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Just been to look around nursery - are my expectations too high?

21 replies

Rob1n · 08/04/2010 17:35

Just been to look around 1st nursery for DS when he is 9 months.
Is it normal in nurseries for staff to wear their outdoor shoes on the floor where the babies play etc....? We never walk around the house with shoes one - surely it seems even more important not to do this when you also have a baby crawling around? I know you can't protect them from everything, but it just seems a bit sloppy to me to have babies crawling over scummy carpet that people have walked over with god knows what on their shoe, is it just me? If I ran the place I would keep the area where babies crawl on the floor separate to where everyone walks around, seems obvious?.

Also, is there such a place where the nursery genuinely cares about the food they provide, where it comes from and whether it's organic? etc... One of the questions I asked was about whether they serve seasonal food and where it comes from. When I asked where the meat came from (at least meaning to specify whether British) she said the butchers! Food is important to me, I don't see why my baby should have food which is a lower standard to what we would eat. Am I just expecting too much?

Don't know what I am going to do now as I thought it was one of the best nurseries in the area!

OP posts:
zapostrophe · 08/04/2010 17:43

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Missus84 · 08/04/2010 17:46

Normally baby rooms will have a no shoes rule.

Food - unlikely to find a nursery serving organic, seasonal food tbh, unless it's an expensive nusery making a big point about their food! Most nursery food is going to be ordinary spag bol, cottage pie, fishfingers and mash kind of stuff.

Missus84 · 08/04/2010 17:47

You could probably send food in if it really bothered you?

June2009 · 08/04/2010 17:50

My nursery does not accept food from outside.
They say they work with Anabelle Karmel recipes or whatnot, not sure wheter it is organic.

but htere is a no shoes rule in the baby room. once they start crawling they tend to mop the floor, I wouldn't be happy if the rule wasn't implemented.

ruddynorah · 08/04/2010 17:56

no outdoor shoes at dd's nursery.

most food comes from asda, i see the deliveries arrive. but it is all decent. not cheapo smart price stuff which i guess i expected. i didn't even see an asda branded item, it was all big names.

also they get a veg delivery from local farm place (by look of the boxes) and menus are rotated to be seasonal.

milk is not organic.

BertieBotts · 08/04/2010 18:05

I think you need to look around a few more nurseries to get a feel for what is normal and what is available near you - even a nursery you have no intention of using, will be useful to look around to help get an idea.

llareggub · 08/04/2010 18:06

One of the nurseries I looked at sold itself on the basis that if made organic food daily. They also boasted Spanish lessons, a baby sensory room and all sorts of very worthy things. I crossed it off my list because the owner proudly showed me a bare, depressing cupboard which he called the staff room. His manner towards the staff and his obvious distain for their comfort at work indicated to me that despite the gloss, there was no warmth or care there at all.

DS ended up with a childminder and he happily ate whatever she cooked her children.

My advice is to go for nursery or childminder that has happy, long-serving staff and a caring atmosphere.

suitejudyblue · 08/04/2010 18:15

I'd say that there should be a no shoes rule but I'd be surprised if it could be guaranteed in practice. When my DCs were at nursery the staff all wore slippers inside but despite notices on all doors there were always parents who didn't take their shoes off.
If that's your only concern then I wouldn't let it put you off.
I'd say the food is a bigger issue but as long as its prepared by hand on site and there is a varied menu across the week then I think they are doing well. How much you can compromise probably depends on how many meals your child will eat there each week.
When I was looking at nurseries I found the best indicator is gut feel as you walk through - if there's anything that you reallyu don't like I wouldn't consider it as you will always worry about it.
Good luck

cassell · 08/04/2010 18:34

Ds' nursery has a no shoes rule in the baby room. They don't have organic food but they do cook it all on the premises and have lots of fruit/healthy snacks/veg etc.

For me what was most important when choosing somewhere was the attitude of the staff. So in the nursery I went for when we went around staff members came up (unprompted) to say hello and chat to ds as we walked around and they all seemed really friendly, genuinely interested in the babies and what they were doing. Another nursery I went around (which has a good reputation locally) my abiding memory is of a staff member sitting on the floor in the baby room (no shoes!) looking as miserable as anything and taking no notice of and not interacting with the babies she was supposed to be looking after. Ok everyone has bad days but that really put me off.

