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A thread for parents to ask nursery nurses questions they wouldn't ask in real life?

59 replies

Wishuponastar011 · 16/04/2014 20:57

Thought this would be a good idea because I'm sure there are some questions that you would like to know the answer to that you can't ask in real life!

OP posts:
Booboostoo · 18/04/2014 08:10

DD has been going to a nursery 2-3 hours a day 3-5 days a week since she was 18mo, loves it and it has benefited her confidence enormously, so I have a vested interest in this debate!

Is it possible that there are more negative views of nurseries because there is more transparency there than with CMs? I suspect there are as many good nurseries as there are good CMs and the same goes for poor nurseries, but the nursery, because of its set-up, is a place where a lot of people have access to so more people are likely to notice the shortcomings. The CM works primarily on her own so you'd have less general knowledge of what goes on behind closed doors, and still you get quite a few stories of unacceptable CM behaviour on here.

MichaelFinnigan · 18/04/2014 08:21

Well this is a lovely reassuring thread Hmm

I'd like to know if you're told the truth when you do pickup, if your child had been sad or whatever - do you tell parents

And is it normal for the carers to have to do the end of day cleaning of the building? It's a bugbear of mine. Our nursery seems quite grubby, but if I were a 19 yr old who's spent all day looking after a room of toddlers I'm not sure cleaning would be top of my priorities come 6pm. I think, considering the fees we pay, proper cleaners should be employed.

Cindy34 · 18/04/2014 08:30

Is a small nursery likely to form a closer relationship to the children than a big nursery? Or does it depend on the individual staff?

Used to work in nurseries 15-20 years ago, expect things have changed quite a bit.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime · 18/04/2014 09:03

I think a cm would have a different bond with her mindees as it's a more homelike environmental and a smaller group. Also more autonomy. A nursery is a job where you're working with lots of children in the same room most of the day.

Anyone been a cm and a nursery nurse?

Certainly I'd avoid nurseries based on talking to nursery workers in the past but when I thought id got a short term teaching contract I investigated out of necessity. It was an "outstanding" nursery and well regarded and would have been fine if I'd had to use it... But I certainly wouldn't out of choice of not working.

Booboostoo · 18/04/2014 09:18

In DD's nursery staff stay with children from the beginning and for the next 3 years, moving up from the babies' group to the toddlers to the 3yos. Of course new children may arrive every year, especially as the staff to children ratio changes as they grow older but they have a pretty stable group of children to look after over a long period of time and I always see the same people working there with the same children.

rallytog1 · 18/04/2014 09:26

I'm honestly shocked at the negativity towards nurseries from nursery staff - I don't know if I'm just lucky to live in an area where the nursery provision is really good or whether I'm just deluded about the quality of my dd's nursery!

I have to say I'm continually delighted by the nursery we've chosen. My dd loves the staff, gets excited when we pull up outside the building and always looks happy when I peer through the window later in the day. Every day we get a sheet telling us what she's eaten, what her nappies were like, how much milk she's had and even what songs and stories they've done that day. She's normally very happy, so when she's having an off day they'll phone to let us know, so we can decide whether we want to pick her up (but no pressure). They recently spotted that she's developing an interest in naming and touching body parts, so they've started reading books and singing songs with her to encourage that. I feel this is all fantastic.

Should I be expecting more (?!) or are we just lucky enough to have found a great nursery?

TiggyKBE · 18/04/2014 09:31

Staff are usually pretty honest about telling parents how happy their child has been, although they try to sugar coat it a bit.

Bobsmyaunty - One day a week for 3 months for a one year old might work, but it might not. A lot of nurseries don't accept children for just one day per week because some children end up never settling. They forget about nursery over the week and never get used to it. That's some children. Others are fine.

MichaelFinnigan - Yes it is fairly normal for staff to clean at the end of the day. Some nurseries do it because it's cheaper and some, like several I've worked in, because they have had so many problems trying to get cleaners to do a decent job. However, staff doing routine cleaning cannot be counted in childcare ratios, and packing up 90% of the play space to make cleaning/mopping easier is naughty. The main problem for staff (in some nurseries) is they get told they have to clean but they're given no time after children's opening times to do it.

