My feed

to access all these features

Find nursery advice from other Mumsnetters on our Nursery forum.


Indoor/Outdoor space & heating??

41 replies

KatyMac · 19/05/2008 22:01

OK - I'll be honest - I struggle with this one as a childminder & I don't know how I am going to deal with it as a nursery owner/manager

But I truly believe that indoor/outdoor is right & all the children I care for get lots of outdoor time

I also believe that opening & closing doors constantly is dangerous/potentially dangerous

But how do you meet the requirements and provide a heated indoor space with a door either open or opening & closing

& how do I reconsile this with my green/eco leanings?

OP posts:
KatyMac · 20/05/2008 12:16


OP posts:
advicepleasemums · 20/05/2008 14:51


I am not a nursery expert just a bit of a lurker here as have a LO at day nursery!

Can you give a bit more detail, why is opening/shutting doors a potential hazard?
is the idea to have a kind of 'open' run where the children can choose to spend time either in or out?

What about a heater mounted above the door (like in shops?) Probably not essentially eco-ideal but if you could find one that needed minimal power to work?

KatyMac · 20/05/2008 16:09


It's probably me being a bit anal but I find doors opening and closing (especially children doing the opening and closing) seems to lead to doors being closed in peoples faces

They should have free access inside and outside so they choose where to play

I'll think about that sort heater

OP posts:
linzs · 20/05/2008 16:46


Am new to all this but have recently been reading your posts regarding your new nursery.

I own/manage a day nursery.

To encourage our children to have free access to both the outdoor/indoor environment we do leave the door leading to the garden open (I too worry about H&S involved with children opening/closing doors). We have not found the heating of the nursery to become to much of an issue but we have two seperate areas Baby room (0-2) and Older room (2-5) and they both have seperate doors seperating them so they can close them off if they need to IYSWIM.

We always have the heating on a comfortable setting and invested in seatshirts and fleeces for the staff uniform so that they can wrap up warmer if needed.

The children never seem phased by the cold anyway and are so active during the day that they keep warm. All children have warmer jumpers etc in their cubby holes in case they need them but TBH they dont seem to feel the cold as much as the staff do!

Children's coat hooks and wellie pegs are kept close to the door so they are there if needed and we have recently looked at buying cheap poncho type rainmacs for them to use in rainy conditions.

Obviously during lunch time and afterwards whilst the children are resting/sleeping the doors are kept closed for security reasons so it doesnt take long for the nursery to reheat itself.

We do have the heating on all day and this seems to be more economical as while the nursery is warm it takes less to heat it as opposed to warming it up morning and evening. We also use fan heaters in extremely cold weather as they are very good at warming the rooms quickly.

Sorry post is a bit long - I do tend to go on a bit (grin).


KatyMac · 20/05/2008 17:33

No - do go on as much as you need to

I just worry about fuel bills they have gone up so much recently

OP posts:
linzs · 20/05/2008 19:38

Yes bills can be high but looking at the grand scheme of things are not the largest outgoing we have. We are based in a large three storey house though and nursery is only on the first floor - although other rooms used are on the second floor and it does take a lot to keep the place warm (Especially in the winter)

I think it is one of those things that you really need to consider when structuring fees. Our largest outgoing is food (After the wages of course!!) - though I think that is normal when you look at how many we are feeding over the week. This is closely followed by business Rates - good idea to get these checked - we are even charged for the garden shed and under stairs cupboard!

As you said it is great to get the children in the garden - they do get a tremendous amount from it. The problem we have is parents who get upset if the children are taken out in cold/rain - they are worried they are going to freeze to death.

How are your plans going? - Am really nosy interested.

KatyMac · 20/05/2008 20:57

Wow I can't imagine food being highest

I feed 9 under 5's plus staff, DH, DD & I for less than about £70 a week

Rates worries me - I think it will be related to the lease value

Plans going slowly - I'm on my 3rd property atm and a bit stressed

We got some ideas together for the baby room & are struggling with whether to have a loo in there - I want one to chuck poo down but my (future) deputy worries that it is a waste of space

OP posts:
linzs · 20/05/2008 21:18

We currently feed 26 children a day, 12 staff, Me & Dh (who also works at nursery). We offer morning snack (Cafe style now to please Ofsted and EY advisors!), two course lunch and afternoon tea - (which we have recently changed to a cooked tea - along with acquiring a brill new cook). Plus I am really cheeky and get cook to make extra so my 3 dc have tea when they come back from school and so we do not have to cook when we get home - we live about 45 mins away from our nursery!!
We also provide all babies bottles and formula milk so now you can probably understand why our bills are high.