StewieGriffinsMom · 08/04/2010 18:39

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soph24 · 08/04/2010 21:45

I think no shoes in baby room is pretty standard.

My kids go to an Asquith Nursery. The food is an Annabel Karmel menu but not sure exactly whrer it is from organic etc. But I think it is maybe asking too much for that. think you will need to provide your own food if you want to know the ins and outs of the food.

I was shocked at one of the nurseries i visited to see staff hoovering around the kids and spagetti hoops and the meal.

Rob1n · 09/04/2010 10:00

Well it seems most nurseries seem to have no shoes in the baby room, so the nursery I looked at are failing at a basic thing. Perhaps I shouldn't let that put me off, but if they can't be bothered to enforce that or don't think it's important then I wonder what else are they slacking on.

Food isn't the most important thing, but if I wouldn't buy chicken/chicken products labelled as being 'from Thailand or Brazil' for me & my DH, why would it be ok for my DS to eat it.

TBH the reason I'm more bothered about the food is because he will be there most of the time from 9 months, and I am missing out on the opportunity to make sure he eats well to try and compensate for breastfeeding not working out.

And I wish I didn't have to take him to nursery at all!

OP posts:
andagain · 09/04/2010 13:11

Rob1n,
I don't think your expectations are too high at all.
I would have thought that no outdoor shoes are a standard in baby room.
My DD started nursery later but one of the main reasons we chose the nursery she is in (and waited a loooooong time) is food. They use fresh ingredients, have two cooks on premises (one full time and one part-time) and they have kids' kitchen where the children get to do some basic cooking too. Oh and they grow some of their own veg, not enough obvously to feed them all but I found it important that they teach them about growing vegetables and healthy eating. When looking at various nurseries I asked to see their menus. So if it is important to you, keep looking, you will find a nursery that is perfect for you eventually.

imoscarsmum · 09/04/2010 13:32

Rob1n you sound very like me. DD is 18m now and has been in nursery 3 days a week since she was 10m old. She goes to MIL 2 days a week as I work FT (only way i get on mumsnet !)

I really understand where you are coming from - "but if I wouldn't buy chicken/chicken products labelled as being 'from Thailand or Brazil' for me & my DH, why would it be ok for my DS to eat it." Totally get that. I too couldn;t bf and I've only now really come to terms with it. We did BLW, which helped, but I was very worried about nursery.

However, whilst I would always aim for the best food, in my experience with DD it's the staff that really matter. Our nursery is in the grounds of a college and they use Asda for supplies, however they use a menu that has lots of carbs, fat, cheese, meat, veg and fruit eg cottage pie, macceroni cheese, fishcakes, but all the food is made on site by hand, they always have a hot pudding for after lunch and they have home made cakes etc etc. I have got involved myself and pushed them to switch to free range (which they did!) and gave them simple recipes for cheese muffins and oat/cheese flapjacks, which they have also implemented. they have really been willing to listen, which says alot to me.

Our baby room has a no shoes policy and the staff wear slippers. Once they're in 18m+ rooms they can wear shoes.

but, even though you will worry, if you feel at ease there, the staff genuinely care and your gut feel is yes, then go for it. As long as the food isn't pre-packed rubbish (or has too little fat - some nurseries are mistakenly following 'healthy eating' principles which are not good for babies!) your DS will be OK. i still hassle the nursery about potato cakes (which they buy in) as having too much salt but they only offer them once a month, so I think it's not too bad.

DD is very happy there, there is always a waiting list to get in, the staff have been there years and it is well known to genuinely care for the children.

You will always feel guilty working (and you'll feel guilty if you stay at home!) and prepare yourself for a few weeks of hell whilst your DS settles in initially - worst time of my life but I promise it will get better and you are making the right choices for your family.