Is a small nursery likely to form a closer relationship to the children than a big nursery? - Depends on the general quality of the nursery of course, but there seems to be more swapping around of staff in the bigger nurseries which makes bonding harder. It's a general trend but a good big one is better than a poor little one. It's worse in chain nurseries where the staff have to look after children according to rules set hundreds of miles away rather than using their own abilities.

TiggyKBE · 18/04/2014 09:37

I'd just like to point out that a great nursery is a wonderful thing where children are cherished and everybody feels happy and secure. A place of fun and learning for children and staff. A safe and healthy place with feel like a family that just happens to have 50 children. I've worked in places like that and it's the best job in the world.

AntoinetteCosway · 18/04/2014 10:16

I'd like to know how qualified it's reasonable for me to expect the staff to be. I am getting increasingly worried by the level of (il)literacy displayed by many of the younger staff, especially as DD gets more interested in letters and reading. Some of them use lower case and capitals interchangeably within words. It didn't seem to matter so much when DD was very little but now she's 2.6. I don't know whether I'm being precious but it's really worrying me now and I'm thinking of moving her. She's meant to move to the preschool room in September-how will they be preparing her for school if they can't differentiate between e and E?

This is in an 'outstanding' Montessori nursery btw. She only goes one day a week so obviously the vast majority of the time she's with me.

TiggyKBE · 18/04/2014 10:29

Nursery work is minimum wage work. Apprentices get much lower than minimum wage. I even saw a nursery company the other day who were proud of their low wages as it made sure they got staff who were committed to childcare and not just in it for the money. Angry. But you get what you pay for and now the government has capped income at a very low level by the "free" place scheme you're going to get a lot more illiterate staff.

And the ofsted "outstanding" grades mean that in the opinion of one inspector on one day in the last 4 years it was outstanding. I've worked in some crap outstanding places.

insancerre · 18/04/2014 10:38

I've worked in nurseries for years and I would use one if I had a baby
I didn't use them when mine were babies as I had no need to as I was a sahm
I have worked with fantastic nursery nurses who I would feel comfortable at leaving my child with
I've also worked with some awful ones I would not leave a dog with
I would choose a nursery over a cm every time because on not comfortable with one person having sole care of several children
I like the rework in a. nursery and mix of ages experiences and characters
as far as qualifications go this is definitely a problem
school standards have slipped and young people are leaving without

knowing how to spell and use grammar
but this is not confined to nursery workers. I k ow a trainee teacher who has just got her first teaching job and her spelling is awful. she can't even spleen words like coming.
I run a setting that strives very hard to form good relationships with children and their parents because it is more beneficial for the child.
I know it works. I recently eon a parents choice award as lots of patents voted for me.
I believe in being honest with parents do yes I will tell you if they have been crying and for how long but I will support both patent and child in the settling in process
I once witnessed s parent of a baby break down on the hallway after leaving their baby for the first time. it has stuck with me forever and I understand how hard it must be as I have children myself.
I do have favourite children and these are normally the most challenging and need nursery care the most.
I love my job and wouldn't want to do anything else. I do it because I passionately believe it is important and that I can make a difference in children's lives. I certainly don't do it for he money.
my biggest bugbear is when patents font seem to value what I do beyond changing nappies and keeping their child safe.
I have a degree and the title of Early Yeats Professional and I just wish that some people didn't look down on me just because I work with children.

insancerre · 18/04/2014 10:41

I can spell I just can't seem to type on my phone Grin

HappyTalking · 19/04/2014 09:58

michaelfinegan i always tell parents the truth, parents need an honest answer about how their child has been that day, whether that is happy sad quiet etc.

rallytog sounds like you have found a good nursery. There are lots of good nurseries out there filled with staff who genuinely care about your child, sadly there are also places with unmotivated disinterested staff too and they can give all nurseries a bad name.

