is provided by one adult makes children more vunerable to this kind of treatment?
One of the reasons I chose a nursery is I felt that the group aspect would make inappropriate carer behaviour more difficult. I know that groups can be nastier than individuals. But I believe that most carers choose thier job because they like kids etc. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I missing something?

OP posts:

Katymac · 10/10/2007 07:29

I think that good nurseries are fabulous, so are good childminders

I also worry about groups being nastier than individuals

I do not agree that most carers choose their job because the like children at my school (back in the 80's) the lower achievers were pushed in to catering/shop work/childcare - & based on the nursery staff I see at compulsary courses I think that is the same now.

The staff I see at voluntary training courses are the ones that want to work with children

I think childminders are also split into 2 groups. those that choose it as an easy option to earn money & stay at home while their children are young and those who make a consious decision to take up chilminding as a career. The first group often become the second group when they remain childminding long after their children have started school

But I don't think that helps much in the debate - sorry


goldenoldie · 10/10/2007 07:58

sadly it's not as easy as that, ie. public/group care does not equal less risk. Remember Beverly Allet - how much more public/bigger group of carers can you get in a hospital. Ther group care aspect 'did not protect the children that became her victims.


JennaJ · 10/10/2007 08:29

As someone who:
-started work in a nursery
-then became a nanny
-and now works as a nanny/ reg childminder

I have to say that I would NEVER leave my children in a nursery but I would have a carefully chosen nanny or childminder.

The nurseries I have worked in (with the exception of 1 which was fab) have been horrendous places..the staff are mostly young and inatentive, they do what is best for them and not for the children in their care, they always have hangovers, they chat all day about boys, they egg each other on to do inapropriate things (eg..there was a competition once between the girls in the babyroom as to who could make all the babies cry at once by saying boo right in their faces...the first baby had to still be crying by the time the last one was made to cry to win!!! I obviously had NO part in this as I was in the toddler room. At a different nursry the toddlers used to be strapped into car seats (ordered by the manager) for hours at a time to stop them making a mess ffs!!! at the same nursery children were given 5 minutes to eat dinner and then it was removed..every meal. Only children who finished the meal in 5 mins would be allowed out of the highchair the rest would have to stay there until the next meal!!The staff used to give the ones who finished in 5 mins bigger and bigger meals and laugh as they watched the poor mites try to stuff it in!! The books about what they had done/ eaten that day were routinely forged..lies were always told to parents etc It was the last nursery that when I left to become a nanny I complained about.. the parents of the children that went to this nursey were fairly oblivious and though it was a wonderful place!!

Now Im NOT saying all nurseries are like this. I can only go on my personal experience and from personal experience I know that this kind of nursery DO exist.

I have also known some bad nannies and some very lazy childminders but on the whole I think you can judge easier from an individual and from your childs reaction to that individual rather than looking at a whole group.

Im not trying to scare anyone..there are some fab nurseries out there! go with your gut instinct..if you feel something isn;t quite right then go with it!!



Anna8888 · 10/10/2007 09:06

Jenna - what you write about nurseries is truly shocking... and also the reason why I have never left my daughter in one.


MarshaBrady · 10/10/2007 09:19

Bloody hell Jenna! Why does this go on without people reporting the nursery, letting the parents know?
It's ridiculous.


dmo · 10/10/2007 09:28

same as jenna i too worked in a few different nurserys over a 12 yr period
i am now a childminder
the seens i have seen in nurserys made me too upset and it was mostly management incouraged
also witnessed lazy childminders who i wouldnt leave a dog with


StrawberryMartini · 10/10/2007 09:28

Ooh can see this thread becoming heated...

I was a supply teacher and one day worked in a nursery as there was no work in a school. I was quite horrified. Again, I only saw one nursery on one day, but it made me decide that I would never leave any child of mine at one. I was in the babies' room, where they were basically ignored all day while the staff filled in mountains of paperwork (what time the nappy was changed, what was in it, hourly temp checks of the room etc), and some babies were there from 8am til 6pm.

Of course there are dodgy cms, but I think you can tell that from a first meeting with one.


JennaJ · 10/10/2007 09:32

I think it does get reported.. I certainly reported incidents to the manager of one nursery who always vowed to sort it out but nothing ever seemed to happen (bear in mind that I was around 16 at the time so fairly powerless). I left my last nursery (the one where toddlers were strapped into carseats half the day) to become a nanny as I was so disgusted with the level of care they provided. Which was actively encouraged by the manager!!!. My parents helped me make a formal complaint about the nursery and the manager which was backed up by a number of other girls who had left for similar reasons but all that happened was that the nursery was investigated..its very easy for staff to put on a show for the investigators. The nursery stayed open!!

I have heard SO many horror stories from nanny friends over the years about nurseries where they have worked that Im guessing my experiences are not a one off!

On the positive side I have worked in an amazing nursey, the manager was very hands on and proactive the staff were lovely, well trained and were rewarded by the nursery for being caring, loving and proactive in the way they cared for children. No lying in books was condoned we had weekly one to one chats with parents and actively took on board their views about raising their children. I can't think of any incidents in the year that I was there which would concern me. SO there are GOOD nurseries out there.

Hopefully over the last 14years or so the system has changed and there are less 'bad' ones and more 'good' ones.



frannikin · 10/10/2007 14:56

Jenna - I have to say I totally agree with you about leaving nurseries - I quit my college course because my placement nursery was so horrendous (and my college wouldn't let me change). I just couldn't go on working there. They were doing pretty much what you described about paperwork, lying to parents, neglecting the children and that was 3 years ago. Another thing I didn't like was the sheer number of trainees they had there - the staffing was about 50% trainee. I reported them to OFSTED in the end but again it stayed open...