Now DD toddles off into the baby room and waves me off with barely a glance she's so keen to see her friends and play with toys.

gingernutlover · 11/04/2010 09:08

the staff in the baby room at our nursery have slipper type shoes for wearing inside, and parents have to take off their outside shoes to do collections too. I had assumed that was pretty normal.

what is wrong with meat coming from the butchers? You asked where it came from and thats a perfectly reasonable answer IMO.

If you wanted to know if it was british/organic then you should have asked that - they aren't psychic!

elvislives · 11/04/2010 10:01

I agree that the staff are the most important part of a nursery. When we were first looking for DD (who hadn't been born) we went to a nursery that was highly recommended and attached to a private school. We were taken into the baby room. Not one of the girls in there looked up or smiled at us. One was sat on the floor furiously rocking a screaming baby in a seat in front of her, with a scowl on her face. Another baby was howling in another seat on the other side of the room. None of the girls were actually talking to any of the babies

The 2 year olds were all lined up to go to another room and looked petrified at the sight of us.

We then went to the cheapest one in the town. The staff were all mums and most of them had a baby on their lap. The older children all came over to have a good look at us and told us what they were doing. No prizes for guessing where DD ended up.

When she first started she used to come home every day with her hair smelling of perfume. It bugged me for a bit until I realised it meant she was being cuddled.

domesticslattern · 12/04/2010 22:23

Rob1n, I totally get that you don't want to send your LO to nursery at all. Many of us felt like that. TBH, like others, I suspect that the most important thing for your LO is not the food or the shoes. It's the staff. How were they with the kids?

Trust me, once your LO have been in nursery for a while, little things like the provenance of the meat will fade into obscurity, compared to the more compelling question: will someone comfort them when they cry? Will they be hugged? Will someone play peekaboo when they change their nappy? Will my child be talked to? Will my child be happy?

My daughter is happy at her nursery, loves the staff and plays happily. The children are suitably chirpy but also well-behaved- there is a happy hum about the place. She also eats food I wouldn't serve her, plays in the mud and comes home chatting about what she has seen on TV. I rate the nursery fully, but these aren't things I would have thought about when I was looking round.

I hope you find somewhere you are happy with.

ps. If you are really worried about the quality of the meat, tell them your LO is vegetarian?

Eliza70 · 13/04/2010 22:03

Agree with all of the above. I work in an organisation that helps daycares raise their quality so I was armed with waayyyy too much information (and prejudice!!) before I went to visit them.

I rejected one that smelt of cooking food (think boiled cabbage smell) and where the toys were pretty shabby looking, rejected another where they were really proud to show me the day routine which included flash cards and watching a DVD (which my work was really against) and where they were teaching the children french at age three

The one i went for is committed to staff training (I knew this from my work) and was the one I got the best vibe from. I got to meet the cook on my visit (and sample the blueberries they were getting that day)
My little boy LOVES going, and I have subsequently found out they sometimes let them watch a dvd and use flash cards that I was so snooty about, but he's happy and well loved. So much so I am sending my second little one their in th Autumn.

BoffinMum · 15/04/2010 22:09

The nursery we were happiest with cuddled the kids all day, sending them home smelling of the carers' perfume, and the staff loved them so much that on the kids' last day, they all came down the pub with us for a drink and then gave the kids presents, and said how much they were going to miss us all. They still bound up to us in the street and say hello even now, seven years later!

That meant more to us than shoes/food/etc.

navyeyelasH · 15/04/2010 23:38

I am a childminder working with another childminder caring for 6 under 5's. All our meat and dairy is organic and most of the fruit and veg is too and 90% of it is grown locally. We grow some of our own stuff too.

We always remove shoes in the house and also bake our own cakes and bread.

shines halo

I know food is important to you but you have to weight these things up. Is it better for him to get less love and attention and amazing food or is it better to have lots of love and attention and not the beast quality food.

If it really is an issue for you, you miht consider a nanny. It is expensive in comparison to nursery though.

Northernlurker · 16/04/2010 00:03

Another vote for the importance of the staff over everything else. You want warm people. Dd3's nursery staff just oooze warmth - they pick up and cuddle the children when needed, they look at them and talk to them.

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