Have appealed rates but this has been turned down - are backing NDNA in trying to get rates reduced for nurseries but in reality cannot see it happening.

I know property is very hard to come by - we did consider starting from scratch but then were very lucky as very generous and lovely in laws stumped up to help us buy nursery as going concern - although this had its own problems. When we were looking suitable properties were church halls and old doctors/dentist surgeries as they already D1 planning use - which generally means there is no need to apply for change of use.

Personally I would go with the loo in the baby room for chucking poo down - we have lots of parents using cloth nappies instead of disposables and obviously they need emptying before they are placed in bag and sent home. We have however been advised that we should leave be and send them home for the parents to sort out but tbh I could really not do that to the parents.

KatyMac · 20/05/2008 21:24

Would you like to see my prospective floor plan

I'm looking at a chapel atm - but it has no water & no drains

OP posts:
linzs · 20/05/2008 22:31

Would love too!

Gosh - bet you are soo excited.

People thought we were mad when we bought nursery - everybody seems to think that to be in this line of work, you are a school drop out with no qualifications. We have actually had family (SIL) tell us that we had it easy as all we had to do all day was "babysit"

We have now had nursery for 10 years and work bloody hard but still people think we do nothing!

Am off to bed now as I have to be at work by 8 in the morning to open up but will catch up tomorrow.

KatyMac · 20/05/2008 22:34

You could email me?


I tend to hide my email addy a bit so it doesn't get picked up but it's at Hotmail

Then I type a bit more to keep it confusing dotcodotuk

I have no idea if it works but I was told to do it that way to decrease junk email & spam

I'll send you back a floor plan

Sleep well

OP posts:
linzs · 21/05/2008 11:50

Good idea KatyMac will email later when I get a chance - Just sorting out lunch (Cook is on holiday).

KatyMac · 21/05/2008 14:03

How unreasonable of her

OP posts:
linzs · 21/05/2008 15:28

Lol yes very unreasonable - she did however cook and freeze enough to feed an army before she left - I only have to do veg and some puds so not too bad really, Will definitely not be accepting her resignation any time it is offered

Will email now.


KatyMac · 21/05/2008 16:38

It doesn't make sense does it?

Sorry If you tell me where you are stuck I might be able to explain

OP posts:
linzs · 21/05/2008 19:29

sorry havent had chance to look yet.Have only just got in - It has been a very long day.

Computer at work wouldnt open documents!!

Will get Dh to sort it out later and have look.

linzs · 21/05/2008 19:34

Have just realised I emailed you earlier and it somehow came back to me

will just have my tea and then look at the plans.

KatyMac · 21/05/2008 20:06

Been out sailing - how fab

Back to the grindstone

OP posts:
linzs · 21/05/2008 21:19

Ok - have managed to get the children into bed, looked at your plans and got extremely jealous that you have had time out for sailing.

Plans look good - I think you seem to have covered everything.

I just have a few questions (To make things clearer in my head)

How many children (roughly) are you aiming to register for and in what age groups/rooms?
This will help me get a rough size idea as I am really crap with measurements. Also am I right in thinking that the older children will have access to two classrooms - 1 upstairs and 1 downstairs?

I see you have planned a seperate baby room - will there be a seperate sleep area as well or will the babies be sleeping in the same room? Will the staff in the babyroom have access to the kitchen for fridge/bottles etc?

Where will the toilets/handwashing be for the older children?

How big is the garden going to be and how will the children be able to access this?

It is great that you have added a staff room in the plans by the way - you would not beleive how many nurseries I know without one - The staff have to work around the children for their breaks!!