Babiecakes91 · 19/04/2014 11:16

I have a question as a mother of an almost 3 year old with autism. He at nursery likes doing his own thing he gets extra support 3 times for 30 minutes for 1 on 1.
It made me wonder for the rest of them time would you let him do his own thing or would you try and get him joining in with the rest of the group. (Non verbal no understanding)
Also he's got a milk allergy which has been ignored time and time again he even got sent home with a milk chocolate easter egg this week. How do parents bring this up without looking like an overbearing parent. They have medical letters stating the milk allergy and I have mentioned it loads of times.
Btw it's a council run nursery and is rated the best in our county x

jasminemai · 20/04/2014 12:20

Ive worked in many nurseries and would always want mine in nursery. All mine started as tiny babies and I personally dont think I offer anything near as good as nursery at home at any age. If I was a rich sahm I would pay out for mine to be in nursery part of the time.

elvislives2012 · 20/04/2014 21:58

Ok, got another. Does ofsted really matter?

TiggyKBE · 20/04/2014 23:18

Babiecakes91 - The milk thing is really worrying. It's a very clear, obvious and understandable "no milk". No chance of misinterpretation, just staff who can't be very clever or bothered.

With ofsted I think it's best to read the report. I've come across many where you're not exactly sure if the inspector has actually visited the nursery. Loose generic statements that could apply to anybody: A bit like horoscopes.

Greenybrownish · 20/04/2014 23:30

I am a nursery nurse and use a pre school for my little one, since she turned 2. I ve also used childminder until she went to pre school and can see good and bad points for both. I think each nursery/ pre school is different and usually you can tell on a visit what kind of place it is. From working in various settings if the staff are obv trying too hard on your visit it's usually the opposite to the way they work where the ones that are relaxed and not all fake look how lovely we are , are the best ones that really are genuine.

hotcrosshunny · 21/04/2014 22:11

I think this thread is a good idea as it should be exposed if our children receive opoor care.

I was put off nursery when seeing the staff ignore a crying child. They were saying he was being manipulative. He was under 1 FFS and was settling in so of course unsettled. My ds was one of the favourites and you could tell which ones they didn't like.

Molly1990 · 21/04/2014 23:38

I don't think ofsted means a lot. I worked in a nursery graded 'good' the previous week and witnessed one year old children being shouted at, told to 'shut up' etc. another child left to cry themselves to sleep for 40 minutes...

I think one reason I would prefer childminder/nanny is you can pick one with a similar childcare philosophy, and check they understand child development. A lot of nursery nurses lack very basic knowledge regarding normal social and emotional child development. The problem is when you get a few bad staff working in a room it just normalises poor practice, so I wouldn't say it makes it 'safer' than a a carer who is working unsupervised! Bad staff will sit around gossipping, ignoring the children.

adsy · 23/04/2014 18:00

(Do cm conversely say use a nursery?!)
No!!! I've never come across a CM who would willingly use a nursery over a CM or nanny and I kNow lots of current nursery workers and people who have left nurseries to become CM's/ nannies etc.
You simply don't get the same level of care in nurseries and people with direct experience of both will impe never use a nursery.

jasminemai · 23/04/2014 19:13

I am a nursery nurse and would never choose a cm over a nursery. I love everything about nurseries and so do all my nursery nurse friends. I would never willingly chose a cm


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insancerre · 23/04/2014 19:23

I would never chose a cm over a nursery either and don't know any nursery nurses that have used a cm
they have all used a nursery and I have worked with many nursery nurses

adsy · 23/04/2014 19:51

Maybe we just have pants nurseries round here ( or very good CM'S Grin )but it seems the majority of people in my neighbourhood see nurseries as the second choice , especially as the CM's now all accept the funded places. But as I say, we only have 2 nurseries and TBH they're not exactly great and it's a small community so everybody sees the CM's out and about a lot which maybe gives people more confidence

jasminemai · 23/04/2014 19:57

I love nurseries both my children went one from 6 weeks, one from 7 months and Im having another that I want straight in as soon as I can. My children have been utterly spoilt in nurseries and I love the fact its like a massive family. I see all the care in the couple I have worked and there is no way 1 cm could rival it.

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