On the other hand the nursery that my current charge is at is lovely - mature, qualified staff with a minimum number of trainees, they're honest on their forms and staff have designated time to do obs/fill in paperwork. I feel that a lot of it is down to the manager.


Kiddi · 10/10/2007 22:24

AS a parent I scared by reading that about nurseries, but I also understand theat paretns put a lot of trust in me as a CM on my own. I chose minder or nursery for the simple reason I feel I am a good judge of when someone is lying and felt that If a CM lied to me about any injury etc to my child I had more chance of judging it as a lie, than If my child was injured and I ask someone at a nursery what happned then had to be referreed to a manager who, would then as a room supervisor , who would then as the assistant exactly what had happened before it all got relayed to me. IYSWIM. My preference with my DS was I leave him with one person responsible then I only have one person to have to trust. Had really good expeience with first CM who wwas family friend whom I trusted ( i know realise in todays CM situations she would not be Good or Outstanding unless she raised her game, but did the job I needed at the time for my son in a way that pleased me a the time. used for 4 years til ill health.Next CM i never felt i could trust totally so left after 3 months even tho only afer school. and trained as CM so when I got pregnant would not have to trust anyone again. ANAL i know but it really worked for me, I am a fantastic childminder and even on my lazy days, kids get a great day and gain loads while mum/dad at work, so everyone wins.


Kiddi · 10/10/2007 22:25

sorry loads of typos, goin to bed now


1dilemma · 10/10/2007 23:05

Thanks everyone except Anna (I knew from the thread title she would have nothing useful to contribute and I'm sooo old now I can just ignore such immaturity sorry to be so rude but.... )
Some really interesting comments, I do agree with your point Katymac I guess I just think that people are basically good and the vast majority of childcarers don't go into it to abuse children from what others have said I wonder how much is peer pressure etc taking over.
Jenna what you wrote almost made me feel physically sick as has some other stuff on here, I really don't know whether all the inspections have helped but I sincerely hope so.
There was a tendency for one of the rooms in the nursery I use to be a bit sitting around chatting about the weekend/boys but it seems much improved, one of the girls has gone on a part-time big course (early yrs education or similar) and they do some really good things now. I hope encouraging people to see it as more of a positive choice with a cereer pathway will help improve standards overall.
I do agree that there is way too much paperwork for some reason the staff with my lo keep leaping around photographing the kids whenever they do anything (truely recreating the prescious firstborn feeling for them all ) it's to show ofsted! I know the reason for it I just wish they didn't have to. My only comment about the nappies is that thy do way to many I really don't care what they did when otherwise for 99% of the time.
I do find this difficult. For those who havn't guessed I'm thinking about changing my choices but am also on managing committee of our nursery and interested in the topic as well.
Anyone have any ideas as to how to spot a bad one?
Can you judge how good all the rooms are by the happiness /willingness of the older ones to go in?
And finally thanks from a parent to all of you who complained about nurseries you worked in, not an easy thing to do especially if you are so young.

OP posts:

1dilemma · 10/10/2007 23:08

Just to clarify when I said 'I don't care what they did when' I mean in their nappy. I just don't get the writing it all down at great length for everychild everyday. I just love hearing about their day and like any parent could yak for ages about my dcs!

OP posts:

nannynick · 10/10/2007 23:12

I temped in nurseries for a period of a little over a year, in 2004/05. Many nurseries had young staff, which is one of the issues. Some nurseries have a mixture of ages of staff - these in general were the better nurseries.
I temped in a lovely small nursery near Caversham, run for the BBC. It was lovely - mixed ages of staff, not small (only 2 rooms used by the children), with nice enclosed garden plus large enclosed grounds for longer walks, with views over countryside. So some nurseries are good.

Group care should in theory protect children, but alas I don't think it does as there may be a mindset in the staff at a particular establishment whereby they don't see what they are doing as being wrong - it's established practice.

When care is provided by one adult, I would say that in general that person providing the care is doing the job because they like the work, enjoy their job. As they are the only person providing care, they are fully accountable to the child's parents - whereas in a nursery, it may be harder to establish who is accountable for failings in standard of care.


maximummummy · 10/10/2007 23:36

oh my god i feel really disgusted about what can/does happen in nurseries
poor babies


1dilemma · 11/10/2007 00:26

I know makes me very sad, how could people do that to lo, and people do much worse too.

OP posts:

MarshaBrady · 11/10/2007 10:44

Idliemma I agree it takes courage to report bad group behaviour, so thanks Jenna and anyone else who did this.
I had to walk away from this thread for a couple of days as it made me feel sick.

Anyway as someone has used a nanny and nursery on part-time basis here's what I think about finding a good nursery.
My 2.5 ds goes a couple of days a week to one that has an excellent reputation.
These are the things that I think make people want to use it and wait 2 years to get a place

  • the manager is excellent. Hands on in the rooms, brilliant with the children.
  • the staff, ds' keyworker is a lovely German girl with about 5 years study in childcare related subjects. I take from this that her career is important to her.
  • the mix of staff ages, women who look like they probably have children of their own. cuts down on gossiping I think
    So really it's the staff and their willingness to be there that is the golden key.
    As for the nanny I used she was brilliant, and in all honesty if I have another I would use this option up to 2 years old. Over 2 and they benefit more from all the messy play, stories, friends etc etc
    Ok an essay! hope this is helpful.
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