God I am sorry to ask so many questions we have not long had our latest Ofsted so I have so much advice fresh in my mind from the witch lovely inspector who visited

KatyMac · 21/05/2008 21:23

downstairs only - upstairs will be hired out (hence loo upstairs and staircase off foyer/lobby)
24 in main room (2-5) plus 6 babies

No - sleep within room (it's tight but separated with insulated curtains). there will be a fridge in the room with access to a microwave/taster/kettle through a hatch into the kitchen (there will be a lip next to the hatch so things cannot be knocked off the worksurface)

Toilets/handwashing are on left under staircase - 3 cubicles

Garden 17m by 6m

OP posts:
linzs · 21/05/2008 21:58


We are mainly downstairs too - only kitchen/office/staff room on second floor and then we leave top floor for our three dc to use after school and during holidays etc.

That makes things a lot easier regarding fire exits and getting children down stairs etc. If hiring out though all adults using room will need CRB's. I do know a nursery near to us that hires out rooms to council staff and she tells me that it works very well (More hands on in an Emergency situation). We had considered hiring out some of our spare rooms to up income but unfortunately we are based in a very busy town and parking is now a major problem (CPZ has been introduced down our road)

Sleeping within room is fine and workable - we do have a sleep room but it is not large enough to fit enough cots in so some of our older babies sleep on beds/mats in the room after lunch things have been tidied away - which was fine by Ofsted as children are always supervised so there is no danger.
Regarding kitchen access we have a small fridge on the worksurface in the nappy changing room and a kettle for heating bottles - have checked with EH and they are more than happy with this arrangement as long as bottles/cups are not washed in the sink in this area and feeds are made up in the main kitchen.

Garden sounds plenty big enough - we have been limited to 4 hours use a day by the planning department because our miserable neighbours do not like to hear the children in the garden so we tend to take all children out together to make the most use of the time but there is always the option of timetabling so that the older children can use the whole garden for running around and letting off steam if needed.

KatyMac · 21/05/2008 22:04

There is a separate area for the babies which I thought to put that soft surface on

I really dislike the staircase arrangement - but I am struggling to rearrange it

I have major issues with a completely self contained area (no access to children at any time inside or out) needing CRB's - bloody OFSTED - they have separate loos/kitchen facilities/staircase why do they need one??

OP posts:
linzs · 21/05/2008 22:17

Will the hired out rooms have there own seperate entrance or will they be entering through the nursery door - I seem to remember it makes a difference as to CRB's or not!!

What don't you like about the staircase arrangements (I quite liked this TBH) - reminds me very much of a nursery I used to work in before we decided to buy our own.

Yes we have soft surfacing in the garden - decided to have it put throughout - Is bloody good stuff - expensive but so worth it, and it lasts for ages. Our parents love this (Less bumps and scrapes) and a few of them are considering having it put down at home. We bought 3 big planters to make up for the lack of "real" garden and do planting/digging in these.

KatyMac · 21/05/2008 22:21

The security will be on the 2 inside doors

anyone could come in the main door but would not get access to the nursery - thought all will have to travel through the main front door iyswim

I would rather the toilet cubicles were directly off the room rather than behind a wall.....under stair case

Soft surfacing only in the baby area - older children will have grass & concrete to ride trikes on & lots of veggie beds & chickens

OP posts:
linzs · 21/05/2008 22:34

Very similar to us access through main door and then one door leading into nursery and stairs leading off upstairs to other rooms - I think you will prob find that CRB's will be needed.

Our toilet cubicles are not directly off our main room - children have to go through another room and a small corridor to toilet/wash hands. All works well obviously staff supervise younger children but older ones are encouraged to sort themselves out and be independent (Ofsted inspector told us she really liked this set up as children had their privacy in bathroom too). There is also a window in room they walk through so we can keep our eye on them when needed.

We used to have seperate areas in garden for babes/older children but it did not leave enough space for older children on bikes etc and we were having lots of bumps/falls due to limited space. But our garden is complicated as it is on two levels and involves stairs to raised part of garden where playhouse/sandpit is.

When refurbishing the garden last year we gave the children the catalouge and asked them what they wanted in the garden. Top of the list was picnic tables so they can eat together in garden!

Second was ... a cat!!

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.